1 March 2010

There’s something about Mary!

There are at least six different women called Mary in the New Testament, but there's something very special about Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Every time she's mentioned in the Bible, Jesus' feet are also mentioned.

1. 'Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.' (Luke 10 v.39)

Mary sat quietly listening at Jesus' feet while her sister Martha was busy dusting the guest room and ironing the sheets and making lunch for the thirteen hungry blokes who'd just turned up. And the amazing thing was that Jesus didn't tell Mary off for being lazy. Instead, he praised her for choosing something even better than serving Him, which is listening to Him. Mary didn't sit by the door ready to slip away if Jesus said something she disagreed with. She didn't sit opposite Jesus to debate Him. She sat at His feet, drinking in everything He said.

2. 'Mary…fell at his feet' (John 11 v.32)

I don't think I've ever seen anyone fall at someone else's feet except in a film or on the news. It's an extreme way of showing that we know we're helpless, and that the other person is very powerful. It's what people do when they beg for their lives. Mary's brother was Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, and she threw herself in front of Jesus in pain and confusion and despair. And again, Mary was absolutely right. She took her pain to the right person. To the only person who could help. With one loud shout, Jesus commanded Lazarus to walk out of his tomb…and Lazarus did.

3. Mary 'wiped his feet with her hair' (John 12 v.3)

As she washed Jesus' feet, Mary was kneeling before the real God, but she was also kneeling before a real man. Jesus was a real man, who was just as likely to get blisters on his instep, and that smelly black stuff under his toenails, as the rest of us. Mary bent down, and poured £20,000's worth of perfume over his feet, and washed them clean with her own hair, because she saw that nothing is too good for Jesus. And I imagine a Roman soldier, hammering a nail through Jesus' feet six days later, caught a whiff of something beautiful through all the blood and sweat and pain.

Have you ever thought about what your experience of Jesus' feet will be? The New Testament writers quote Psalm 100 v.1 again and again to warn us that Jesus will crush his enemies under his feet. If we treat him as an irrelevance, he will treat us like a footstool. But the other option is to follow Mary's example. She sat at Jesus' feet and listened to him as her teacher. She fell at his feet and humbled herself before Him as her King. She knelt at his feet and loved Him as her Saviour.

It's body language to copy.

Simon Tomkins
Associate Pastor
St George's Church