by Sheri Schofield
Jesus was living inside the countdown to Calvary. It was six days until his final Passover celebration on earth. It hadn’t been long since he had raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. To honor Jesus, Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, held a feast for him and his disciples. It was their way of saying thank you. The two women served the food and drink while the men ate.
But Mary wanted to do something more for Jesus—something special. She slipped away and found the twelve-ounce jar she’d been saving and brought it into the feast room. Removing its lid, she poured the jar’s contents over Jesus’ feet. A rich perfume filled the air! She knelt down and wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair.
What a lovely, extravagant, intimate gift for Jesus! The perfume was made from nard and was extremely expensive.
Judas Iscariot, the disciple who was a thief and who was about to betray Jesus into the hands of his enemies, protested indignantly. “That perfume cost a year’s wages! You should have sold it and given the money to the poor!” He wasn’t interested in the poor but wished to pocket some of the money.
Jesus turned to Judas. “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 12:7- 8 NLT).
The disciples were still arguing over who would be the greatest in Jesus’ coming kingdom. At a time when they should have understood Jesus was headed for the cross, only Mary had been truly listening. Only Mary saw the specter of the cross looming ahead. Only Mary gave Jesus a gift that showed she understood. Only Mary chose to lift some of the load on Jesus’ heart that day.
Christmas is a time for giving gifts. We share our love for each other in this manner, while we remember Jesus’ first appearance on earth as a tiny baby. But what if we could understand Jesus’ heart? What if we could listen to his thoughts as we think of a gift for him? In light of what he has done for us this past year, what would that gift be?
One morning in children’s church, one of the children put a guitar pic into the offering basket. I asked him about it later. He said, “I wanted to give Jesus something. I made this guitar pic. It is all I have. I want to give it to Jesus.”
This young boy gave Jesus the most precious thing he had. In God’s eyes, it probably far outweighed any other offering given that morning at church. He understood how much Jesus loved him. He wanted to shine his love back to Jesus.
Are we listening to Jesus’ heartbeat this Christmas season? What is he saying to us? What has he been teaching us this year? What gifts can we bring that will tell Jesus we are listening to him? That we love him? Do we have the equivalent of that perfume or that guitar pic to give Jesus on his birthday?
Listen to his heart! His love is extravagant. Is ours?
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters, 1 John 3:16 (NLT).
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Award-winning author, illustrator, and Bible teacher Sheri Schofield ministers to children and their families through her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids. After serving Jesus through children’s ministries and personal evangelism for many years, she understands how to communicate God’s plan of salvation clearly to those who are seeking God.
Her first book on salvation, The Prince and the Plan, was designed specifically for children. But during COVID, Sheri sensed the need to also provide help for adults. Her new book for adults, God? Where Are You?, tells tells who God is, how we became separated from him, and what he is doing to bring us back to himself through Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Food For Thought”, which answers questions many unbelievers have, such as—If God is good, why do terrible things happen?—Is anyone too “bad” for God to want to rescue them from sin? This biblically based book is short and easy to read.
Join the conversation: What has Jesus been teaching you this year?