"Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
~ Matthew 26:13 (NKJV)
When Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus' feet and wipes them with her hair, and then breaks a flask of expensive perfume and anoints His head, she is "sharply criticized" (or "condemned") by not only Judas the greedy thief (John 12:4-6), but by other disciples as well (Mark 14:4-5).
Curiously, this prominent event—prophesied by Jesus to be proclaimed through all the world as part of the Gospel—is omitted by Luke's Gospel. Luke, on the other hand, is the only one to include the parallel incident of a "sinful woman" also using her hair to wipe Jesus' feet and anoint them with costly perfume, after she washes them with her tears—the profuse tears of a gratefully redeemed sinner who "loves much" (Luke 7:36-50).
Furthermore, Luke's Gospel is the only Gospel some people hear. The Jesus film, based solely on Luke, has been translated into various languages and presented throughout the world as a succinct method of dramatically presenting Jesus to people who have never heard of Him.
I am inclined to believe that Jesus' prophecy about Mary of Bethany is not inaccurate, and that her story is also told through Luke, though she is identified only as the sinful woman. Luke obviously knew about Mary, since he alone describes the incident when Martha complains to Jesus about Mary. Perhaps in his evident esteem for Mary, Luke chooses to include this previous scene from Mary's life, but purposely omits her name out of sensitivity for her shameful past.
Regardless, both scenes rank among the most beloved Gospel stories. In each story, this woman disregards the scorn of onlookers to humble herself beyond all reason (see "That Mary" post) and extravagantly pours out love and gratitude upon Jesus.
And so Jesus exalted her—just as He promises to do for each of His disciples who seeks not the favor of others, but the favor of God.
"But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
~ Matthew 23:11-12 (NKJV)
Father, we have no words or works sufficient to adequately express the great price You have paid to purchase us. Please enable to do so with great love in our hearts. Please prompt us to seek Your favor alone, trusting You to give us favor with others as pleases You.
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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