Extravagant Love

Extravagant Love

Daily Devotion for Lent | Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Read John 12:1-8.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3)

Put yourself in Mary’s place. It hadn’t been that long since she was weeping for her dead brother Lazarus at Jesus’ feet. Jesus raised him from the dead, and now the family was giving a dinner party in His honor. How could she ever find a way to thank Him?

Martha did it through cooking and serving the dinner—that was her gift. But Mary wanted to do something else. So she brought out a treasure—a flask of pure nard ointment, which was probably the most expensive thing they had in the house. Then she poured it over Jesus’ head and feet (see Mark 14:3, John 12:3). Finally, she knelt to wipe His feet dry with her hair— unthinkable for a Jewish woman.

Why do this? Anointing was a custom they had for honored guests. It was also the way priests were ordained and kings were installed as rulers. The very name “Messiah” (or “Christ”) means “the Anointed One.” Perhaps all these things were in her heart as she honored Jesus.

When we think about what Jesus has done for us, we find ourselves in Mary’s dilemma. How can we thank Him for what He has done? He sought us out, called us to be His own, laid down His life to save us, rose from the dead to give us everlasting life—how can we ever love Him enough? It hurts trying to express such feelings. And so we look around for some action, some way to say “Thank You. I love You,” when words fail us.

Thanks be to God, Jesus has given us ways to express that love. He has given us Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. He has given us our neighbors, even the lowliest, and promised that “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40b).

John tells us that the house was filled with the fragrance of the nard. As we seek to love the Lord like she did, may the world be filled with the fragrance of our own thank offerings.

THE PRAYER: I love You, Lord. Strengthen my love for You, and let it show in my actions. Amen.

Brought to you in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministrieslhm.org/lent

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About These Devos

SILENT WITNESSES Lenten Devotions 2018

For Christians, the season of Lent is marked by deep reflection on the appearance of the Savior and, naturally, what His life, suffering, death, and resurrection mean for our lives now. God’s human involvement in our world is a perfect example of His intimate love for us. He spared nothing to make Himself known to us—a fact that proclaims in no uncertain terms how “God so loved the world.” In Silent Witnesses, readers will note both the majestic—and mundane—aspects of the Gospel accounts: stories telling how God in His infinite power came down and “has spoken to us by His Son.”

Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) is a Christian outreach ministry supporting churches worldwide in its mission of Bringing Christ to the Nations—and the Nations to the Church.