Summary: Mary’s anointing the feet of Christ was a true act of worship that was sacrificial, selfless, and significant.
Disclaimer: Source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible.
CHRIST’S FINAL WEEK: PREPARING TO DIE
Introduction: In Matthew 20:17 – 19 … Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” As he approached the final week of His earthly ministry, Christ stopped at Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, to fellowship with his friends, Lazarus, Simon, Mary and Martha. While at supper in Simon’s home, Mary anoints the feet of Christ with spikenard a fragrant perfume in preparation for what lay ahead for Christ. Mary apparently had some knowledge, that the death of Christ was near at hand, and she feared, or knew, she might not be able to anoint him when dead; and therefore, as Mark has it, "she hath done what she could; she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying" This anointing was a true act of worship that was sacrificial, selfless, and significant.
I. It was a sacrificial act of worship –
A. John 12:1 – 3 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair.
B. Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. comes into the room at which the guests, including Jesus, are reclining enjoying a meal. She has with her an alabaster jar containing about 12 ounces of expensive perfume. The alabaster jar would be a kind of cruet, having a cylindrical form at the top which was sealed with wax to prevent the fragrance of its contents from escaping. Mark tells us that the perfume is pure nard, a perfume which came from India and as he rightly explains was extremely expensive. In fact the value he places on it is 300 denarii, a year’s wages. The average wage being 1 denarius per day. Normally an expensive ointment like nard would have been rationed and used over a longer period. Mark tells us that Mary breaks open the jar and pours the content over the head of Christ.
C. Mary does not hold back in her giving here. There is no reluctance to give all to Christ Jesus. She does not hold back in her worship of Christ.
D. How often do we hold back? How often do we say we will worship God, we will serve Him but we have to keep some time for ourselves? How often do we put a limit on our worship?
E. Mary gave what is expensive and costly to her. She gave generously without thought for self or for the opinion of others around her.
F. Too often we become self-centered in our worship. It becomes what are we getting out of it? What benefit is it to me?