Broken and Spilled Out
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.”Mark 14:3-7 (ESV)
From other scripture, this woman is identified as Mary the sister of Lazarus and a fervent follower of Christ. Her passionate love for Jesus is clearly seen throughout the Gospels. She demonstrated the measure of her love through the selfless act of pouring ointment over Jesus valued at the price it would take for a common man to earn in a year. This act also showed obedience to the Holy Spirit because this was a picture of the death and burial of Christ.
Jesus rebuked those who showed disdain for Mary’s act, reminding them that the poor would always be there. But that He, the promised Messiah, the Holy One of God in the flesh, would be with them but for a short time. Jesus also declared that what Mary had done would be spoken as a memorial of her throughout the world. This statement demonstrates the significance of her love for Jesus and obedience to God.
That alabaster flask was known for its ability to keep the expensive fragrant oil fresh and needed to be broken for the contents to be poured out. What Mary did is a perfect picture of what God has done for us. Just as the precious ointment was spilled out on Jesus because of love, so too was the precious blood of Jesus spilled out from his broken body on the cross for all mankind. What Mary did is a symbol of God’s act of love for the remission of our sins. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are proof of God’s love for us.
This week, let us think about the tremendous love of God and the willing sacrifice of Jesus. Does that act of love break through our hearts and cause us to see our need for Jesus? And if we say we love Jesus, are we willing to have our hearts broken and spilled out with love and devotion to God?