So Jesus is at dinner at your mate’s house in Bethany, and you’re just chatting post-grub. And then this woman comes along with an alabaster jar filled with a year’s wages worth of permume, and she breaks it and pours it all over Jesus’ head. The guy next to you exclaims, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that?’ (v. 4)
What’s your reaction? I can imagine myself folding my arms and muttering exactly the same words. ‘What a lunatic. So over the top. She is just an embarssment.’
But Jesus? Well…
“Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And 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.” (7-9)
Can you imagine it? That’s immense. He commends her beyond measure. Her radical extravagance has in some way recognised the fact that Jesus wasn’t gonna be around forever. He brings it straight down to earth: ‘You will not always have me… she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.’ He is going to die. Her action, her hugely ‘over-the-top’ reaction, has recognised who Jesus is. And in fact she’s probably the first person up to this point in Mark who’s rightly responded to Jesus’ death. Certainly the chief priests (14.1-2), the disciples (14.10-11, 18-19), and I didn’t.
Nothing is too precious for Him! His blood has been poured out for many, confirming the new covenant (v. 24), by which we are cleansed and recieve the Spirit so that we may be moved to obey (Ez. 36.34-27). We have new hearts!
As Sinclair Ferguson said, ‘The determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ’s past.’ Praise Him! He is worthy!
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