INTERESTING FACTS : "Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote." [William L. Shirer, as reported by The New York Times, December 29, 1969, p. 36.]
Daily Reading : MARK 14 - 15; 16
TEXT: Mark 14:3 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. 14:4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 14:5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 14:6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 14:8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 14:9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
THEME : Ministry
The Jews conspire against Christ, Mar_14:1, Mar_14:2. He is anointed in the house of Simon the Leper, Mar_14:3-9. Judas Iscariot sells him to the chief priests for thirty pieces of money, Mar_14:10, Mar_14:11. He orders his disciples to prepare the passover, Mar_14:12-16. Predicts his approaching death, Mar_14:17-21. Institutes the holy eucharist, Mar_14:22-26. Foretells the unfaithfulness of his disciples in general, Mar_14:27, Mar_14:28, and Peter's denial, Mar_14:29-31. His agony in the garden, Mar_14:32-36. The disciples overcome by sleep, Mar_14:37-42. Judas comes with a mob from the chief priests, and betrays him with a kiss; they seize him, Mar_14:43-49. The disciples flee, Mar_14:50. A young man following, and about to be apprehended, makes his escape, Mar_14:51, Mar_14:52. Jesus is brought before the chief priests, and Peter follows at a distance, Mar_14:53, Mar_14:54. He is examined, insulted, and abused, and condemned on false evidence, Mar_14:55-65. Peter thrice denies him, reflects on his wickedness, and repents of his sin, Mar_14:66-72. [Adam Clarke][1
What we read of the sufferings of Christ, in the foregoing chapter, was but the prologue or introduction; here we have the completing of them. We left him condemned by the chief priests; but they could only show their teeth, they could not bite. Here we have him, I. Arraigned and accused before Pilate the Roman governor (Mar_15:1-5). II. Cried out against by the common people, at the instigation of the priests (Mar_15:6-14). III. Condemned to be crucified immediately (Mar_15:15). IV. Bantered and abused, as a mock-king, by the Roman soldiers (Mar_15:16-19). V. Led out to the place of execution with all possible ignominy and disgrace (Mar_15:20-24). VI. Nailed to the cross between two thieves (Mar_15:25-28). VII. Reviled and abused by all that passed by (Mar_15:29-32). VIII. Forsaken for a time by his father (Mar_15:33-36). IX. Dying, and rending the veil (Mar_15:37, Mar_15:38). X. Attested and witnessed to by the centurion and others (Mar_15:39-41). XI. Buried in the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea (Mar_15:42-47). [Matthew Henry][2
Contents: Resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
Characters: God, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Peter, disciples, Mary the mother of James and Joses, young man (an angel).
Conclusion: Jesus who was crucified in weakness, lives in power and appears in the midst of the praises of the heavenly host as the "Lamb that was slain" (Rev_5:6). Let the message be declared to all persons in every land that they might be saved from the guilt and power of sin and prepared to meet Him at His coming.
Key Word: Resurrection, Mar_16:16.
Strong Verses: Mar_16:6, Mar_16:15, Mar_16:16.
Striking Facts: Mar_16:7. "And Peter." Peter denied Jesus just before He died. Jesus owned Peter just after His resurrection. Peter's grasp of Christ relaxed. Christ's grasp of Peter was still tight. Peter lost consciousness of Jesus' love but that did not change Jesus. "Nothing shall be able to separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus." [Summarized Bible][3
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "NOTHING DONE FOR JESUS CHRIST IS EVER WASTED."
The story in our text today is one of a woman pouring out an expensive jar of perfume on the feet of Jesus. The act itself is extraordinary since the custom of the day was to wash the guest's feet with water. This of course, is quite different than how we live today. Because our shoes cover the entire foot and our roads are paved -not with dirt, as they were in times past, but with asphalt or concrete, there is no need for this courtesy. Therefore, the custom of the Middle East, particularly during the times of Jesus Christ, was to wash a guests feet with water to take off the soot and dirt picked up through travel on dusty, dirty roads. This act apparently was done in the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary as you read in John chapter 12. Further, this act was performed after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This makes the washing of Jesus feet (by Mary) even more significant.
As you read the Apostles are somewhat taken back by this action of Mary. Knowing that this ministry of Mary takes place in her home after Jesus had raised her brother from the dead, you might expect an extraordinary display of gratitude. Remember, neither Mary or Martha thought that Jesus could do anything to rectify the situation once Lazarus was dead. Recall, Martha and Mary called for Jesus when Lazarus was sick. However, Jesus delayed coming to Bethany. When Jesus arrived four days had passed and Lazarus was dead and buried. Jesus announces that he is the resurrection and the life, and that Lazarus would be raised from the dead. The fantastic miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead after the stone was taken away from the sepulcher was indeed dramatic. More than that, it no doubt inspired dedication on the part of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary as well, to be fervent disciples of Jesus. Though they no doubt already were disciples, the miracle of resurrection initiated more intense devotion to Jesus then in the past.
Thus, we have the scene of Mary on her hands and knees pouring expensive perfume on the LORD. The perfume was not only costly, but as you read the odor filled the entire house. Imagine how strong the scent of perfume had to be in the house! Everyone has had the experience of shaking hands or hugging someone and having the scent of perfume or cologne transfer to your body -hands, arms, face, or clothes, etc. Picture then, how strong the smell of perfume must have been throughout the house. Especially in the nostrils of old who were present.
Notice also, the objection of the Apostles (in particular Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus) stating the ointment was a very expensive. (Once again, you know Judas inspired this objection because he was stealing from the treasury. The concern for the "waste" was not because he was concerned about feeding the poor, but rather, he was angry that he wouldn't get more money out of the treasury.) And thus, the woman is criticized for wasting expensive perfume of the feet of Jesus. It is also interesting to note that this same Mary sat at Jesus feet and heard his Word on another occasion where her sister Martha is exhorted and reproved for being anxious about serving the guests rather than listening to Jesus teach. (Indeed there is much we can learn from Mary's life).
In any case, the scene in the text is full of drama as well as spirituality. There are many lessons, once again, we can learn from the family of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Nevertheless, just take a look at one virtue. That is, the idea that what Mary did was a "waste."
As you already know, the perfume was very expensive. Perhaps, if you did not know the thought of this being a waste had come from Judas, you might be inclined to a three with the premise that the costly perfume was indeed wasted. In many ministries, pastors, Elders, it begins, and board members would agree. The reason would be similar to that given by Judas -namely, money. Specifically, many Churches and those who run them, are always concerned about money. Yet, the Scriptures tell us that the love of money is the root of all evil. Further, Jesus supplies His people -the rich and the poor, who constitute his Church, with all they need. Therefore, the cost of the perfume cannot be submitted as a good reason for objection to the virtuous act of Mary.
To the point, nothing done for Jesus is ever a "waste." Whatever gifts and talents you have that are poured out on the ministry of Jesus Christ, or in the interest of the ministry of Jesus Christ, is never a waste. All that you do for the LORD counts for something. Whether it is time, talents, tithes, or anything else, it is never a waste. All that you do for Christ and his Kingdom is put on your ledger to be credited to your account and related to your life on earth on the Day of Judgment. That is, when you appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ in which every Christian shall appear.
Life is short. Even the Bible testifies of this truth. Live your life for the LORD. In the end, nothing else will matter. As the old adage says - "Only one life, twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last." Never let anyone discourage you - including other professing Christians, that your ministry is a waste of time, talents, or money. Not all who are in the Church have the same amount of dedication to the Kingdom work to the LORD. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. This is all that matters. Mary broke an alabaster jar of expensive perfume on their feet of the LORD Jesus Christ. She did not seem to care what others thought - including her own sister. She simply ministered to the LORD and of course, for the LORD. You must do the same. Never concern yourself what others think. Keep in mind, faith is designed to please God, not people. Let your faith please God. Then, the older of your life will fill the air everywhere you go. Live in such a way that the odor of your presence alerts people to the presence of God. Let the sacrifice of your life give off an exceedingly pleasant scent. Remember, nothing done for Jesus is ever wasted.