Frank Viola retells the biblical story of the family living at Bethany. You know the family. Lazarus, Mary, Martha and their father named Simon. (God’s Favorite Place on Earth. David C. Cook, ©2013).

During the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, he returned to that home each night. Several important Jesus events happened there. He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus frequently had supper there and we have a record of the conversations. Simon threw a party that created a scandal and it was there that Mary, anointed Jesus for his burial.

That fragrance came from Indian oil called nard. Her gift was worth the equivalent of 300 days of labor. She poured it on Jesus head and then upon his feet. The offering angered some and embarrassed others. Mary’s gift was intimate and expensive. I don’t know what I would offer that would compare with that abandon and sacrifice.

Viola writes in the voice of Lazarus:

“Our home smelled of the fragrance for days. When Mary poured the perfume upon the Teacher, some of it splashed on the table. And it even left a stain.” (page 130)

In the event we come to your house for a meal, I like salmon. Carole made salmon patties yesterday. Night before last, we threw healthy barriers aside and had hash and eggs for supper. Our house smelled like fish and whatever is in hash. Those odors hang heavy in the air. Whew! We have a couple of electric-driven, industrial-strength smell reducers. Not enough!

Our tribe has gotten serious about essential oils. I think that is why this story about Mary and her fragrance got stuck in my brain—or maybe because it was in my regular reading this morning and then the podcast I listened to while treadmilling was about Mary’s extravagance. I feel targeted.

Biblical essential oils. I’ve been reminding my people that it all sounds like a snake oil sales pitch. But, we have seen some physical miracles with the application. Place an essential oil on your foot and in 26 seconds it has permeated your entire body. That is making me ask questions about anointing with oil and why Mary anointed Jesus’ feet.

“Our home smelled of the fragrance for days…and it even left a stain….” Frank Viola.

“The whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Matthew, Mark, John.

I’m wondering what I could offer to Jesus that will fill our house with such fragrance it will still capture people’s attention a week from Thursday. What can I offer to Jesus that will leave a fragrant stain on people that will remind them of their value to God? And to me?

Jesus’ favorite place? That home in Bethany. The place that welcomed, made people smell good and poured their destiny into them.

Pour Your healing oil through me

Pour Your healing oil through me

Like a river of love pour Your healing from above.

Pour Your healing through me.

Copyright Mike Murdock

©2014 D. Dean Benton

Benton Quest House

1 thought on “Whew!

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