What Jesus Did! 'Memories of Extravagance' — John 12:1-3

Friday, August 19, 2022

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus — the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus' feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
— John 12:1-3 NLT

Key Thought

Our sense of smell is powerful. It can attract us to something or repel us from it. It can excite us or inhibit us. Most of all, it can deeply embed a memory and call it back powerfully to the surface of our emotions when the fragrance reappears. The situation in today's verses is one that will be anchored in the memory of all who are present. This story will be told and re-told by them every time they catch even the faintest whiff of the same aroma. But more than just the literal fragrance, they would remember the beautiful aroma of extravagant love demonstrated by Mary. When we truly know that Jesus loves us and that he ransoms us and those we love from death, how can we not be extravagant in our display of love for Jesus? Let's be like Mary who was committed to displaying her love extravagantly for Jesus even though it brought about criticism! [1]

[1] John 12:4-5.

Today's Prayer

Father, please forgive me. I confess that way too often my display of love for Jesus is passionless and predictable. I truly love and appreciate you, Jesus, for your unbelievable sacrifice, the redemption that you purchased for me by your agony, and the victory over death provided through your resurrection. O Father, help me not to be constrained by possible criticism from others but to freely show my love for my Savior. In Jesus' precious name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 11:29-32, 39-44
  • Mark 14:1-9
  • 2 Corinthians 9:13-15


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Illustration of John 12:1-3 NLT —  The house was filled with the fragrance.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.