Summary: What is it in your hand to offer to the Lord. The sacrifice which you offered not only bring delight to the Lord but also bring the most beautiful fragrance to fill the entire room.
Today the title of my sharing is “A Fragrant Sacrifice”
The setting was at the house of Simon the Leper, (where Lazarus lived) after
he had been raised from the dead. The time was six days before the Passover. Naturally Mary was very grateful to Jesus for giving her brother back to life.
A dinner was given in honour of Jesus, and Lazarus was eating at the table. As before Martha was so busy serving the guest but Mary was doing something else.
Somehow Mary got to know that Jesus was going to Jerusalem and he would be killed there.
One of the disciples must have told her. She took an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume and poured at Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.
The Bible says, “And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
The 3 things that made Mary’s sacrifice to be a fragrant sacrifice before the Lord:
1) Mary’s sacrifice was Lovely - John 12:8 Jesus replied. "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
- Her focus was Jesus. Her love for Jesus was intense and public. That drew disapproval from the disciples.
- I’m sure that they would have stared at her, “What is she doing?”
- But when she was not seeking the approval of men, but she was doing out of love for Jesus
- Then she stood firm and ignored what others think of her. Jesus said that what she did was a beautiful thing to Him.
- At the end of the day, that is all that matters isn’t it?
Like Mary, if our motivation and intention for everything we do is out of love for Jesus, then it will be pleasing and acceptable to Him.
2) Mary’s sacrifice was Timely - John 12:7-8 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
- We hear people say that timing is everything. To do the right thing at the wrong time, or to do the wrong thing at the right time also achieved the same the result. The wrong result.
- That is true most of the time. But Mary did the right thing at the right time when she poured the perfume at Jesus’ feet.
- It’s for Jesus burial.
- If Mary had say to herself, “Wait till I have two alabaster jars, or when I am richer, then I’ll pour out one for Jesus.” Then she would have missed the opportunity for her to do something beautiful for Jesus.
- It has to be now when the opportunity is there. I call it a divine window of opportunity and it is opened only for a time.
- There are times when the opportunity to do something for God or to bless someone is only within a particular time frame. Sure, sometimes God give us a second chance but… , you know it’s not the same.
- For example in Exodus 36:6-7, the people were told to give their jewelleries and precious metal to build the Tabernacle. The response was so overwhelming that Moses had to give an order, that "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary."
- Imagine those people who held back and not give initially, after Moses had given the order, the opportunity was gone forever. Even if they were to change their mind, its too late.
3) Mary’s sacrifice was Costly - John 12:3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
- The perfume was very expensive. Mary wanted to give to Jesus nothing but the best.
- She had the heart like that of David when he said,
" I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."
- The disciples didn’t object to the perfume or the way Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with her hair.
- But this was too much good money to be spent on only one person. Its extravagance!
- “Mary, don’t you know that this perfume could be sold for about AUD$30,000, a year wages?”
- “Mary, don’t you think you can use part of the money to invest somewhere and gave the dividends as an offering?”
- “ Why are you so silly, to expend it all. Have you not consider saving some for the rainy days, Mary? Have you not had any thoughts for yourself?”
- “ Is it really you must spend it all on Jesus alone?