Mark 14:3–9 (ESV) 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. 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.”
I find 3 remarkable things here –
a. She broke the flask rather than uncorking it. In other words – she was intending to give all, and save nothing for any other use than to bless her Lord. How unlike our present devotion to Christ – which is often so careful to keep back enough for ourselves. “All things in moderation” may be a fitting maxim for temporal things – but who yet has ever expended all for the Savior’s glory? Father, give me this heart with all I have in this life.
b. Lightfoot notes that the Rabbins thought it improper to be anointed with aromatic oils. This was looked down upon as not fitting and indecent. It was something for dandies, but not for scholars. But Jesus receives it as it is given – not as the customs would dictate. How much she cared more to bless her Savior than for whether or not others would appreciate it, or even understand it. Christ is her only focus. Blessing Him is all she can think of. And how it looks to others is neither contemplated by her – OR Him. He receives it as given. Father God – give me this heart. Give me THIS heart!
c. In all, it speaks of pure excess given out of love. Oh that my own heart would lavish on Him that which the world would deem unseemly and excessive! What one of us, before we leave this life will ever be thought excessive or extravagant or lavish in praise, love and adoration of our Savior? What one of us will be thought less of, simply because we thought so much of Him? Who among us is in danger of this? Lord, let it be me!