I started reading John 12 this week and spent a fair amount of time meditating on the first three verses.
Their content flowed into my mind and heart and carried me away from the merry-go-round to a place of peace and delight.
Step with me into this dinner party atmosphere.
The gathering is being held in Lazarus' hometown. He was an extra special friend of Jesus. Had to be. After all, Jesus brought him back from death - real, physical, stinky death - to life - real, physical, joyous life. Besides, it says in John 11:5 that "Jesus loved ... Lazarus."
I can almost sense the celebratory feeling in the room. Can't you?
I mean, after all, here sits a guy who should be six feet under . . . or more historically speaking . . . here reclines a man who should be inside a chamber for the dead.
The setting alone is enough to ponder for a day . . . or a week . . . or a . . .
The One who returned Lazarus from the grave back to his loving sisters is sharing a meal with him.
My mind's eye turns from one to the other. Jesus the miracle worker at the head of the table. Lazarus the recently raised among the dinner guests. Could the Father make it any more clear for those in attendance or for us who read the account?
Here's the example before us, plain as day. Jesus gives life. And not just heart-beating, breath-taking life. Jesus gives relationship-rich, feast-enjoying life. The John 10:10 "abundantly" kind of life. Hallelujah!
Ah ha, and this time around I sense the meal is running smoothly. Evidently the distraction problem Jesus spoke about at the close of Luke 10 has been addressed. Martha seems to be serving the guests graciously with her mind and heart peacefully alert to the presence of her Lord.
O that I might follow Martha's example. That I too might put my hands to work at the tasks set before me with the steady confidence that I am enveloped in the presence of my Savior.
I've got growing to do, but back to the party.
Right there at the dinner table amidst the food and dishes and chatting, Mary attended the needs of the Savior. She didn't bring a basin of water and a towel to perform the cultural custom. She poured precious perfume and cleansed his feet with her own hair. It is the outcome of this tender interaction that caught my attention in the first place.
Mary knew her Lord. She was focused on Him personally. She forsook all that was going on around her and came to Him. She laid her offering literally at His feet. And the fragrance of her humble and sacrificial gift filled the house.
The text doesn't say there was a ceiling fan or that a diffuser was plugged into a socket nearby. Rather, the natural result of Mary's simple and honest act of worship spread its aroma throughout the entire area.
So now I pray and plead.
Lord God, thank you for the powerful richness of your Word that in three verses draws me so close to you. Please cause your Truth to triumph in and through me according to your gracious will. Amen
"Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume." John 12:1-3