Lasting Fame

What did Mary give to Jesus? And what did she receive in return? She gave Jesus her attention. While others were busy – maybe too busy – Mary found time to sit at Jesus’ feet and drink in His heavenly doctrine (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus’ comment that she had anointed Him for His burial reveals the hidden chambers of Mary’s heart, where words of the Lord’s impending death were reverberating ( Matthew 26:12). Clearly, her mind was focused on Christ, and not upon this world. She exhausted her assets. As we have seen, the value of the perfume and of the alabaster jar exceeded a year’s income, and may have represented her hope for marriage, since without a dowry a woman could not expect to be chosen as a wife. Thus, She offered to Him all of her aspirations. It may have seemed to her that the death of Jesus would mean the end of all hope, so she seized this moment to proffer to Him her hopes and dreams, her deepest longings and strongest fears, in one last act of worship. She poured upon His body all of her affection. It is as if she saw Jesus as her true Husband, upon whom she lavished her love. True devotion yearns to give, to serve, to express tender care, no matter what the cost. What, then, did Mary receive? From mean-spirited men, nothing but scorn and rebuke, and even a complaint to Christ, just as her sister Martha had complained (Luke 10:40). But from Jesus, the strongest possible affirmation: “She has done a good work for Me…Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (26:10, 13). This stunning announcement resonates with many chords of precious truth. Among them: There is a “gospel” – good news – that Jesus wants all nations to hear, and He will fulfill His own purpose (24:14; see also 28:18-20; Mark 16:15). That “good news” centers on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (1:21; 20:28; Luke 24:46-47). Indeed, for two millennia the story has been relayed, from one generation to another, of how this woman offered all she had to Him who for our sakes became poor, that through His poverty we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). May the one who thus honored Mary receive our heartfelt praise, now and forever!