Devotional Thoughts: The Third Mary

Looking at Matthew 26:6-13. This is the story of a woman who anoints Jesus with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume.

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The incident is also described in Mark 14:1-9. Luke 7:36-50 also has an anointing but some of the details are different such that commentators believe that passage described a separate story. John 12:1-8 also relates this beautiful picture of devotion and provides the additional details that Martha served, Lazarus was reclining at the table and that Mary is the one anointing Jesus. Martha, Lazarus and Mary are brothers and sisters and good friends of Jesus.

Mary, the mother of Jesus is well known throughout the Christian era. Mary Magdalene has been getting a lot of publicity because of the Da Vinci Code. In traditional Christian circles, Mary Magdalene is recognized as the first person to see the resurrected Jesus. The third Mary, the one in this episode, is Mary of Bethany, the sister to Martha and Lazarus.

Mary is also known for the story in Luke 10:38-42 where she sits and listens to Jesus while Martha is busily working away. When Martha complains, Jesus gently chides her for majoring in the minors.

In this episode, Jesus receives the anointing and remarks, she has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be talked about in her memory.

The disciples were probably still largely in denial about Jesus death. But Mary knew (she had a habit of listening carefully!) and so she used the perfume to anoint Jesus. The text explicitly says it was a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and so it was probably one of the most valuable possessions that Mary had.

Lord, help busy beavers like me to take the time to listen to you and to know where your heart is. Help me to understand you are the Lord and that anything I have belongs to you. Help me to be grateful for what you provide for me. Help me to use what you provide in your service. Amen.