It’s easier not to risk. It’s safe to stay quiet. No danger of being misunderstood if I find a safer avenue to display my heart.
One of my favorite texts in the Bible is found in two different Gospels: John Chapter 12 and Matthew Chapter 7. Take the time to read it, but here’s the recap. Mary enters a room where Jesus is eating dinner at the house of a pharisee and exposes her most vulnerable self to a crowd of all men. I can only imagine the lies Mary forcefully shoved aside in her mind as she entered. I’m a woman in the 21st century and can still find myself intimidated by a room full of men.
Yet she entered — her tears flowed without restraint, worshipping the feet of her Savior God. She let her hair down and let her walls down, risking the consequences. Extravagant risk. She uses her hair (which was never to be down in public) to wipe her tears from the feet of Jesus. She takes an alabaster jar of perfume and shatters matrimonial expectations, cultural norms of womanhood and likely her own dreams of being a wife and the precious, costly gift to offer her future husband and pours it on the feet of Jesus. Do you see what she is proclaiming in that holy moment? Affection for Jesus over EVERYTHING.
I’m certain minds were racing: How improper. Doesn’t she know her place? Silly woman wasting this expensive bottle of perfume. Surely she’ll never find a husband now. Did she really just interrupt us like that? She should be able to contain her emotions. Where is her self-control and sense of decency? How dare a woman behave in this manner.
She exposed herself to all the misunderstanding in the world. And she didn’t flinch.
Mary fully trusted Jesus, leaving no room in her heart for the judgements and misconceptions of others. Without a doubt, she knew He understood her. He saw her heart. There were no possible misinterpretations on His side. Her boldness was evidence of extreme intimacy.
How does Jesus respond? I’m sure there were expectations from the men in the room, eagerly anticipating how Jesus would address the cultural rules Mary so egregiously broke, waiting to have their opinions affirmed and their pride stroked, ready to see this woman put in her proper place.
But Jesus does quite the opposite. He boldly silences the accusers and praises Mary’s act of worship saying that what she has done will be re-told and remembered forever.
She risked all of her fears of shame, ridicule, condemnation and being misunderstood and poured them out on the feet of Jesus. And He gave her what her heart longed for the most: she was seen, she was heard, she was understood and affirmed by the only One who mattered.