Journal Mark 14 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “…a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over [Jesus’] head.
There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than 300 denarii and given to the poor. And they scolded her.
But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them…but you will not always have me.
…And truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Edited from Mark 14:3-9
Observation: Griping, complaining, losing focus of the important. Supposedly serving the poor or missing the point?
And why don’t I associate telling the Gospel with perfume and a maiden?
Application: I need to see the parallel account of this in John 11 to attempt to put a whole picture together.
- The woman was Mary. Martha was there as well, busy serving. Martha serving, Mary worshipping—consistent conduct considering Luke 10.
- The occasion was dinner and fellowship with Jesus, the disciples, and Lazarus (recently raised from the dead).
- According to John 11, the “they” from the Mark 14 account complaining about being wasteful with expensive “assets” wasn’t necessarily all the disciples, but Judas Iscariot in particular—but I shouldn’t discount any of the rest of the disciples possibly thinking the same thing.
So, what drove Mary to this action?
Better question: What would drive me to the same action?
I can candidly say, I cannot think of anything immediately. To be stirred like Mary was, isn’t in me right now. My bet is that I am not alone in this realization.
I can rationalize that doing stuff, in obedience to the scripture, is a “form” of worship—but I also know that there is a function of worship that “doing stuff” isn’t a part of. Repeating a coined term, it is the “Audience of One” worship to engage in.
Mary’s action is one of surrender; she surrenders perhaps the only thing of value; maybe the total of the financial assets that Mary and Martha have. Note: this isn’t about giving up money; this is about Mary’s heart breaking in worship, having a sense of the impending doom concerning Jesus.
But it isn’t like that for me. I know he lives. I know that I have faith that he has redeemed me by the atoning work on the Cross.
So, why don’t I cry at the foot of the Cross? Jesus paid a price I cannot even imagine the depth of—taking the complete and thorough Wrath of the Father for me? I may be able to imagine that he loves enough to die for all creation, but why would he die for me?
If I can’t wonder about that, what does it say about my heart?
And why does anything I have rehearsed about communicating the Gospel NOT include this story?
Prayer: Ok, Lord—you got me. Something new to meditate upon. What should Mary’s action be something significant to the Gospel and why should I refer to it frequently when communicating the Gospel? Is this more important than the phrase “Jesus loves you?” Maybe somehow in your economy it is…
Please make me wise in You, O Lord. Bring your fruit into my life with a significant harvest.
Bring the right job to my doorstep, Father, please.
Ricky Two Shoes