Monday, March 14, 2016

The Fragrance of Christ

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

I have many thoughts about these verses. I see a much bigger picture than what is shared in this short passage. It could read "Days before Jesus was crucified Jesus came to Bethany. " Or "While Jesus was visiting with the once dead now alive Lazarus..." Really, for those of us who have been Christians for any length of time it is so easy to quickly read familiar passages and not absorb the impact of what they say. For me the thing I keep coming back to it the fragrance. " and the house was filled with the fragrance".

I am a big user or essential oils, I use them for  nontoxic house cleaning. I use them in my shampoo and I diffuse the air. I use them to replace most commercial personal products. I use them in toothpaste and to ward off germs and bugs and to treat  sore muscles, head aches, head lice and sleeplessness. I have some oils of the more common variety that while still very beneficial such as lemon or lavender.   I have some that are much more valuable such as frankincense and myrrh.  Some have sweet aromas and some have very woody or even pungent fragrances. All of this oil come from the essential or life blood part of the plant. The oils I use are without any syntactic additives making them honest and real, a true representation of the plant from which they were harvested. (Hear me out. This is not a sales pitch.)

One thing is certain. People I encounter know I am an essential oil person. I do talk about oils for certain but even more it's the fragrances talk for themselves. Some people are attracted to the fragrances some are offended or  even repelled. Either way there is always some reaction. 
People at church will hug me and comment on the oil. Many times they will walk into a room for come down the hall and comment that they knew I was near by the fragrance. Because it is so part of my regular life I don't even notice the smell. Often, very often, people will come to me and ask questions about the oils and I am always happy to share with them. Some will tell me they hate patchouli or they love patchouli. Some will accept without reservation the benefits of the oils and some will utterly reject the concept as fad or irreverent.

Can you see where I am going with this?

When Mary anointed Jesus with oil the whole room was filled with the scent. Jesus Himself carried the scent on His body. When He walked through the streets people could smell the sweet aroma. Jesus Himself stated that this was the anointing of His body for burial. The fragrance of His anointing stayed with Him. He is referred to as "the anointed One". 
But here is what I am really 'chewing on': Mary. The sister of Lazarus. When she wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair she carried in her body his anointing. She carried with her the very precious fragrance of Jesus. When she walked through the crowds they could would know that she had been with Him. She would be a reminder to them of Him. 
So I'm thinking ever deeper here. Essential oils are very powerful and are actually rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. So also the anointing of Jesus is not a surface thing only. This anointing of Christ goes beyond our minds and intellect and becomes in essence the very life blood that keeps us alive and pumps our very hearts. 
Just as there are cheap oils that have synthetic additives so there are 'cheap' counterfeits in the holy anointing world. There are teachings that leave out the life blood that are void of the Holy and living Spirit of God. Teaching that may smell pleasant but have no power to heal. There are teachings that start our smelling sweet and turn rancid in time. Sunday, some days believers are not authentic.  The Word says "You will know them by their fruit." Without the life blood there is no life. There is no fruit.
If we are to carry the fragrance of Christ it must be the costly expensive fragrance. The fragrance of the arrest, the beating, the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus. To carry His anointing we must be willing to live as He did. As the oil was poured out so must we be poured out. 
It's expensive.
 Some people will reject it.
Some people will be repulsed by it.
Like Judas some will think the cost is too high.
It's not about smelling good.
It's about honoring Jesus. 
It's about carrying His fragrance. It's about others knowing as soon as they walk in the room they they are with someone who has been in the presence of Jesus.
I want to carry that fragrance. 

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