Mary's Alabaster Box
Sermon shared by Shawn Rose
Summary: What is Jesus worth to you? For Mary, He was worth everything that she possessed. For Judas He was worth 30 pieces of silver.
Tags: Prominent Nt Women, Giving Yourself, Mary Of Bethany, Alabaster Box, Worship, [more] (add tag)
Audience: Believer adults
As I studied this passage, I learned several things. First of all, the alabaster box of ointment contained something that was very precious, but as long as it stayed in the container, it didn’t benefit anyone. John says that when the perfume was poured out upon Jesus that its fragrance filled the house. Jesus called the act a good work, and the original Greek actually means “a beautiful thing.” God has given each one of us a spiritual gift. It may be great faith, acts of service, hospitality, teaching, or some other gift. But if you keep that gift to yourself, it benefits no one. It is your responsibility as a Christian to figure out what your gift is, and then to use it for the glory of God and the benefit of those around you. What good is the gift of preaching if you never preach? What good is the gift of leadership if you never lead?
When Mary wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair, she walked away smelling like Jesus did. When we use what we have for Jesus, others can sense that we have been with Him. If your gift is mercy, you display the mercy that Jesus showed to us when He died in our place. If your gift is evangelism, then you display the love that Jesus has for sinners. The use of our spiritual gifts causes others to sense Jesus’ presence in our lives.
I also learned that Mary couldn’t do much, but she did what she could. That’s what Jesus said about her in verse 8. Mary couldn’t keep the Jewish leaders from falsely accusing Jesus. She couldn’t keep the soldiers from crucifying Him, or the crowds from mocking Him. But she could show her love and devotion by sacrificing the most precious thing that she possessed. You may be sitting here this morning thinking, I can teach, I can’t sing, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, but too often we focus on what we can’t do instead of what we can. So what if you can’t teach? Not everyone is meant to be a teacher. Can you call someone on the phone and invite them to church? Can you go and visit someone who is in the hospital? Can you bring food for the food closet? For us to accomplish great things in God’s kingdom, we must all work together, doing whatever we have the ability to do.
Jesus told the disciples to leave her alone and to stop criticizing her. We must never disregard or devalue anyone else’s acts of service. The sad thing is that I see Christians do that all the time. I have heard preachers get into the pulpit and criticize those that sing praise and worship music because they like southern Gospel. I have heard people complain about preachers because they don’t hack when they preach or because they use a version of the Bible that they don’t like. The people who do these things are just like the disciples in this story…too busy complaining about others to worship their Lord and Savior.
I would like to close by making a comparison. Mark includes this story here to contrast it with the story of Judas. Verses 1 and 2 tell us that the religious leaders were plotting to execute Jesus and were looking for a way to do it that wouldn’t cause the crowds to riot.
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