Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. — John 12:1-3 (NIV)
Are you a true friend? Someone said that a true friend is someone who walks into your life when everyone else walks out. Friendship is about support, commitment, compassion and loyalty.
Jesus, during His time on earth, had some fake friends, and many enemies, but He also had some real friends. Three of them are mentioned in this story from John 12. Their names are Mary, Martha, and Lazarus — two sisters and their brother. From the story we gain some great insights about true friends.
The events described here happened the first part of the week that ended in Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. Not too many days earlier Jesus had raised His friend Lazarus from the dead. In celebration of this, and in gratitude for Jesus’ healing and raising of Lazarus to life, these siblings hosted a dinner for Jesus.
At some point in the evening, Mary did something that only a friend would do. Instinctively and voluntarily she retrieved a bottle of very expensive and rare perfume. She broke the seal on the flask of this costly treasure and began extravagantly pouring the contents on Jesus’ feet. The pleasant aroma filled the house. And most likely the fragrance lingered with Jesus, possibly for days.
Could it be that the sweet smell of Mary’s anointing oil clung to Jesus’ body as His last week unfolded in all of its drama and pain? Is it possible that, during the toughest moments that week, the lasting fragrance of a true friend’s care helped carry Jesus through? Perhaps. I choose to believe that it did.
What’s the lesson for us? You never know the power and impact of being a true friend to someone. Friends add pleasant fragrances to our lives that help us get through the toughest times. Be a friend!