Summary: In Mark 14, we see four different group/people having different views of Jesus. They attach different value to Him. Consider Jesus’ value in your life as we ponder these perspectives.
Let’s begin this morning with a multiple choice question:
If you could become any one of these four people, which would you choose?
(a) The richest, most successful businessman in the world;
(b) The most popular, most attractive movie star in the world;
(c) The president of the United States;
(d) A poor orphan in southern Africa.
Which do you choose?
Some of us might have a hard time choosing between a, b, and c; but is there anyone here this morning who would pick d?
Let me change the question: You now have the same four choices, except if you choose a, b, or c, you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. If you’re the aids orphan, you do. Which do you choose now? Is the choice hard?
Do you see what I’m asking? How much is Jesus worth?
• Is knowing Him worth more than all of Bill Gates’ fortune?
• Is knowing Him worth more than all the fame or power of a movie star or a president?
Today we are going to look at Mark 14. This passage is like a play - there are four main characters or groups of characters, all revolving around Jesus, but they all look at Jesus in different ways.
They all attach a different value to Jesus. The characters are:
• The chief priests and the teachers of the law (v.1)
• An unnamed woman (v.3)
• Judas Iscariot (v.10)
• The other disciples (v.17)
The passage divides itself into FOUR scenes.
Now the context of Mark 14 - this is the last week of Jesus’ life. From the very beginning of His ministry there has been conflict with the chief priests, but now it is all coming to a head. Jesus has cleared the moneychangers from the temple - implicitly saying that those who are responsible for the temple - the chief priests -- are not doing their job.
Scene 1: The Chief Priests and their Associates [read 14:1-2]
At this time, Passover was the Jewish festival most widely attended. We don’t know how many Jews who lived in surrounding areas and other countries flooded into Jerusalem, but at least a few hundred thousand, and possibly more than a million. Among these would be many who had heard Jesus speak, and many who had welcomed Him so gladly on Palm Sunday.
So the chief priests want to avoid arresting Him during the festival – not to preserve the sanctity of the feast but to minimize opposition to their move. That’s why “they were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him.”
They are preoccupied by their own plans. They’ve heard Jesus’ teachings, they’ve seen His miracles. But they were so bent on doing their own things and fulfill their desires.
HOW MUCH IS JESUS WORTH? Jesus meant nothing to them. Getting what they want is all that drives them. Many of us may not remove Jesus from our lives in that way, but we have actually literally removed Him from our lives – we don’t talk to Him, we don’t come to church, and we don’t read what He says. He has nothing to do with us. Jesus meant nothing to us! We may not admit it, but we’re living that way.
Scene 2: At Simon the Leper’s House, with an Unnamed Woman [read 14:3-9]
The next scene was a surprise. To the woman, Jesus meant everything to her.
Picture the scene: Jesus and his disciples, possibly with other guests are eating at the home of Simon the Leper - presumably a former leper whom Jesus had healed. They are reclining around the table, as was the custom, lying with their feet away from the table, resting on their left arms, using their right hands to eat. The table is short, perhaps a foot high.
During the meal a woman enters the room carrying an incredibly expensive jar of perfume. She not only opens the jar, but breaks it – the fact that it was broken means she intends it to be given entirely for Jesus! The whole room was filled with the aroma.
John’s account also tells us that she does not stop at his head, but pours the perfume on his feet, and wipes those feet with her hair.
The plant that produces nard at this time was grown only in the Himalayas, and so the perfume is very expensive. If the stated value of 300 denarii (a year’s wages) is accurate, this would be about S$25,000 today. Nard was literally a gift for a king.
No wonder someone complained. John tells us it was Judas who started it – and then the disciples chip in. He rebuked Mary for this waste. But Jesus accepts this offering, and silences her critics.