Summary: What does true worship look like?
Mary Anoints Jesus - Mark 14:3-9
And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, 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.”
This is a message primarily focused on the subject of worship. Sometimes worship is expressed in song or the spoken word, other times it is expressed in deeds or actions which is what we see here but let me say this - worship is ALWAYS! It is ALWAYS first and foremost and expression of the heart – If it’s not from the heart it’s not true worship! This comes out in the first commandment of the law – that we are to worship the Lord our God with all our heart! At this point I would like to read from Psalm 96:1-9
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
4 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts. 9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Now we know from Johns gospel that it was Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus who worships Jesus by anointing Him with oil. To anoint someone either means to officially choose them for a specific purpose or to pour oil upon them. You remember the Lord told Samuel to anoint David as King – what did Samuel do? He poured oil over his head signifying that David was Gods anointed, His chosen man to rule over His people Israel.
It’s easy to get confused nowadays since there are many who use this term “anointed” in a very loose, and I would argue - in a very reckless way – you will hear charismatic preachers talking about a Pastor who has a “special anointing”, or some great leader who has “THE anointing”. Do yourself a favor and just tune most of that out because most of the time its just a way of exalting a man beyond measure. But back to the subject of Worship.
What does worship look like? What are some of the characteristics of true worship? Jesus spoke of worshipping in Spirit and in truth so true worship comes from the heart, it comes from your Spirit. It also engages the mind for true worship is done in truth, so we must know the one true God and our mind is to be focused on Him, on who He is and what He has done. You cannot worship a God that you don’t know anything about. We will also see in Mark 14 that true worship is almost always expressed by actions and usually involves some sort of sacrifice.
Mark 14: 3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
This event takes place around a week before Jesus is crucified, he is in the town of Bethany, home of Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. The word of his resurrection has spread to Jerusalem so it almost a certainty that the people of Bethany were well aware of Jesus and His ministry as well as the claim that He was the Messiah.