MARK 14:3-9 (King James Bible):
One my favorite things to do is to activate my imagination while writing a script for a play, using stories in Scripture as the base. The story in the above verses was no exception. So let me start by SETTING THE SCENE.
I can only imagine how the TABLE CONVERSATION must have transpired.
LAZARUS speaking to Simon the Leper:
‘I’m thanking you for allowing me to come in your house. I can’t think of any other place I would rather be–but to be here with you! And since I’m her Scaly, I want to ask you a question, tell me–how was life before you met Christ?’
SIMON THE LEPER must have said,
‘Let me tell you that nobody would talk to me. In fact, my life was on a narrow ledge. I have no relationships or reputation with other people. I only hang around with other people who were just like me. And then one day, I heard that this Wonder Worker, JESUS, was coming through town and that He worked the night shift and that He made house calls–and all I know is that He spoke to me and my skin began to transform, like the skin on a newborn baby…You’ve asked about MT encounter Lazarus, what about you? How did it feel being dead, sleeping in the grave? How did that feel?’
The SCENE as they exchanged stories together:
- The DISCIPLES sat there at the u-shaped table…
- MARTHA was serving as Martha always does.
And Conspicuously Absent…
Martha’s sister, MARY, as usual. MARY only had TWO cameo appearances prior to this one.
- One, when Jesus visits the household of MARY and she sits at His feet.
- And then again in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, when she rushes Jesus and says, ‘Jesus, please come and save my brother.’
And here in this passage in Mark; MARY does something out of the ordinary–
- Because if you want to get what you’ve never had, you have to do something that you’ve never done.
- God works at His best when we are bold enough to step outside of the box of human conformity.
- If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten.
- Staying in the box of conformity and a narrow mindset doesn’t impress a God Who already declared that He’s more than enough!
“The Extravagance of God’s GLORY is Connected to The Recklessness & Liberality of My Giving” [Quote by Kraig Pullam, Pastor/Chaplain]
LEARNING HOW TO MODEL THE COST OF MARY’S GIFT –
Mark 14:3: “a woman came with an alabaster jar of ointment (perfume) of pure nard, very costly and precious; and she broke the jar and poured [the perfume] over His head.”
In my study this week, I found that MARY is mentioned 3 times in Scripture and each time she’s found at Jesus’ feet!
- LISTENING. Luke 10:39.
- SORROWING. John 11:32.
- WORSHIPING. John 12:3.
And at His feet she found BLESSING; she brought her burdens, her cares, her fears, her anxiety, and she GAVE at His feet her best.
Looking At What Mary Gave (Verse 3):
In Matthew (26:7), it is called “very precious” or “costly” fragrant oil–“alabaster jar” or “flask” is made of marble and very expensive itself; breaking it was a sign that ALL was to be used. The custom in the East was, if a glass was used by a distinguished guest, it was broken so that it would never again be touched by the hand of any lesser person.
So Mary was giving Christ her BEST and her ALL!
“Ointment (perfume) of pure nard, very costly…”
VERSE 5 teaches the value of the gift was “more than 300 denarii”…almost a year’s salary in the 1st Century. For example, it was estimated that the 5,000 men, plus women and children, could have been fed with 2/3 of this amount [Mark 6:37; 200 denarii].
Mary with her lavish heart and hand–not cautious in giving, but RECKLESS!
QUESTION: When was the last time YOUR GIVING could be regarded as “RECKLESS”?
When I say “reckless,” it’s not the value of our gifts which He regards, but the LOVE of the heart which gives them! LOVE is not concerned to see how little it can decently give. There seems to be a RECKLESSNESS IN LOVE which refuses to count the cost.
This woman acted on the impulse of LOVE because she knew in her heart of hearts that if she didn’t do it then, she would never do it at all.
Mary in the moment acted with absolutely controlled adoration for her Lord and Savior; she lost all sense of restraint and economy.
THE TRUE WORSHIPER & STEWARD GIVES JESUS WHATEVER HE HAS…knowing it is nothing compared to what has been received from Him.
MARY had lost herself in Jesus and as a result, wasn’t even conscious of others or her surroundings in her giving.
Our GIVING should always reflect the gratitude–our LOVE–toward the object of our affection.
After 52 years of marriage to the same woman, each year my GIVING daily is the reflection of my love towards her. It is never about the dollar value of the gift. It’s doing the unexpected! It’s even EXTRAVAGANT at times!!
Extravagant Giving is what you should desire to give toward God because your desire for God is to be extravagant with YOU!
Look at Sis. Mary and her commitment–EXPENSIVE OINTMENT/PURE NARD.
– she didn’t just sprinkle a little bit of ointment on Jesus,
– she didn’t just take a small portion of the perfume out and place that on Jesus,
– she didn’t just measure it out so carefully, no, she POURED it out on Jesus.
IN OUR SERVING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WE DON’T MEASURE IT OUT.
If you are going to SERVE, don’t just see how little you can do for Him, or how little you can GIVE to Him and get by.
If you’re going to SERVE THE LORD JESUS, then POUR IT OUT upon Him-
- Give Him ALL you got!
- Give it ALL you can give it, because that’s the kind of SERVICE that Jesus demands!
For some, our GIVING has become conformed to our level of COMFORT–COMFORT GIVING.
- We tip God (the better our week went, the bigger the tip!).
- We tease God (make God think we’re about to give Him part of us–and then, change our mind).
- We trick God (we give to Him because He has something we want–and we at least have enough sense to know, He’s in the BLESSING business–so we’ll give to Him because we want a house, we want a car, we want a man, we want a woman…you get the idea).
You see, when you TREASURE Him–He becomes the FIRST thing that crosses your mind beginning every day!
When JESUS is your TREASURE–
Your GIVING is not limited or relegated to what is convenient for you; but by what God has not only required of you–but you want to give Him even more because He means just that much to you.
When you TREASURE Him–
Then your LIFE connects to the law of mutual dependency–where He gives me “treasure” so that I can break whatever it is that can release the “treasure” He gave me–so that I can give it back to Him–and the MIRACLE in MY LIFE is realized as He POURS His purpose in me through ABUNDANCE–because I was willing to POUR MY HEART into Him through my obedience. I hope all this makes sense to you.
See, when we are POURING, then you recognize that YOUR CONDITION ISN’T YOUR CONCLUSION!
–Whatever you SOW, you shall also REAP!
- IF you sowed during affliction, you shall reap!
- IF you’ve sown during pain, you shall reap joy!
- IF you sow in tears, you shall reap in laughter!
- IF you sow when you didn’t have anything, you shall reap and have it all!
- IF you sow when you were last, you shall reap when God makes you first!
- IF you sow during your times of darkness, you shall reap during the light!
SO, WHAT WAS MARY DOING?
Mary, in a real sense, was in WORSHIP. To her, it was worth it to POUR OUT ALL of what she had upon the Most High God.
“WORSHIP” as you might know, and our word “WORTH” are closely connected. In fact, the Old English spelling of worship is “worthship” [More Than Worship, It’s Worthship, Craig T. Owens June 24, 2010].
WORSHIP is realizing the “worth-ship” of a thing or a person.
The QUESTION becomes, “How much is JESUS worth to us?” I can tell you what He’s WORTH to me–but “How much is He WORTH to you?”
- It’s not a WASTE to pour your life out on Jesus. HE’S WORTH IT!
- It’s not a WASTE to wake up in the morning and enter holy conversation with a loving God. HE’S WORTH IT!
- It’s not a WASTE to come to the Lord’s house and drive 5 minutes or even 5 hours–to come into this house to gather in His name and WORSHIP Him.
What makes GOD worthy is because He is WORTH IT!
— You kiss up yo your boss, but is he or she worth it?
— You work so that you can make more to impress everybody around you, but are they worth it?
— You sacrifice your time because you want to get bigger and finer things accomplished–but are those bigger and finer things worth it?
My ANSWER is… NO!
— Your boss didn’t die for you.
— Your paycheck isn’t what makes your heart tremble or make the sun from light you see every morning shine.
— The bigger and finer things won’t answer you when you PRAY about your sickness or your fractured marriage, broken relationships or that prodigal child who strayed from home.
You better LEARN like Mary did; how to build your hope on things eternal while holding on to God’s unchanging hands. All because His hand is the ONLY hand big enough to give you an 100 fold return on time, talent and resources that you have already given by Him.
A Critique of the Crowd’s Stupidity –
There will always be people who identify themselves as followers of Christ Jesus–who say that they are friends of the kingdom, but in reality, they are enemies.
There will always be people who tell you, ‘Now it doesn’t take all of that!’
There will always be people when it comes to the giving of your time, talent and treasure–‘God understands’ (Well if God understood, then He wouldn’t have told me to do it!).
Let me just say here, that GOD’S WORD IS FLAWLESS and it is the FINAL AUTHORITY, period!
The WORD is the WORD and there will always be people who will try to best God’s Word.
— Either you BELIEVE that God was playing when He said you sow what you reap or you don’t.
— Either you BELIEVE that God was serious when He said present your body as a living sacrifice or you don’t.
— Either you BELIEVE that God owns it all or you don’t.
— And when it comes to STEWARDSHIP, you are either choosing true or false; multiple choice isn’t an option.
Watch the TEXT: VERSE 4
“To what purpose was the ointment thus wasted?”
Now I thought it was interesting here, to know who was asking the question.
JUDAS’ criticism here sounds ‘spiritual’ and even though Judas spoke out, the DISCIPLES were “indignant”–“they answered and reproved her.”
JUDAS is a reminder to ALL of us every time there’s criticism of Christian generosity, that somewhere behind the CRITICISM there may be a JUDAS.
I don’t know about what your thinking while reading this account, but I think Mary must have been hurt, confused with emotions running wild. I know I would have been.
The text doesn’t say it–but Mary must have thought in her mind, ‘Why are they criticizing ME? They are the ones who are supposed to be His disciples!’
Adopting the Commendation of Jesus’ Word.
The DISCIPLES became “indignant” (vs. 4). In the Greek, it’s the sound of snorting horses.
And Jesus responds to the “snorting” with COMPASSION in His word. The word COMPASSION means to step into someone else’s skin.
Jesus steps into her skin in a moment to empathize with her pain at the insult of their response. And Christ responds in VERSE 6 by saying,
“Let her alone; why are you troubling her?”
We know that He is addressing ALL of the disciples, but more specifically, He’s addressing JUDAS. It was Mary’s LOVE that motivated her to give her best; but JUDAS couldn’t take it.
MARY’S REWARD for her sacrificial gift was a moment of COMMENDATION.
She couldn’t be a Pastor, or a Disciple, and she couldn’t write a book of the New Testament. All she could do was this: “She has done a good and beautiful thing to Me [praiseworthy and noble].”
And that’s all the LORD expects of us. Jesus praised the LOVING NATURE of her GIFT. She had done what she could and He knew it was done from LOVE!
Our GIFTS should be a SURRENDERED GIFT –
When we GIVE of our talents, our time, our resources–it shouldn’t be a GIFT that’s pulled out of you. It should be a GIFT that you WILLINGLY surrender (Romans 12:1) and that “surrender” should be because you love Him.
ILL –my daddy got me a pinata. I kept swinging. He said, ‘Son…the name of the game is you have to break it; but you have to break it in the right place!’
MARY had been broken in the right place. That’s why she could give what she had!
Some of you who are reading this–God is breaking you! But He wants to get you in the right place!!!
- ATTITUDE needs to be changed.
- GRATITUDE needs to be altered.
- CONDUCT needs to be modified.
- CHARACTER needs to be sharpened.
- STINGINESS needs to be destroyed.
GOD is breaking me as I write these words and He’s breaking you in the right place as you read this blog.
AND JACOB WRESTLED!
Do you remember the bible story when JACOB wrestled with the “angel of the Lord’? That angel said, ‘Let me go…for the day is breaking.’ But JACOB said…’I won’t let you go until you BLESS me.’ And all we know is the morning came and JACOB was on the ground. But now he had a different walk. Because when he takes a step forward, he discovers that he’s been changed.
“You can’t be BLESSED until you’ve been broken!”
Bible Dictionary: VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY
PHOTOS: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: King James Version (KJV); New International Version (NIV); Amplified bible (AMP).