Can you imagine working hard from January through December, saving all of the money that you were making, only to use it to buy a present for someone else? I love giving gifts, but definitely not that much.
Last night at youth group we read John chapter 12, where that very thing happened. Mary, who was the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, attended a banquet where Jesus was the guest of honor. She had a bottle of perfume that cost 300 denarii, which was about a year’s worth of wages, and in a moment of passionate worship, she poured it all out at His feet, actually washing them and drying them with her hair.
Now that is devotion! It says the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. How I would have liked to be Mary, to sacrifice something so valuable to Jesus.
Judas Iscariot (Jesus’ betrayer) was there and he reprimanded Mary for this deed. He said that the perfume could have been sold and the money could have been given to the poor. My favorite part of the story is Jesus’ reply:
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John. 12:7-8
Jesus approved. Jesus was pleased that Mary had wanted only to worship Him.
This story makes me really question what I would have done. And even now, what am I giving up to worship Jesus. What will I give up? Especially during this Christmas season, remembering all that He gave up for me in coming not as a King, but as a baby, and coming to die on a cross for all of us. He has given us Hope. What will we give back to Him?