Guess Who Came to Dinner
John 12: 1-8
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 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. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii” and the money given to the poor?” (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.)
Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
Guess Who Came to Dinner
Jesus came to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, six days before the Passover. They welcomed Jesus, made dinner for him, and perhaps engaged in an evening of free-flowing conversation and fellowship with Jesus and others. The family was grateful for the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Martha served and Mary anointed Jesus’ feet – not his head – and wiped them with her hair. The family demonstrated a generous love, a condescending love - for with Mary’s own hands she poured nard upon him, and a believing love - for they had faith in Jesus as the Messiah. They showed communion with Jesus, service to Jesus, and the worship of a grateful heart. They were true disciples, pure in heart, joyful in spirit.
On the other hand, Judas Iscariot misunderstood the event and revealed his character as a thief. Judas, an apostle, a preacher of the gospel who had heard Jesus speak of Jesus’ upcoming death, disliked Mary’s actions and used the poor as a pretense for his attitude. Did he not realize that Jesus knew what was in his heart? When one’s actions and words are consistent, and Christ-centered, one brings honor and glory to our Lord.
Christ justified Mary’s actions. If, in our zeal to be good people, we go overboard and are misunderstood by others, we must remember the grace of Christ makes the best of what is amiss and makes the most of what is good. In our feeble attempts to be good Christians we don’t always get it right. However, we keep Christ-centered motives, pure hearts, and clean hands and know God’s grace is sufficient to cover all that is done according to His word and for His glory.
How would you have entertained Jesus in your home? Who would have been on your guest list? Would you have been pleased or stressed out about the visit?
Loving God, let me withhold nothing from you. Use all that I am and all that I have for your glory. Keep my heart pure, my hands clean, my motives Christ-centered, and my actions pleasing in your sight. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Johnnie Locker serves as District Lay Leader and District President of the UMW in the Illinois River District.