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Please engrave what you’ve realized upon your heart to share fragrances of Zion.

Tears of Mary Magdalene

In Matthew, God is described as “our Father” (Mt 6:9). In Galatians, God is referred to as “our Mother” (Gal 4:26). In 2 Corinthians, we are called God’s sons and daughters (2 Co 6:18). Putting all these words in the Bible together, we can see that we are children of heaven and members of the heavenly family who have God as our Father and Mother.

However, we do not remember this fact since we have been cast down to this earth as a result of committing sin in heaven. It is very difficult for us, who are living in the third dimension, to remember what happened in the spiritual world. “Our Father and Mother” are not just mere titles. They are actually our Father and Mother. God clearly teaches us this fact through the testimonies of the Bible.

Filial piety is the duty of children to their parents. Things on earth are a copy and shadow of things in heaven. So, through the earthly family, we can understand about the spiritual family. The Bible shows us many examples of those who practiced filial piety towards God, our spiritual Parents. Through one of the examples—the case of Mary Magdalene, let us learn the virtue of filial piety towards God.

An alabaster jar of perfume and the tears of Mary


When Mary Magdalene poured out an alabaster jar of perfume on Jesus, He said that wherever the gospel is preached, what she did will be spoken of. Let’s find out why Jesus said that, through the words in the Gospel of Luke.

Lk 7:36–49 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “. . . Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” . . .

The Gospel of Luke records that a woman wetted Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and poured perfume on them. In Matthew Jesus declared, “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Mt 26:6–13 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

God looks at the heart


According to Jesus’ words, the beautiful act of Mary Magdalene is recorded in all the four Gospels. In the Gospel of John there is a scene where Mary came to Jesus, wetted His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and poured perfume on them, and Judas Iscariot was furious when he saw this while standing beside Jesus. According to his logic, that perfume was very expensive—almost a year’s wages, and it should have been sold and the money given to the poor, instead of just being wasted on Jesus’ feet. However, the Bible shows that he said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he wanted to take the money that could have been obtained by selling the perfume (Jn 12:1–8).

Just as Jesus knew the intention of Judas Iscariot, He saw the heart of Mary Magdalene. That was why He said that wherever the gospel is preached, what she did will also be told.

1 Sa 16:6–7 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the L ORD ’s anointed stands here before the L ORD .” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

People judge others by their outward appearance, but God always looks at our heart. When Mary Magdalene poured perfume on Jesus, she had exceptional filial piety towards God, who came to this earth in the flesh to save us, mortal sinners from heaven. It would not have been enough even if He had been served by all people every single day. Rather, He was slandered and ridiculed by them. Despite all that, He did not withdraw His saving hand from us, but guided us continuously. Mary understood this grace of God deep in her heart, and she lavishly poured such expensive perfume on Jesus.

The tears Mary shed when she looked at Jesus reflected her repentance and realization: ‘Did You come down to this earth for a sinner like me, knowing that the sorrowful life would be waiting for You? Are You now living such a painful life for me?’ Jesus read these beautiful thoughts in her mind, and that was why He said, “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

God is our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Mother, and we are God’s sons and daughters; for the Spirit Himself testifies that we are God’s children. When all of us, members of the heavenly family, repent sincerely and practice true filial piety towards God, God will surely accept our heart with joy.

An act of filial piety comes from filial love


Before we came to this earth, we lived a happy life in heaven, calling God “Father” and “Mother.” However, we were tempted by Satan to commit sin and were cast down to this earth, being clothed in sin, as mortal beings. For us, such grave sinners, Heavenly Father and Mother left all the glory of heaven behind and came down to this earth, making Themselves even lower than the angels, and have opened the way for us to go back to the eternal kingdom of heaven and are still walking the path of sacrifice for us. Even at this moment, Satan tries to hinder people from realizing this fact and practicing filial piety towards God.

Of course, we should practice filial piety towards our parents on earth, but that’s not enough. Through our filial piety to our parents, we should correctly understand how we should act towards our spiritual Parents, so that we can completely repent and become more devoted and obedient to our Heavenly Father and Mother.

Although Mary Magdalene had many difficulties, she willingly broke the jar of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus after wetting His feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair, because she realized that God even chose to put on human flesh to save such a grave sinner like her. We, too, should practice filial piety towards our Heavenly Father and Mother and give glory and thanks to Them, thinking deeply about what was in the heart of Mary Magdalene and what her tears meant when she poured the perfume on Jesus.

Mic 6:6–8 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Practicing filial piety towards God does not mean giving something special to God. The Bible says that God is not pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil, but it is God’s greatest desire for us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. Ultimately, the greatest act of filial piety we can do for God is participating altogether in God’s work of saving the world.

Let us think about what we should do to help Father with His work and to lighten the burden of the cross Mother is bearing alone, so we can fulfill our filial duties to God as God’s children. That is why God has entrusted us with the gospel and has made us competent as ministers of the new covenant (1 Th 2:4; 2 Co 3:6).

To fear God is the whole duty of man


Solomon, the “king of wisdom,” left one of the greatest teachings behind. Being known as the wisest man throughout all ages and countries, he finally came to the conclusion as follows:

Ecc 12:11–14 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embed -ded nails—given by one Shepherd . . . Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

The conclusion Solomon reached when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, being moved by the Holy Spirit, was that the most important duty of human beings is to faithfully serve God, our spiritual Parents, and to obey every word of God. Through the Bible Solomon ultimately teaches us that we should fulfill our filial duty to Heavenly Father and Mother as Their children.

People have forgotten what happened in the angelic world and live without knowing the reason and purpose of life, only thinking of the things on this earth—the third dimension. They spend each day satisfying their needs for living and pursuing the worldly wealth and honor, and when they die they stand before the judgment seat of God.

Solomon teaches us through the book of Ecclesiastes that although he enjoyed all the wealth and honor of the world, everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind, and that we have an eternal world to go back to. Fearing God our spiritual Father and Mother who rule over the eternal world and keeping Their commandments—this is the whole duty of man. On the last day, God will reveal all that is hidden and will repay and judge each person according to what he or she has done. By this God will finish all His work.

Even Jesus, who came to this earth as a son, set the example of filial piety towards God by obeying God’s will to the point of death. Among the teachings of Jesus, let’s look at His teaching of filial piety towards God.

Mt 22:34–38 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” These words of Jesus mean that we should practice filial piety towards God our Father and Mother as Their children. Jesus said this is the first and greatest commandment.

In the final analysis, the first and greatest commandment is to fulfill our filial duties to God wholeheartedly, just as Solomon said in his conclusion. Before, we used to think of God as the absolute Being who was completely separate from us. However, God has connected us to Himself through the new covenant—through His flesh and blood. So, we have become God’s sons and daughters, and God has become our Father and Mother. As God’s children, we should all practice filial piety towards God.

Let us become the protagonists of the beautiful stories of filial piety


It is very pleasing to see children obey their parents on earth, isn’t it? The story of an obedient son to his parents has been passed down through the generations from ancient times, and it still touches the hearts of many people and gives them good lessons.

Let us, too, become the protagonists of the beautiful stories of filial piety, which will be passed down to the angels in heaven. God, who is worthy to receive glory forever and ever, came to this earth in human form and gave His life for us, His children, so that we could receive the forgiveness of sins and be saved. Since we have heard it all now, we ought to fear God and obey God’s word. This is the duty of us all.

Many of the saints in the early Church practiced filial piety towards God. One of them was the Apostle Paul, who realized belatedly and practiced exceptional filial piety towards God. Let’s see how he practiced his filial piety.

Ro 8:35–39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loves and cares for us more than anything else in the world. Our parents are probably the only ones who love us more than we love ourselves. The Apostle Paul preached the gospel with a strong commitment to God, saying that any kind of hardship or circumstance could not separate us from God’s love. There is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Paul did his best to fulfill the mission of preaching the gospel so that he could give joy to Heavenly Father and Mother.

Brothers and sisters in Zion! I would like to repeatedly ask you to live in the wisest and most upright manner by loving and fearing God and keeping all of God’s commands. I believe when we do so, the tears of our hearts like Mary Magdalene’s sincere tears will wet the feet of God. I earnestly ask all you children of heaven to give joy to Father and Mother and practice true filial piety towards Them every day, by finding all of our lost brothers and sisters as quickly as possible.