“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.” Mark 14:3
As we consider those who gave their all to the Lord, we must never forget the woman who is mentioned in all four of the Gospel records. In Mathew, Mark, and Luke, she is unnamed, but John identifies her as Mary.
Somehow, more than even the disciples, Mary had grasped the meaning of Jesus’ teaching about His coming death. Loving the Lord as she did, she desired to do something special. The alabaster box of precious ointment was her most precious possession. No doubt it had taken her years to save enough money to purchase it, and yet she was willing to give it to the Master. She knew that her Lord would be crucified and knowing that there would be no opportunity for love to perform the last offices, she beforehand anointed Him for the burial.
Think of all the Jewish rules and regulations she broke, as she entered the room where Jesus was feasting. Women were not normally present at these gatherings. Then she broke the jar and poured the fragrance on the head of Jesus. Bowing before Him, she washed His feet with her tears. Unbinding her hair, she wiped his feet dry, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. She endured the comments of the Pharisee, Simon. She heard Judas as he complained that it would have been better to sell the ointment and give the money to the poor.
But Jesus saw the depth of her love and devotion and used the occasion to teach a lesson on forgiveness. He reprimanded Simon for his lack of care. He told her that her sins were forgiven, her faith had saved her, and she could go in peace. She was not forgiven because of her love, but her love was a sign of her forgiveness.
Matthew 26:12-13 “For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.”
In the hours of suffering that followed, Jesus must have still carried the fragrance of the ointment, reminding Him that He was loved, even when others were rejecting Him and calling for his death.
Mary gave her best to the One she loved and served. When we remember how much Jesus loved us, and the great price He paid for us, we realize that nothing we can possess here on earth is worth keeping for ourselves. He desires that we surrender our all to Him. Others may question our devotion and worship of the Lord, but all that matters is that we have His approval.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your forgiveness and your love for us. You deserve all our praise and worship.
Devotion by Anne Johnston