Extravagant Love

brown cross on brown rock during daytime
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
(John 12:1-8)
From reading the Gospels, it seems Jesus was a regular guest in the home of Mary and Martha and their brother, Lazarus.  On this occasion Jesus is invited for dinner.  The custom was to wash the feet of visitors.  Mary goes beyond the normal expectation as she takes a pound of pure nard and puts it on Jesus’ feet.  Extravagant!  An entire pound?  Wouldn’t a little dab do the trick?  An entire pound? 

I remember visiting my grandparents as a child.  Our family would pack the car and travel nearly 4 hours to spend a week with them.  When we arrived my grandparents would be waiting.  Grandma would embrace each of her grandchildren and shower us with kisses.  Perhaps one hug and a simple kiss would do, but not for grandma.  Over the years, I watched my mother smother my children with physical affection.  Now I watch as my wife does the same with our three grandchildren.  Extravagant?  Perhaps.  However, I don’t think any grandparent would considered it extravagant.  It is merely an expression of their heart, which they gladly share with their loved ones.

Jesus was extravagant in His love for us.  He sacrificed Himself on the cross, pouring out His last breath that we would have forgiveness, life and salvation.

It is the extravagant love of Jesus that led Mary to extravagance in her relationship with Jesus.  It is the extravagant manner in which Jesus shared His love with us, that we in turn share our love with Him.  We give Him our heart—our all, in response to His love for us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the love You shower on me each day.  You forgive all my sin.  You restore my soul.  You walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death.  You promise to use all things in my life for good.  You prepare a place for me in heaven.  Give me Your Holy Spirit that I may respond to Your love with mine.  I pray this in Your name, O Jesus.  Amen.

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