Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined Jesus at the table. Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound, of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), complained,“This perfume was worth a year’s wages! Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would take what was in it.)
Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone. This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she’s used it. You’ll always have the poor among you, but you won’t always have me.”
Many Jews learned that he was there. They came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. The chief priests decided that they’d kill Lazarus too. It was because of Lazarus that many of the Jews had deserted them and come to believe in Jesus.
Jesus the anointed, teach us to honour those who need our help, and we shall give without condescension, and receive with humility.
A New Zealand Prayer Book, Monday in Holy Week