Two women who took charge

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John 12:1-3

Joh 12:1 That was why – six days before the Passover – Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead.

Joh 12:2 That was why they made a banquet for him there; Martha was managing it, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him.

Joh 12:3 That was why Mary took a litra1 of perfume, pure and expensive nard,2 anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Two women who took charge

We had just met Mary and Martha in the previous chapter, as they first mourned the death of their brother, then celebrated his resurrection after Jesus arrived. Both women appear in this scene as well, and both are taking charge of the situation. Martha is doing more than merely serving at this banquet. The word διακονέω is sometimes used of administrative management, and we get the impression from the text that this banquet was of sufficient size to require many servants, who would need to be supervised.

Mary took charge by offering a very special gift: the anointing of Jesus’ feet. Jesus knew and later explained the reason for this gift: she was preparing him for burial. In this tense moment, Mary showed her appreciation for him and acknowledged what nobody else wanted to admit. His days were numbered.

Lord, thank you for those who step up and take charge. Thank you for the leaders in our lives.

1The Roman λίτρα, or pound, was a weight of 12 ounces in a Roman measure, about 325 grams.

2Oil from a fragrant plant native to India.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is a former Christian missionary who now lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. If your church or small group would like to hear Jeff speak, you can contact him at marmsky@gmail.com -- !
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