Summary: What caused Christ to declare, “Wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her”? What made her action so lasting?
A Lasting Memorial
Much of what one does in life is quickly forgotten; very little if anything being remembered by subsequent generations. In Mark’s gospel we have the action of a woman, identified in Matthew and John as Mary, which has lasted for scores of generations; a deed which Christ accepted and commended. What was it about Mary’s deed that caused Christ to declare, “Wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her”? How can we apply the principles of her actions to our lives that Christ will accept and that we can leave as a legacy for those who come behind us?
I. She gave out of a deep love for Christ
A. God judges the motivations behind why people do the things that they do.
B. 1 Chronicles 28:9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”
C. This woman was seeking to serve Christ from the depths of her heart. She was seeking to altogether glorify Jesus Christ. She poured the ointment on His head, to honor Him personally — every drop of it was for Him, out of reverence for Him.
D. Spurgeon says she had an adoring reverence for Christ’s thrice blessed Person as she brought that box of precious spikenard and offered it to Him as her Teacher, her Friend, her Lord, her All.
E. Her heart was filled with gratitude and love and therefore had to do something.
F. Someone has said, “Service for the Lord is nothing more than the overflow of a heart filled with gratitude for what Jesus has done for us.”
G. When we put God first, giving Him the first of our love, we serve Him, not out of duty, but out of love.
H. Why do you serve Christ or do the things you do as part of the Body Of Christ? Do you serve to be seen of men? Do you do the things you do for personal gain? Do you serve out of a sense of guilt or obligation? There’s only one good reason to serve the Lord - because you love Him!
I. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
J. This woman’s deed endured and it became a lasting memorial to her because she served with the right motive – a heart filled with love.
K. Think about one thing you can do this week in service to Christ which would be done out of love for Him.
L. Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul”
II. She gave sacrificially
A. The Scriptures tell us that she broke a box of costly and precious ointment and poured it on the head of Jesus. It was so expensive that many people saved for years to be able to provide this for their own funeral preparations. This box of ointment was valued at 300 pence or denarii. The daily wage of the average worker was one denarius, making the spikenard the equivalent to about one year’s wages.
B. It is significant that the Bible says she broke it. She was determined to serve Christ with 100%. She kept back nothing for herself. In breaking it, she had to pour it all out.
C. Mark 14:8 “She has done what she could…”
D. God never asks us to do more than we can; but He asks and expects us to us to do all that we can.
E. Isaiah 5:4 “What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it?”
F. Christ did all He could for us.
G. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply acknowledging a great debt we owe to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, danger, foregoing the common conveniences of this life—these may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing compared with the glory which shall later be revealed in and through us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us. – David Livingstone