This sermon was based on Mark 14:1-11.
The Plot to Kill Jesus
1It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, 2for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
3And 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. 4There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9And 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.”
Judas to Betray Jesus
10Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.
- CT Studd had everything going for him, wealth, education, talent but left it all behind to see the Kingdom of God advanced in the world. All his potential was seen to be ‘wasted’ but God was glorified by his life.
- This unnamed woman pours our her ointment, the most precious thing she has in order to honour and glorify Jesus.
- The cost of the ointment was over 300 denarii – the equivalent of around £24,000. This is more thn an extravagant gesture. We should be shocked by this, we should stop and think.
Recognising the Worth of Jesus
- The woman had recognised the worth of Jesus and was willing to give everything she had to honour that and so that others could see his worth.
- The scribes and the chief priests had missed Jesus worth and were willing to pay someone to betray him so they could see him killed. Judas had missed the worth of Jesus, even after all the time he had spent with him and was willing to accept money to betray him.
- Its easy for us to judge that the use of the perfume in this way was wasteful there is a contrast between the womans choice and the response of those around her. As in the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10 where there is a contrast between Mary’s choice to sit at Jesus feet and Martha’s reaction to that choice. We can find ourselves having sympathy with the critics and with Martha but Jesus says the woman did a beautiful thing and Mary chose the better thing.
What is the Contrast in Our Lives?
- What are the things which we spend our time and resources on? What are the things which we pour ourselves out for? How much is Jesus worth to us, what would we be willing to give to honour him?
- There is a cost to pouring ourselves out for Christ – whether its a big thing like a job or relationship or a smaller thing like giving our all in worship without worrying what others may think.
- We need to know what the worth of Jesus is. We need to remind ourselves of who he is and all he has done in order to be able to pour out a sacrifice that is worthy of him.
- ‘It is a beautiful thing when the affections of the follower match the worth of Jesus’ – John Piper