Time with God is taking a short pause from studying Corinthians to prepare our hearts for Easter. Join us as we reflect on the events leading to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
My husband and I have often said that before our first child was born, we thought we knew what love meant. But the day we held her for the first time, our hearts tore wide open, revealing our inadequate and undeveloped ability to love. We soon learned that there existed a more intense love and devotion than we even possessed for one another at the time. In essence, our daughter taught us how to truly love—sacrificially, and without restraint or conditions.
In today’s passage, we glimpse an example of what this kind of love does. Jesus called it “beautiful.”
- How do you express your love and devotion for those you value most?
READ THE WORD: MARK 14:1-9 (ESV)
1 It 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, 2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”
3 And 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. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 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. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 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.”
- What were the people who were secretly conspiring Jesus’ death afraid of (vs. 2)? What does this suggest about Jesus’ rapport with ordinary people?
- What does it say about Jesus that he mixed socially with a societal outcast and a woman, especially during this time period? (The woman was Mary, a devoted follower of Jesus and sister of Martha and Lazarus, as indicated by the other Gospels.)
- What did Mary bring, and what did she do (vs. 3)? Why did her gift anger the others—Jesus’ disciples, including Judas Iscariot (vss. 4-5)?
- Notice what Jesus said about Mary’s actions (vss. 6, 8-9). Contrast his response to those who were indignant (vss. 6-7). What made her sacrifice “beautiful” and a story to be shared forever? What does it say about Jesus, that he honors those who honor him?
- How are you sacrificially expressing your love and devotion to Jesus? What would it look like to give him those things or people you hold most dear?
RESPOND TO GOD
Throughout the Gospels, Mary is a model of devotion to Jesus. Her alabaster jar contained enough fragrance to merit a year’s wages; it was no small trifle to give. But because she loved Jesus, she came to him ready and willing to sacrifice. Those who truly love him always feel compelled to honor him. As a Jesus follower, you have myriad opportunities to break it open and pour it out, whatever that “it” may be. How are you letting the fragrance of your sacrifice break open upon him? How are you loving and honoring your Lord today?
- Thank Jesus for his love—sacrificial and wholly devoted—for you.
- Ponder the quality of your devotion to Jesus and the depth of your sacrifice for him.