Jesus was in Bethany. He was eating in the house of Simon the leper. While Jesus was there a woman came to him. The woman had an alabaster jar filled with very expensive perfume. This perfume was made of pure nard. The woman opened the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head.
— Mark 14:3
Mark moves us from a scene of some of the worst of human motivations against Jesus (verses 1-2) to this scene—one of the most precious stories of love and appreciation for Jesus we find in the Gospels. This woman's expensive sacrifice prepares both Jesus and us for his sacrifice which lies ahead.
O Father, may my life be a fragrant sacrifice of praise to you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
It was now only two days before the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and teachers of the law were trying to find a way to arrest Jesus without the people seeing it. Then they could kill him. They said, "But we cannot arrest Jesus during the festival. We don't want the people to become angry and cause a riot." Jesus was in Bethany. He was eating in the house of Simon the leper. While Jesus was there a woman came to him. The woman had an alabaster jar filled with very expensive perfume. This perfume was made of pure nard. The woman opened the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. Some of the followers there saw this. They became upset and complained to each other. They said, "Why waste that perfume? That perfume was worth a full year's work. It could be sold and the money could be given to poor people." And they criticized the woman strongly. Jesus said, "Don't bother the woman. Why are you troubling her? She did a very good thing for me. You will always have poor people with you. You can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. This woman did the only thing she could do for me. She poured perfume on my body. She did this before I die to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth. The Good News will be told to people in all the world. And in every place where the Good News is told, the story of what this woman did will also be told. The thing she has done will be told and people will remember her." Then one of the twelve apostles went to talk to the leading priests. This was the follower named Judas Iscariot. Judas wanted to give Jesus to them. The leading priests were very happy about this. They promised to pay Judas for doing this. So Judas waited for the best time to give Jesus to them.
Related Scripture Readings
So brothers and sisters, I beg you to do something. God has shown us great mercy. So offer your lives as a living sacrifice to God. Your offering must be only for God and will be pleasing to him. This offering of yourselves is the spiritual way for you to worship (serve) God. Don't change yourselves to be like the people of this world. But let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what things are good and pleasing to God and what things are perfect.
So through Jesus we should never stop offering our sacrifice to God. That sacrifice is our praise, coming from lips that speak his name. And don't forget to do good for other people. And share with other people. These are the sacrifices that please God.
In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. Christ was equal with God. But Christ did not think that being equal with God was something that he must keep. He gave up his place with God and agreed to be like a servant. He was born to be a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself by being fully obedient to God. He obeyed even when that caused him to die. And he died on a cross. Christ obeyed God, so God raised Christ to the most important place. God made the name of Christ greater than every other name. God did this because he wants every person to bow for the name of Jesus. Every person in heaven, on the earth, and under the earth will bow. Every person will confess (say), "Jesus Christ is Lord (Master)." When they say this, it will bring glory to God the Father.