A MEMORABLE ACT OF LOVE
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Mark 14 : 1-11
“She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” -Mark 14:8-9
In today’s reading, captured between a passage that begins with the intent of the chief priests and teachers of the law to find a sly way to arrest and kill Jesus (Mark 14:1-2) and concludes with Judas betrayal of Jesus (Mark 14:10-11) is the selfless act of love and worship of a woman who anointed Jesus with a vial of very costly perfume of pure nard. While Mark does not identify the woman, John 12:1-8 reveals that this woman is Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Even as Jesus commends Mary’s valuable expression of love for the Lord, let us understand what true expression of love and worship looks like.
Personal relationship with the Lord: In Luke 10 we see Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him, while Martha busied herself in household chores to serve the Lord. Mary, having ‘chosen the good part’, listened and learned from the Master and she grew in her personal relationship with the Lord. It is her adoration and worship for the Lord that enabled this touching act of love. Only through a personal relationship rooted in fellowship and communion with the Lord, can such deep expressions of love and adoration flow from us. Where are we in our relationship with the Lord? If like Martha we have been so caught up in Christian ministry and service, that we do not have time to quieten our hearts and listen to the Lord let us return to Him now.
Timely act of service: Jesus commends Mary for her timely act of service for He says, ‘she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.’ (Mark 14:8). Despite numerous times that Jesus had spoken of His coming suffering and death for the remission of sin of mankind, Mary was probably the only one who understood and believed in Jesus’ coming death and anointed His body. Her heart was sensitive to what the Lord had been saying and she chose to respond in submission and humility to honor the Lord. Unless our hearts are tuned to the Lord and we grow in Him, our acts of service would not be motivated purely by love for Him and joy in glorifying Him.
Giving our all to the Lord: Mary showed her selfless act of love by anointing Jesus with a vial of perfume worth three hundred denari (almost a year’s wages), probably the most precious item she possessed. She gave the very best of what she had in honoring God. It also required her to be humble before the criticism of others - as the disciples were highly critical of the ‘extravagant’ gift. The ultimate declaration of our love for the Lord is in letting go of our pride, fear and sacrificially giving the very best of ourselves to the Lord.
God honors true worship: Mary’s actions were not prompted by a desire for acknowledgment or praise, but from her love for the Saviour. In acknowledging Mary’s profound act of love, Jesus said that, ‘…wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.’ God knows the intentions of our hearts and no matter how little or insignificant we may think our actions are, He honors our true worship by setting it as a example for others to follow.
Mary’s memorable act of love teaches us that the essence of true worship lies in giving the best of our love, adoration and service to the Lord to the extent that we are willing to sacrifice anything and everything we consider precious, even our very lives for Him. ‘But I consider my life of no value to myself, if only I may finish my course and complete the ministry I have received from the Lord Jesus—the ministry of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.’ (Acts 20:24)
Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” – C.T Studd
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