Three Mary’s Point to Easter – Part 2

A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
 John 12:2-3 NLT
Photo by Ron Lach on

Mary of Bethany is perhaps my favorite to write about. Not that she is any more favored than the others, but she seems to be the least understood. Film directors have sometimes portrayed her as a prostitute or get her confused with Mary Magdalene (Our next lesson’s example). But Mary of Bethany was an entirely distinct person in the Bible. She was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. and though Martha does almost all the talking, it is possible that Mary was the oldest, since she is often mentioned first. It is interesting that in all her three of Mary’s meetings with Jesus, we find her at His feet.

When we first we see Mary, she is quietly listening at Jesus’ feet, while her sister is preparing food for the disciples. When Martha confronts Jesus about this and complains, Jesus surprises everyone by telling them that Mary has chosen the better part, and no one will be allowed to take it away. (Luke 10:42). The second time we encounter this special lady, she is weeping at the feet of Jesus after the death of her brother Lazarus. Though she says the same words that her sister Martha did, “If you would have been here my brother would not have died”, her posture shows us something more. She has not forgotten that even in sorrow, the best place to be is still at the feet of Jesus. Last of all at the celebration banquet that is held after Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead we come to today’s verse. Again, Martha is busy serving everyone, Lazarus is holding the place of honor right next to Jesus, but in the middle of all the banging of plates and the table conversations, Mary silently slips away. When she returns, she is carrying a small alabaster flask containing an incredibly expensive perfumed oil. While everyone is talking, she quietly comes up behind Jesus, breaks open her flask and pours it on His head. Suddenly people grow silent, as the beautiful aroma fills the room. You might have thought someone would have exclaimed, “Wow! What a great thing to do for Jesus!”, but that was not the case. Instead, led by Judas Iscariot, all the disciples begin to protest that this should have been sold and the money given to the poor. We learn in Mathew’s gospel that; Mary also anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair. I picture this as coming right after the critical whispers begin. But the wonderful thing about Mary, is that she simply keeps on pouring out her gift till every drop is lavished on Jesus! Now if I had been in Mary’s place, I would have lost my temper. (Yes, I still have one!) I would have spun around shouting, “You Bozos! Haven’t you even been listening to what Jesus has been saying? He is going to Jerusalem and there he will be killed. You are all just a bunch of selfish jerks!!!!” But Mary didn’t do that. Instead, she simply trusted Jesus to answer, and his response still rings in the air today.

She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
Matthew 26:12-13 NLT

Mary, the mother of Jesus, by her faithful obedience and loving sacrifice brought Jesus into this world, Mary of Bethany now anoints His body for burial and prepares Him for the cross.

Three Mary’s Point to Easter – Part One

For with God nothing will be impossible.”
 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 
Luke 1:37-38 NKJV

There are a lot of Mary’s listed in the Bible, but the one we know the best is Mary the mother of Jesus. Humanly speaking, she is where the story of Easter begins. (That’s right I didn’t say Christmas!) Of course, I believe that Jesus existed in Heaven with the Father since before the beginning of time. But the earthly life of Jesus began with a young lady whose neighbors might have referred to her as Mary of Nazareth. Mary was sweet and innocent, though just as in need of a Savior as you and I. Yet of all the people God had to choose from, He chose Mary, because He knew that she more than anyone would be prepared to say “Yes!” when she heard of His audacious plan.

Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead and about a new chance in life for us. But for us to take that journey from old to new and death to life we all must begin where Mary began when she asked, “How can this be?” God’s answer for Mary is in some ways the same as His answer for us. Are we willing for Jesus to be born in us? Is His will more precious to us than the opinions of people, who may never understand His plan? God isn’t angry when we ask sincere questions as Mary did. In fact, most of the greatest answers ever came for her that day. “Nothing is impossible for God!” Answering God’s call won’t make us perfect. That won’t come until our final destination in heaven. But all along the way, God will be helping our faith to grow and our roots to deepen. Are you ready to start the journey towards Easter this year with Mary’s answer? “Let it be to me according to Your word!” Once we begin to follow the Savior, we may not know what the pathway may lead, but we can know that He will be with us every step of the way!

Just Like Us

She was just like us
As she walked along that day
Just like us when she heard the angel say
Out of all the world
The Lord has favored you
With a Son to bear away our sins
When His time on earth is through

And just like us
She asked about His plan
How can this be
Since I don’t know a man?
But I believe
And wait in quiet faith
To see all that our God will do
If I say yes today!

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
Luke 1:29-31 ESV

Just Like Us by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 all rights reserved