As we enter Lent and anticipate our glorious Lord’s rising on Easter Sunday, let us reflect on some aspects of His last days prior to His crucifixion and what precious oils were used at that time. Also, let us look at how they are still used to this day.
First, I want to concentrate on Wednesday of Holy Week. Traditionally this day was called “Spy Wednesday,” for it was on this day that Judas conspired to hand Jesus over.
That same evening, Mary also anointed Jesus with costly perfumed oil – spikenard, to be exact. Judas objected, but Jesus rebuked him by saying that Mary had anointed him for his burial.
Matthew 26:7-12 ….a woman carrying a jar of costly perfume came up to him at table and began to pour it on his head. When the disciples saw this they grew indignant, protesting: “What is the point of such extravagance? This could have been sold for a good price and the money given to the poor.” Jesus became aware of this and said to them: “Why do you criticize the woman? It is a good deed she has done for me. The poor you will always have with you but you will not always have me. By pouring this perfume [spikenard oil] on my body, she has contributed toward my burial preparation…..”
Mark 14:3-8, Luke 7:36-38 and John 12:1-8 all replicate the situation at hand.
The application of both spikenard and myrrh in the last week of Jesus’ life has some interesting implications. Both of these oils are known for their ability to heal wounds and scar tissue. Historically, Spikenard has been also been used as an aid for digestive health and as a support of the respiratory system. The oils and plants mentioned in these Scriptures were commonly known in that era along with their benefits for health & wellness. For in Biblical times, essential oils were inhaled, applied to the body, and even taken internally for health, as they are still done today.
Though spikenard is not a familiar oil to most people, it was extremely valuable – it had to be brought from the Himalayas and was often sealed in alabaster boxes. The Romans and Hebrews used spikenard in burying their dead. Additional benefits and uses of spikenard are included for: allergies, candida, flatulent indigestion, heart arrhythmias, tachycardia, menstrual problems/PMS, nausea, nervous tension, stress and anxiety, and rashes.
In closing, we can look at repentance as the precious spikenard we offer God. It is costly to us in terms of our pride and rebellious wills, but worth the price to fill our souls with the scent of mercy and forgiveness. Whenever we repent and confess our sins, we are like Mary anointing the feet of Jesus and wiping them with her hair.
The gifts of essential oils were given to us from above so long ago, isn’t it time that we begin to incorporate them in our lives just as Mary Magdalene did over 2,000 years ago?
Copyright 2014, Kelly Birnbrich