#3 The Fragrance of Grace

2022 Countdown of the top ten most viewed posts. This post was first published June 16, 2022.

What a scene it must have been. There Jesus is dining with Lazarus, the man he has just raised from the dead. “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair (John 12:3, NASB).” The verse goes on to say, “and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Everyone in the room would have smelled the result of what Mary did and seen the miracle of resurrection sitting before them with Lazarus.

It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 2:15-16: “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” Everyone in that room could smell the aroma of Jesus being anointed, the aroma of life eternal. Yet some in the room, like Judas, could only smell death. He remarked, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people (verse 5)?”

The son of God is seated right before them. The evidence of him raising Lazarus from the dead is there before their eyes. He is anointed by Mary, someone who knows what salvation through Jesus is about. She can see the life Jesus brings to people. Yet Judas only smells death — the ultimate end to a rejection of Jesus and clinging to the desires of this world.

© 2022, Chris G Thelen

10 thoughts on “#3 The Fragrance of Grace

  1. The contrast between Mary’s act of grace and the selfish vision of Judas is profound. One sees the Lord while the other prepares to jump into darkness.

  2. What I find moving here is that this is the only anointing Jesus got for His death. (The women who went to the tomb to anoint His body were too late – He has already risen.) It’s also sobering to know that while the Roman soldiers were casting lots for His cloak, the fragrance of that anointing was probably still there, and went with whoever “won” and wore or carried it away.

    1. Some very good observations. Thanks for sharing them. I never thought about the soldier still smelling the anointing fragrance on the cloak. I can picture it filling the barracks or his home, a reminder of Jesus. Blessings to you.

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