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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. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me (Mark 14:3-6).
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each bring us the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; however, they are not carbon copies of each other. Each writer was inspired by the Holy Spirit to record different facets of the life and ministry of our Lord. When we read and study about a particular event in the life of Jesus, it is often helpful for us to cross-reference the moment in each account. In that way, we can get the clearest picture possible of what happened so long ago. Today's reading provides us with one such event. As we read through the three different accounts, it is easy to see the scene being played out before our eyes.
Jesus and His Disciples were attending a banquet being held in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper (14:3; Matt. 26:6). Among those in attendance were Martha, who served the meal, her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus (whom Jesus had previously raised from the dead) (John 12:2-3). As Jesus sat at the table, He was approached by Mary, who having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head (Mark 14:3). Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment (John 12:3).
There was immediate reaction from the apostles. Judas was the first to criticize her, saying Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein (John 12:5-6). Given that he knew the state of Judas' heart it is doubtful that this comment surprised Jesus, but He was most likely disappointed and saddened when the other disciples echoed his sentiments. (Matt. 26:8-9; Mark 14:4-5).
To find fault with Mary was to insinuate that the Lord was neglectful of His responsibility. If she were wrong in wasting, He was wrong in permitting it. Yet Jesus knew that Mary was honoring Him from her heart, at great personal cost, in grief over what was to come. Mary set an example of self-denial that is much needed in a world where for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's (Phil. 2:21).
In the world's estimation, when someone gives his time, talent, or tithes for Christ and His Church, it is sheer waste. But once our eyes have been opened to the worthiness of our Lord, nothing is too good for Him — that is the secret of pleasing God.
Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul (Ps. 25:1).
Thought for Today:
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing (Rev. 5:12).
For Mark 14:27: See Zech. 13:7. Mark 14:62: See Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13. Mark 15:24: See Ps. 22:18. Mark 15:28: See Is. 53:12. Mark 15:29: See Ps. 22:7-8. Mark 15:34: See Ps. 22:1. Mark 16:19: See Ps. 110:1.
14:31 spake the more vehemently = protested emphatically; 14:65 buffet Him = hit Him with their fists; 15:15 scourged = whipped; 15:38 twain = two; 16:16 damned = condemned to eternal hell.
John 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
John 6:34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.