|Theme:||Jesus deserves our best. Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)|
|Object:||Bring something which you might consider to be your most prized possession.|
|Scripture:||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 12:3 (NIV)|
This ring is one of my most prized possessions. I don't know how much it is worth, but it is of great value to me because it belonged to my grandmother. In fact, it is the only thing that I own that belonged to my grandmother. I would never consider selling this ring, because it is worth more to me than any amount of money that I might get if I sold it.
If I were to ask you to name your most prized possession, what would it be? To some of you, it might be a stuffed animal that you have had since you were a baby. To another, it might be a favorite doll. To someone else, it might be a ball autographed by a famous baseball player. If a friend came to visit in your home, would you give your most prized possession to that friend to show your love? That is what a woman named Mary did in our Bible story today.
One day Jesus went to the city of Bethany. That was the city where a man named Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, lived with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. While Jesus was in Bethany, a dinner was given in his honor. Lazarus was eating at the table with Jesus, while Martha was serving the meal. Mary was just sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to him teach.
As she was sitting at the feet of Jesus, Mary did a very unusual thing. She took a bottle of very expensive perfume and began to wash the feet of Jesus with it. Then she dried his feet with her hair. The Bible tells us that the entire house was filled with the sweet smell of perfume.
One of Jesus' disciples, whose name was Judas, was very upset by what Mary did. He said, "What a waste! This perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor. It was worth a year's wages." Judas wasn't really worried about the poor. The Bible tells us that he was worried about the money because he often stole money from the treasury for himself.
Jesus came to Mary's defense and answered Judas. "Leave her alone. She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial."
Jesus said that because he knew that it was only a few days before he would be crucified and buried. I don't know if Mary knew that or not, but I do think that Mary wanted to give Jesus the very best that she had to show her love for him. That perfume was the very best thing that Mary had to offer.
Jesus has given us the most wonderful gift imaginable -- the gift of everlasting life. It is free, but it was a very costly gift. It cost Jesus his life.
What can we give to Jesus to show our love for him? I don't think he wants a diamond ring, a stuffed animal, a doll, or an autographed baseball. I think he wants us to give him our very best. He wants us to give him our life!
Heavenly Father, Jesus gave his life to show his love for us. May we also give our lives in service to him as an expression of our love. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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