Monday, 26 March 2012

33. Mary of Bethany - learning to adore.

Mary, sister of Martha, is twice associated with the feet of Jesus.

One the first occasion she sits at his feet 'listening to what he said' (Luke 10: 39) in a kind of private tutorial indicating a departure from the traditionally female domestic sphere. Only Jewish men 'sat at the feet of' their Rabbi learning to be disciples.

'Oh, but there were only twelve disciples, and they were all men.' Yeah, right.

Then she moves from learning to adoration. How else would you respond after Jesus has raised your brother from death, and he is sitting there, larger than life, eating and drinking at a dinner party in Bethany. Mary's adoration is expressed in her pouring a pint of very expensive anointing oil (nard) over Jesus' feet and wiping them with her hair. Such waste.

But devotion to the Lord is never waste. The prophetic nature of her act is not lost on Jesus. He is Lord over life and death but will soon die himself. Things may be happening in a slightly strange order, that's all. Today his body is anointed for burial since on the day of resurrection, at dawn, as the women approach to do the same, it will be too late.


  1. OK, this is news to me - not one but two annointings of oil and washing away with the hair?? How did this get passed me with all those hours of Sunday school I put in as a kid?? Did I get it right there's No31 - scarlet woman, we've all heard about her. And No33 Goodie Two Shoes Mary of Bethany who never helps with the washing up?? Well, you learn a new thing every day! Which one was Judas cross about? Both, no doubt!

  2. Judas gets cross with Mary I think.