Devotion for May 9, 2024

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12:3)

Most of us have probably experienced a time when a powerful scent has been able to take us back to another time or place. Times that you may have visited a bakery and smelled the fresh baked bread and pastries from the moment you open the door until you leave. A very pleasant experience to remember, and taste.

Our senses connect us to our world. They not only help to keep us safe, but they also help us to enjoy the world around us. When Mary poured expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet, she was honoring him, demonstrating her devotion and worshipping him. The simple sentence, “And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume”, shows how her actions filled the house with honor, devotion, worship and the pure joy Mary had in the presence of Jesus.

And yet, there were other less joyful emotions present at the same time. We hear the voice of Judas condemning her actions by appearing to support the poor while, all along, using his position to fraudulently take money entrusted to him. Crowds of people have come to see Jesus and Lazarus, fascinated by this living proof of Jesus’ power over death. However, John also tells us the high priests, alarmed by the support flowing to Jesus, are plotting against both Jesus and Lazarus. There is much happening behind the scenes of this visit to the home of Lazarus that is not evident to those who were present. Jesus reveals that even the perfume used by Mary has another purpose; it was intended to anoint his body after death.

This brief account of a dinner honoring Jesus while visiting his friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha is a joyful event. But John exposes the plotting and danger closing in around Jesus. Jesus knows what is about to happen. Judas knows he is betraying Jesus. Despite this, what remains important is the lingering fragrance of the perfume used by Mary. It is the fragrance of honor, love and worship. It is also an ongoing reminder of Jesus in the lives of all who were present and for all who continue to welcome Jesus into their lives.

When you’re speaking about life, what odor do you give off? Do you smell like Jesus? Or, something else?


Lord, I pray that my life is more a reflection of being a child belonging to You than a sinful child of the world. Let Your love and mercy shine from my life and doings and reflect glory on Your Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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