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Demonstration of Greater Love

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | June 15, 2024 | John 12:1-3


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 (NIV)



In John 12:1-3, we witness Mary's profound act of love and devotion towards Jesus. This passage is set six days before the Passover, during a dinner in Jesus' honour. Martha served the meal, Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, was present, and Mary performed a significant and symbolic act. Mary's action of anointing Jesus' feet with expensive perfume and wiping them with her hair demonstrates her deep love, gratitude, and reverence for Jesus. The perfume, described as pure nard, was a remarkable gift to Jesus. It was remarkably humble because attending to the guests' feet was the task of the lowliest slave.


Thus, Mary's action demonstrated both great humility and deep devotion. Mary’s gift was remarkably extreme. Judas believed this oil was worth 300 denarii (John 12:5), which was worth a year’s wages for a workingman. Mary’s gift was also remarkably unselfconscious. Not only did she give the gift of the expensive oil, she also wiped His feet with her hair. This means that she let down her hair in public, an action that a Jewish woman would seldom take. 

Mary's gesture filled the house with a beautiful fragrance, symbolizing how acts of love and devotion to Jesus can permeate our surroundings, touching the lives of others. The situation in today's verses will be anchored in the memory of all who were present. This story will be told and re-told by them every time they catch even the faintest smell of the same aroma. But beyond the literal fragrance, they would remember the beautiful scent of extravagant love that Mary displayed. When we truly know that Jesus loves us and that he ransoms us from death, we will surely be extravagant in our display of love and worship for Him.  



This passage challenges us to consider the depth of our own love and devotion to Jesus and how we express it in our daily lives. How can your love and devotion to Jesus, influence and inspire those around you? Let's be like Mary who was committed to displaying her love extravagantly for Jesus even though it brought about criticism! 


Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of Mary's great love and devotion. Help me to express my love for you with the same fervour and sacrifice. May my acts of worship and service bring honour to your name and inspire those around me. For your dear name’s sake, Amen. 





DAILY word study: WIPED The verb Wipe is translated in the Greek text as ἐκμάσσω (ekmassō). It is often used in contexts involving cleaning or anointing. It suggests a personal, intimate act of care or service. The act of wiping Jesus' feet with her hair by Mary is significant in several ways. In the cultural context, a woman's hair was considered her glory and was usually kept covered or tied up in public. By using her hair to wipe Jesus' feet, Mary demonstrates extreme humility and devotion. Theologically, this act prefigures Jesus' own act of washing His disciples' feet, symbolizing servant leadership and sacrificial love. It also foreshadows Jesus' burial, as the anointing was a customary practice for preparing a body for burial. Reflections:

Reflect on Mary's act of wiping Jesus' feet with her hair. How can you show similar humility and devotion in your own life? Are there ways you can demonstrate your love for Jesus through acts of service and worship that reflect the depth of your commitment to Him?

𝔹𝔸ℙ𝕋𝕀𝕊𝕋 Daily Devotional | AUDIO VERSION | JUNE 15, 2024

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