Unless you are an only child or the youngest in the family, you can probably relate to Martha. Why is it the youngest sibling gets away with murder and you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar? Let’s take a look at Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and see how she fits the negative meaning of her name.
We all know the story of Mary and Martha, where Martha gets bent out of shape because Mary was not helping her get the meal ready for Jesus and the disciples. Martha saw her being stubborn and rebellious by sitting at the feet of Jesus and not helping her. Lazarus was not mentioned in this part of the story but we can only guess what was going through his mind at the time of Martha’s outburst. Was he upset about Mary being defiant of the customs of the day and not helping Martha?
Bitter Mary shows up when she meets Jesus after Lazarus dies. The sisters had sent for Jesus to come and heal Lazarus when he was sick and Jesus didn’t come at their beckon call. He didn’t show up until after Mary’s brother died. Notice how Mary didn’t go with Martha when they heard that Jesus was there. Mary chose to stay and wallow in her pity party. Angry and blaming Jesus for her brother’s death. It wasn’t until Martha told Mary that Jesus wanted to see her. Mary took her anger and bitterness with her as she grudgingly took each step to Jesus. She went because she had to not because she wanted to. Although Mary said the same thing to Jesus that Martha said to Him, the pain and bitterness in Mary’s voice stung His heart.
Six days before Passover we are back at the house with Martha serving cheerfully, Lazarus sitting with the men and in walks Mary. She takes what is probably her dowry a pound of pure nard oil and anoints Jesus with it. Judas complains that the oil could have been sold and used for the poor. Minus his cut for himself but he would never admit to that. So how much would abound of Nard cost today? Judas said that it could have been sold for 300 denarii, with one denarius equaling a day’s worth of pay, that is almost a years worth of wages. So if the average person makes $35,000 a year, then breaking that down to a day’s pay being $134 and multiplying that times 300, Mary’s offering to Jesus would be about $40,200. A one pound bottle of Clive Christian No. 1 price per ounce holds the world record at $12,721.89. However, should you choose to get Clive Christian No. 1 in a not so fancy bottle the cost per ounce is $2,150, leaving you about $5,600 in change, in comparison to the price of the Nard. We still Mary doing her own thing and others complaining about what she does. Yet, her love poured out on His feet must have healed the sting from the words of bitterness.
Mary may have been defiant, stubborn, rebellious and bitter, but her devotion and love for Jesus never changed.