Welcome To The Family Of Jesus (A Sermon On John 12:1-8)
Does this mean that Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, was a sex-worker? Surely not? It is possible, of course, that there was more than one anointing, with multiple women letting their hair down but this is unlikely. 3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. What does this imply about her relationship with Jesus? I couldn’t think of any other instance in the Gospels where one of us tries love Jesus back. The host of the podcast, who is a pastor himself of course, said that this is the verse people always quote back at him when he’s doing a collection for the poor. It’s a family with people like Judas in it – people who say the right thing but whose hearts are far from right – and it’s a family with people like Mary in it – people who do weird and embarrassing things, but whose hearts really are in the right place. In Matthew’s version of the story, Jesus goes even further, saying of the woman “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Matthew 26:10), which is something I don’t think Jesus ever says about anybody else ever.
More likely, I’d suggest, is that the woman who performed this act of love came to be identified as a sex- worker because good girls just don’t do this sort of thing. I suspect that this says more about the congregation that this guy pastors. I’m guessing though that if Judas had still been around to defend himself when John’s Gospel was written, he might have asked that his questioning of Mary’s extravagance be interpreted a little more generously. This event took place while Jesus was still very much alive and moving, and Mary’s action was risky, and it was flawed, and in many ways it was ‘human, all too human’ (to use Nietzsche’s phrase) yet she was clearly genuine. There’s the story of the women who go to embalm Jesus’ body post-crucifixion, of course, but that was when Jesus was dead, and people always think well of the dead.
I think I can say with some confidence that nobody takes that attitude in our community. I think this story is unique in the New Testament. We are familiar with the New Testament narrative. All Jesus closest friends are there. The disciples are there. Long gone are the days of the Baptist and the ‘sermon on the mount’. Long gone are the heady days of walking the shores of Galilee, looking for ‘fishers of men’. We are in the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha – three of Jesus’ closest friends – and they’ve organised a special dinner for Jesus. It’s a bit like one of those pictures you get when you have a family dinner and you ask one of the restaurant staff to take a picture of you all at table so that you can post the image up on Twitter for the whole world to see (something I totally forgot to do last Friday night).
We had one last Friday night, partly in celebration of young Fran’s tenth birthday, though it all happened rather spontaneously. Yet in this story – in the story of the anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany, one of us does something beautiful for Him! Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Perhaps Mary didn’t really know what she was doing, and maybe she had a lot of confused feelings mixed up inside of her, and I suspect that if she’d told Lazarus or נערות ליווי בהוד השרון ליווי בפתח תקווה (18xil.com) Martha what she was planning on doing (assuming that she did actually plan it) they probably would have tried to talk her out of it. As the Gospel-writer, John, himself says in his first letter, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) The New Testament is the story of God’s love for us and not a story of our love for God.
Dysfunctional’ is the first word that comes to mind for me. What was going through Mary’s mind at the time? Was Jesus embarrassed by Mary’s actions? For those who have any kind of concerns about exactly where and the way to employ נערות ליווי בהוד השרון נערות ליווי בהוד השרון במרכז (18xil.com), it is possible to e mail us on the web page. Here they are – the mothers, brothers and sisters of Jesus. They are an established family. Welcome to the family. This anointing is clearly a critical moment in the New Testament, as it was clearly a critical moment in Jesus’ family life and a critical moment for Jesus Himself! Jesus didn’t have Twitter, of course, and yet this snapshot made it to the top of the social media anyway by getting featured in all four Gospels, and Jesus even predicted how many ‘likes’ Mary would receive. Again, we have no idea. Our Gospel scene today is taken from right near the end of Jesus’ earthly life, so this is a group of old friends. And then there’s the rest of us, doing our best to sound as right as Judas but to love as genuinely as Mary.