Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Thirty-Two


John 12:1-11, The Living Bible

Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany where Lazarus was—the man he had brought back to life. A banquet was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with him.Then Mary took a jar of costly perfume made from essence of nard, and anointed Jesus’ feet with it and wiped them with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance.

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples—the one who would betray him—said, “That perfume was worth a fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor, but he was in charge of the disciples’ funds and often dipped into them for his own use!

Jesus replied, “Let her alone. She did it in preparation for my burial. You can always help the poor, but I won’t be with you very long.”

When the ordinary people of Jerusalem heard of his arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus—the man who had come back to life again. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus too, for it was because of him that many of the Jewish leaders had deserted and believed in Jesus as their Messiah.


Let her alone.’
An extravagant act,
welcomed by 
the very one
who defines 

Mary knew something.
She intuited it,
she understood it,
she acted on it.

She knew Jesus was leaving,
he was dying.
And she wanted to 
show her love.

I am sure she helped the poor,
over and over again.
But this day,
she saw ‘the poor’ in Jesus,
her master,
her friend,
the one who was dying.

And she made the truest
possible response.

Ah, help me be true, Lord.
To you.
And to the poor.

Get a personal letter from Diana twice a month

Sign up for *More Wondering. . . * a monthly personal letter from Diana to you, available only to email subscribers. As thanks, receive a copy of Diana's new ebook,30 Ways of Aging Gracefully.

powered by TinyLetter

To receive blog posts in your inbox, sign up below.


  1. How it must have warmed Mary’s heart and affirmed her to hear Jesus stand up for her. After all, she was a woman with much less status than a man. And the man who found fault with her action was one of Jesus’ disciples no less. With you, Diana, I pray that my response to Him might be true, noble, and selfless–after Mary’s example.

    • I look forward to sitting down and talking to Mary about all of this someday. I’m betting she has some rich story-telling and hard-won wisdom to share.

  2. I have always, always loved this story, Diana. May we always give Jesus our all and then some!

    • It’s a favorite story of mine, too, Martha. Preached my first sermon ever on a similar story found in a different gospel — the one that ends with, “What she has done will be remembered . . .”