“And began to wash his feet with tears” (Luke 7:38). The woman spoke not a word. She didn’t have to. Her actions said it all. The gushing tears that fall upon Messiah’s feet are nothing compared to the torrent of love pouring from her heart. It is one of the purest, most unselfish acts of adoration this cold world has ever seen.
Her hands cradle an alabaster box of pure nard. It is worth a year’s wages for the average worker. To put that in perspective, in the USA, the average annual income is about $50,000. It is a gift of immense value. A gift fit for a king.
“And kissed his feet” (Luke 7:38). The Romans were prolific kissers. Friends were greeted with a kiss on the mouth or cheek. Persons of importance were greeted with a kiss on the hand. Subjects would greet a king by kissing his feet. The kiss of Mary was no sensual act. It was the highest adoration. To all those skeptics sitting around the table gawking at her in disgust, every kiss screamed out, “This is my King!”
From whence did she obtain such selfless love? It was but a reflection of the extravagant love of her Mentor. Mary’s extravagant gift reveals her to be a partaker of the divine nature. Jesus’ love is so stirring it transforms sinners into saints. His love is so deep it did what no nails could ever do–it held Him on the cross. His love is so extravagant it compelled the Creator to surrender His life for His creatures. “Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us” (Eph. 5:2 MSG).
“And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil” (John 12:3). The stupendous act of Jesus on the cross of Calvary has filled the theater of the universe with the fragrance of His extravagant love. It is His nature to not only love, but to love extravagantly.
This same agape love of God will manifest in the true Church of God. This is the fragrance that attracts people to Jesus. It is not entertainment and entertainers that attract sinners to Father. It is not the charismatic personality of the preacher. It is not a crew of talented praise singers. It is when sinners experience the extravagant love of Father as He touches them through our selfless acts of love. It is when sinners witness us worship with a passion commensurate with the Object of our love.
Mary did not permit the cold-hearted critics and skeptics to distract her from her adoration. She was not there for them. She was there for Him. Nothing could distract her from her single purpose. She was laser-focused on her King. She was so enamored by His grace and glory, so filled with the Light of the World that all the puny critics faded into nothingness.
When the critics express their outrage over her extravagant adoration, Messiah silences their babbling, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6). Why is Jesus saying this? Because He recognizes in Mary’s extravagance a reflection of his own raging love. Jesus is not stingy. He is not tight-fisted or penny-pinching. He lives to give unto others. “For God so loved the world He gave…” (John 3:16). When the people were hungry, He gave bread and fish. He gave the disciples power to heal and cast out demons. He gave 5 talents to one, 2 talents to another… He gave sight to the blind. He gave health to the lepers. He gave the prodigal son part of his possessions. He gave. He gave. And He gave. He gave richly to those who deserved nothing.
Consider the tokens of His generosity. He took the plain fields and painted them with colorful flowers. Then He delicately scented them for measure. He did not just create food. He fashioned a variety of delicious fruits and vegetables, grains, and spices to make eating a joy. He did not just give us ears to hear words. He made our ears to hear melody–the song of the bird. He went out of his way to garnish our earthly home with beauty. He gave us the foam-capped waves that crash on the white, sandy beaches. He gave us green hills and snow-capped peaks. He gave us blue lakes and crystal-clear mountain streams. He gave us the shining moon and the diamond-studded night sky.
He lives to give. But most of all, Father gave us His most precious possession: His only begotten Son. What more could He give that He has not already given?
As we survey all He has given us, the very least we can do is give Him our heartfelt praise and adoration. Nothing is as disheartening as to walk into a Sabbath service and hear listless singing from a congregation that appears half asleep. When we truly experience Jesus’ extravagant love it will ignite the lukewarm ablaze. No longer will we be content with half-hearted, feeble worship. Our hearts will overflow with passionate adoration, just as Mary illustrated 2,000 years ago when she walked into a room and blew everyone’s mind. Her adoration was proportionate to the value of the One whom she adored. It was worship worthy of a King. Is ours?