Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Mark 14:3-9 (ESV)
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 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. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 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.”
In yesterday’s sermon, we studied John 12, and saw Mary’s extraordinary expression of faith, as she showed she was “all in” for Jesus by using her life savings to anoint him. This week we will explore this theme further. Let’s start by looking at this same scene from another perspective, as it is told in Mark’s gospel. Mark offers some additional details which help us understand this story
better. Mark notes that Jesus’ head was anointed (in addition to his feet in John 12:3). This signifies Jesus’ royalty, his status as the true king. The detail about breaking the alabaster flask is important. These ointments were put in a flask that did not have a stopper – they just had a tiny hole through which some aroma could escape. To anoint Jesus, she had to break the jar and use it all. This is a picture of how following Jesus means completely breaking with the past, and fully committing to him. If we commit partway to Jesus, then the things we won’t let go of are actually controlling us, and we aren’t really letting Jesus be our king.