Summary: A sacrificial and selfless worship!
Anointing at Bethany
Scripture: Mark 14:3-9
Background: The scene is Bethany, just a few miles from Jerusalem and the time is night before Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem. In the night Jesus goes to a party hosted by Simon, the leper. Jesus goes in to enjoy good food and final conversations with his friends before He goes to Jerusalem and He dies. As Jesus is reclining at the table along with His disciples something unusual happens.
Let us read the story: Mark 14:3 3While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
A woman, who must have been a part of the crowd there, is so overwhelmed with emotion that she takes an alabaster jar containing a very expensive perfume, breaks the container & uses all of the precious perfume to anoint the head & feet of Jesus.
Alabaster – It is a white stone which is semi-transparent from Egypt. It was a very costly piece of decoration and people preserve it in their houses.
Here it is an alabaster jar – It is a cylindrical jar like a flask at the top or like a rosebud.
Alabaster jar is costly and mostly used as a decorative piece by kings.
Nard – Nard was the content of the jar (perfume) which was even more costly and precious. It is said nard came from India, an ointment from a plan in the Himalayan Mountains.
Altogether alabaster jar and nard was very costly, and the woman broke the seal and poured it on Jesus’ feet and head.
See what happens: Mark 14:4-5 4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.
As she was pouring the perfume on Jesus’ feet some people said it was a waste. They asked, “Why did you waste this precious ointment?” Now the disciples are there, the crowd is there, the Pharisees and the Sadducees are there, the people who got healing from Jesus’ ministry are there. They all are telling the woman it is a waste. When all the leaders of the land, the disciples, and the miracle receivers declined to worship Jesus it took a Samaritan woman to worship Jesus.
For some our worship is a waste, for some Sunday worship is foolishness, but for the ones who truly love Jesus it is worship. People think you are crazy when you worship God. Child of God worshipping God is never a waste, praising God is never a waste. The only productive thing you can do is to worship God. Mary was never bothered if it was waste to somebody but she continued pouring the perfume, continued worshipping.
Mark 14:6-9 6"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
Jesus accepted Mary’s worship. The sacrifice Mary did this day teaches us about true worship.
Worship must be sacrificial and selfless.
Mary does not hold back anything. It was all that she had. It was one year’s hard earned salary plus the cost of the jar. There was no reluctance on the part of Mary to give it to Jesus. It was also a selfless act of worship. For Mary it was worship but for others it was a waste. She did not bother what others said, Mary kept on worshipping God.
•Did you worship God sacrificially today?
•Do you worship God forgetting your own self?
•Do you hold back anything today from God?
•Mary gave what was expensive and costly for her.
•Our worship must be sacrificial and selfless.
Now, Mary broke the jar and poured the perfume over Jesus’ head. Once broken the alabaster jar cannot be reused. The outer vessel was broken and the inner fragrance came out. Understand brokenness brings the fragrance of Christ in us. Unless our outer vessel (flesh) is broken our spiritual man cannot be seen.
Now the proof of true worship is that Jesus accepts true worship others remain a show. Mark 14:6 6"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.