Mary of Bethany- the alabaster vial & Mary Magdalene-set free
“One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to dine with him, and He went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume). And standing behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with [her] tears; and she wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet [affectionately] and anointed them with the ointment (perfume). Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him–for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin). And Jesus, replying, said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. And he answered, Teacher, say it. A certain lender of money [at interest] had two debtors: one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they had no means of paying, he freely forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more? Simon answered, The one, I take it, for whom he forgave and cancelled more. And Jesus said to him, You have decided correctly. Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but she from the moment I came in has not ceased [intermittently] to kiss My feet tenderly and caressingly. You did not anoint My head with [cheap, ordinary] oil, but she has anointed My feet with [costly, rare] perfume. Therefore I tell you, her sins, many [as they are], are forgiven her–because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. And He said to her, Your sins are forgiven! Then those who were at table with Him began to say among themselves, Who is this Who even forgives sins? But Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin].”(Luke 7:36-50 AMP)
This is an amazing account and particularly important to me, because I am like Mary, no different. A sinner lost, and one day my Savior and Lord came by and set me free. Unlike her though I have no perfume to give but the fragrance of a broken and surrendered heart. I am not worthy of The Lord, just like Mary wasn’t worthy of touching Him just like Simon said. It was never about Mary and it has never been about me, it’s not about you, it’s about He who stands before you. It’s about the King of kings and Lord of lords. It’s about coming to the realization like I did, and Mary did, that our lives are useless without Him. Because without Him, we are instruments for the enemy to toss to and fro as he pleases. But standing before you is Hope, is Resurrection, is Life, is Light, and you have a choice to make, to either listen to the voices beside you that are telling you how worthless you are, how much of a sinner you are, or to fade them out completely and focus on the King and the life, power, and transformation that He brings.
Simon was right, Mary was not a woman with any merit to come into his house, she was unworthy, a feeling I recognize and have been acquainted with. Yet I love Mary because she did not consider her present condition as an opposition, because she had heard about Jesus, she knew that Jesus was the real deal, He was not like any of their religious teachers, so she had to meet Him. Her encounter with the King (Jesus) was not because she was worthy, but because He was worthy and she was going to break and pour that vial of perfume on His head and feet, she was going to kiss His feet, weep and wipe His feet with her hair. She was broken because she was considered a wicked sinner. She was not the best of the best, but the worst of the worst, and in her brokenness, she poured out her heart and gave her best to Jesus that day. She wept, kissed Jesus’ feet, and cleaned them with her hair, then she anointed His head and feet.
It was about Him and her encounter with Him. Those around her as seldom occurs today were saying, she was a wicked sinner, worthless, and had nothing to offer, they complained about the waste of perfume and the money the perfume could have generated if sold which could have fed the poor, but she did not care, because all that mattered was Jesus. She was broken and from the depth of her being, she offered her all to Jesus. When the voices of condemnation rose up against her, Jesus defended her, because the fragrance of her offering, of her sacrifice (her broken heart) filled the room.
That day Mary was set free, she was set free from her past, her sins, her lifestyle and was delivered and empowered (because of her faith) to live a new life, a life of love and power at the feet of Jesus: the supernatural life.
Mark says, “they were scolding her”, Luke says “she was a wicked sinner”, John says “she poured the expensive perfume and the fragrance filled the room”, Matthew says “Jesus said it was done for His burial and she will be remembered wherever the gospel is preached.” The truth about Mary is as Jesus told Simon, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, many [as they are], are forgiven her–because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47 AMP)
Mary loved much because she was forgive much. The Lord has also forgiven me much and still continues to do so every time I mess up, and while I do not attempt to compare myself to anyone, I totally identify with Mary.
Today just like when Jesus graced the face of this earth, I am astounded and shocked as easily as The Lord without reservations quickly forgives my sins whenever I come to Him. He does not stop there, but He pours even more of Himself into me, empowering me and my broken self to realize who I am without Him and who I am in Him. That day, He told Mary her sins were forgiven, and that she was free. When the son sets you free, you are empowered and you are no longer a sinner, but you are a son/ daughter of the King, of God the Father. Just in case you were wondering, this same Mary you read about figures in several passages of the Bible and her life is worthy of emulation. She was the sister of Lazarus, she decided it was more important to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn, while her sister Martha was busy with the affairs of this life.
Let me introduce you to another Mary also called Magdalene per Luke 8:2. The Bible says Jesus in Luke 8 and Mark 16 that Jesus had cast 7 demons from her and she was along with other women were also part of Jesus’ financial partners (See Luke 8:3). She would not leave the side of her master at the cross. It was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and John the apostle who were at the cross at the feet of Jesus. It was this same Mary who went to the tomb early in the morning with the other women, and to whom Jesus revealed Himself to before anyone else? Why? Because she had been forgiven much, and had been delivered from oppression, so in turn, she loved much. She had locked eyes on her God and King, on her Lord and she knew He was Life and was not willing to trade what she had for anything else. These two Mary’s on Bethany and Magdalene shared a similar passion for Jesus the King of kings.
I have been loved forgiven much too. The Lord set me free from wicked sins that I had allowed into my heart and was destroying my home. Today I have also locked eyes with my Lord and King and I am not willing to let go of Him, because I know how useless I am without Him and I know who I am in Him, a useful instrument in the hands of the Living God. I know how He has placed His Presence in me and around me and I am not willing to let go of Him for anyone or anything. I have locked eyes with my Lord and though I sometimes stumble, He keeps brining me back up and having faith in me, pouring more of Himself to me. All I offer is a broken and willing heart that realizes I am no one without Him and anything He says is best for me. Like both Mary’s I want to be close to Him and be one of the few who will remain with Him when all hope is lost, I want to be the one awake early while others sleep or tremble with fear who boldly goes to search for Him and until I find Him, never gives up. I don’t just want to find Him I want to know Him, I desire to breathe Him, to welcome Him, to love Him, to see Him, to honor Him, to glorify Him, to kiss His feet, to allow the fragrance of my heart to fill the room so He can be glorified, I desire Him more than life because He is life to me. I know where I was a year ago, I know where I am now. I know how lost I was, I know how free I am now. I am a son of the King, one who is not worthy of the King, but one who realizes that it has nothing to do with me, and it’s all about Him and it is Him I desire. It is His Presence I seek. I am passionate about my Lord like both Mary’s were because of all He has done for me and I cannot let go, not now, not ever. I know what looking and listening to those in the room did to me, and Mary (of Bethany) did a good job of fading them out. I got distracted, but today my eyes are refocused on Him and Him alone. I am desperate for my Lord, I need His Presence. It’s an urgency, it’s a need. I must have Him, I cannot survive without Him. How could I? I must be at His feet, I must know His heart. I must be with Him. I love both Mary’s, they loved much because they were forgiven much.
If you put your trust in man, The Lord will break you. If you are filled with pride like I was, the Lord will break you. Cursed is anyone who puts his trust in a man. God gave His all to have communion with you, do you think He will not do anything to break you so you can be close to His heart? God made His one and only beloved Son Jesus to die so your relationship with Him would be restored. He will do anything to have your heart. He will break you, you will be broken and He will rebuild you at His feet, so you will be one of those who is a living testimony of the saving power of Jesus Christ. God has chosen the weak things of this world, to make foolish those who are perfect, strong, and wise in their own eyes. Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus and she preached the gospel of the resurrection. She was unfazed by the presence of the angels, because she was seeking the King. Those who lock eyes on the King, they see Him, they encounter Him because of His grace and mercy. It’s all about Him!
Psalm 51-16-17; 1 Corinthians 1:27-31; Psalm 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 27:56; Matthew 27:61; Matthew 28:1; Mark 15:40; Mark 15:47; Mark 16:1; Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2; Luke 10:38-40; Luke 24:10; John 11:1; John 12:1; John 12:3; John 19:25; John 20:1; John 20:11-18; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Ps. 118:22, 23; Luke 20:17, 18; John 8:32, 33, 36; Romans 8:1-2; Romans 5:6-8