I have a little dog. She is a kind of chihuahua that is between 15 and 18 pounds and has bug eyes and a curled tail. Sometimes, when walking her in the park, dog owners that have normal full size dogs will walk by and say, “Leave it!” to their pets. What they mean is, leave that dog alone. Ignore that one. That is not your toy or your snack, keep walking. I appreciate when other pet owners take responsibility for their pets and don’t let them abuse smaller pets just because they could.

Jesus spoke up to protect Lazarus’ sister Mary from a bigger dog that barked at her while she prepared Jesus’ feet for the week of trails and torture ahead. It was Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. In just five nights, that same big dog would bite Jesus’ back and then lick him on the cheek.

Before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, and before all the commotion of that week, Mary tended to Jesus’ feet in an act of love and preparation for death.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. John 12:3-7.
Jesus defends Mary from the wolf’s attack and in that process, explains that Mary was the one paying the closest attention. In the preceding chapters of the book of John, Jesus explained that he would die:

John 2:19, 21 “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

John 3:14-15 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

John 7:33-34 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”

John 8:21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”

John 8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

John 10:15 “just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

John 10:17 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.”

Jesus’ other disciples didn’t seem to notice what was coming the way Mary noticed. She kept that perfume to prepare his body for death and burial. The Greek word for keep, téreó, means she guarded it and protected it and she saved it for that special time. I’ve never imagined Jesus’ feet and body smelling nice during his torture and crucifixion, but Mary annointed him so they would.

Jesus spoke up to protect Mary because she was keenly aware of what was coming even when Jesus’ other disciples didn’t see. Believers’ lives look like that because they see and treat the people, events, and their time, talent, and treasures differently than the world does. Are you currently doing anything that some say is a waste, but you know has eternal meaning?

Pastor John Riley

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