Mary takes a pound of costly perfume, anoints Jesus’ feet, and then wipes Jesus feet with her hair.
This is an act of love.
In Mary’s great love for Jesus she prepares Jesus for that which is to come.
Jesus will give us his life in the most costly and most loving way.
Because of what Mary did for Jesus she becomes for us a witness in how we should respond to Jesus – with love, with devotion, and with a faithful and true heart.
Mary’s heart was true.
Judas’ heart was not.
Jesus saw what was in both of their hearts.
In the end, Mary is the one who is praised by Jesus while Judas is the one who is sharply rebuked by Jesus.
Judas completely misses what is happening. He cannot see the beautiful thing that Mary is doing for Jesus.
Mary knows her need for her Lord.
While Judas does not.
Today we continue to read this text of Scripture as a reminder to us of our need for Jesus and for our need to come to him with love, with devotion, and with faithful and true hearts.
How do we come to Jesus?
We come to Jesus through prayer. That is our way of coming to Jesus.
We come to Jesus through prayer.
In many ways prayer is a forgotten power for believers.
We do not treat prayer as the power and gift that it truly is.
Prayer is so powerful because it enables us to connect to Jesus.
On Wednesday evening Dr. Anderson gave testimony to the importance of leaning about Jesus for our every need and he gave witness to our need to be in prayer to Jesus.
Prayer is a gift from God.
Prayer is that gift from God that God gives to us so that we might come to know and to love Jesus.
In my own life I cannot say that I have always treated prayer as the true power that it really is.
I often neglect my morning prayer time and instead of powering up my morning with prayer I instead turn to coffee to power my morning.
Like Judas we are often distracted by other things or we place our emphasis on the wrong thing.
Judas focused on what Mary was doing wrong.
He believed the money should be used for the poor. That is a good thing.
We need to remember the poor.
But Judas did not say what he said about the poor because he cared about the poor but rather because he wanted to be right.
He wanted Mary to be wrong and he wanted to look like the good disciple before Jesus.
Certainly Mary should not be the one who Jesus pays attention to. Judas felt that Jesus should be paying attention to him.
But as we see from the Scripture reading this is not so.
Mary is the one who is truly seeking Jesus. Judas is seeking the things of this world.
He is not seeking Jesus.
All of us have some of Judas in us.
I certainly have some of Judas in myself.
Today we need to be more like Mary and like Mary we need to be falling on our knees before Jesus.
There on our knees we need to come to Jesus in prayer.
In prayer we open ourselves up to Jesus and in prayer we communicate with the one who loves us more than we could ever image or comprehend.
In prayer Jesus knows our reluctance to change and he knows about our mixed feelings concerning intimacy with God.
We want to be closer to God but at the same time we want to control our own lives and do our own thing.
We want to give more to charity but we want to make sure to keep plenty for ourselves.
We want to get up early to pray but we are just too sleepy.
We want to read our Bibles at the end of the day but that television program is just too interesting to pass up and by the way it is March Madness right now.
I just need to catch those exciting basketball games.
As you can see sadly, we can probably identity more with Judas than with Mary into today’s Gospel reading.
Are we willing to throw ourselves down at Jesus feet, anoint Jesus’ feet, and then wipe Jesus’ feet with our own hair?
This would mean that we are willing to treat prayer as the true power that it is a power that connects us to our living and risen Lord.
This would mean that we are willing to make sacrifices in order to follow Jesus more faithfully.
This would mean that we are willing to humble ourselves in such a way so that we can be honest with our great need for a savior.
Mary had such a love for Jesus that she was willing to risk her reputation knowing that people would not understand what she was doing in order to show devotion to her Lord.
What a witness Mary is for believers!
And so I end my sermon for today with a challenge.
How are you doing in your prayer life?
Is it a forgotten power in your own life?
Is there some obstacle in your prayer life?
When a disciple asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray?”
Jesus responded with a teaching.
When it comes to prayer it is always the Lord who teaches us to pray.
And how does Jesus do that?
He does it through Scripture, through the lives of other people, and through worship.
But mostly he does it when we like Mary, humbly fall to our knees before our Lord.