It may seem unbelievable, but for two days in a row now, though I have read through chapter 12 in its entirety, I never get past studying out Jesus’ encounter with Mary. This encounter amazes me. It cuts me to the core and challenges me. I know I don’t see or know Jesus the way Mary saw Jesus. But I know this is who I have to become. This is how I want to see. This is who I want to be like.
On first reading, I really readily identified with Judas. If we put the account into modern day terms, it would be like having a woman go up to an itinerant preacher today, fall at his feet and gift him with something worth a year’s wages. So as I thought through that, I imagined, given what Jesus said about it being used for his burial, that a woman, pulled up in a brand new hearse, purchased with a year’s wages, handed over the keys to the preacher and then plopped herself down at his feet and began massaging them with her hair. Crazy thought? I don’t know. That’s what this encounter makes me think of. In fact, it reminds me of what happened in church last Sunday evening when a woman came weeping up the aisle and threw herself down on the front pews. What would that scene have looked like if she had thrown herself at the feet of the pastor? As it was, we all felt a slight awkwardness. We care for this woman, but how do we respond to such unabashed emotion? What would we have felt if she started massaging his feet with costly essential oil and wiping them with her hair? Is it safe to assume that we would be appalled?
It is so easy for me to just read over accounts like this and miss what was really going on. What would that scene have looked like and what would I have been feeling? Probably very much like Judas. What an outrage! How improper! How utterly wasteful.! A year’s wages. I don’t know what each household among us earns in a year, but could you honestly see yourself giving up your entire year’s wages on something like this? A year’s wages!
And then, of all things, Jesus says, “leave her alone, let her do this to me. You won’t always have me around.” When I read these words, in all honestly, they come across very arrogant. But I know Jesus isn’t arrogant. So I know that if He wanted her to do this thing, then it was the right thing to do. As I tried to reconcile these things in my mind, it finally dawned on me that the reason this is not arrogant, is that Jesus is the only one who deserves this kind of adoration. In fact, as I thought about it, I realized that Jesus never stopped someone from worshiping Him. He knew He deserved it and he readily accepted it There are many times in the Bible where we see people fall down in front of prophets or apostles or even angels, and the response is always, the same…..”get up.” They did not accept worship. But with Jesus, it is different. He never dissuades worship of Him. We saw this just a bit earlier also when the blind man was allowed to worship Jesus. I think this is so critical for me to understand. Jesus is worthy of worship and expects my worship.
I feel so incredibly convicted by this account, I really have no idea what it means to worship in spirit and in truth. My worship pales in comparison to what I see Mary doing here. I do not let go in wild abandon in the presence of Jesus. I don’t fall down at His feet. I don’t give Him my best. I try to imagine what Mary looked like in this scene. I really don’t think she cared what she looked like or how others looked at her. She had her eyes fixed on Jesus and Him alone. What would each day be like if I lived every moment as worship to my creator? Even when I try my best (on Sundays) can I truly say that what I do is worship? Or am I more concerned with how I look or how others perceive me? Do I really get it that Jesus demands and expects this kind of reverence and worship that involves my complete abandon? Do I really get what the Scriptures say when they tell me that there will come a day when every knee will bow? When I truly see Him in all His glory, I will fall down and I will worship. Everyone will. It is recorded in Revelation, that John, who had been a friend of Jesus, “fell down as though dead” when He saw Jesus in all His glory. When I truly “see” Jesus for who He is, I won’t have to act a certain way or think about how to worship Him. No, when I really see Him, I will fall down and worship. I thought of the analogy of touching a hot oven. No one has to tell me to pull my hand away. I don’t think about. I just do it. It is natural. It is a reflex. It is an automatic response. When I truly see Jesus for who He is, I won’t need any prodding. I will fall down on my face and worship Him. My life will be different.
I think I am so utterly blind to the magnificence of Jesus. I, like the people written about even later on in this chapter, am often more concerned with human praise than the praise of my God, my heavenly father, my Lord and Savior.
Oh how I long to know Him like this. I pray that I will grow in my awe and reverence of Him so that I too can worship Jesus as only He deserves. February 25, 2016