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Scandalous Reckoning

Scandalous Reckoning

Mary of Bethany

Days before Christ's crucifixion, only one person seemed to understand the gravity of the situation: Jesus was going to die. Although He had said it many times that He must come to Jerusalem to die, the disciples could not seem to grasp it. Mary of Bethany, at least in part, somehow understood.

That's why she chose to do something that shocked and confounded the men who followed Jesus. They didn't get it. But that didn't matter to Mary. She knew what she had to do.

The disciples were in denial. Their focus remained steadfastly in the present. They couldn't see that what she was doing was admirable. Instead, they worried about the cost of the perfume (it was worth a large sum of money); the customs of the day (it was traditional practice to give to the poor on the evening of the Passover); and their own opinions (without waiting for direction from Jesus, to whom the action was directed, they started to rebuke her).

Mary remained squarely transfixed on the horizon of events, though even she did not anticipate all that would transpire.

She could not have fully comprehended the significance; it was still the mystery of God. But the events taking place were not entirely lost on her, as they apparently were on the others. Intuitively, she sensed that what lay before her Lord was unimaginable pain, suffering, and death. And she came to terms with it.

  • Her ceremonial preparation for His burial confirmed her understanding.

As she carefully poured the nard on His head, the perfume traced the familiar features of His face; a brow she'd seen furrowed with concern; cheeks she'd seen wet with tears at the death of her brother; lips that had spoken truth to her. Her extravagance confounded the witnesses, but her comprehension of Christ's destiny touched the very heart of God.


Dear God, I give everything I have to You, for You have made me rich with Your love.


Matthew 26:6-13

Luke 10:38-42

John 11:17-12:11

Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.Matthew 26:13

Excerpted with permission from NIV Women's Devotional Bible, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

Mary sat at Jesus' feet where she wasn't traditionally supposed to be. She sat with rapt attention to His teaching and clearning loved Him dearly. She saw tears fall down His face when her brother, Lazarus, died even thought Jesus knew He would raise him from the dead! Mary gave her most prized possession, her very expensive perfume because she loved Him above all. May we be like Mary and love Jesus more than anything or anyone else! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you. ~ Devotionals Daily