Summary: There is no record of anyone ever coming to Jesus & telling Him, "Lord, I love you." But here is a woman who expressed her love in the only way she knew how. (Powerpoint Available - #213)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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TEXT: Mark 14:3-9
The scene is Bethany, a village just a few miles from Jerusalem, & the time is the night before Jesus' triumphal entry. In just a few days He will be arrested, tried, convicted, & crucified. And Jesus knows it. He knows exactly what is going to happen.
So what does Jesus do on this night? He goes to a party given in His honor by Simon, the Leper. He goes to enjoy good food & conversation, & a last visit with friends before He goes into Jerusalem, & before He dies.
A. As Jesus is reclining at the table along with His disciples, a woman, who must have been a part of the crowd there, is so overwhelmed with emotion that she takes an alabaster jar containing very expensive perfume, breaks the container & uses all of the precious perfume to anoint the head & feet of Jesus.
Some there began immediately to criticize her. Listen to Mark 14:4-9. "Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, 'Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages & the money given to the poor.' And they rebuked her harshly.
"'Leave her alone,' said Jesus. 'Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, & 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.'
"'I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.'"
And Jesus was right, for what she did that evening has been told & retold down through the centuries as an example of pure & impulsive love.
B. I don't know if you have ever experienced that kind of love or not. If you have, it probably took you by surprise.
ILL. It may have been when you walked into your teenager's bedroom & saw that he or she had made the bed, picked the clothing up off the floor, hung them all neatly in the closet, & emptied the trash.
The room was a model of neatness, & you just knew that your child must have done something wrong, & was trying to win your favor. Or else your child was expecting something in return.
So, you begin to question your child, only to hear this reply, "Mom, it's no big deal. I just did it because I love you."
ILL. Or maybe your husband came home with a dozen roses. It wasn't Christmas or your birthday or anniversary or Mother's Day. It was just another day, & he brought you roses. You knew that he must have done something wrong, or that he was preparing you for some bad news.
But he says, "No, honey. I bought these flowers because I love you. There's no other reason. I just love you."
It is an unexpected act of pure love. And we see that kind of love in this story in a very beautiful way.
C. You see, it's sad to say, but most of the people who followed Jesus came to Him for selfish reasons, whether they thought about it that way or not.
Sick people came hoping that He would heal their sicknesses. Poor & hungry people came because He had the reputation of having compassion upon them. His disciples followed Him because He talked about a kingdom, & they wanted to be a part of it.
Religious leaders followed Him because they wanted to trap Him by His words. Great crowds followed Him. But most of them were there because they were wanting something, not because they loved Him.
D. But Jesus loved them anyway. He looked at the city of Jerusalem & wept because He loved them even in their sins. He looked at the crowds gathered on the hillsides, & loved them & longed for His love to be returned.
But there is no record of anyone ever coming to Jesus & saying, "Lord, I love you." In fact, hardly anyone even bothered to come back & say "Thank you," after He had healed them.
I. SHE FOUND A WAY TO EXPRESS HER LOVE
That is why this story is so special, because this woman is overwhelmed by love, & she found a way to express it.
A. Now, we're not even sure who the woman was. Her name is not given in either Matthew or Mark's gospel accounts. John tells us that her name is "Mary," so some think that she was Mary Magdalene. Others think that she was Mary, the sister of Martha & Lazarus. But we really don't know for sure just who she was.