A favorite stop in the travels of Jesus is the small town of Bethany… a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem just two miles away. He often visits His close friends here… the family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Mary is the gentle, quiet sister, contemplative in nature and spiritually discerning. Mary sees in Jesus someone exceptional, worthy of worshipful reverence. Three times Scripture tells of her at the Master’s feet…

When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at His feet and said, ‘Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.’” – John 11:32

We first see Mary falling at Jesus’ feet seeking comfort at the death of Lazarus. She trustingly pours out her heart to Him, “Lord, if only…” If only He had come sooner. Mary has heard of the many amazing healings by Jesus. She recognizes His power to perform the miraculous. Why has He not done so with her brother?

Jesus sees the depth of her emotions and is deeply moved. Yet His plan all along has been to glorify God by bringing Lazarus back from the dead. Mary looks to Him with expectant faith, knowing His way will be best. His forthcoming miracle of raising Lazarus to life brings joy and blessing to Mary and her family.

†  Seek the comfort of the Lord’s presence

Do we pour out our hearts to Jesus? Do we fall at the feet of the One we can trust implicitly with our deepest emotions and most trying concerns?

Jesus cares genuinely for whatever we may be going through. He longs for us to share our hearts with Him… even if we question His handling of situations, as Mary did. He will always listen patiently, lovingly. We are an audience of one to Him. In His presence we experience His everlasting comfort.

Our concerns touch the heart of our compassionate Savior. Let us come before Him with our griefs, our hardships, our regrets. May we feel safe in asking of Him, “If only…”. He will shine new light on our life situations. He will expand our limited perspectives so as to catch even a glimpse of His heavenly perspective.

“Mary… sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to His teaching.” – Luke 10:39

We next see Mary at Jesus’ feet during one of His visits to their home. She longs to be discipled by this Master Teacher. She sits in humble reverence at His feet, listening with rapt attention to His every word. So absorbed is she in His teachings that she perhaps is unaware of her sister Martha’s diligent work of preparing the meal for their guests. Martha takes her complaints to Jesus, who replies…

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:41-42

Jesus gently reminds Martha of what is most important… and commends Mary for understanding the privilege of sitting at His feet, seeking His presence, learning from Him. For in biblical times, it is customary for students to sit respectfully at the feet of the rabbis to be taught.

†  Bask in the Lord’s wisdom and revelation

Do we long to be discipled by Jesus? Do we reverently sit at His feet, so to speak, listening intently to His words in the Bible and His revelations to us?

Jesus is our Master Teacher. He is our Guide on our Christian walk, offering us His wise ways of handling life. Our hearts welcome His divine teachings. We can learn from others who teach in line with His Word. Yet Jesus is our primary source to whom we look first and foremost for answers.

Like Mary, let us make Jesus our first priority. May we be still in His presence without allowing the worries, busyness and distractions of life to keep us from time with Him. As we seek first His kingdom, all else will fall into place. For He will instruct us and empower us for His work in the kingdom.

“Mary took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” – John 12:3

Our last view of Mary is again at the feet of Jesus. When Passover approaches, Jesus seeks out His friends in Bethany. Mary has treasured all her Master’s teachings in her heart. She remembers His prophetic words telling of His imminent betrayal, death and resurrection.

Mary opens an alabaster bottle of aromatic nard and pours it on her Master’s feet, anointing Him as for burial. This jar of expensive oil is significant, for it is used in biblical times for the burial of kings. How prophetic that she is anointing the feet of her King… her act of adoring, sacrificial faith.

“Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” – Matthew 26:13

Mary’s tears of sadness perhaps mingle with the nard as she wipes her Lord’s feet with her hair. The fragrant aroma fills the home. Despite the objections of the apostles for this seemingly wasteful act, Jesus commends Mary. He prophesies that she will always be remembered for this act of faithful devotion.

†  Offer to the Lord your sacrifice of loving devotion

Do we offer Jesus our heartfelt offerings of worship? Do we honor Him with our acts of devoted faith?

When we honor our Lord, He will honor us. Our privileged place is at the Master’s feet. In faith, we offer Him our worship, reverence, adoration. We give Him our all, as He has given His all for us. Our act of loving surrender expresses how valuable and treasured He is to us.

Let us fall at our Lord’s feet in gratitude, letting go of our burdens, our troubles, our fears. For He will give us His peace that passes understanding. Like aromatic oil, let the peace of our Lord’s presence fill our lives… and spill over into our world. May people recognize the sweet, fragrant aroma of Christ in us. As with Mary, Jesus will commend us for our sacrificial devotion to Him.