Mary of Bethany: At the Feet of Jesus

The feet of Jesus are prominent in the Gospels. The Syrophenician woman falls at His feet to plead for her daughter’s deliverance (Mk. 7:25-26). Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet, imploring Him for his daughter’s healing (Lk. 8:41). A healed Samaritan leper falls at His feet in gratitude (Lk. 17:16). After being delivered from demons, the man from Gadara sits at Jesus’ feet, “clothed and in his right mind” (Lk. 8:35). Those cast at His feet are healed (Mt. 15:30). The man with the long infirmity is at Jesus’ feet when he is instructed to pick up his bed and walk (Jn. 5:6).

But Mary of Bethany is more closely associated with His feet than anyone else in the Gospels. We find her at the feet of Jesus on three occasions:

<> Mary sits there listening to Him (Lk.10:38).
<> After her brother dies, Mary falls at Jesus’ feet in grief (Jn. 11:32).
<> She anoints His feet with oil and wipes them with her hair (Jn. 11:2 & 12:3).

She is at His feet to receive instruction, again when she is bereaved, and later when she comes to bless Him.

Sometime after Jesus raises her brother Lazarus from the dead, Mary and her sister Martha host a feast in His honor. On this occasion, Mary does something only Jesus fully appreciates. She has a jar of expensive spikenard worth a year’s wages (Jn. 12:5). This oil is obtained from the roots of a plant that grows in the Himalayan Mountains in eastern India. This costly perfume is sealed in jars to conserve the aroma. When Mary breaks the seal, the wondrous fragrance is released to honor the one on whom it is bestowed. She pours it on Jesus’ feet, and wipes them with her hair. Judas protests the “waste” of this ointment. Though the betrayer indicates this act is irrational, Jesus views it differently. He instructs Judas to “leave her alone” and honors Mary by calling this “a good work.” Although she blesses Him while He is still alive, He sees this act as symbolically anointing His body for burial (Mk. 14:6-8). For her actions, Jesus promises wherever the Gospel is preached this story will be told in memory of her (v. 9).

Jesus leaves His footprints on the shores of Galilee. His feet take Him to Samaria and many other places. He walks to Jerusalem, knowing He will be crucified there. Although He is the Savior of the world, His body is finally torn with nails by those who despise His message. After His resurrection, holy women cling to His nail-pierced feet (Mt. 28:9). Jesus tells His disciples to behold His hands and feet (Lk. 24:39). In Revelation, Jesus’ feet are likened to “fine brass.” When John sees Him, he falls down before Him in reverence (Rev. 1:15-17). The Father has given Jesus all authority and placed everything in the universe under His precious feet (Heb. 2:8). 

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If I had been born an olive – I believe it would be so right
To give my oil to light God’s house – and drive out the darkest night.

Had I been born a ram, I could offer my skin – God’s tabernacle to complete;
Or a nugget of gold I’d like to have been – and become part of the Mercy Seat.

If I had been born in the field as a single grain of wheat,
I’d want to be part of the shewbread the priests of God did eat.

But I was born to win the lost – to go into highway and street;
So I’ve sanctified my life to Christ and sit at His blessed feet.

          John Knoles, 2DEC90

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Sitting at the feet of Jesus –
Wonderful words I hear Him say;
Happy place, so near and precious –
May He find me here each day.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus –
Could any person be more blessed?
Here I lay my sins and sorrows
And, when weary, find sweet rest.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus –
Here I love to learn and pray;
From His wondrous words I gather
Strength and comfort for each day.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus –
Let me look upon His face;
And ponder his immortal truth
That my life be filled with grace.

 

Maxim of the Moment

Love is made sweet by compliments; not commands.