Mary of Bethany, Relentless in Showing Love for Jesus
“Then Mary took about a pint of pure 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 12:3 (NIV)
“Park the car where we can see it while we are in the restaurant,” I said to my husband, reminding him that we were carrying a valuable piece of history—a desk belonging to Miss Annie Armstrong. The desk was to be presented as a gift to National WMU from the WMU of Maryland/Delaware. This treasured gift would be a reminder of how relentless Annie Armstrong was in writing letters that encouraged women to be involved in missions.
Annie Armstrong saw people who needed help and needed to know Jesus. She wondered what she could do and she wanted to find ways to help. She left a legacy of relentless acts of service that showed her love for Jesus that is still being felt across North America.
Scripture tells of a woman who left a legacy of unselfish love for Jesus. Mary of Bethany is the sister of Lazarus and Martha, friends in whose home Jesus was often a guest. When we first meet Mary, she was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him. Sister Martha was put out because Mary was not helping with food preparation. Jesus reminded Martha that Mary had chosen the better thing (Luke 10:38-42).
Six days before the Passover, again we see her at Jesus’ feet. Jesus is again in Bethany for dinner. Lazarus is among those reclining at the table and Martha is serving. Mary must have listened to Jesus as He talked about suffering and dying. What could she do to show her love for Jesus?
Mary got her most valuable treasure, a bottle of expensive perfume, and slipped into the room. She poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. Mary was accused by Judas of doing something foolish. But Jesus praised her, stating there would always be the poor to help, but they would not always have Him (John 12:1-8).
Mary’s costly act of worship is still remembered just as Jesus said it would be (Mark 14:9). She did what she could to show her love for Jesus. Mary of Bethany reminds us to listen to God’s Word and worship Him despite our busy lives.
People through the ages have wondered what they could do to show their love for Jesus. Then and today people have been relentless in their obedience to God’s Word. Like Mary of Bethany and Annie Armstrong, their relentless acts of love and service for Jesus continue to have widespread effects.
Father, You have given us examples of women who have been relentless in showing their love for You. May we see the needs of those around us, especially those who need to know You, and under leadership of the Holy Spirit, may it be said of us that we did what we could to love and honor You. Amen.
by Brenda Morris