John 12:1–7 (NRSV)
12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
Holy Monday. The day that some of the gospels have Jesus cleansing the Temple. John begins Passion narrative prior to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on that Saturday before at the home of Lazarus with a meal and a preparation. Let’s not forget the common, everyday things that Jesus did with his friends. What better way to start a tough week than with a meal with friends.
In addition, Jesus was open to being served by Mary as she anoints him. John says that the entire house was filled with the fragrance. I will take it a step farther and say the entire creation was and continues to be filled with this act of generous worship of Jesus.
And did you catch that Mary had bought this expensive perfume for Jesus’ day of burial? And yet, she didn’t wait and poured it upon him while he was still with her. I don’t want read too much into this but I am fairly confident that Jesus appreciated it more in this moment than any other.
The Kingdom of God exists in the present. It is in the current moment that we are given to love God and serve others. May we not be found waiting or delaying. No better time than the present…which is all we have anyway.
Lord Jesus, thank you for allowing us to serve you, to worship you, and to partner with you in your Kingdom. Let us live with great urgency today. Not anxious…simply urgent.