Six days before the Passover Jesus is again with His friends in
Bethany. On the outside everything appears the
same. Great food, great company, great
hostess. But, on the inside, much, so
much has changed.
Although doing what she does best - serving - Martha is not frazzled and stressed out, angry and demanding as when we first met her. Lazarus, freshly risen from the dead, still rubbing his eyes in disbelief, savoring in bite-size pieces every delicious moment of his new lease on life. They listen to the disciples rehashing the latest stories of Jesus’ miracles, the blind Bartimeus receiving sight, the party Zacchaeus threw for them in his home in Jericho giving money away like it's going out of style. Amid all the excitement, conversations and laughter, one can’t help but notice that certain topics seem to be carefully avoided that night.
Mary appears to be listening and laughing with the rest, but the food on the plate in front of her has hardly been touched. Then, she quietly slips out and returns with an alabaster jar, her hands gently shaking. Breaking the seal, she begins pouring the perfume on Jesus. The house explodes with intoxicating fragrance. It probably smelled for days, even weeks… Jesus’ perfume-drenched body probably smelled of it for days…through the hours of prayer in the garden….? Through the hours of whipping and questioning….? Through the hours on the cross…?
The stunned guests are still in shock in shock when the traitor speaks up and scolds the woman’ irrational wastefulness. He cloaks his sharp criticism with threadbare, tattered garb of altruistic compassion, concern for the poor. He quickly calculates the value of the wasted treasure to 300 denarii – an entire year’s worth of wages.
The next time we see him, he is weighing the best offer for the price of the Son of God, as if he is a garage sale item. The value is totaled to 30 pieces of silver. A price of a common slave. About two months worth of wages.
Jesus receives the wasteful worship of the scolded woman as a beautiful thing. For she recognized that there are some things in life you can’t put a price tag on.