The Jewish Passover celebration is six days away.
If you are ever given the opportunity to attend a Seder (Passover) meal, take it! The symbolism within the Seder brings what Jesus did for us to life. The Jews celebrate Passover to remember their freedom from slavery. Christians can celebrate it for the same reason. We are free. Free from eternal death and the hold of sin.
Jewish families gather together, light the candles, read blessings and prayers, and celebrate their freedom just as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. We could benefit from such history and faithfulness, yet my heart is stirred for these families to know Jesus.
There was a very special dinner held six days before his last Seder with his disciples. On that night a Jewish woman named Mary did something very brave. It’s one of my favorite stories, and one of my favorite chapters of A Mary Like Me.
Here’s an excerpt.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with Him. 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. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied.” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me (John 12: 1-8).
.….Her perfume wouldn’t be used on the night of her wedding nor for a gift to the poor.
Her gift was for Jesus.
The Messiah defended her actions when immediate accusations and disapproval came from Judas and other dinner guests. I love how Jesus protected Mary. This is the second time He came to her defense. First with her sister, this time from one of His own disciples. One of the Twelve. And, just as he’d done previously, Jesus rebuked Mary’s antagonistic naysayer. He said to Judas, “Leave her alone” (John 12:7).
Our three English words are employed to translate the original single word admonition, aphiēmi (af-ee’-ay-mee).[i] The definitions I found for this Greek word were: “Don’t send away” or “Don’t dismiss.”[ii]You could argue that “leave her alone” implies the same translation, but I believe “don’t send her away” indicates that Jesus isn’t merely protecting her from the bullies; He is recognizing the importance of her presence in the room. Just as He recognized the value of her presence at His feet as a disciple.
If Mary’s presence was valued by Jesus, I believe our presence is also.
Does this speak to your soul? What would it mean to have Jesus recognize and defend your attendance in a room? The same Jesus who recognized the value of Mary’s company, recognizes ours. I pray you believe this truth.
Jesus doesn’t tolerate our presence; He didn’t just tolerate Mary. He desired for her to be there, and He acknowledged her gift as one of significance. He is the same Savior today as He was that night in Bethany. And we are no different from the defiant, rebellious, bitter, beloved gift of God called Mary. (excerpt from A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called)
Mary of Bethany’s brave act of lavished love was one of obedience. She could not say “No” to the soul prompting to walk into that room of men and do something no respectable woman would do, and give one of the most expensive resource her family owned. But though the antagonizes did respond as she knew they would, Jesus’s words trumped their negative accusations.
Are you being prompted, called, by God to step out in faith? Are you worried about the reaction of those who will witness your obedience? Mary’s act of obedience was an act of worship. And our response to the Spirit’s nudge, the Call of God, is also.
And remember Jesus’s response to Mary.
Let me pray for us. Grab my hand.
I pray that the eyes reading these words will know how important they are to you. I pray they know the value of their presence and faithful service when others don’t respond favorably. I pray they feel your pleasure and delight with them. You always bless our obedience. I believe that’s why you continue to bless your people, the Jews. Bless them as they celebrate the Seder meal tonight and your deliverance thousands of years ago. Deliver them again. Bring them to know you Jesus. Amen and Amen.
Join the conversation: How will you worship Jesus today through obedience?
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