Matthew 26:1-16 Mark 14:1-11; Luke 22:1-6; John 12:2-8
In the Gospel of Luke where Jesus’ birth is recorded, there is the occasion when Joseph and Mary take Jesus to the temple to present him before the Lord. There they meet Simeon, that godly old man who was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Christ. Simeon, led by the Spirit, enters the temple when the holy family arrives. He takes the baby up in his arms, pronounces a blessing, and then says, “This child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed … so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
So that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed; that’s exactly what Jesus and his gospel does. And here in this passage, several hearts are revealed. First, there are the hearts of the members of the Sanhedrin that want Jesus arrested and killed, but by stealth. Theirs is a political plan, but for the good of the people, of course (John 11:50). It’s hard being a nation’s leaders and making the tough decisions, but someone has to do it.
Second is Mary’s heart which is full of devotion to her Lord. It matters not how much the perfume costs; it matters not that she anoints both his head and feet; it matters not that she expresses the greatest form of humility by wiping his feet with her hair. All that matters to her is him, and she will spare nothing, neither money nor dignity, to show him how much she loves him. And as Jesus foretold, the whole world knows of her extravagant love.
Third is the disciples’ hearts, full of jealousy, I think. Here, this woman just outdid them in showing devotion to their Lord. They had lived with him for three years, and instead of thinking how they might serve him, they argued on occasions over which of themselves was the greatest!
And last is the heart of Judas Iscariot. John records that it was primarily him who protested this “waste,” not that he was concerned for the poor but for his own sticky fingers. Stung by Jesus’ rebuke, and giving place to the devil, he now runs to the chief priests and betrays his master for thirty pieces of silver, the penalty paid if one’s ox gored a slave to death (Exodus 21:32, ESV Study Bible note). So that’s how much Christ was worth to Judas.
Simeon was right: “So that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” The gospel does that. It shines the light in both the dark and lovely places, exposing us to ourselves. May our hearts be like that of Mary.