A Most Precious Gift
Giving our best to Jesus.
Bring a pretty bottle of good-smelling perfume, perhaps with an atomizer.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3 (NIV)
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Have you ever seen a bottle like this? (Hold up the perfume bottle.) What do you think might be in this bottle? You are right! It is perfume. When I was a child and wanted to give my mother a really nice gift for her birthday, I would often go to cosmetic counter at the drugstore and look at all of the perfume. Some of the perfume came in very large bottles. They were usually very cheap. But, do you know what? They usually didn't smell very good. Some of the other bottles of perfume were very small and cost a lot more than the big bottles of perfume. Guess what? they smelled wonderful! I wanted to give my mother the very best, so I always bought the most expensive perfume I could afford.
Before we begin our Bible lesson today, I am going to spray just a little bit of this perfume on each if you. As you listen to the lesson, you will notice the sweet fragrance of the perfume spreading throughout the room. Listen carefully for a time in the lesson that the very same thing happens in our Bible story.
One day Jesus went to the city of Bethany. That was the city where a man named Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, lived with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. While Jesus was in Bethany, a dinner was given in his honor. Lazarus was eating at the table with Jesus, while Martha was serving the meal. Mary was just sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to him teach.
As she was sitting at the feet of Jesus, Mary did a very unusual thing. She took a bottle of very expensive perfume and began to wash the feet of Jesus with it. Then she dried his feet with her hair. The Bible tells us that the entire house was filled with the sweet smell of perfume.
One of Jesus' disciples, whose name was Judas, was very upset by what Mary did. He said, "What a waste! This perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor. It was worth a year's wages." Judas wasn't really worried about the poor. The Bible tells us that he was worried about the money because he often stole money from the treasury for himself.
Jesus came to Mary's defense and answered Judas. "Leave her alone. She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial."
Jesus said that because he knew that it was only a few days before he would be crucified and buried. I don't know if Mary knew that or not, but I do think that Mary wanted to give Jesus the very best that she had to show her love for him. That perfume was the very best thing that Mary had to offer.
Jesus has given us the most wonderful gift imaginable — the gift of everlasting life. It is free, but it was a very costly gift. It cost Jesus his life.
What can we give to Jesus to show our love for him? I think he wants us to give him our very best. He wants us to give him our life!
Heavenly Father, Jesus gave his life to show his love for us. May we also give our lives in service to him as an expression of our love. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.