While Mark does not disclose the name of the woman who anointed Jesus with a very expensive oil, in John 12:2-3, John tells us the woman’s name is Mary of Bethany. Everything about this flask of oil is expensive. An alabaster flask was a long-necked perfume vase that was considered a luxury item. In verse 5 of Mark 14, we learn that this bottle of oil could have been sold for 300 denarii, which equaled about a year’s wages.
Mary didn’t just break open any bottle of oil to anoint Jesus. She broke the best of what she had – the most expensive one. Some of the people that witnessed this heartfelt act of worship grumbled and complain about the waste. But Jesus commended Mary. Her act was similar to the poor woman at the temple who have two mites in the temple offering. The widow’s offering had very little value. Mary’s offering was very expensive. Yet Jesus commended both equally, because both women gave the best of what they had to offer.
Over in Luke’s gospel, chapter 7, Luke tells about a woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. When Simon, a Pharisee, complained, Jesus told a parable:
There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
The more we realize the depth of our sin and the price Jesus paid, the more willing we are to give to Him from our best. When you are called to give, do you give of your best? Do you grumble or complain about the “waste” when others give something that is very costly? When you give of your time, talent, and money do you give just enough to feel like you met a requirement – or do you give your best – or even your all like the poor widow?
God, thank you for the many blessing you bestow on us every day. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness. Lord, when we give, may our hearts be full of gratitude and love for You out of thanksgiving for the price you paid for our sin and may we give our very best.
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) Also available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel. It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is booking for 2019 and 2020 events. Book with us now. Click the link and fill out the online form or call us at 904.524.8073.