When a film director wants the audience to focus on the magnitude of what’s happening in a scene, they will often bring the shot in close and slow everything down. That’s kind of what John is doing for us in chapters 13-17. Jesus is in the upper room with His disciples just hours before His crucifixion. John wants us to focus on the magnitude of what’s happening, and to see everything. By doing so, we’re able to reflect on three astonishing realities:
One of the scariest realities in the Gospels is how close you can be to Jesus and miss him entirely. Chapter after chapter, we see that Jesus was right there with the Pharisees, but they missed Him. He was calling, but they didn’t hear Him. He was shining in glory, but they didn’t see Him. On the other hand, there’s Mary, who, as we’ll see in this passage from John, in loving abandon, lavishly anointed Jesus’ feet with a priceless perfume in adoration, gratitude, awe, and worship of Jesus. Everyone can meet the same Jesus, but there can be wildly different responses. Mary truly encountered the glory of Jesus and it deeply changed her. In contrast, the others did not because their encounter was a superficial exposure and not a true encounter.