Reflection on John 12:1-10


Mary took a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she wiped it on Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.


Lazarus, Mary and Martha hold a feast in honour of Jesus. During the meal, Mary takes a pint of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus’ feet. The fragrance fills the house.

Judas asks why the perfume wasn’t sold to give to the poor. Jesus tells him to leave Mary alone.

Meanwhile a large crowd gathers to see both Jesus and Lazarus. The chief priest make plans to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus.


In a sacrificial act of worship, Mary poured out expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, and the fragrance of it filled the house.

True worship will always be costly. It may carry a financial cost as we sow into God’s kingdom. A bottle of perfume worth a year’s wages is an extravagant act of worship.

Mary’s worship was costly in terms of her reputation and people’s opinions of her. She didn’t care about that. She poured out her love for Jesus in a way that seemed excessive to all who did not have a heart for worship.

Worship is about honouring Jesus. The whole feast was about Jesus, not the quality of the food or the living standards of the hosts. When we allow our adoration of Jesus to be side-stepped by the choice of songs or the noise of children, we have missed the point. We must focus on Jesus.

There is a fragrance about sincere, heart-felt worship. It fills the house, even the city, and it transform the neighbourhood. It can do nothing less.

Judas was not impressed. He didn’t see that Jesus, the Son of God, was worthy of honour. He found self-righteous reasons to justify his lack of worship, but he missed the point because his heart was not right.


Lord, teach me to worship you extravagantly all my life. Amen.

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