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Holy Wednesday: Something Mary Knew

When was the moment in your life when you felt the loneliest? I think most of us can point to a place in our memory where we felt abandoned and alone, maybe a little afraid.

I think Wednesday before Calvary was one of those moments in Jesus’ life. He knew what was ahead of Him, and knew He would face it all alone. Sometimes I wonder, as He walked through the crowds of people, some who loved Him, and some who hated Him, if He didn’t look at them and think, “I’m going to do this for you.” And maybe even then He felt the burden of the lonely road He was traveling to the cross.

So on that Wednesday, though He was surrounded by His friends, I think He probably felt very alone. Even then He was feeling the slightest pressure from the weight of what was to come- the dread of having to bear the sin for all the world on that cross. And His friends didn’t understand. Maybe they were in denial, or maybe they truly just didn’t understand, but though they were in the room with Him, they were not, in that moment, with Him.

Mary understood

Then, Mary comes into the room. The woman who had boldly taken a place among the men, outside of her comfort zone, at the feet of Jesus to listen to Him teaching. The woman who had thrown herself at His feet, blaming Him, yet still acknowledging His sovereignty, when her brother Lazarus had died.

She was the woman who had taken the time to get to know Him, the Christ, the Messiah, as she listened to Him whenever He visited in her home, and as she thought deeply about His Words. Mary knew that Jesus was the God she had learned of in the Scriptures, just as He claimed. And she knew about the journey ahead of Him.

The men heard His words and continued on with their conversation. But Mary heard His heart and responded.

She took a vial of very expensive oil, broke it, and poured the oil on Jesus. It was clearly an act of worship and a demonstration of love. But why then? And why that? Why did Mary choose that moment, and that action, to show Jesus her devotion for Him?

Her actions were not an accident

It was no accident, no coincidence. Mary knew exactly what she was doing. From the very first time we see Mary, she is listening to Him, and she is growing to trust Him and love Him. Her faith wasn’t just the adoration of a casual acquaintance. No, Mary knew Him as a friend, but she also knew Him as her God, as her Messiah, and as her Savior.

And in a way that only a true and loving friend could do, she entered into that moment on Wednesday with Jesus. She poured the oil on Him, symbolic of the anointing of the dead for burial, proving her faith in Him. She believed Him when He said that He would be crucified. And I’m certain that she believed Him when He said that He would rise again. She knew that when she saw Him again, everything would be different. This moment with Him needed to matter.

This expression of Mary’s love and faith touched Jesus deeply. So much that He declared that the whole world, for all time, would remember these actions.

Love Him like Mary

This declaration was not to put Mary on a pedestal. Rather, we honor her as an example of how to love Him. You see, Mary took the most precious possession she owned and lavished it on the most precious One in her life. She held nothing back. It took courage for her to act. It took a willingness to be vulnerable.

It was a complete shedding of her self for the sake of loving Jesus.

Oh, that we would love Him like Mary did! That we would care to get a glimpse of His heart. That we would live such a life that we are known to be always at His feet. That we would hold nothing back, but love Him with absolute abandon, with all that we have.

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