I am in a bible study during Lent of 2022 where they mentioned: “True Disciples” this made me think about what is, who is, and am I a true disciple.
To me, a true disciple is someone who is genuine, true to their word, has no facades, and is honest. Someone, I would want to be a friend with and someone I aspire to be to others. Being in the season of Lent, I am setting off to search out “true disciples” of Jesus and see if I can learn from them and grow to be more like them.
My first example is found in the woman bathing the feet of Jesus with perfume and wiping them dry with her hair. This event is portrayed in all four gospels. Matthew, Luke, and Mark do not give the woman’s name, but John tells us it is Mary of Bethany, Martha and Lazarus’ sister. They all say she washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and perfume. She also dried his feet with her hair.
We can bet whoever she is she was not invited to the dinner being hosted by Simon, the leper, and a Pharisee. In one account, the woman was noted as a sinner, we know people thought of her as wasteful. Wasting a whole pint/liter of nard perfume on someone’s feet.
Spikenard of nard is a very costly ointment or fragrant oil of light-reddish color, from the Nardosta chys Grandiflora. It was kept in alabaster boxes or jars. These jars usually held a pint of liquid. This ointment was soothing to the skin and often used in prepping the body for burial. Nard was very expensive as it is still today, and in Jesus’ time, a pint would easily cost a whole year’s wages.
Mary let her hair down to wipe Jesus’s feet dry. Letting one’s hair down was seen as scandalous and very humbling in Jesus’ time.
I see Mary, or whoever this unnamed woman, was as a “true disciple of Jesus because, she was true to herself, she was honest, publicly, she stood for what she believed. She was genuine, with no facades. She didn’t fear if the men threw her out, she didn’t care if they thought less of her because she cried in public or even let her hair down, no matter the cost. She was willing to be humiliated in public for wiping another human’s feet. She may not have known she was setting forth an example of Jesus’ death and burial to come but she must have listened to the whisper in her mind and acted upon it.
Her actions remind me of another today’s true disciple of Jesus…Pope Francis, he too bathed the feet of others and publicly acts on what he believes to be right, no matter the cost.
I still believe to be a ‘true disciple” means to be honest, true to self, genuine, with no facades but there’s so much more, it means, willing to put others first even when it is not socially popular and to die to self. Die to self to gain the reward of eternal life.