Originally scheduled for October 4
Twenty-three times in the Old Testament the instructions that are
included for offering animal sacrifices mentioned that the smoke
from the fat burning on the altar is a “soothing aroma to the Lord.”
It would seem that the Lord God Almighty appreciates a good barbecue
just like we do. Beyond that, however, he mentions that aroma for a
reason. In the story in which Mary of Bethany anoints the feet of
Jesus in preparation for his burial, the apostle John tells us that
the aroma of the perfume filled the room. It is a known fact that
certain memories can be triggered just by an aroma. The apostle John
is calling to our minds what happened this particular night. It’s
clear that Mary intended to honor Christ, in anticipation of his
burial. Reality involves all five senses, and this night the
apostles experienced one in particular. Matthew and Mark also
mentioned this incident, while Luke does not — probably because he
wasn’t there. The aroma served as a marker of the occasion. This
might just be why in both Passover and communion the cup is not
filled with water, but with the fruit of the vine. God wants you to
See indeed how Mary of Bethany made her devotion to Christ apparent.
Not with words but with actions, she pours the perfume on his head —
an act which all understood was to honor Jesus. But then she
followed this with an act of extravagance: pouring the perfume on
his feet. More than that she let her hair down — something no good
Jewish woman would do in the presence of men other than her husband
— and used them to wipe those feet.
It shows us her sense of what is important.
First, of course, it shows us the importance of Christ. No greater
man has ever walked the planet.
It shows is also the importance of the crucifixion, for the
crucifixion is our atonement for sin. Without atonement, there is no
Beyond that it shows us the importance of the resurrection, so that
we might know who it is who holds the keys to heaven and hell.
As you partake this morning, do so with Christ in mind. Examine
yourself, and see if you have need of repentance. If so, plan your
repentance and then plan the restoration of fellowship that follows
it. Then, with your mind devoted to Christ, take this communion in a
worthy manner. As the cup passes beneath your nose, mark the aroma.
Communion is a reality, not an empty ritual. Remember that when the
reality hits your nose.