Summary: This is a message of the broken alabaster box and what real worship can do in our lives.

Mark 14:3-9 KJV And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. [4] And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? [5] For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. [6] And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. [7] For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. [8] She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. [9] Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark 14:3-4 Moffatt’s When he was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, lying at a table, a woman came up with an alabaster flask of pure nard perfume, which had cost a great sum; the flask she broke and poured the perfume over his head. [4] This angered some of those present. “What was the use of wasting perfume like this?”


Somewhere way back deep in my mind, I happened to lodge an article in my memory from National Geographics that I knew would come in handy one of these days. In October, 1998, NG had an article entitled “Perfume, The Essence of Illusion.” One major player in the industry stated, “Perfume is a promise in a bottle. Perfume speaks more to our vulnerabilities than our strengths. We sell hope.”

Perfume comes from a multitude of sources. It can come from the fragrant fields of lavandin along the country-sides in France. It can come from the dew-kissed petals of the Damask roses that come from Bulgaria’s Valley of Roses. Some may even come from the jasmine fields of India.

It takes 2.5 million flowers to yield just one pound of jasmine concentrate. It takes 800 pounds of crushed roses to bring just one pound of concentrate. But those pounds of concentrate can turn into dollars. One rose concentrate ran $3,650 a pound. The jasmine of India was as costly as $12,000 per pound.

Ancient history bears out that the Assyrians perfumed their beards. Nero literally washed in rose wine. In the 18th century, there were many homes that were built with wood paneling that had been scented.

One of the most riveting things about the great perfumes of the world is the way that it is mixed. At this point, the perfumer acts as a composer. The work is done almost as a three part musical piece. The part of the perfume known as the top note, or head, spins off the skin immediately, it is a fanfare and vanishes literally in minutes. The middle note, or the heart, which is compounded of the heavier materials, can last for several hours. Finally, there is the base note, or the dry down, it can literally last for several days after the wearer of the perfume has left. I might add that Mary’s ointment, Mary’s perfume, has resonated for centuries. . . . It appears to be gathering strength as time passes.

-Remember though and I again quote one of the industry’s leaders: “Perfume is a promise in a bottle. Perfume speaks more to our vulnerabilities than our strengths. We sell hope.”

-With every sacrifice that is offered, there is a sense of hope that accompanies that sacrifice. . . . no matter what it is!

ll. MARK 14

A. The Setting and the Anointing

-The day was probably on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. Here was Jesus with some of His closest friends and His disciples in the house of Simon the Leper.

-The very event for the supper appears to have been motivated by gratitude that Simon had for Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

-While they are silently eating the meal, a woman approaches the Lord. This woman, we learn from John 12:2-3, was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha.

-She, without uttering a word, comes with a vessel that has a long, narrow neck that could be easily broken or crushed, is broken and the Lord is anointed. William Barclay refers to this act as “an oasis of sweetness in the desert of bitterness.”

-Mary’s container was what is commonly referred to as “soft marble.” Curiously enough, her broken alabaster box has long outlived the ruins of marble that was once called the Roman Empire.

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