O, happy day; it’s finally going to happen! After months of Covid lock downs, quarantines, and restrictions, this old girl is getting a much-needed haircut. We ladies certainly do place much value on this “crown of glory” given to us by our Creator. We wash and condition it, color and style it, and remember with chagrin those awkward elementary school pictures when our hair was one windswept mess. In First Century Roman culture, women were especially hair-conscious and would often twist their hair on top of their heads, decorating those luscious locks with jewels, pearls, and golden ornaments, all in an attempt to garner attention and flaunt their beauty. As a result, their hair was a bit of showcase, so elaborate as to be a sensation. In light of that background, Paul warns the newly born-again ladies listening to the sound of his preaching not to mimic those Roman women and “adorn” themselves “with broided hair,” but in a modest demeanor that would glorify God rather than themselves. The apostle Peter would add the admonition that those early believers should avoid “plaiting the hair.” Such blatant self-adoration was not in line with the humility displayed by the life of Christ, nor should it be with those who follow Him.
The darkest days of the Savior’s earthly ministry were fast approaching. But before sin’s debt would be paid in full upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus would make a brief stop in Bethany for one final encounter with His dear friends, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. In the Hebrew culture, the idiom to sit at someone’s feet implied submitting to another’s teaching, to learn from that person. We find throughout the pages of Scripture that Mary often found herself at her Master’s feet, worshiping Him with a sensitive heart and a humble spirit. And during these last, waning moments with her Savior, the time invested at His feet would bear wondrous fruit.
Let’s face it, feet are not the most attractive part of the human body. And when you add sandals, a dusty road, an other unspeakable corruption to the mix, feet can become somewhat nasty. Yet Mary, in a stunning picture of worship, love, and devotion, would take the most honored part of her body, her hair, and use it to clean the lowliest and dirtiest part of Jesus’ human body, His feet. Positioned in her familiar spot one last time, she takes a “pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus.’ Oh, the room was instantly filled with the aroma of that expensive oil as Mary spilled out her precious ointment! Then in an act of abject humility, Mary does not fetch some random rag or towel to wipe Her Friend’s feet, but she takes the best she has, the softest, most gentile of materials, her hair, to wipe that oil from His blessed feet, allowing any dirt, mud, or oil to become caught up in her hair, remaining there until she could go and wash it away. What an amazing example of selflessness; what generosity she lavished upon Jesus in the shadow of the horror awaiting Him! The mental picture of this woman, face pressed to the ground, wiping her Creator’s feet with her long locks of hair, brings tears to my eyes as I witness an act of true devotion.
Oh, that I would commit to following Mary’s example and learn sacrificial love, a willingness to give of myself, that I might be less concerned with selfish adoration and allow the inner beauty of a meek and quiet spirit shine as a testimony of the love of Christ to those around me. Oh, that I would spend more time at those blessed feet, submitting to His teaching, authority, and will for my life, displaying a willingness to give the best of myself to His service. As I watch my locks of graying hair fall to the floor today, may I be reminded of a simple act of love from long ago, an act that blessed my Savior’s heart to such a high degree that it was recorded in Scripture for us to share. May I find my own ways to mimic Mary’s intense love for and devotion to her Savior and Friend.
I Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
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