Breaking Your Alabaster Box
John 12:1-8, Mark 14:3-9
This is one of the most beautiful pictures found in the Gospel. It is a picture that reveals what Jesus expects from every one of us in the realm of service. He sums it up in verse 8 as he gives us his evaluation of what she has done. Others have given their opinion. They have murmured about the waste, the extravagance, and now Jesus gives his opinion. And as he does, he gives to us the sum of what he expects of me and of you as far as our service and sacrifice is concerned.
The breaking of the alabaster box, in a beautiful way, symbolizes what my service is to be to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me just simply state it and then we'll examine this incident and see just what Jesus expects of us.
We have here a definition of what service is... Service is a life broken and poured out on Jesus. It seems that the important emphasis is found in what Jesus said in verse 6, “ON ME”.
The disciples had already given their opinion of what they thought service was... “Doing a good work on the poor”. I wonder what you and I would have done if we had seen this woman do a very unusual and very useless thing, vs.3. What Judas said in verses 4-5, was very true and logical. Why didn’t Mary help the poor, vs. 6. Service is not so much what I do for anyone else... Service is taking my life and breaking it and pouring it out in love upon Jesus.
John Wesley said, “Lord, just let me become a flame and burn up for Jesus”. Illustration – David Branard, died before 30, missionary to the American Indians - Many thoughts of David, why waste your life - many think anything done for Jesus is a waste.
This is what Jesus expects... What is in the alabaster box? What do you have that God wants broken tonight? What does God expect of me tonight in the realm of my service, verse 8.
I. First, He Expects Me to Do What I Can.
1. John 12:2-3 – All were there - Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Notice who was serving - Martha! Do you know Martha? She is that lady who walks in and takes over!
2. When you find Martha, you always find her serving. Luke 10: 38 – 42. Miss Efficiency – Mary would just be in the way in the kitchen.
3. Mary sees Jesus…and Lazarus. Her heart is bursting with love and gratitude. She wishes she could do something to express her love and gratitude.
4. All of the sudden, she remembered something... She has an alabaster box. No telling how long it took her to get it.
5. Only one way to get the contents out... She runs, gets it, breaks it and anoints his head and feet.
6. It is so useless, so impractical. Water would have worked just as well. Jesus said, “She hath done what she could.” Look at vs. 9.
7. You and I would have said Martha was doing the useful thing, the best thing. She was the gifted one. That’s not what Jesus said.
8. Exodus 4:2 – Remember when God was trying to convince Moses there was something he could do?
a. God wastes a lot of time with us on that subject.
b. We sit around wishing we had someone else’s gift.
c. Mary did not try to imitate Martha.
9. Do you know what God was saying to Moses – “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do…do it.” Vs. 8.
II. Second, He Expects Me to Do it All.
1. She was criticized for what she did. Look at who criticized her first, Judas.
2. Judas is always the first to criticize the extravagance poured out upon Jesus.
3. Too many today with the attitude that if it’s for Jesus it can be second rate. Love is extravagant. It gives all it has.
4. If you pour your life out upon Jesus, your going to be criticized. People will murmur!
5. What did Mary do? Did she defend herself? No! Jesus came to her defense. Vs. 6-8.
6. Here’s a good rule: “No attack…no defense.” Let Jesus do it by blessing what you’ve done.
7. Listen, does he have all of you there is to have, or have you reserved a few drops for yourself.
III. Thirdly, He Expects Me to Do It Now. Vs. 8
1. Mary had an insight that no one else had. Mary understood that Jesus was going to die. “If I’m ever going to anoint the body of Jesus, I’d better do it now!”
2. You remember that after Jesus died, some women came to the tomb to do what? Anoint the body of Jesus! Did they? Too late!
3. The only one who was able to anoint the body of Jesus was Mary. She did it “aforehand”. Do it now!
a. If she’d waited, she wouldn’t have done it.
b. If she’d waited until the circumstances were better…. there was no better time.
4. Now, the time to anoint a body for burial is when it’s dead. That is the practical, logical, rational, human thing to do.
5. But the spirit of God said, “No, you don't worry what people will say. You do it now or it will be too late!”
6. Why do you think God is impressing some of you to do certain things! Do it now!
7. John 12:3, John tells us something Mark leaves out. The fragrance was also on her.
8. Everything you pour out on Jesus comes back upon you. Mark 10:28-30.
9. The fragrance of your sacrifice will be obvious in your life... You can tell when a person has poured out their life upon Jesus!
10. Now Jesus wants us tonight to break our alabaster box...What is an alabaster box?
11. An alabaster box is that thing that holds the fragrance of your sacrifice. It is that thing which must be broken before your life can be poured out on Jesus.
12. What is it in your life that keeps you from giving yourself to Jesus? Do you know what your alabaster box is?
a. An ambition
b. Your plans
c. Unconfessed sin in your life
e. A grudge, bitterness
13. What is it tonight that must be broken?
a. Is it your own stubborn will?
b. Your love of money?
c. Your own ease, love of pleasure?
14. Jesus broke His body…Poured out his life and washed us in His blood. He wants you to be broken and pour out your life upon Him.