“But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.” John 12:7 NKJV
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading we will re-read the same passage in the Gospel of John, chapter 12 at verse 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
The Anointing at Bethany
1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was [a]who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for [b]three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; [c]she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
John 12:1-8 NKJV
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21 KJV
Today’s passage is SO EXTREMELY IMPORTANT – we will take another pass at it! Yesterday we discussed the authorship of the story and the differing accounts, as well as some of the cultural elements. We learned that some details are more important than others in this story. Today we will take a closer look at some of those elements.
“3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” John 12:3
What is spikenard oil? And what is an alabaster flask?
“6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.” Matthew 26:6-7
“3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.” Mark 14:3
“37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” Luke 7:37-38
One of the details that all of the accounts of this story agree on is this lady had an alabaster flask (or box) filled with spikenard oil and she brought it and emptied it on Jesus in an act of worship. The first century church knew a few things about this oil that we may not know and it makes the oil significant in a few ways, let us take a look.
First spikenard oil comes from pressing the tubular roots of the spikenard plant which is part of the valerianaceae family (you are probably more familiar with the valerian plant from this same family). Both have calming and sedative properties and Spikenard is also anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, deodorant, fungicidal, laxative, sedative and tonic. It has a pleasant woodsy, musky and almost spicy smell. And you and I can buy an inexpensive bottle of the oil on Amazon for $6.99 USD.
In the first century this oil was very costly because the plant is native to the Himalayas of Nepal, southern China and northern India. Wealthy families might keep a small amount on hand for first aid. But the most common use was to be used in a lady’s pre-wedding ceremonies.
You see, parents would by their daughter a fancy oils for when they came of age to marry. The more costly the oil, the better. A woman would keep this oil safe and sealed so it would not spoil for the day when she would soak and bathe before her wedding and be anointed (coated) in the oil to present herself to her groom. These oils would often come sealed in a very expensive container.
In this case the container was an alabaster flask (or box). Alabaster is a soft marble like stone that was carved into a jar, probably with a long neck, which was sealed and to open it one would have to break it.
Together, expensive oil for a marriage kept safe sealed in stone is a beautiful metaphor for a wedding. Combined with the symbol of a table and a meal in this story – would lead the first century Jews to think of a wedding supper or even Sukkot (feast of tabernacles).
This woman literally sacrificed her wedding day, her hopes of marriage, future husband and future for Jesus. She would not easily if at all be able to replace that oil. And once it is opened, it will spoil, so she had to use it all.
Ceremoniously, the Jews also anoint the groom and the dead. Since due to the timing of Jesus’s death, He would NOT be anointed in death, Jesus says prophetically that she has prepared Him for death with the anointing. AND she also ceremoniously anointed our groom – for our wedding feast!
Are you starting to see why this story is so very important?!
When reading the Bible and you come a crossed a reoccurring symbol – you know it is important and in this passage we see some of the most prophetic and reoccurring symbols of the Bible – wedding, feast, and tabernacle (temple and garden are part of the symbol of tabernacle)!
This woman was obviously of marriage age, yet not yet married. An unmarried woman had no rights in their society. She could not buy or sell. She could not even survive. She must be under her father, brother or husband’s authority in a Roman ruled area. In this society she was on the edge of losing all hope. However, pouring out her anointing was a not a statement of hopelessness. It was a sign of total surrender to God, to His will and protection.
In our terms and understanding – Jesus was her husband and spiritual covering.
Please join us tomorrow as we continued discussion on the Book of John.
I also wanted to remind and inform all of you, that instead of writing a book on fasting (since it is the topic I get asked the most about) I have created a Facebook group that is designed to be interactive and give you all the Bible verses on fasting, all the types of fast, and how to fast. In the group are specialist to help us along the way, like the creator of The Fasting Protocol (fasting for health and weight loss; which is part of fasting and important to know about – He can also speak to fasting in a healthy manner). The group is new and other experts are invited, I am hopeful they will join. So let’s join the group and see what we will learn about prayer and fasting. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/509149707741862
Thank you for reading in 2023 – a Year of Grace and Provision
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!