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Youth Devotional

The Annointing of Jesus


Video Host: Shawn Reine - Rocky Mountain DYD

Big Scripture: John 12:18 (NLT)

1 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. 7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Big Idea:

At this point in the Gospel of John, we enter the final week of Jesus’ life on earth. He was the guest of honor at a banquet, and Lazarus (the man Jesus raised from the dead) and his sisters, Mary and Martha, were present. During the meal, Mary did something that shocked the room. 

There were three surprises in what Mary did:

  1. The extravagance in her display of gratitude and worship to Jesus was surprising. This was a very expensive perfume and a large quantity of it. In today’s economy it would probably be worth around $40,000! Her actions speak of Jesus’ unmatchable worth to her.

  1. Mary anointing the feet of Jesus was surprising. It was customary for a host to anoint his guests’ heads with some perfume, but not their feet. Mary pouring out this expensive perfume was an unexpected act of true devotion and great humility. 

  1. The wiping of Jesus’ feet with her hair was surprising. In this culture, a woman would not let her hair down in public for a variety of reasons. We learn here that Mary would not be contained by what others may think. She acted from a pure heart to worship her Savior. 

Now, there are two very different responses to this demonstration of love to Jesus:

  1. Judas judged Mary and reacted with what seems to be a logical argument. Mary seemed wasteful to Judas, but we can tell her heart was pure. Judas seemed resourceful, but his heart was obviously not pure. He was greedy and a thief. 

  1. Jesus protected Mary. Jesus knew what was coming and it is very likely He smelled this perfume during His arrest, trial, beatings, and crucifixionand the smell would have lingered even for His burial. Mary anointed Jesus for His burial while He was still alive. Her love for Jesus allowed her to do something that no one else could or would do. 

Big Questions:

  • What is the most expensive thing you own and what do you like about it? Would you ever give it away? Under what circumstances?

  • What was surprising about what Mary did? 

  • What was the difference between how Judas and Jesus reacted?

  • What would an extravagant act of love and worship look like in your life? 

Big Prayer:

I want to give You my very best. No one is worth as much as You and no one has done for me what You have. Help me to not give You my leftovers. Help me to give You my best. Make me like Maryseated at Your feet, pouring out my life and humbling myself to worship You no matter what others may think. Jesus, thank You that You went to the cross for both Judas and Mary. Thank You that Your love for me is not dependent upon my love for You. Thank You that Your love for me causes me to love You more and more each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.