Once upon a time there was a group of important, powerful, and well-groomed men who believed in Jesus, but for fear of pretentious religious performers – they hid their fascination and agreement with Jesus. They were “sensibly concerned” with the risks of being ostracized and shunned by the jury of their peers (for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God).
At the same time there was a gal named Mary whose family was personally close to, and publicly friendly with, Jesus. Six days before the Passover, Jesus redeemed an invitation from Mary’s family to have Him and His friends/followers over for dinner. Mary’s sister served, and her brother joined Jesus and His friends – reclining at table. Mary decided to do something extremely lavish (some even saw it as downright sloppy and irresponsible) …She took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. Her gesture was so excessive that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. The most pragmatic and logical of Jesus’ followers immediately employed his keen powers of insight to criticize and condemn this “reckless deed,” saying “Why was this ointment not sold for $80,000 and given to the poor?” And of course, at face value, this observation seemed abundantly decent and sensible – but he said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Then – Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me.” In other words – Jesus is saying, “The most fixation-worthy moment in all of history is about to happen (Christ Crucified), and apparently Mary is the only one who has actually listened to – and thoroughly accepted and agreed with – what I’ve been telling y’all – namely that My primary mission is to be crucified for sinners, and IN THIS WAY draw all people to Myself!”
Imagine how intimidating it would be for Mary to be simply present in this room full of men!? Here you have soft-spoken, contemplative, Mary …marching into this room of ignorant men! And then to publicly, audaciously, and courageously prepare Jesus’ body for death and buried with an $80k crock of perfume! Bold move Mary! Very bold move!!
This is the kind of boldness that can only be born out of beholding the AWEsome love of Jesus for sinners. Mary loves Jesus so lavishly because she is absolutely convinced of His love for her! That is the cornerstone of courage! Mary displays the kind of radical, reckless, decision-making that comes from real reliance upon a slain-Lamb, seed-weakness, SAVIOR! Mary has a level of confidence in Christ that allows her to be misunderstood, disdained, and even held in contempt by others. Her security in Jesus enables her to run-the-risks of disappointing people, creating confusion (or even conflict), and ruining her reputation in the eyes of society.
May the Holy Spirit compel us to get-in-on relying upon Christ as Mary did! May the Holy Spirit perpetually prompt us to pray/cry-out for help to God constantly – being evermore convinced of, and delighted with, the fact that apart from Jesus – we can do nothing (John 15:5)! As our buddy Dan says, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”