This verse-by-verse study of Mark 14:1-11 was taught by Pastor Barry Forder at our family service on 11th November 2018.
In this study, we consider one of the most important acts of worship recorded, as Mary (sister of Martha and Lazarus) poured some very expensive perfume over Jesus. Why is this so important?
Because it teaches us just how valuable worship is in God’s eyes. To worship God is greater than your most valuable and treasured possession. When you worship it breaks chains of oppression, it causes principalities and powers to bow. It conquers fear and comforts grief. It destroys doubt and invites God’s very presence into your midst. It banishes sin and crushes iniquity, it replaces sorrow with joy and lifts us to the very throne of God!
Whether Mary understood the significance of what she was doing we cannot say, but clearly, Jesus saw this as an anointing in preparation for His burial. A body would not normally be anointed before the death of the person, but this just goes to emphasise that, at this stage, Jesus was ‘as dead’ in as much as there was no way He was backing out now. He had come to do His Father’s will, and he would not fall at the last hurdle.
In both Matthew’s and Mark’s account, Jesus states:“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her”. (Matt 26:13) Mary thus becomes an example of the way we should worship Jesus – i.e. without reservation. Yet that is not what common sense tells us, and to pour out the equivalent of £30,000 worth of perfume just seems an extravagant waste! No wonder the disciples murmured!
Yet, as Oswald Chambers comments:
- Faith in active opposition to common sense is mistaken enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness, and common sense in opposition to faith demonstrates a mistaken reliance on reason as the basis for truth.
- Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense
- Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test of your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do?
- We tend to say, “Yes, but— suppose I do obey God in this matter, what about…?” Or we say, “Yes, I will obey God if what He asks of me doesn’t go against my common sense, but don’t ask me to take a step in the dark.”
- Jesus Christ demands the same unrestrained, adventurous spirit in those who have placed their trust in Him that the natural man exhibits. If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says
Whilst giving to the poor is not discouraged by these verses – indeed we are told: “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble” (Psalm 41:1) – and throughout the ages Christian institutions have certainly led the way in this area, we must take note that we will not ‘make poverty history’ all the time the world system is as it is. Only when Jesus is on the throne will we see true social justice. Satan would like nothing more than to sidetrack Christians by getting them on-board the social bandwagon, tackling the world’s problems. We have a much more pressing social problem to fight: the sin that resides in every human heart, for which the only remedy is Jesus Christ. We must recognise our calling to preach the Word, teach all nations, in all seasons, for what is the point of a socially perfect world, with poverty eradicated, if the fate of all the inhabitants is an eternity separated from God?
May you be blessed and challenged to worship Him in Spirit and Truth through this study.