The preacher at church today spoke on one of my favorite passages of Scripture in Mark 14. Mary poured out an extremely expensive perfume on to Jesus’ feet as an act of pure, costly devotion. One point that he got across was that Judas, and perhaps some who agreed with him, did not look upon this action with favor.
Mary did something strange—but it was only strange to those who could not truly see. In fact, our preacher said, they were reviling Jesus because they deemed him unworthy of such an extravagant sacrifice. A year’s worth of wages poured out on a man’s feet, they thought with a critical eye. What a waste—this they said out loud.
It wasn’t the action that was wrong, however, but their reaction to it. They were blind to the worth of Jesus, the Messiah.
It reminded me of something I had read just the other day. I came upon the story of 2MASS J2126-8140, which astronomers once called a “rogue planet” or “lonely planet.”
2MASS J2126-8140 (I’ll call it Thomas from here on since the first part of its name sounds like my brother’s name) is an exoplanet 12 to 15 times the mass of Jupiter. It seemed to be just floating alone in space, not having a solar system to call home. Later on, however, astronomers found out that Thomas was actually orbiting a star.
Thomas revolves around TYC 9486-927-1 (let’s just call it TYC) once every 900,000 years. That makes it the largest solar system that astronomers have ever witnessed.
Thomas was clearly misunderstood (I feel you, Thomas). Just because people couldn’t see TYC, they had made wrong assumption about Thomas. In fact, it had a home, and its own connections in the universe.
Sometimes I feel like Thomas. Not everyone understands what I do and why I do it. They think it is foolish and extravagant—a waste. The real problem though, is not with what they think they see of me, but what they cannot see.
I do what I do because I am looking towards eternity (that’s way longer that Thomas’ 900,000 year orbit). What I do revolves around Jesus. If you don’t see Him, you won’t know my home, or my purpose, and you won’t understand my motives. You will surely see me as living a wasted life.
Here is the conclusion of that biblical account of Mary’s act of devotion. As our preacher put it, Jesus defended Mary by saying what she did was “beautiful,” and that her story would be retold wherever the gospel is proclaimed.
For sure, the Christian life is embraced at a great cost. Vindication rarely comes this side of heaven. But it will come. It will come not because we are so noble or self-sacrificing, but because everyone will see the worth of the One we do it for. They will see the Morning Star, Jesus, around whom everything truly revolves.