I never cease to stand amazed at Mary Magdalene’s faith – Here a prostitute – a reviled person according to the Pharisaical law – the lowest person – luckily not stoned to death for her sins, changed by the Son of God, and she was never the same again.
This same Mary of whom seven demons had been cast morphed into one of Christ’s staunchest allies, showing courage and bravery far exceeding most of the disciples. She was there at the beginning of Jesus ministry, stood with Him at the cross and was the first one there on that Sunday morning of His awesome Resurrection.
It was my privilege to host a study on Twitter just recently on the subject of Mary’s visit to the empty tomb and it was brought home to me once again the deep faith of this amazing young woman who loved her Lord with everything she had.
It was this same Mary of the “Alabaster Jar” fame. Mary who broke the Jar of sweet smelling perfume at Jesus feet and washed his dirty feet with her hair and tears broken before her Lord in adoration and praise.
For a woman to do this in those days with her long hair, which by the way was her ‘glory’ was an amazing sign of her humility. Mary unwound her hair and in that instant also unwound her glory and acknowledged the glory of Jesus as God, Lord and Master.
In another way Mary was saying “My glory is nothing – Yours is everything.” What an amazing young woman.
The washing of people’s feet was a job for the lowliest of slaves way back then. A job done by a slave openly treated with disdain. You can imagine the state of the roads and paths, the dust, animals, carts, mud and slush and with open sandals as common footwear – I need say no more.
If you visited a home it was customary and tradition that you removed your sandals before you entered. Manners then dictated that the host or hostess ordered the ‘unimportant slave’ to wash his or her guest’s feet.
It was into this scenario that Mary appeared – a picture of humble worship.
When Jesus entered the house of Simon that fateful night, He was not offered any such niceties – nothing, No kiss or oils for His head (both signs of respect), no water provided for cleanliness – nothing.
It wasn’t until Mary appeared with her Alabaster Jar of expensive perfume that things started to happen here in the home of Simon the Pharisee. She immediately threw herself at the feet of Jesus and broke open her alabaster Jar filling the whole house with it’s perfume.
Her tears were aplenty as she washed His feet and kissed them – her beautiful hair wiping the dust, mud and grime off his His feet. Immediately Judas was up in arms at her accusing her of wastefulness.
We catch just a glimpse of how Jesus must have felt – when He openly and suddenly turned on His host – read it for yourselves in Luke 7:44-47.
Mary’s absolute humility and her willingness to actually throw off her own ‘glory’ has been a huge lesson for me personally. There were probably more than a dozen people in that room, at least, and none of them caught or even glimpsed a moment of the personal communion Jesus shared with Mary at that moment.
Mary dismantled her glory, her pride and her ego right there in front of all those people – she was ridiculed, accused and almost thrown out on her ear.
God wants us to dismantle our ego, pride and glory – He wants us to stop living for ourselves. He wants us to stop being pious and ‘religious’. He wants us to take them all apart and like Mary lay them at His feet.
God doesn’t care who we are, how important we think we are, how we feel, who we have been with and what our position in the church or work is – He wants YOU!! The real you.
Jesus didn’t reach down and break that alabaster jar FOR Mary – she had to do it herself – We have to break our own selves to become one with Jesus – no more pretences – no more thinking we can do it our way – we have to hand the OUR way over to JESUS’ way.
Often when we have gained that ‘closeness’ to God it has come after we have been broken in our spirit and in our lives – when we have nothing left – it is then Jesus picks us up. God loves a broken and contrite heart.
So let’s decide today not to carry around our own Alabaster Jar of treasures. If we want to have that amazing encounter with Jesus as Mary had, we have to break it open and smash our pride and glory and in so doing give the ultimate glory back to Jesus – the one who deserves it.
God bless you as you become a ‘broken person’ for God this week.
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