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Jesus changed Mary, who never missed her moments

May 2, 2024

Daily Scripture

Luke 10:38-42, John 12:1-7

Luke 10
38 While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. 40 By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”
41 The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. 42 One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.”

John 12
1 Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined him at the table. 3 Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound [Or a litra, a Roman pound, approximately twelve ounces], of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. 4 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), complained, 5 “This perfume was worth a year’s wages [Or three hundred denaria]! Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” (6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would take what was in it.)
7 Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone. This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she has used it.”

NOTE: Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, and Luke 7:36-50 told very similar stories to this one. Scholars differ on whether these are different versions of the same event, or if they reflect two or three separate occasions. *

Daily Reflection & Prayer

John reported that a grateful woman anointed Jesus with very expensive perfume in the last week of his life. Some criticized her striking act of gratitude, but Jesus staunchly defended her. He knew he was on his way to the cross, said she had anointed him in advance of his burial, and by her gift created a legacy of generosity that would echo all the way to 2024 and beyond.

  • In first-century Palestine, “To ‘sit at someone’s feet’ meant to take instruction from them.” ** Jesus valued Mary listening to his teaching. Seem normal? In his day, it was most unusual. But Jesus regularly valued women (cf. Luke 8:1-3, Matthew 27:55-56, and women as the first resurrection witnesses, e.g. Luke 24:10-11). How does Jesus’ model differ from attitudes and actions that undervalue (and often underpay) women in homes, workplaces or other settings?

  • What do you think moved the woman to offer Jesus this extravagant gift expressing deep love and gratitude? Jesus treated women as people worth respect and value. *** What does Jesus’ response tell you about how much her fervent love meant to him as he faced death? How can you show your love for Jesus, both in your inner “sacred space” and outwardly, with the same kind of spontaneity, generosity and urgency?


Lord Jesus, we’re “enlightened,” but we still too often hear jokes about women’s driving or emotionalism. Guide me to discern and live beyond any gender or other labels that hurt others. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell serves as the Worship Experience Director for Resurrection, leading the church’s efforts to provide radical hospitality and an excellent worship experience across all of our locations. She’s a mom to three, g-momma to one sweet little boy, and shares much of her time with her closest companion, a rescued Pit Bull named Lola.

At my core, I am definitely a Martha. I am a do-er and I feel a sense of accomplishment in a job done well. Here at Resurrection, the team I lead is focused on more behind the scenes details than you could likely imagine. If we are doing our jobs well, you never even know the amount of time and attention it takes to ensure every detail is just right for worship- the pen is available just when/where you look for it to write down a note about the sermon, the crayons for your kiddos are in the basket as you walk in for a worship together weekend, the candles are lit and there is bread and juice reverently prepared as we share Holy Communion together in worship this weekend.

What I have learned time and time again, though, is that those things are not really where it’s at. Far more life-giving than the crossed out, completed items on any checklist are the interactions I have the privilege of experiencing day in and day out.

I remember one day late last year I was walking through the Sanctuary on a random Tuesday afternoon and two women were standing in the entry to the Sanctuary looking up at the window. They appeared to be mother and daughter, the older of the two sitting in a wheelchair softly holding the younger woman’s hand. I learned that the mother was a church member but hadn’t been able to join us in person since before we’d opened our current Sanctuary (in 2017) and while her daughter was in town she’d asked her to bring her to the church. We had a lovely visit and it was beautiful to see how meaningful it was to both of them to spend a little time in the Sanctuary that day.

Most Mondays I run across my 97-year-old friend who comes in to serve with our partner school ministry every single week. Not too long ago as I walked her out to her car, I noticed that her fingernail polish perfectly matched the cute little sedan she drives. I see her on Sundays too, sitting in the Sanctuary waiting for the service to begin and I am always delighted to get a chance to say hello.

Last month we hosted our Art of Hospitality conference, and I met some amazing church leaders from across the country. I regularly get to meet people who are joining us for the very first time, and my heart is warmed by the many different reasons they come and what makes them want to come back. It is a gift beyond measure to get to interact with our guests, volunteer teams, pastors and staff across all of Resurrection’s locations and beyond.

Maybe there’s a little more Mary in me than I give myself credit for, but I can still get caught up in the doing and miss the being. Both traits are necessary to some degree and at certain times, but Jesus made a clear statement about which one he valued the most. I’ll continue dotting as many I’s as I can and crossing the T’s, but make no mistake, when I have the chance to spend my time being (with people) as opposed to doing, I am going to lean on those words of Jesus, “You are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary…”

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* “It must always remain a most interesting question whether the story Luke tells is, in fact, the same story as is told by Matthew and Mark and John.” From William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew—Volume 2 Chapters 11–28 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 329.
** Richard B. Vinson, study note on Luke 10:39 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 133 NT.
*** Dorothy Sayers, first woman to earn an Oxford degree (with highest honors) and a devoted Christ follower, called Jesus “a prophet and teacher who never nagged at [women]; never flattered or coaxed or patronized… who rebuked without [demeaning] and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them… who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend.” From Dorothy Sayers, Are Women Human? Penetrating, Sensible, and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005, p. 68.