Christ's Burial Supper

John 12:1‑8  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
A little but most affecting scene is here brought out, Christ at His burial supper; for now the Lord let in His thought and mind upon the path He was treading, that we may see in Him the meekness of the prepared Lamb; and this last circumstance brought out in the treachery of Judas casting its shadows before. He well knew what He was entering on, but this was wrapt deep in secrecy; we do not dwell on it, nor would Christ. “If it were an open enemy that had done me this wrong, I could have borne it.” Oh, it was a sad hour! (See ver. 13.) We dwell on the circumstances. It was the place where Lazarus was-that Lazarus who was dead, whom Jesus raised from the dead. There He was called to supper. Strange scene! The Lord in a sense of what He was, and Lazarus were sitting there. Martha served, willing, but according to her custom. Oh, keep as near the Lord in heart our service.
Mary anointed, the memory of whose love is as fragrant as the burial ointment of the Lord, in the remembrance of His disciples, filling the house, for love to Him does fill the house: even now it is very precious. This ointment, this grace of love, all is on Jesus; she, however poorly, could thus express it, and she anointed His feet with it, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Strange to many, but the Lord, the perfect Lord, knew where it was applied-yea, He knew whence it came-the sweet savor of the Father's witness of love. The beauty of the pearl of great price was in it; He was a skilful Merchant to know His Father's love was there; it was balm of love poured of God the Father into the heart of this poor woman, that it might reach the heart of Christ in the wounding of the house of His friends, and the love was suited here—it was the return of new nature. Treachery for the moment lost its baseness; that is, it was so soothed in the balm of His love, the wound lost its power. “Let her alone” with Me; and then He was occupied, not with Judas only (for indeed, but for saving grace, they were all in the same state, and He is now before us as generally deserted, even by His disciples), but He speaks as driven into His own grace.
Note also how, when there is simple love and devotedness, how the Lord directs into conduct, which, from its perfect suitableness of affection, He recognizes as the expression of the sympathetic thoughtfulness of love. “She hath kept it for my burial.” More, she had had it a long time. There she might and, even assured, was willing to now spend it on Jesus, but the Lord ordered she should keep it until that fitting moment when it was, in effect, the soothing expression of thoughtful expression now graciously ordered. “It was that Mary,” says the beloved disciple. Now Martha loved Him, and the Lord loved her. She served before, and she served now, but this was not what fervent affection called for now, though accepted unto this. Mary was led in knowledge-nay, but by the Lord of knowledge-though by affection, and the Lord interpreted according to its real value from the Lord upon her; and so are we, and shall be, led when there is this suitableness of affection, by the Spirit into right acts of suitable affection, when we wait upon the Lord, for He directs unseen every step.
“She hath kept this,” she could have spent it on Him before, and it might have gone. His heart would not have spared it to the poor, but the Father's love in her-she in the estimation of God. Nothing can be more exquisitely beautiful. Be at rest. “The poor ye have always with you,” says the blessed Redeemer. Lord, may we bow at Thy feet, and show the odor of our love to Thee, that whilst we think of Thee the bowels of Thy saints may be refreshed by it; and then, such is the balm for evil in the world, Christ's comfort in apostasy-” she hath done what she could.” This opened the scene of deliberate apostasy-the touching scone of Christ's comfort in it-not from His disciples, though no traitors through His grace.