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Fit For a King

Colloquialisms and regional expressions are the “spice” that makes each culture unique and fascinating.  We smile when we hear folks say something that were common phrases in their part of the country growing up.  Depending on where they grew up, when they were young folks, and the family’s vernacular, language can be very colorful and humorous, or vulgar and crass.  Having grown up in the South, all of my childhood memories of language are the very things of which stereotypes are fashioned.

I heard all of the “y’all”, “bless your heart”, “ain’t got sense to come in out of the rain”, “dumb as a rock” and the other things that are so often associated with Southern folks.  My father, when he was totally exasperated and at the cusp of a complete meltdown, would say “Oh, Fizzle”!  Not sure why or where that came from, but when I heard him say that, I knew it was best to clear the room.

One of the things that Dad would say to my mother often when she had gone all out in fixing a wonderful meal with all of his favorites and a great dessert to follow, he would smile really big and tell her, “That was fit for a King”.  I knew that meant that at that moment, he felt like the richest man in all the world…great meal, loving wife, “sometimes” good kids, and a love for the LORD and God’s love for him that was genuine.

I think that is what Mary felt just six days before the Passover Feast where Jesus would be crucified.  On that night, Jesus was in Bethany as a dinner guest.  She gave Him a gift “fit for a King”.

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.

But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages.  It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”  (John 12:1-8).

For Mary to anoint Jesus with a jar of nard was an extremely expensive gift.  Most people would save for a lifetime to set aside enough money for this costly fragrance to be used on their corpse when they died.  Since embalming was not yet a practice, people would anoint their dead loved ones with a strong fragrance like nard to push back the stench of death so that family could pay respects for up to three days.   When Mary broke the bottle, emptied the nard on Jesus, and kept nothing back, Judas was stunned.  Loving money above all, he only saw this as a waste.   But Jesus, knew Mary.  He knew her heart’s desire was to show her love for her Master.  Jesus rebuked Judas and received her gift…as a gift fit for a King!  And, her generosity was so magnanimous that she has been remembered for that loving act for our LORD for 2000 years!