April 15, 2019

Extravagant Love

April 15, 2019


John 12:1-11
This weekend’s reading: Matthew 28:1-10


Martha, Mary and Lazarus — two sisters and a brother — were close friends of Jesus. It’s likely he went to their home in Bethany often (John 11:5, Luke 10:38, John 11:1-44) and during Holy Week it may well have been his base of operations.

What was it about these three siblings that Jesus found so welcoming? Perhaps it was Martha’s superb hospitality. Perhaps it was Lazarus’ insightful conversation. Or perhaps it was Mary’s devotion to Jesus’ teaching and her complete trust in him. Luke’s gospel tells us that Mary defied cultural expectations and boldly sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teaching rather than helping her sister prepare and serve the food. (Luke 10:38-42).

During Jesus’ final week of life, Martha, Mary and Lazarus threw a dinner for their friend. After dinner was over, Mary did something unthinkable — she unbound her hair (respectable Jewish women did not let their hair down in public) opened a vial of expensive perfume, poured it on Jesus’ feet, then wiped them with her hair.

Why did Mary do such a thing? Jesus interpreted it as preparing him for the day of his burial. For Mary, it was a way to show her love for her friend in a tangible and unmistakable way. The extravagance of her gift was a symbol of the depth of her love and her intuitive understanding that Jesus’ life on earth was coming to an end.

Why did Jesus find the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus so welcoming? Perhaps it was the presence of extravagant love and rare understanding.


  • On this Monday of Holy Week, think about how can you show extravagant love to Jesus. What would this look like in your life?


  • Talk with your family about ways you can show love to each other.


Jesus, this week, we remember the last days of your life on earth. Help us to love you with the extravagance of Mary — withholding nothing from you. Amen.