Monday, July 7, 2014

Sweet Smelling Aroma

John 12:1-8

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."

Like Mary did here, taking the time to sit at the feet of Jesus, when we take the same time in prayer and in the Word, I believe it is like the fragrance of this oil with which Mary anointed Jesus' feet. Our prayers and our devotion through reading and meditating on His Word are part of our sacrifice to God. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2) 

In the Old Testament sacrifices were made to God by the people for atonement for their sins. It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. (Leviticus 1:17) Jesus became our sacrifice in the same way. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:2)

In Genesis when the water from the flood subsided and brought the ark onto dry ground and the animals were lead out, Noah made a sacrifice to God of every clean animal and bird as a form of worship for God's goodness to him. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. (Genesis 8:21)  When we allow Christ into our lives and we are obedient to the Lord and we offer up sacrifices of ourselves, I imagine a sweet, soothing aroma is also sent to Him.

Remember once Jesus kindly rebuked Martha for her agitation with Mary when Jesus came to eat with them? Martha was in the kitchen preparing the food, by herself, but Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to Him. While serving is always a good thing, Jesus told Martha that what Mary chose to do was better. He always loves it when we spend time with Him.

Here we have Judas Iscariot who complained about what seemed a waste of valuable oil. Jesus rebuked him too because this same Mary sacrificed a valuable oil for her Lord. She understood true sacrifice. And the fragrance filled the house. Judas did not know how valuable Jesus was and did not know the value of devoting himself to Jesus. His primary concern? His love of money!

While serving and taking care of the poor, as Judas alluded to, is a good thing, we must not neglect our time with God. In fact, if we spend that time with Him diligently first, those deeds then become another sweet fragrance unto the Lord. It's always about seeking Him first. He will guide in our works. Asking for His daily guidance in our lives...

Mary chose again to sit at Jesus' feet. She loved to sit and listen to Him and worship Him. I think of the scripture that says Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6) There will be a day when He will no longer be able to be found so we are urged to seek Him now. Then one will have chosen the better part, the part that is a sweeter fragrance.

Worship of the Lord is a sweet smelling aroma: our time spent with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him speak to us through His Word.  It can also be in the fellowship of others on Sunday or any other time we spend with fellow believers who enjoy discussing God. When it's about Him it comes as a sweet aroma. I wonder when people say they feel a sweet, peaceful presence in a house if it isn't because of the devotion given to God in that place?

Luke 10:39,42 - And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at Jesus's feet and heard His thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.

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