I want to invite you to go with me to a party.
I’m serious. I want you to dress up “all fancy and everthang” (As they say here in the south) and come with me to a very exclusive and invitation only event. You do not even need to arrange for a sitter even though the party is all the way over in a place called Bethany. We can attend right here through the power of Internet blogging! Technology is wonderful isn’t it?
I want to invite you to walk up to the house with me. The evening is late, the night is dark and the house stands out like a brilliant twinkling star with the garden torches lit and the aroma that is passing through the windows tells us that this truly is going to be a massive feast! Even now as we make our way up the steps we can hear the loud hum of conversations and laughter erupt from stories and animated recollections of past events.
In Mark 14 we find ourselves at a party that is comprised mainly of celebrities so to speak. We are about to witness something more fantastic than most of the guests in attendance and more amazing than any culinary delight you will find here.
We are going to see someone who was treated like a coat rack.
We are going to see someone treated like a coat rack?
We are at a party of biblical celebrities and we are looking for someone who is going to be treated like a coat rack?
Well, we actually are going to see someone that treated Jesus like a coat rack of sorts.
What we are actually going to see is an amazing display of…BELIEF.
Belief. We are going to see a level of belief that makes The Holy God of the universe clothed in the flesh of humanity of Jesus Christ stop everything and make a memorial.
Who has this level of belief?
A fantastically charismatic religious leader? An apostle no doubt?
Not even close. This belief comes from a lady who did all that she could.
“It was a belief that was deeper than a just a mental ascent that Jesus is who He says He is but rather it is a belief that hangs everything on Him”
“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” ~Mark 14:3-9
We know through this account as well as three other accounts the names of a few of those who attended the party.
SIMON THE LEPER: He had leprosy at one point in time. At one time he had not been allowed to own a house let alone be in the company of guests who were not card carrying members of the “L.L.C”. (Local Leper Colony)
LAZARUS: This guy was the original Tomb Raider. This guy had been dead! He was no doubt even at that moment wearing a “I spent the night in a tomb” t-shirt! He was four days deep in dead, and now here he is sitting at the end of the table cracking jokes about trying to return grave clothes because they were “too restricting.”
THE DISCIPLES: These were Jesus’s followers. They each had their own unique relationship with the master. One common denominator that they all had was that they all chose to respond to the call to follow the man from Nazareth. God in the flesh.
Jesus: Peace. God the creator’s expression of love to a broken creation.
Mary: This woman became the guest of honor because of a seemingly simple act. The act was a demonstration of a belief that went deeper than a mental ascent that Jesus was who He said He was, but rather a belief that hung everything on Him.
She displayed that belief by anointing Jesus.
I truly believe this woman to be Mary the Sister of Lazarus.
“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then 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. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This 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. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.” ~ John 12:1-8
The oil was supposed to, by custom, have gone to her brother Lazarus at his death. It was the responsibility of the next of kin to anoint the body of their loved ones. At the tomb it was Mary who protested the stone being rolled away because after only four days the body stunk. Why would the body smell after only four days if it had been prepared the way it was supposed to be? She had a choice to make when Lazarus died. Give my best to Lazarus, or save it for Jesus. She had heard Him teach.
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.” ~Luke 10:38-39
She had heard his talk of crucifixion. She anointed Him because she knew that Her Lord would be crucified. She caught what so many others had missed. When they talked of Him rebuilding a temple in three days she knew He was referring to His death. She chose to save her best for the Lord.
She hung everything on Him.
If it is impossible to please God without faith, then how have you pleased Him today?
What have you done today that required faith to do?
Mary was willing to hang her life, reputation and her security of Christ and the fact that He was who He said He was.
I guess the long and short of it is the reality that my life is so very small in the big picture. It is a vapor, just a breath. What better way to show God that He is the most important one and that I believe that He is who He says He is than to say:
“Father Here is my life, live yours out through mine. Take my box of alabaster. Soft and breakable and reserved just for you. Just a scent of perfume that lingers for a moment before being swept away by the evening air, let the vapor of my life surrender itself to you.”
Is your belief a mental ascent that Jesus died on the cross, or is it a belief that goes beyond that. Does it resemble a surrendered and trusting cry to hang everything on Him for whom He said He was and is?
She was memorialized because she did what she could.
Climbing with you,