Jn.12:3 – Mary then took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
This was quite a scene, Lazarus sitting at the table, Jesus of Nazareth the guest of honor, Mary of Bethany washing the feet of Jesus with her tears, hair, and spikenard. Then there was Judas and the disciples in a heated discussion about Mary’s worship. This a great picture of the impact a true worshipper has on the rest of the world. Mary was caught up at Jesus feet, she was not aware of anything but Jesus and His kingdom. Judas was distracted with the other kingdom, you know the one, the one with power, money and influence. In today’s world worshippers can be quite unnerving. Their focus on the Lord makes others highly uncomfortable. Just as the fragrance from the spikenard became an elephant in the room, that is what worship becomes. It has a smell about it. To some it is the smell of life but to others it has the fragrance of death. Here is how Augustine described this scene.
“Listen to the apostle, when he says, “We are a sweet savor of Christ in every place.” As it is said also in the Song of Songs, “Thy name is as ointment poured forth.”Attend again to the apostle: “We are a sweet savor,” he says, “of Christ in every place, both in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of life unto life, to the other the savor of death unto death: and who is sufficient for these things?…..…..He called himself a sweet savor, not an evil; and represented himself as the same sweet savor, to some unto life, to others unto death. Happy are they who find life in this sweet savor! but what misery can be greater than theirs, to whom the sweet savor is the messenger of death?”
My thoughts often wander to that hot August night in New Orleans when that fragrance of worship grabbed my attention. It wasn’t particularly good music that night on the lakefront but there was something strangely attractive about it. It carried the sweet fragrance of authenticity. I can’t remember the voices or the guitar licks from that night but I remember the fragrance. It was the sweet smell of worship that got me, His name is like fragrant ointment poured out.