Our verse for this hour comes from the story of a family that was close to the Lord Jesus Christ as He lived here on earth. This family, which lived in Bethany, consisted of two sisters, Mary and Martha, and their brother Lazarus. This was the same Lazarus whom Jesus would later raise from the dead. Our Lord was frequently found at this home which welcomed Him into their midst.
On the occasion from which our text is taken, we see a characteristic of Mary which manifests itself repeatedly in the Bible accounts of her. And it is a characteristic which is instructive and should be emulated by each of us throughout our lives. Mary is consistently found at Jesus’ feet. Let’s examine some scriptures and see what Mary did at His feet.
At Jesus’ feet, She Found Her Blessing – (Luke 10:38-42). As Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, the Lord said of her: “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). And it is when we are at the feet of Jesus that we discover our greatest blessings. At His feet, we find the blessing of conversion. Speaking of Christ, Peter clearly proclaimed: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In answer to the question of the jailer at Philippi as to how to be saved, Paul stated: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
At Jesus’ feet, we also find the blessing of comfort. He is the source of all comfort. When Paul was writing to the church at Thessalonica, seeking to encourage them in their time of suffering, he penned these words: “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself… comfort your hearts” (II Thessalonians 2:16-17). I’m reminded of the words of Thoro Harris in his great hymn All That Thrills My Soul when he wrote,
Who can cheer the heart like Jesus,
By His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious,
O how blest to call Him mine!”
Not only did Mary find her blessing at Jesus’ feet, but it was also there that She Left Her Burden – (John 11:32). Upon the sickness of their brother, Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus, asking Him to come. It was only after Lazarus had been dead for four days that Jesus arrived on the scene. When Mary, who was brokenhearted and devastated, seemingly without hope or help, came to where Jesus was, her reaction was to fall at His feet. This was the place she could leave her burden. And like Mary, it is at Jesus’ feet that we can leave our burdens. Perhaps it’s a burden of sin which weighs us down. John, that beloved disciple, promised that “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
Not only can we leave the burden of sin, but we can also leave the burden of sorrow at the feet of Jesus. When John the Baptist was beheaded for preaching against the sin of Herod, here was the response of John’s disciples. “And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus” (Matthew 14:12). Truly He who was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” can help us in our time of sorrow. The psalmist declared: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” (Psalm 55:22).
Finally, in Mary’s life, we see that it was to Jesus’ feet that She Brought Her Best – (John 12:1-3). If we were to read the parallel passage in Mark 14:3-9, we would note several things about this gift. It was rare, the Bible describes it as “very precious” (3). John tells us it was valued at “three hundred pence” (John 12:5), which would be equivalent to a year’s wages.
It was also ruined – “she brake the box” (Mark 14:3). There was no turning back. This gift was irrevocably given, it could not be reclaimed.
This gift that Mary brought was also ridiculed. Some called it a waste (Mark 14:4) and “they murmured against her” (Mark 14:5). Others did not applaud Mary’s sacrifice, but rather criticized it. We must never allow the response of others to affect our choice of giving God our best.
It was received. Jesus’ response to Mary’s gift was: “She hath wrought a good work” (Mark 14:6). That is the true estimation of the value of the gift. If God is pleased, that is all that matters.
Finally, it was rewarded – “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (Mark 14:9).
Wait not for men to laud, heed not their slight:
Winning the smile of God brings its delight!
Aiding the good and true ne’er goes unblest,
All that we think or do, be it our best.
̴ S. C. Kirk ̴
We can learn great lessons from Mary’s life. It is at Jesus’ feet that we can find our blessings; it is at the feet of Jesus that we can leave our burdens; and it is to the feet of Jesus that we should bring our best.
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Bro. Burcham served as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College before answering the call to pastor the Mountain Vista Baptist Church in Sierra Vista, AZ. Pastor Burcham travels each week to teach the next generation at GSBC. Before coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for several years and then pastored in Missouri.