Snippet: She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her. (Mark 14:8-9)
The chief priests and elders are done with Jesus. They can’t discredit him publicly, so now they must scheme how to take him down privately. Their pride is exposed, clear as day as they move in the dark. They don’t care about the Messiah, they care about the status quo. Power. Privilege. Eliminate the threat at all costs.
Meanwhile, Jesus is at a home in Bethany reclining at the table when an unnamed woman comes and pours a full bottle of expensive oil over his head. Like, we’re talking a full years wages expensive, and just like that she broke the flask and let it flow. Jesus’ disciples were enraged, especially Judas, at how wasteful she was. However, Jesus is quick to come to her defense because she alone recognized his value and acted appropriately. Her boldness to go against cultural norms and “overstep her bounds” as a woman was just the kind of courage that Jesus loves to see in his people. She alone understood and believed Jesus’ prophecy that he will be killed and buried, and so she was anointing his body beforehand.
This was the final straw for Judas. He had walked with Jesus for the past three years, but now he’s out. Not “out” like he’s just walking away, but out like he will approach the chief priests and offer his services for his betrayal. Did Judas always feel skeptical about Jesus, and now it hit a fever pitch? Was he always faking it? Or did he have a dramatic change of heart in the last couple days? We’ll never know, but either way we do know he’ll go on to regret it.
How do you measure the worth of Jesus? This middle of week episode shows all different ways, but only one is worthy of emulation. You might say he is of no worth, like the chief priests did, and feel like everything will be better off without him. If Jesus was removed totally from your life today, tomorrow would look no different.
Or you might say he is of some worth, like his disciples did at the time. Maybe a drop of oil would have been acceptable, even two, but not the whole bottle. That’s too much. Everything in moderation, right? Including our faith. Don’t get too crazy or out of hand. Keep some other things on the backburner.
Or, prayerfully, you see from the woman’s example that Jesus is of sacrificial worth. Give your all to him, because he gave his all for you. He became poor, so that by his poverty we may become rich (2 Cor 8:9). He is worthy of all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind. Nothing else in this world can handle the weight of glory upon them, so hold nothing back. Break the flask.
Questions to consider:
What would change about your life if Jesus was totally removed from it tomorrow? What would look different from today?
How can you follow the unnamed woman’s example in your own life? What does it look like to be sacrificially devoted to Jesus in this season of your life?
Heavenly father, we give you all the praise and glory for choosing to hold nothing back, even your eternal Son, for us. We pray for the grace to see you for who you really are, and that we would be willing to sacrifice our comfort and security for your name’s sake. Grant us the courage to follow the example of the unnamed woman in this story, who showed the kind of humility and boldness that glorify your name.