Tag Archives: woman pouring perfume on Jesus

Knowing Where Belly Rubs Come From

Story of the Day for Wed. September 26, 2012

Knowing Where Belly Rubs Come From

A woman who had lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume and stood weeping behind Jesus’ feet. Her tears wet Jesus’ feet, and she wiped them with her hair. Then she kissed his feet and put the perfume on them.

Luke 7:37-38

We used to have two puppies, Garibaldi and Ivan the Terrible. After they were housebroken, one of them started to backslide and returned to a life of sin.

One day, we found the evidence of wrongdoing in my son’s bedroom. The situation needed to be addressed, but unless you catch them in the act, how do you know which puppy to admonish?

I stood outside Randy’s bedroom and called the dogs. Garibaldi bounded toward me in a wiggling mass of puppy joy. Ivan the Terrible hung his head, and, taking the coward’s way out, started slinking off to a remote corner of the house.

I caught Ivan by the scruff and escorted him to the scene of the crime. We gazed at the evidence before us, and then Ivan and I had a private moment together.

It’s possible, and maybe sometimes desirable, to use fear to correct the behavior of dogs. And people. But fear and the threat of punishment has little value if your primary desire is a relationship. You can’t frighten a puppy into wagging its tail and licking your face.

Have you noticed how those with sinful reputations flocked to Jesus? You would expect that, in the presence of a holy man, they would avoid him and slink into the dark shadows.

Instead, they’re drawn to him like a magnet. A woman with a sinful past comes up behind Jesus as he reclines at a meal. Women in Jesus’ day always wore their hair up in public (except on their wedding day). If a woman let her hair down in public, it meant she was a whore. This woman wets Jesus’ feet with her hot tears, and, with her hair let down, wipes his feet.

We get it.

This woman cried and kissed his feet and poured out her expensive perfume – not because she was hoping, pleading, for mercy – but because she had found mercy.

Jesus attracted people with broken lives, because they knew he loved them a lot. They knew he would forgive them, and give them a new start.

If the world isn’t breaking down church doors to get in, it’s not because they’ve lost interest in being loved by God. It’s because they fear we’re going to sniff out their sin, grab them by the scruff, and rub their noses in it. Trust me on this: they’ve been burned already.

Thirteen years later, I carried Ivan the Terrible up on a hillside and buried him. He was an awesome dog – always glad to see me. He knew where belly rubs came from.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Portrait of an Aide-de-Camp

Story of the Day for Wednesday July 11, 2012 


Portrait of an Aide-de-Camp



                                            Some present were indignant and grumbled among each other. “Why this waste of costly perfume? It could’ve been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her harshly.

                                                                                                                     Mark 14:4-5



No one could prove anything, but Hercules Mulligan’s loyalties looked questionable. When the American colonies declared independence from Great Britain, many colonists remained loyal to the Crown. Some Loyalists joined the British army while others operated as spies.

The highest concentration of Loyalists lived in New York, and there, on Queen Street in lower Manhatten, Mulligan worked as a tailor. His customers included a high number of wealthy British businessmen and British military officers. In addition to this, Mulligan was the son-in-law of a British naval officer. Not only that, but he billeted Redcoat soldiers in his own home during the war.

And if Mulligan was a Patriot why didn’t he publicly support the revolution?


When the Colonists won the War of Independence in 1783, about twenty percent of the Loyalists fled the country to escape reprisals. Those who remained often had their houses burned and possessions confiscated. Others were whipped or tarred and feathered.

The accusations and public outcry against Hercules Mulligan was growing. And then his fate was sealed when a distinguished gentlemen knocked on his door.

The man publicly revealed Mulligan as a spy.


One day, Jesus was in Bethany reclining at dinner when a woman took a very expensive jar of perfume and poured it on his head. Jesus’ disciples gaped in astonishment. The perfume was worth a full year’s wages! They berated the woman for her lavish squandering of wealth.

Jesus intervened, because he saw what none of his disciples understood at the time. “She poured perfume on me,” Jesus told them, “to prepare my body for burial.”

What others scorned, Jesus considered an act of sacrificial worship and faithfulness. She understood what even Jesus’ disciples failed to comprehend: that Jesus was about to sacrifice his life.

Faithfulness to the Lord is much easier when we hear applause in the background; passionate allegiance is much harder when you’re bitterly criticized for it.


The man who named Hercules a spy explained that Mr. Mulligan was a Patriot spy. Twice his reports of British plans saved the life of the commander-in-chief, George Washington. At night, he and fellow Patriots toppled the statue of King George that stood in a New York park and gave the lead to the Continental army to make bullets.

Not only that, but years earlier he housed a young Tory college student. Mulligan’s passionate arguments for independence converted the young man to the Patriot cause, and he went on to become General Washington’s trusted aide-de-camp.

Today, a portrait of that aide-de-camp is printed on every ten dollar bill. And a portrait of the man who knocked on Mulligan’s door to thank him for his service to his country can be found on a one dollar bill.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)