Daily D – John 12:5
“Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”
JOHN 12:5 (CSB)
In many cases, extravagance is self-indulgent sin. In many others, it is a demonstration of gratitude for grace received which in no way can be repaid.
“What do you give the man who has everything,” the old commercial asked. What do you give the man who created all things and is the giver of all good things, including the resurrection of a very dead brother?
Three hundred denarii is an extravagant gift. Average Joe or Josephine works around 260 days per year. Take a year’s pay for Average Joe or Josephine and add forty more days worth of wages. That will easily buy the sweetest perfume on the market.
Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:39), and fell at his feet (John 11:32), now anointed his feet with her extravagant gift and “wiped his feet with her hair,” (12:3). That perfume was pure and perfect and appropriately extravagant.
“So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
The sense of smell is closely tied to memory. It easily evokes memories whether pleasant or provoking. It was not uncommon for me when I was a first grade student to take off my shirt at night in preparation for bed and smell Miss Allen’s perfume. She loved to hug me. I’m not sure if that is because of how much she loved me, or because she wanted me to be still.
Jesus was anointed with the type of perfume that lingers for days. Jesus called it a preparation for his burial (verse 7). What Thomas feared (11:16), what Jesus had predicted again and again, what the religious leaders were plotting (11:45-57), was going to happen.
Jesus was going to die.
He would be buried without time to prepare his body with the normal accoutrements of death to lessen the stench of morbidity. And yet, into that tomb went with Jesus a fragrance. It was not the fragrance of death, but of life, of love, of extravagance.
Everywhere Jesus went during that last week of his life (see 12:1), the fragrance lingered. It was a testimony of who Jesus was and the miracle he performed as the Resurrection and the Life. It was clear notice to death that just as it was powerless to keep Lazarus in the grave, so it was powerless to keep Jesus in his.
That fragrance was clear notice that nothing is too much to give in honor of Jesus our sinless Savior. That fragrance was a declaration of love. That fragrance spoke beauty and wonder and joy in the face of lies, unjust trials, horrific torture, and death so gruesome all the lights in the world went dark at the spectacle.
When Mary Magdalene encountered the resurrected Jesus outside the empty tomb that day, what was it that helped her identify Jesus through tear-blurred eyes? (See John 20:11-18.) Was it his voice calling her name (verse 16)? Or was it that fragrance, so strong in life, so much more wonderful on Resurrection Day, or the combination of the two that awakened her senses to reality stronger than death?
She clung to Jesus, to his living body, his nail-pierced feet, his essence of life.
How beautiful are the feet of him who is Good News.
And if Judas had had his way, none of this beauty and joy would be ours today (John 12:5, 6). Judas was a would-be thief of joy. Fortunately for us and for all creation, Joy ruled the day.
I will live extravagantly for Jesus.
Our Father, teach us live extravagant lives declaring your beauty, wonder, and grace. Make us fragrant with your essence, attractive with your presence. Empower us to carry in our being the joy of life that is really life. Amen.
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Daily D – Psalm 143:8-10
Psalm 143:8-10 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Daily D – Psalm 142:5
Psalm 142:5 Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”
Daily D – Ezra 3:11-13
Ezra 3:11-13 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 35:22-25
2 Chronicles 35:22-25 After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message: “What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 32:31
2 Chronicles 32:31 However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.