Lord, You are worth more than most are willing to expend.
Read MARK 14:1–11
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
14 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
a Mark 14:5 Greek than three hundred denarii
b Mark 14:7 See Deut. 15:11.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Tell Jesus how much you love Him.
Our passage opens and closes with plans to betray and capture Jesus. In between there is the story of a woman pouring precious perfume onto His head. Such a story appears in each of the Gospels, though the details differ. In each there is criticism of a misuse of resources that could have been used to relieve poor people. Many today might agree with that point of view: so much of life is evaluated in financial terms. Value for money is part of the modern creed. The view of Jesus is different, however. He sees it as a profession of faith. While others plot His death, this woman anoints Him as the Messiah who is to die and be raised. Her actions are to be remembered.
So, the anointing has practical value as a sign, but it still represents the better part of a year’s wages poured out with no measurable benefit. Anglo-Saxon Christians adorned copies of the scriptures with pictures that put their best artistic abilities on display. Medieval builders wanted churches that were more beautiful than any other human edifices – although sometimes their motives were mixed. These were people for whom beauty was an important part of their worship of God; they were not just utilitarians. Do we expend money in order to present something beautiful to God and for the proper motive?
Money is not forgotten as we move on to the story of the betrayal. Many have speculated on the motivation of Judas, but the only motive cited is money. The woman gives to honor Jesus. Judas takes so that Jesus might be handed over to His enemies. He perpetrates shipwreck (1 Tim 1:19) for money. It remains true today: “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim 6:10).
Think about your own attitude to money. Have you “wasted” money to exalt Christ?
Lord, we so appreciate Your willingness to defend those of us who are non-connected in worldly affairs.
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