40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 34

Mark 14:9  “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Let’s honor this woman. 

She came into the home of Simon the (former) leper, walked up to Jesus with a jar of very expensive perfume (pure nard), broke the jar, and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head. 

Her actions seem wrong on so many levels. First, she’s a woman approaching the famous Rabbi. Inappropriate. Second, she pours all of the perfume on Jesus. Excessive. Third, the financial value of the perfume was such that it could have been sold and fed a small family for nearly 10 months. Wasteful. 

Other guests in the house that day felt the same indignation that rises up in me. Extravagant wastefulness — prodigality — defies everything at my core. Be conservative. Be cautious. At the very least, don’t be wildly wasteful. Be thoughtful. “There are kids starving in other parts of the world.” 

Yet Jesus honors her. More than that, he praises her and declares that wherever the gospel is preached throughout the whole world for generations and centuries and millennia to come, we would speak well of this woman! 

She challenges my utilitarianism and pragmatism. Not everything should be measured by its usefulness or “whether it works.” Our reputation matters, but not when it restrains us from unfettered worship of Christ. 

This woman, unnamed but praised, pours her perfume on Jesus as she pours out her heart towards Him. 

Am I so smitten by Christ that I would blow my savings to honor Him? Am I so taken by Jesus that I would throw caution to the wind to honor Him? Or might I be, in some ways, more concerned about what others might think of me than what He thinks of me? 

The simple actions of the anonymous admirer that day in the town of Bethany, reverberate through the centuries. She had no idea that her love would challenge our indifference, or that her extravagance would confront our reluctance. 

Something to ponder on this Palm Sunday weekend as we prepare for Holy Week.

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3 Responses to 40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 34

  1. Amy says:

    I just came across this message the other day…in a way, she had anointed Jesus before instead of after His burial,, which was custom (after burial) in that time; nonetheless, her act was one done out of pure love for the Savior and was a selfless act of honor and respect for Him…and, just as He said, will always be remembered as a good deed. ❤

    • David Timms says:

      I wonder if she knew the prophetic nature of her act? Or is this another example of God weaving together the threads of the redemption story in ways we don’t even realize at the time?

  2. Elaine says:

    I never thought this behavior was anything but absolutely wonderful and hoped I would have done the same.

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