Last night a lady shared with me a story about how God had answered a life-long prayer in her life. It was a great story about God’s grace, providence, and timing, but it was an even greater story of the intimate, lasting relationship that God had established with her in the midst of some of the most difficult challenges of her life. As she shared with me, she was moved to tears. And, I wasn’t far behind her as she said, “You know God is a sovereign and great God, but he is also our loving Father and best friend who is there when we need him the most. I will give my whole life to him because I know it is safe and secure.”
This story was on the forefront of my mind as I read Mark 14 this morning. I couldn’t help but think about the intimate relationships that Jesus lovingly forms with those in his inner circle. His friends have full access to him while experiencing and enjoying the warmth of his heart as it is given fully to them. Mark illustrates this reality beautifully with the story of Mary’s worship of Jesus.
While Jesus reclined at the table with his disciples after a banquet thrown in his honor by Simon the leper, Mary (John 12:3) walked in with a small alabaster jar filled of costly perfume, broke the jar, and poured its contents on Jesus head. Some of the disciples reacted angrily as the aroma of the perfumed filled the room. Most likely Judas, speaking for the group (John 12:4), said, “Why was this ointment wasted…it could have been sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor.” But Jesus rebuked him and them saying, “Leave her alone.”
Bold Worship and Devotion
Mary took bold action. She entered a room full of men, and she broke an incredibly expensive jar of perfume so she could poor it on the head of Jesus. I have long admired this act as an act of sacrificial worship. Mary had no regard for herself nor her possessions in this instance. She brought it all before Jesus and gave it to him! This is an expression of her heart before her Savior. She gave her most expensive and prized possession to him in worship because she had already given him her entire being. Giving the perfume to honor him was a natural consequence of her heart’s devotion. Everyone present was touched by her worship.
Jesus’ Intimate Love
When Mary engaged in this extravagant worship, Jesus warmly and lovingly accepted her, an acceptance that is proven by the promise he made about her — “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (14:9). As I’ve already stated, Mary offered this worship to Jesus because she had given herself fully to him. But, the opportunity to give herself fully to him would not have been possible had Jesus not, first, lovingly given himself to her and entered into an intimate relationship with her by his own will and pleasure. Jesus gave himself to her; therefore, she could give herself to him. John says it in this way, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).