Broken and Poured Out
"1Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
2There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
3Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
4Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
6This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
7Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
8For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always."
This past Sunday I went down to Victory Baptist Church where my brother goes to college. Being that I'm single, I decided to go to the singles class. And I'm so glad that I did. No, not because I found a single Christian fella to marry me, because I heard one of THE BEST lessons I have ever heard.
You've probably already guessed from reading the above verses that it's about when Mary anointed Jesus. The actual lesson was called, "My Life Broken and Poured Out." It was the most anointed lesson. I mean honestly. I wish I had a recording of it so that you could have heard it because I'm sure I can't do the topic justice, but I'm going to try to share a little bit of the blessing I received here.
First he talked about how valuable Mary's gift was. Three hundred pence was probably close to a year's wage back then. A YEAR'S wage. So translated to today that could be like, $25,000 for some, $50,000 for others, up to the millions for a few very blessed. The question he asked us is, "How much is Jesus worth to YOU?" Kinda hit close to home for me. How willing am I to give my ALL to Christ, no questions asked? It's an easy thing to say you'll do, but how much do I give when it's actually required. I want to strive to put my all into every gift God given me.
Then he talked about the reason behind Mary's gift. Mary loved Jesus. Loved Him enough to pour out the ointment it had probably taken her years to save up and buy. The ointment that was probably to be used in her own burial one day. But why did Jesus mean so much to her. Well, if you look up in verse 1, you'll probably find a big part of the reason. Lazarus, WHO HAD BEEN DEAD sat at the table with them. Lazarus, her brother who Jesus had raised from the dead. I imagine that Mary probably thought about those four miserable days that Lazarus was in the tomb often. She was thankful for her brother. Thankful that he was now alive and sitting at the table with the ONE who had raised him from the dead. So Jesus meant a LOT to her because of all He had done for her.
He has done a lot for each of us as well. He gave each of us a way to life. Eternal life. A life free from the guilt of sin. A life where we will NEVER see death. So, when we think back to where Jesus has brought us from, it should break us and make us realize just how much He is worth.
Next he spoke about the rebuke of Mary's gift. Judas said that Mary's gift could have been used to give money to the poor. The thing is that each and every one of us are going to have someone question our intentions. They are going to mock our efforts. And some of them are going to try to act more holy than us when they are doing it. Sure, giving money to the poor is a good thing, but Judas was far from holy. It says right in verse 6 that he was a thief, which probably meant that he had taken money intended for the poor and put it in his own pocket.
The thing is that when Judas scoffed at Mary's gift, she DIDN'T SAY A WORD. Jesus answered for her. He said "Let her alone." Jesus knew the reasoning behind Mary's gift. He knew the heart behind Mary's gift. And He said that Mary's gift would be remembered EVERYWHERE the Gospel was preached.
Sounds like a pretty far-reaching gift doesn't it? Let me tell you just how far. (And this is my FAVORITE part!) It went ALL the way to the CROSS with Jesus. This ointment was meant to last weeks, possibly even months. So think about it, this was 6 days before Jesus went to the cross. Six days before He was beaten in Pilate's hall. Six days before the crown of thorns was placed upon His head. And everywhere He went, Mary's gift went with Him.
A breeze probably blew while the soldier wielding the cat of nine tails tore the flesh from Jesus' back. And the scent of the lily of the valley filled his nostrils. Then a breeze probably blew when Simon took the cross from Jesus, and he probably wondered, "What is that amazing smell?"
As those that mocked Him beat the crown of thorns into His head, a breeze probably blew, and Mary's gift was as potent as ever. As they drove the nails into His hands and feet, I'm sure a breeze blew and the soldier driving the nails probably had to stop and take in the scent.
Mary's gift was lasting and meaningful. It touched everyone that Jesus met that week of the passion. It went all the way to the cross. But think about it. Mary was the one who wept in the garden wondering where they had taken Jesus' body. Now, Jesus was talking to Mary, but she didn't recognize Him, then He said her name, and I almost wonder if the breeze blew, and she breathed in that beautiful scent that she had poured out on Jesus. And she just KNEW that He had risen again because her gift was everywhere He went.
Yes, Mary's gift was lasting, we still read about it today. The question is when you're gone from this world, will the gifts you gave in your life have a great affect on those left behind? I pray that my gift will be a gift that follows Jesus all the way to the cross and then proves He is risen again!
How about you?