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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jesus' Last Days II –
Fragrance of Love

Today is Saturday. Jesus dines intimately with loved ones in Bethany before His very public entry of Jerusalem tomorrow. The twelve disciples and Lazarus sit at the table with Jesus. Once again, Martha serves while Mary is at Jesus' feet. But Martha is not the one to complain about Mary this time.

Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
~ John 12:3 (NKJV)

This is apparently the same woman mentioned in Luke 7:36-50. (See "This Woman" post for an explanation.) Mary has not forgotten the "much" she has been forgiven, and she continues to love much.

Perhaps, because of her sinful past, Mary does not feel she deserves a place any higher than the ground. Who better, in the eyes of Jesus, to be exalted (Matthew 23:11-12) than one who humbles herself from the depths of love?

Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
Mark 14:3 (NKJV)

Israel's kings received an anointing to mark them for the throne. The King of kings also receives an anointing on the day before the crowds shout "Hosanna!" and proclaim Him their King. The honor of anointing Him is bestowed upon a woman of so little esteem that two of the Gospel writers don't even record her name.

The fragrance of her love is caught up in the aroma of spikenard, poured upon Jesus in an anointing of honor—and an anointing for burial (Matthew 26:12; Mark 14:8; John 12:7). As modern day users of essential oils well know, an entire pound of spikenard, poured over Jesus' head and into His hair, would leave a scent that stayed with Him throughout the week.

And so, as He wept over Jerusalem, Jesus smelled the fragrance of love. As He rebuked the Pharisees, Jesus smelled the fragrance of love. As He washed His disciples' feet, Jesus smelled the fragrance of love.

As He prayed so intensely that His sweat became the first drops of blood He would shed, Jesus smelled the fragrance of love. As He was flogged with metal scourges, Jesus smelled the fragrance of love. As He asked His Father to forgive the men driving nails into His flesh, Jesus smelled the fragrance of love.

As He triumphantly declared, "It is finished!" and drew His final breath, the last thing Jesus inhaled was the aroma of spikenard—the last thing He exhaled was the fragrance of love.

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Copyright 2013, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

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