Mary; Mark 14:3-9 NOT John 12:1-3
No offense to the author of these devotions but he picked the wrong person in the wrong gospel to tell this story. The woman with the perfume in John’s gospel isn’t the one that is so unique. It is the woman in Mark’s gospel that makes all the difference in the world.
In Mark’s gospel Jesus is frustrated beyond belief. The power of evil is so strong that Jesus’ power is limited. No one gets him – the disciples do not understand him or what he is trying to do. His family thinks he is a lunatic, and the Jewish authorities just want to get rid of him. Ever feel like the universe is against you — that as hard as you try, you are just not going to be able to catch a break? Welcome to Jesus’ world. And in this world on the worse week of his life comes this one woman – the ONLY person to support him on his journey to the cross.
The stories in Mark and John are very similar – the disciples fuss at the woman for wasting a precious resource. But in Mark’s gospel Jesus says, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. She prepared me for my burial.” In Mark’s gospel, Jesus says that wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. Wow! We don’t even know her name but Jesus says that we will always remember her (and we do).
Sometimes it takes just one person on our side supporting us to make a difference. Even if no one else gets us, having that one person who believe in us and our mission can make all the difference in the world (and maybe even the world to come). This woman was that person for Jesus. He probably wanted to hang it all up and go back to Galilee, but here was a woman who helped him stay the course. Showing her support cost her dearly (an expensive bottle of perfume) but it was priceless to Jesus.
Is there someone who has done that for us, or someone for whom we can do that – show them our support when no one else will? Are they struggling with a decision, a job or holding on to a new direction in their lives and our support might be the turning point for them? Would you have thought that a bottle of perfume could have made that much difference in Jesus’ mission? Since it did, then do not underestimate the amount of good you can do with a meal, a phone call or email.