Anointing the feet of Jesus
John 12:1-8 Mary Anoints Jesus
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’
We anoint the feet of Jesus in our world today not with expensive oil, but with ordinary things. So that the world might come to know the specialness of our God. In faithful response to what Jesus has done for us, we like Mary, set out to anoint others with the same devotion and sacredness. Because Jesus also said, “what you have done for the least of these, you have also done for me.”
We anoint what is special, and perhaps in our world today, we need to be mindful of these anointing acts of devotion. Because when we anoint those places, we mark them as special and sacred, places our world too often forgets and over looks. In them we see that the death of Christ means something for us, in devotion and service to our crucified and risen lord, we see the hope of our own new life. We, the baptized believers of the world, strive to anoint as many feet as we can in this world, - because we have been anointed ourselves, marked with the cross of Christ forever. And as Children of God we are sent into the world to strive for justice and peace, so that world might know the extravagance of our God to love them beyond the wages of sin and death. Love them beyond stigma and shame, love them beyond what the world calls them, poor, homeless, disabled. Because we know how special they are to God – we lavish their feet with the abundance of grace God has given to us.
We do lavish things for the ones we love as a way to honor them and mark them as special. Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with a jar of costly nard, in a few days’ time, Jesus would anoint the feet of the disciples commissioning them to acts of service and love in the world. We have been anointed in our baptism and therefore set out to anoint others with signs of God’s grace, doing extravagant things so that the poor, the marginalized, the lost, the lonely, the grieving, know how deeply God cares for them.
My prayer for us today is that we continue to be like Mary, striving to anoint what is special and live into a world that smells of the sweetness of God’s lavish and abundant grace. Amen.