The Scent of a Godly Woman

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expen­sive per­fume; she poured it on Jesus』 feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fra­grance of the per­fume.” John 2:3

Mary’s beau­ti­ful out­pour­ing of wor­ship at the feet of Jesus hap­pened not too long after He raised her beloved brother, Lazarus, from the dead. It was also close to the time that Judas would betray Jesus. It was not long before Jesus would be arrested, cru­ci­fied, buried and resurrected.

Mary did not under­stand it all, but Jesus defends her actions to the dis­senters around her later in the same chap­ter.  As recorded in verse 8 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this per­fume for the day of my burial.”

Mary did not fully under­stand the will of God con­cern­ing her Lord, but what she did know was she was in the pres­ence of her Sav­ior. She had a beau­ti­ful oppor­tu­nity to wor­ship at His feet, and He was cer­tainly wor­thy of her best. She was moved to wor­ship and she responded.

The per­fume that Mary used was made from the root of a rare plant that grows at the foot of the Himalayas. The plant only pro­duces a small amount of essen­tial oil called nard (also infor­mally 『spike­nard』). Nard has to be dug up and extracted from the tiny spin­dle like roots. To this day the essen­tial oil, in its purest form, can run more than a thou­sand dol­lars for a pint. I can not even imag­ine the mon­e­tary worth of a pint of nard in Bib­li­cal times, but to say that it was a costly gift — a gift fit for a King, is an understatement.

Essen­tial oils make won­der­ful fra­grances. They do not wear off or smell like ace­tone or alco­hol after time like our mod­ern colognes. Oils do not wear off and they carry their scent for days, some­times. Mary’s hair was full of that scent for pos­si­bly days. Remem­ber she poured an entire pint and used her hair as the means to swab the scent on Jesus』 feet.

I learn a lot about wor­ship when I con­tem­plate the actions of Mary that day. First, I con­sider how she wor­shipped at the feet of Jesus. She did not pre­sume to be wor­thy to be at His side, but she wor­shipped at His feet. At His feet are where His chil­dren feel at home. Do I sit at His feet daily by read­ing His words and pray­ing to Him?

Sec­ond, Mary used an item in her home as a method and expres­sion of her love and wor­ship of Jesus. She did not have to go out and find some­thing, but rather she found a price­less item in her home to give to Him will­ingly. What is my pre­cious and price­less thing? My time? My rep­u­ta­tion? My work?

Third, Mary did not know that Jesus』 death was immi­nent. She was not told any infor­ma­tion that His dis­ci­ples did not know. She was not told exactly what was com­ing, but she knew that wor­ship­ping Jesus was always the right thing to do and no time was wrong for it.

She wor­shipped Him in the pres­ence of doubters, naysay­ers and betray­ers, and for her reward she was defended by her Lord. As a mat­ter of fact the one, Judas, who was less than a week away from betray­ing Jesus was her most vocal oppo­nent in this act of wor­ship. Do I stand firm in my wor­ship? Do I allow the sub­tle or not so sub­tle protest of doubters and naysay­ers dis­tract me from my love for the Lord or influ­ence me away from His feet?

Last, the scent of Mary’s act of wor­ship would have fol­lowed her. It filled her home, it was a scent of beauty to those around her.  Between her and the Lord, they knew it was costly for her. The scent of an oil like that does not change or morph, but it stays true to it’s ori­gins. How does the scent of my own wor­ship wear? Does it fade and morph into some­thing unpleas­ant to those around me, like self-righteousness or pride? Does the scent of my wor­ship bless those who come near me?

Today, take a moment to pray and study His Word. Pray and ask the Lord to help you to seek after Him more than any­thing else. Wor­ship Him in all His splen­dor and sit in awe at His feet. When you get up from your time of wor­ship, think about how you can carry that time into the rest of your day. Will your chil­dren ben­e­fit from that time? How about your hus­band? Or your Neighbor?

Find out what your valu­able things are, offer them freely to the Lord and see what won­drous things He per­forms with noth­ing more than a will­ing heart and an open hand.

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