Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed Jesus' feet, and then wiped his feet with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house. John 12:3
Of course Jesus wants teachable disciples! He asks us to follow him—all the way to the empire-defying, systems-shattering cross on Calvary Hill, all the distance to the empty grave of Resurrection Day. Jesus commands us to go! everywhere into all the world to teach, to show, to baptize others who then will teach – show – love – tell – baptize.
But especially via John's gospel Jesus wants us to trust him, love him, abide in him. Jesus calls us to be trusters, lovers, abiders. If you only would believe! Yes, Lord, I believe! Maybe particularly in John, belief isn't intellectual agreement or assent (though creeds and statements of faith can be helpful); belief is deep, non-negotiable, trust. John's Jesus wants us to abide with him, rest in him, make ourselves at home with him. God so loves the world that Jesus makes a home in trust with us!
In his book of vignettes, The Sacrament: Feasting at the Lord's Table, Truman Madsen tells us "…the oil with which she [Mary of Bethany] anointed Jesus unto death was …a mixture of balsam and pistachio and perhaps also the balm of Gilead from trees beyond the Jordan." Pistis in Greek means faith, trust. It's no accident whatsoever but it is splendid serendipity that we can read and feel God's mercy, closeness, and presence doubly mediated—in language and through creation.
Let's love, trust, and abide in Jesus? In the power of the Pentecostal Spirit of Holiness, let's follow Jesus to love, trust, and abide in the world!
• Header pistachios photo by Austin Kirk on Flickr