Mark 14:3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them anytime you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Do you ever find yourself with a strong memory because of a scent? Fresh cookies coming out of the oven, lavender, a campfire, coffee... Do you have any memories associated with these smells? I do! When I smell these things I am instantly transported back to moments from my childhood and fondly remember the past.
I also have other memories that are associated with not so pleasant smells.. junior high boy body odor comes to mind. Now that is a lingering odor that seems to get stuck in one's nose. When I'm around junior high B.O. I am transported back to the gym in my middle school where we had to walk past the boys' locker room to get to class. It was a haze and cloud of B.O. and Axe body spray.
For me, strong scents are tied to memories.
In Mark 14 we hear of this woman who poured our incredibly expensive perfume on Jesus. What she did was ridiculed and misunderstood by the disciples, but Jesus calls in a beautiful thing. I see it as a beautiful act of love and devotion. I wonder if that perfume she poured out for him filled the room with a strong scent: a scent that would linger on Jesus' body as he endured the cross, a scent that the disciples would smell years from that moment. They would smell it and be transported back to that meal with Jesus and they would remember her beautiful act of devotion.