March 01, 2014

"In Memory of Her"

Mark 14:1-9

“Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
—Mark 14:9


Along the road he traveled to the cross, Jesus met a woman who did “a beautiful thing.” Her anointing of Jesus was so im-portant that he said her story would be proclaimed “through-out the world.” We aren’t told her name, but her actions do become famous.

Not everyone liked what she did, however. “Why this waste of perfume?” they exclaimed. Why pour over the head of Jesus a costly jar of ointment so that it is gone in a minute? They were convinced that this affectionate gift was misdirected. The per-fume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

But Jesus said the woman did a remarkable feat. She perceived what no one else had imagined: the Messiah would soon suffer and she used the perfume to prepare him for burial.

This unnamed woman might well be Mary of Bethany (see John 11-12). Perhaps instead of using this burial ointment on her brother Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from death, she lavished the perfume on Jesus in an act of intense thanksgiving. In the process, she prepared Jesus for his burial.

Today we sometimes pull up our noses at acts of religious affection, pious prayers, and emotional outbursts of praise. But Jesus calls every action of extravagant sacrifice “a beautiful thing.” So pour out your affection on Jesus and offer him your stored-up treasures. Give him your heart and life!

Lord, you are worth more than all my love and devotion. May my life be in tune with all you have done for me. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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