When she finished anointing his feet with oil, Mary didn’t look up to see what the disciples thought.
At church on Sunday my pastor preached on “tending the temple”, inspired by 2 Chronicles 34:8-15. He didn’t mention Mary anointing Jesus’ feet…but Mary and Jesus were on my mind the whole sermon. They popped up when the pastor talked about a goaltender checking his phone during a soccer match. Imagine that — a goaltender defending the crease while checking texts and scanning real-time player stats (and actually participating in an Uber commercial!).
Being distracted by the phone wouldn’t be my problem; I’m not much of a phone girl. My problem would be the fans in the stands. I’d be distracted by what they thought of me and my performance. I’d be tempted to scan the crowd, interpret facial expressions and anticipate criticism. And I’d let my teammates down because my eye wouldn’t be on the ball. My coach would be disappointed, perhaps enraged. Maybe I’d even get traded off the team.
Mary didn’t look up to see what people thought when she finished anointing Jesus’ feet. Scripture doesn’t tell us what she did when she was done, but I doubt she looked at the disciples for approval.
Mary Didn’t Look to the Disciples for Approval
Where did Mary look? Imagine the scene. Picture yourself kneeling at the feet of Jesus. After pouring the oil you dry his feet with your hair or a towel, perhaps lightly squeezing his heel or toes. They’d be calloused, maybe, because of all the walking. Rough around the edges. Maybe you’d be surprised because they look just like any man’s feet…and yet those are the Son of Man’s feet, soon to be nailed to the cross.
When you look up from Jesus’ feet — the man you know is your brother, Lord, Saviour and King — where do you look first? Up at his face, of course. You want to see his reaction. And what do you see? Jesus’ kind, accepting, warm brown eyes gazing down at you. You’d feel his love all the way down to the tips of your own toes.
Mary was “tending the temple” when she anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. Her response to Jesus was different than Martha’s, Peter’s or Matthew’s because she had a different relationship with him. It’s the same with us today — and it’s part of what makes following Jesus so exciting! We share the same Father and are filled with the same Holy Spirit, yet we get to interact with Jesus Christ in our own unique ways.
How is God calling you to “tend the temple”?
Maybe you’ve been neglectful and feel like you need to start fresh. Maybe you’re a little embarrassed or even ashamed. Maybe you let distractions pull your attention and steal your time. Maybe you’re like me, tempted to seek approval from others instead of following the Holy Spirit. Maybe you’re like the goaltender, distracted by the phone, Facebook, tv shows, sports, work. Maybe you’re setting your heart’s desires on family or marriage instead of enjoying relationships as one healthy part of your life.
As a follower of Jesus, you’re called to tend God’s temple. What does this mean to you? How might the Holy Spirit be calling and leading you? Listen. Take time to respond, one small step at a time. Walk forward in faith, wholeheartedly and thoughtfully.
Keep looking up and meeting the gaze of Jesus. He’ll make sure you get home safe.
With the Father’s love,