Unintended Consequences

influence, love No Comments

Six days before the Passover, the final week of Jesus’ life, He has supper with his friends. He is with Mary, Martha, Lazarus and others.  Martha served the meal.  Mary honors Jesus by anointing Him with a costly ointment.  The ointment was Nard from an East India plant.  It was costly.  In Jesus’ day it was valued at $50 and in our day it would be worth about $500.
Judas objected to the use of the ointment in the anointing of Jesus.  He thought the precious ointment should have been sold and the money given to the poor.  John reveals (John 12:1-11) that Judas did not care for the poor.  He was a thief.  Judas was the treasurer for the apostles (he held the bag or exercised authority over the money spent).  Judas represents many who hide under a mask of religion their real aims, using sacred things to advance selfish interests.
Jesus defended Mary.  He said, “Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.”  She did a good work.  She did what she could and in this sacrificial act, she showed honor and love.  It was a spontaneous act of devotion to the Lord prompted by love!  This act of love and devotion would be memorialized in the gospel.  “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matt. 26:13).
Mary’s love and devotion to Christ is as important as giving to the poor.  Judas’ remarks show a lack of love for the Lord.  Mary’s act was spontaneous.  It was prompted by love.  The telling of it is inspirational to others.  Sometimes our actions have unintended consequences.  Unintended consequences can be either good or evil.  In this event, the consequences were good.  The telling of Mary’s love may inspire spontaneous gifts of love in service to Jesus by individuals throughout the world and as long as the world stands.  What happened one night in Bethany is now overflowing to the world and spreads its power eternally.  It is the power of love!  Love can motivate, inspire, and lead others to act in a similar fashion. Mary demonstrates the heart of a servant.  The ointment, though costly, was freely given in honor of the Lord.
Consider for a moment the difference between Jesus and Judas.  Jesus looked for and saw the good in another.  Judas, on the other hand, found fault in the same act!  Judas’ fault-finding reveals his character.  He had evil in his heart rather than love.  Jesus saw an act of love and blessed it, protected it and nurtured it.
Consider the difference between Mary and Judas.  The Judas’s of this world challenge the Mary’s of this world to love in spite of criticism.  It would have been a tragedy for Mary to stop loving Jesus in the special way that she did because Judas’ words killed the kindness and devotion in her heart.  Judas spoke from an evil heart.  Mary acted out of a heart full of love.  The result was that Jesus recognized Mary’s sacrifice of love.  If she had sold the money and given it to the poor, she would not have obtained such high acclaim.  She acted humbly.  Jesus exalted her.
Mary inspires all who read of her spontaneous act of devotion and love to imitate her spirit and love.  What acts can she inspire in you?  Go where love leads!