While Lazarus is fellowshipping with Christ and Martha is joyfully serving, Mary sneaks to her room. She takes a key and opens the secret cabinet door and pulls out the ornate box. It’s a pound of spikenard. Oh, she had pulled it out before and glowed in her daydreams about the ways she might use this valuable possession, but, today, those daydreams seemed petty. She was going to use it on the Savior who changed her life. She walks down to where the festivities are. Her focus on Christ drowns out the chatter. This wasn’t spontaneous, this was a planned demonstration of her love. She takes the box over to Jesus and she breaks it and anoints his head and his feet. The room is silent. The room is filled with the aroma of her worship. She just gave everything to God.
The next person mentioned in the story is Judas Iscariot. “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor” (John 12:5)? Then we have the editorial comment, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief” (John 12:6). Judas the thief would rob Christ of the worship he deserved!
This begs the question: If Mary had saved the ointment for herself, would she be a thief like Judas? It was hers to give, wasn’t it? Or was it hers to give?
The word possession is important. We think of possessions as a good thing. However, demon possession is a bad thing. For a moment, humor me and consider the origins of the word “possession.” This word comes from the Latin and the French and has at its root “power.” When you study the word you’ll find it means “power over; mastery.” The things you have in this life, are they your possessions? Or, rather, have they been given to you by God for you to steward for His glory? It is considered a bad thing for a demon to rob God of a soul by possessing a life. The demon’s power over and mastery of a child of Adam is robbery, so what of my possessiveness? Would it not be the same for our mutinous power over the gifts God has given us? Our possessiveness places us as master over something which God has given us. Instead of possessors, we should be stewards. Every dollar is given to me by God to steward for my needs in order to accomplish his service.
I am the steward. He is the possessor. If Mary did not worship Christ as she did, I’d say she would have been a thief much the same as Judas. Jesus said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me…him will my Father honour (John 12:25-26). Mary’s worship properly acknowledged the Owner and Master of all things, even of her own life.
Do you hesitate to “sacrifice” in your worship of God? If so, could you be a thief like Judas?