You know that fragrances, aromas, smells, can have an enormous effect on us, right? One of the greatest things about the Christmas season is the smell of the Christmas tree in the house. It brings back memories of Christmases past, and it just gets me into the Christmas spirit.
The smell of the classic version of Old Spice after shave takes me back to when I was a little boy and watching my dad shave.
The Lovely Lady LeeAnn has a favorite perfume that whenever I catch a whiff of it, it makes me think of her.
As I was reading this chapter, which I have read many, many times, something occurred to me that I’ve never thought of before. It was when Jesus was in the home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, and his sisters Mary and Martha.
You may remember an earlier time when Jesus visited their home. Jesus was speaking and Martha was busy being a hostess, probably preparing a meal, making sure everyone was comfortable and keeping the house in order. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, hanging on every word. Martha finally complained to Jesus that Mary wasn’t doing her fair share of the work. Jesus said, “Calm down, Martha. It’s ok. Don’t worry about the little things. Concentrate on what is important.”
Here in our chapter today, Jesus knows that his crucifixion is literally just hours away and he has come to visit his beloved friends one last time. And Mary, from a deep love for this man who has been such a good and true friend, pours an expensive and sweet smelling perfume on His head. From the account of this scene in John’s gospel, we see that it must have run down all the way to His feet, because she wiped His feet dry with her hair.
Some of the other guests who saw this got upset at this. They said, “We could have sold the perfume for more than 300 silver coins and given the money to the poor!” And they said some nasty things to her.
But Jesus told them to leave her alone. He said, “She has done a beautiful thing for me. 7 You will always have the poor with you. And whenever you want to, you can give to them. But you won’t always have me here with you. 8She has done all she could by pouring perfume on my body to prepare it for burial. 9You may be sure that wherever the good news is told all over the world, people will remember what she has done. And they will tell others.”
Now here’s the part that I’ve never thought of before. Back then, people rarely bathed. So there is every possibility that Jesus still had the aroma of that sweet perfume on Him when He was taken to be tried in front of the Sanhedrin, when He was then taken to Pilate, and when He was beaten, and when He hung on the cross.
I can imagine Him catching the aroma during the beating. When he was hanging, in agony, on the cross. You know that there was a part of Him that remembered this beautiful, loving sacrifice that Mary made for him, and the love and admiration in her eyes when she poured it on His head and wiped His feet with her hair. And I think it made Him think of His love for her, and for you and for me. I think it helped to give Him comfort in the darkest hour anyone has ever experienced.
What do you think? I’d like to know. Leave a comment below.