Originally published Monday, 05 May 2014.
Have you ever felt like you can never do enough? Say enough? Be enough?
There are not enough hours in the day to complete every task at home and work — it seems. I know I have been feeling stressed. I was looking forward to Easter because I needed to take personal time to sit at the feet of Jesus. But. For the life of me, I couldn’t sit still.
There was laundry to be done.
Taking care of the house.
Spending time with family.
To top it off, I was releasing Dream Devotional, my fifth book on Easter.
With the stress hitting maximum load capacity, I cracked. Why is it that I needed a holiday to give myself permission to rest? In the midst of the chaos, I learned something I never knew before about Mary.
Usually the messages at Easter are all about the cross and the empty tomb!
Mostly when I think of Mary, I think of Mary and Martha — not Mary and Judas. In John 121-8 we read that Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with a bottle of perfume that cost as much as one year’s wages! That is a lot of money for someone who had very little. Mary literally gave all she had to sit at Jesus’ feet. Just reading that was enough to convict me.
It was the next thought that transformed—no—resurrected my idea of Easter.
Mary was the only one who believed Jesus when He said He was going to die. Jesus’ disciples were adamant against Jesus dying. Peter’s uttered his famous words in Matthew 16:33. “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”
Imagine rebuking Jesus?
And yet, that’s what my actions say when I say, “never, Lord” and refuse to sit at His feet.
Every year on Easter we are reminded of the necessary to pick up our cross and follow Him.
Mary believed Jesus. In Mark 14:8 it says, “She did what she could.” I love this. She didn’t make excuses or rebuke Jesus like Peter did. She simply sat and worshipped at the expense of what others thought of her.
Judas took offense.
He was indignant.
He said the perfume could have been sold and given to the poor. Jesus’ response is priceless (pun intended). He said,
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12:7-8, NIV).
In Mark’s Gospel the word “then” is mentioned. “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.” It was Mary’s lavish and extravagant act was Judas’ final push to betrayal of Jesus.
Extravagance reveals motive. I was always taught that the cross reveals motive. It’s both.
I never saw that before. I read them as two separate events. Mary anointed Jesus’ feet. Judas betrayed Jesus. I never knew that it was Mary’s heart and devotion for Jesus that caused Judas to respond to harshly. Can you imagine if your love for Jesus caused others to swiftly make a decision whether or not to follow Jesus? Isn’t that what we are taught though? In Sunday School, we learn how to tell others about Jesus, that He loves us, and that they can love Him too. In Church, we learn how to go and make disciples to all nations. And yet — if we’re honest —how many of us are actually spreading God’s love to the nations?
It says in Mark 16:9 that Jesus had healed Mary from 7 demons. She had plenty of reason to celebrate Jesus’ love and share that with others. You better believe if I was rid of 7 demons I would only stop praising God long enough to eat and sleep! That’s Mary!
“Mary loved Jesus enough to listen to Him. She wanted to give Him what cost her everything. Mary deeply comforted Jesus’ heart by her extravagant love gift.” 1
What has God done in your life that causes you to risk looking like a fool?
For me, God has radically healed my health. He healed the chunks of skin that were missing on my face and feet and hands because of severe eczema. He also helped me publish four books before I turned 30. And, to top it off — God answered my prayer of a husband after I prayed to him for more than a decade.
I owe my life and my all to God!
This Easter, I was reminded of what matters most: love and devotion. Fear of the cross has no place at the feet of Jesus. His perfect love casts out all fear (including Mary’s 7 demons).
This Easter, I was reminded my life is like a spark. With it I can spur others towards heaven or hell.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what [Mary] has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Mark 14:9).
Like Mary, I want my life to be known for what doing what I could do. I’d rather look foolish than doing nothing at all. I’d rather be concerned with what Jesus thinks than what others think.
“Mary understands her own significance in relation to Jesus rather than in the opinions of others. Her actions are not distracted by what is right in the eyes of the world but by what is right in the eyes of Christ. This gives her confidence to be herself, regardless of what others might think about her. Like Mary, you are invited to ground your identity in an ongoing experience of the love of God in Christ. Then, and only then, will you be able to live honestly and authentically.” 2
I’m so glad this Easter reminded me to take courage and have the confidence to be the woman He created me to be.
Today, I hope you will God to give you the confidence to be yourself as well. Let’s choose not to be ashamed of our unique personality, or let busyness stand in our way of worshipping Him.
Question: What stops you from believing what Jesus says? Fear? Doubt? Looking like a fool in front of others?
1. Bible Study Fellowship®, BSF® Lesson 26 Notes, Matthew Series III, © 1960, 2004, 2013
2. Geri Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Woman, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 42.