Summary: Offering up the best you can and seize the opportunity to it now.
Mark 14:3-11 OFFER UP YOUR BEST NOW
Jesus was having a meal in the house of Simon the Leper. A woman brought a very special gift to Jesus. Her expression of love caused a great stir among the people watching. Jesus was touched by the acts of devotion and said, "...whatever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." (v.9)
Who was this woman? Why did she do this?
John 12 recorded the same incident. We know from John that this woman was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Jesus had been to her house too. Then Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to His teachings, while her sister Martha was busy working in the kitchen. On another occasion, her brother Lazarus was very sick and later died. Jesus came and raised him to life again.
So Mary is a woman who knew Jesus - she spent time listening to Him. She knew His authority and power - when her brother came back to life. And now Mary did something that shocked everybody in that house. She took out an alabaster jar (a small stone flask with a long slender neck), filled with expensive perfume, broke that jar and anointed Jesus.
The act was more shocking because of the value of that perfume. It is worth "a year’s wages" (v.5) = $24,000 if we are getting $2000 per month on average.
Why would a young Jewish girl invest so much to buy a bottle of perfume? In Jesus’ time, it was a custom for young Jewish girls to spend her a huge amount on a jar of perfume. On the day of her wedding, she would break that flask to beautify herself with it. By doing so, the bride would indicate to her bridegroom that she was offering her best, her entire life, to him.
When Mary poured out that costly oil on Jesus, she was in effect saying, "Lord, I am pouring out my best for You... I’m pouring out my ALL to you." This was how Mary showed her gratitude to Jesus - she gave her best.
The moment Mary gave that expensive gift, some of the people around became angry. Judas said it was a ’waste’(v.4). How do we define "waste"? Something is considered "wasted" when it is used in exchange for something else that is of lower worth or value. To Judas, it was a waste to spend all that expensive perfume on Jesus. Why? To Judas, Jesus was simply not worth it.
However Mary had a different perspective. She was so grateful that Jesus raised her brother Lazarus back from the dead that she didn’t know how else to express her thanks to him.
How much is a life worth? How do you tag a value to a life? To Mary, the rescued life of a previously dead brother was worth so much she was willing to sacrifice her most treasured possession to the Lord Jesus.
Jesus said, "She has done a beautiful thing to me." (v.6)
Dear bro/sis, will Jesus say that of us today? How can we express our gratitude?
Learn from Mary - GIVE OUR BEST TO JESUS. It does not mean we have to give Him expensive things. Jesus said in verse 8, "She did what she could."
What can you give? According to your own means, ask: What can you give?
SHE GAVE HER BEST and SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD.
God do not expect us to give what we do not have. Mary did what she could and Jesus said, "She has done a beautiful thing to me." (v.6)
A woman missionary in the South Pacific Islands was explaining to a group of children the custom and significance of giving gifts at Christmas. "Giving gifts," she said, "expresses love and reminds us of the perfect gift of love we received from God: Jesus."
Later that week, a young native boy came to the missionary’s side and said, "I love you and want you to have this." He pulled from a straw basket the most beautiful shell the missionary had ever seen. As she admired its beauty, she recognized it as a special shell only found on the far side of the island, a half day’s walk from the village.
When confronted by this, the boy smiled and said, "Long walk part of gift!"
What beautiful thing can you do for Him today?
What have we ever done just for Jesus? How have I expressed my love to Him?
Jesus went on to say, "The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial." (Mark 14:7-8)