I was worried Pastor Kurt Gebhards would take a break from preaching on the Gospel of Mark because in Mark we are right at the Easter story and of course we are in the Christmas season now. But as he explained today "Christmas has no meaning without Easter. Jesus came to die." Here are my notes from today's sermon.
Mark 14:1-9 14 Now the Passover and
the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests
and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill
him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or
the people may riot.”
he was in Bethany,
reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an
alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar
and poured the perfume on his head.
of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of
perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s
wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you
will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you
will not always have me. 8 She did what she
could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.
9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached
throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
The Passover and the feast of the unleavened bread is when the Passover lamb
is brought into Jerusalem
was the Passover lamb and had
come to Jerusalem
We only know of three times in his three year ministry that He came to the
city. The chief priests would never arrest Him in His own territory; only on
their turf. He
came to them
had a plot. But God
had a plan
! He planned it! Jesus told them over and over and over again,
“I am going to Jerusalem
to die.” God was never caught off guard. He never will be! He planned this for
Himself. For God’s Glory. And for us.
Jesus liked to stay in Bethany
when He came
He had good friends there. Simon the Leper was no longer a leper because Jesus
had cleansed him. The woman with the perfume was Mary, the sister of Martha and
Lazarus. The Lazarus that Jesus had very recently brought back from the dead.
Perfume in those days was extremely
expensive. They didn’t readily have a way to store their wealth back then so
they would store it in their stuff. And perfumed oil was one way to do that.
This was 12oz. of very potent and precious perfume in an elaborate alabaster
vial. The oil could have been sold for a year’s wage. (Today $30,000.00 to
$40,000.00) And the vial maybe another $1000.00. Mary broke
the vial! She didn’t have to. She could have poured it out.
But she wanted to show expressive, unlimited worship because He was worth it!
In Mark it says she poured it on His head. In the John account it says she
also poured it on His feet and rubbed it in with her hair. This would have been
scandalous! But she didn’t care because she had an audience of One! He wasn’t
just worth a lot – He was worthy of everything!
1 Peter 2:7 Now to you who
believe, this stone is precious.
Some of the people there thought it was a waste and they
scolded her saying the money could have been given to the poor. They still
didn’t get it. But Jesus was so patient with them when He explained she did it
for His burial.
There was nothing wrong in them saying they should help the
poor. But this wasn’t the priority here. There shouldn’t be a list of
priorities in our lives, like: God first, family second, etc. There is only 1
priority and it’s God!
He was telling them He would only be with them for a little
while more. He tells us we will only have so long to accept Him. We are only on
this earth for a short time and then it will be too late.
When we do help the poor we must always share the Gospel
too. We should help take care of their physical needs, but more importantly
their spiritual needs. God wants His children to come home to Him above all
In verse six Jesus said Mary had done a good thing TO Him.
Not for Him. For Him is extending a cup of water to the thirsty, or paying a
tithe. To Him is fellowship with Him,
worship of Him, friendship!
Why was Mary aware that He was going to die so soon and the
disciples weren’t? Remember the story of Mary and Martha where Mary didn’t help
Martha because she was sitting at Jesus’ feet? Mary loved listening to Jesus.
She had a relationship with Him. And she worshiped Him lavishly because of it.
If your worship is dim it’s because your relationship is weak.
This act was so precious to Jesus because that whole week He
knew exactly what was going to take place and the disciples kept dismissing it.
Brushing it aside like it wouldn’t happen. But Mary got it. She shared in His
suffering. You know this week is called Passion Week because of the intense
pain and suffering Jesus went through. Not only on the cross but leading up to
Jesus told the others that wherever the Gospel was preached
in the world the story of Mary and her vial of perfume would be told. Why?
Because this story illustrates the power of God to change us. Mary was changed.
She didn’t need a safety net. And she didn’t hold anything back.
Labels: Christmas, Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Passion week