3 Then Mary took a pound (litre) of ointment, pure, costly spikenard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and she wiped His feet with her hair. Then the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.
Mary decided that she would anoint the feet of Jesus with something that produced a pleasing fragrance. It was an ointment that cost a lot of money. John tells us that it was spikenard. The meaning of this word is uncertain, and some believe that it is a local word, used to describe a certain type of ointment.
W Barclay says that the word may have various roots, such as faithful, since the word may be related to the Greek word for faith (pistos). It is also possible that it is from the word pinein, Greek meaning to drink. There are two other suggested meanings, which are that it could be a trading name, or that it comes from the word for pistachio nut. There is no definite understanding as to what spikenard actually meant. We do know that it was an expensive ointment, with a strong frargance.
Mary comes to display her affection for Jesus, her honouring Him, and her thankfulness for what He had done for them as a family in raising Lazarus from the dead.
Most societies have various ways of publicly honouring people, especially those who have quietly worked for the benefit of their community. It is good for each believer to give honour to Jesus for what He has done for us through His sacrifice on the cross. We are where we are in Jesus, because He died and rose again.
All the benefits of our life have come to us through what He has done for us on the cross.
Since our life is one of gratitude for what He has done, there should be an out flowing of affection for Him. Marry’s affection led her to do an extravagant thing.
Are we wanting and willing to do something extravagant for Jesus?
The action of Mary was not only extravagant, it was making herself vulnerable, but she did it no matter what others may have thought.
There have been many songs written to express love for Jesus. Although the words are old English, the following words capture something of the love we have for Him:
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree; I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
W Featherston 1864