Extravagant love. The kind of love where you are willing to sacrifice more than what seems logical or reasonable to show your love. The kind of love that is manifested through actions and not simply words. The kind of love not marred with hidden agendas and selfish motives. The kind of love that was on display the night Mary anointed the feet of Jesus. Every time I read this account of Mary’s devotion and love, I find myself reading it aloud and with a with a sense of reverence. It’s not a just a picture of Mary’s deep love for Jesus, which is powerful enough on its own, but rather it points me toward the picture of Jesus’ love for us. The beautiful picture of God’s provision and Jesus’ sacrificial gift. Yet, even in the midst of this magnificent scene mirroring Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of love, present still is the image of Judas’ disingenuous concern for the poor–the picture of a sinful heart separated from God and the reason such a sacrifice is needed.
The people around the table that night may not have had a full understanding of what was to come or the gravity of the situation into which they were immersed. Yet we have the opportunity as we read this passage to peek in the window and watch it unfold with a full picture of what was to come in the weeks to follow. My hope is that we don’t squander this perspective but rather we take the opportunity to slow down and really lean in to Mary’s example. That we would grow in our own love for Jesus, so much so that we are willing to set aside our own desires, comforts, and plans to love him with this type of extravagant love. A love that points not to our own worth, but to the One in whom our worth is found. That we would look at Judas’ seemingly loving objections, understanding the selfish and sinful motives from which they came. What areas of our own sinful hearts are we clinging to and needing to turn over to Him? Are our motives for service and love pure as are Mary’s or are they entangled in our sinful desires?