Sandwiched between the declaration of Israel's leaders to kill Jesus and Judas' decision to betray him, a woman expresses her devotion to Jesus in a tangible and generous manner. She broke open an expensive jar of perfume and poured it on his head. She was so overwhelmed by the wonder of Jesus Christ and his love for us that she wanted to give back. When we put God first, we serve Him, not out of duty but out of love.
She gave sacrificially. The perfume was expensive; about the annual wage of a laborer. It was usually used to anoint a body in preparation for burial. Sometimes, a little was used to anoint guests.
True love refuses to count the cost. Earlier Mark told us about a woman who gave two coins; all she had. (Mark 12:41-44) Neither of these women held anything back.
The disciples objected to what they perceived as waste (Mark 14:4-5) but love always seems wasteful to those who don’t love. A person’s outlook is determined by what is inside the heart. Judas witnessed an act of love and called it an extravagant waste but offerings of love are never wasted. Jesus did not receive any other expression of love prior to his crucifixion.
This woman thought only of Jesus as she broke that jar and poured that perfume over his head but she immediately faced attacks. Christ followers will never do anything worthwhile for Jesus without being criticized – even by other churchgoers. The devil only bothers those who are working for Jesus and his favorite tactic is to use people in your church, your family, or your friends to reject you and try to get others against you.
The woman's act had an eternal impact. Jesus said, "Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, what this woman did will also be spoken of as a memorial to her." (Mark 14:9)
Our acts of love will have eternal impact if, like this woman, we have more compassion and generosity and less concern about what somebody might think or say.
Is there something you can do this week to demonstrate your love in service to Christ?