Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,”Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:1-8
This passage sits after the story of the raising of Lazarus (Mary is his sister) and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what is know remembered as Palm Sunday. As always there is a lot we could consider.
But here is what strikes me. Mary knows. The Marys always know. Even if we confine ourselves to John’s gospel, the Marys know. (You can do this same exercise with the other gospels, Mary and the women know.)
Mary the mother of Jesus knows. “Do whatever he tells you”. Mary knows and tells the servants at the wedding at Cana.
Mary, the sister of Lazarus knows. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary knows Jesus brings life. Mary knows Jesus defeats death.
Mary, the sister of Lazarus knows, “Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus feet, and wiped them with her hair”. Mary knows what will happen when Jesus goes to Jerusalem.
Mary, the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene know and they stay near the cross.
Mary Magdalene knows. “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.”… “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew ‘Rabbouni!’. …Mary Magdalene went an announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’ …”
The Marys know. The women know.
And remember not all the disciples abandoned Jesus. Not the women. The women know.
Listen to the women.