“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, and 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 me for burial.” Mark 14:6-8
In reading the story of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus in Mark 14, Jesus makes a comment about her to His disciples’ questions.
They thought that what Mary did was a waste of perfume, which was very expensive, said to be a year’s wages. It could have been sold, along with its alabaster jar, and the money could have been used in aid for the poor. This event took place during the Passover and it was obligatory to remember the poor at this time. The disciples made sure to point this out.
And the disciples scolded Mary. They murmured against her in the presence of Jesus. But He admonished THEM, not her, for their acts. For their harsh words as well as their harsh treatment of her. It was when they were reclining at a table having the feast, a sacred time in Jewish life, that the disciples murmured, Mary poured and Jesus loved.
Jesus was saying all of these things in front of the disciples. They had said their comments in front of her, and Jesus does too. And His comments were directed to the disciples. Again, in front of Mary. He commends Mary’s act of love. He does not condemn her, which is what the disciples were trying to do. Ridicule her and mock her, so her act of worship and kindness would be removed from their presence and removed from their minds. Instead, her worship is remembered forever – for us. And their murmurs are remembered too. This begs the question – what do you want to be remembered for?
Mary did what she could. She COULD anoint Jesus with her perfume that she had had for quite some time. This was her inheritance and her prized possession. A Jewish woman of her time treasured this jar because of its value and its very precious content. Pure nard. Pure perfume. When she broke the jar and pour it on Jesus's head, the room was instantly filled the sweet aroma of costly perfume. Smell that right now. And she anointed His head with this. Wherever they went after that, her act of worship went with them – by way of Mary’s perfume. A sweet aroma.
This alabaster jar was something that she had right front of her that she could use to serve the Lord, to anoint Him. To give Him glory. To give Him honor – and she did this in front of the ones that in turn scoffed at her worship of her Lord.
Did you know that WE are Jesus's alabaster jar? He breaks open our vessel, and allows the sweet perfume of our lives and obedience to spread out everywhere. And in doing this He brings glory and honor to God. Not unlike what Mary did with her jar.
But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us in triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 2 Corinthians 2:14
Now to make it personal – what do I have in front of me that I could do for the Lord?
T – I – M – E. Yes, I could use my time to draw even closer to God instead of questioning how long I am to be in this desert. I could be content that this is His Sovereign design and plan and trust Him emphatically with His plans for His glory and my good. I could keep my heart and mind from wandering in this wilderness, and set my mind on the things of God and not on self.
I could use this time in the Word. In praying. In reaching out to others in prayer and with the Word to encourage them. I could use this time to study and meditate on Him and obey what He is saying to me.
I could use this time to write – write out what He wants me to process through as well as what He wants me to share. And to be consistent with that.
I could do things that don’t take physical exertion but need to be done – wedding planning, study, doing what I have been assigned to do. Pray for the church. Pray for missionaries. Pray for our country. Pray for other countries. Pray for family.
I can give Him all the glory in this desert I’m in. It’s my alabaster jar.