Summary: This sermon for Memorial Day helps us think about how we might be remembered.
How Will You Be Remembered?
6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,
7a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.
8But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste?
9For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor." 10But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.
11For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
Today’s true story is about a man whose name is easily recognized in American history. Because of that, I’m going to refer to him as "General X". He served our country well during the Revolutionary War. General X has been called "the best general on either side of the conflict". He distinguished himself early in the war through acts of cunning and bravery. His many successful actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, successful defensive and delaying tactics while losing the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776, the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to Major General), and the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that effectively ended his combat career for several years.
We’ll get back to that story a little later!
This is the Memorial Day Weekend in America.
We do this each year to honor those who gave their lives...
in the fight for freedom.
The Stars & Stripes flag flies this weekend
at the gravesites of those who served our country in a time of war.
V.F.W. and American Legion Post members...
Are conducting special services this weekend.
They are decorating the graves of former soldiers and sailors.
The somber tune of "Taps" is blown...
and rifles are fired as a salute to the departed servicemen.
In addition to honoring our soldiers and sailors...
Memorial Day has come to be a time...
to honor our loved ones who have died.
The cemeteries have been busy places this weekend.
People bring flower arrangements and decorations.
They visit the gravesites of those who meant so much to them.
Have you ever wondered how you will be remembered?
I want to be remembered!
I want to be remembered in a positive way!
In our Bible text today, a woman does something for Jesus.
Notice in Verse 13, Jesus says: what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
We aren’t given her name in this Bible passage.
However, John 12:1-8 tells us it was Mary.
We know Mary as the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
The disciples must have been surprised when Jesus said this.
It doesn’t appear she did anything significant does it?
All she did was pour out some expensive perfume on His head.
But over in John 12.5 we learn that that perfume
cost an entire annual wage of a day worker, about 300 denarii.
To put that in American dollars today,
that would roughly be equal to someone working 40 hours a week
earning the minimum wage of $7.75 per hour...
or about $16,000 before taxes.
Now you can see why the disciples responded the way they did.
They couldn’t believe it!
What a waste.
What was she thinking!
Knowing the value of that perfume themselves,
the disciples thought it would have been better used...
by selling it and giving the money to help the poor.
Just think how many poor could have been helped.
This was the first night of Passover.
It was customary to give alms to the poor.
Nonetheless, notice Jesus’ response in contrast to theirs.
They thought it was a wasteful act!
Jesus saw it as an extravagant act of love for Him.
Even though selling the perfume and giving it to the poor...
would have been a good thing to do,
what she did at that time was even better.
Jesus says what she did will become a memorial to her.
Why did Jesus emphasize this?
I suspect it’s because of 2 previous occasions:
#1. She sat at His feet and listened to the Word (Luke 10:38--42)
#2. She came to His feet in sorrow after the death of Lazarus
Mary was a person who deeply loved Jesus!
That’s how I wish to be remembered!
How about you?