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Read Mark 14:3-11

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Go Deeper.

Today’s Holy Week passage give us an account of what true, unhindered worship looks like. In Middle Eastern homes during Jesus’s life, meals were typically eaten on low tables and guests sat on the floor. While Jesus, the Son of God, could be in the homes of kings and queens, He chooses to lounge in the homes of outcasts. Simon was a Leper, a social reject because of his illness. Earlier in the Gospel accounts, Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). This passage is a perfect example of how Christ lives this out; He draws near to us in our sin. Not only does Christ love us in His preaching, teaching, and instruction, but also in fellowship.

While the passage from Mark does not name the woman with the nard, John’s account of the story identifies her as Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha. As readers in the 21st century, it is easy to detach ourselves from the time period of the story, but the kind of love Mary embodies is timeless. Pure nard was extremely expensive (costing a year’s wages) and was often passed down in a family as an heirloom. Mary’s use of this luxury was reckless, or at least the disciples thought so. Nard came in a sealed jar, and the bottle had to be broken in order to be used. It was an “all in” type of item. This reflects our walk with Jesus. Just as Mary gives everything she has to Jesus, so too are we, as Christians, to let our whole lives be guided by a strong desire to love God more.

The disciples respond harshly to Mary’s loving act, but Jesus defends her. Loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind is the first and greatest commandment, and Mary does just that. Unlike the disciples, Mary understood that her resources weren’t meant for her but for her God. Our time, money, and relationships are all parts of our lives that we can use to either serve God or ourselves. Let’s answer these questions to further our understanding of how to live more like Mary, with a rich love for Jesus.

  1. Is there anyone in your life that you think loves Jesus like Mary? How can you encourage them today?

  2. Do you make time to “recline” with Jesus? How can you intentionally rest with the Lord this week?

  3. What in your life do you need to shift your perspective on in light of Jesus?
Did You Know?

When the text refers to a year’s wages, it actually comes out to around 300 days worth of work because they didn’t count Sabbaths and feast days! 

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7 thoughts on “Wednesday”

  1. I don’t want to miss the beauty of this story as it displays what complete devotion looks like. Mary gets it! Judas, the indignant one, does not. Reading this passage before, my focus would have been on Judas and his impending betrayal of Jesus. But not today, I will camp in the costly adoration of Mary and seek to let her example ignite expressions of love and kindness for others, even if it is misunderstood. I will love anyway.

  2. Feet.
    I did foot reflexology for 15ish years. I do not have a foot fetish but feet are very important. If your feet hurt, you pretty much hurt all over. Using oils on feet help the body, it is one of the most absorbable ways to encourage healing. Essentials oils have been used through the ages so in my mind for Mary to anoint Jesus’s feet was so beautiful. I have read up on Nard and there are a vareity of ideas of what oil it might be. The Word of God says it was expensive and very vaulable. In Biblical days their feet were again important due to it being their primary for of transportation. Jesus washed his disiples feet as a act of Love. Then in Iasiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Jesus’s feet were so very important and Mary might not of “known” how much so or maybe she did?

    Thank You God for feet that brought us to You. God help us to be good disiples and “wash” each others feet. God I am so thankful for Your Word and the beauty weaved through it. God continue to open the eyes of my understanding to be enlightened to You!!! God thank You for eyes to see Your people and love them. Thank You for ears to hear You and say only what is needed. Thank You for a mind to renew to Your Word, to get rid of those worldly thoughts. God thank You forYour Son. Thank You for the minutes of this day remembering what Jesus accomplised for me and to dwell on these things in Jesus name amen.

    1. I found this about John 12:3 and thought it was powerful.
      Nard was a pretty popular perfume in Bible days, in both the Old and New Testament. The scent was powerful, it would permeate the entire house, as in this case. And the oil, when applied to the skin or hair, would cling and give off its aroma for many days. It was used in preparation for burial, as Jesus will mention in a few verses. And one commentator spoke about the scent lingering on Jesus’s body as he was arrested, beaten and crucified. With every breath, Jesus could remember Mary’s sacrifice for him as he was being sacrificed for her sins and the sins of the rest of the world. It was the most valuable thing she had. And Jesus was worth it.

      Read more at:

  3. Absolutely beautiful Ella!
    I too, have focused on Mary and her devotion in this story and bypassed Judas…what a difference between them both!
    I pray I can continue to remember the extravagant love Jesus gave us and in return give Him my all.

  4. Wonderful insights! Thank you you all!

    7 “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”

    For me, this has always been such a challenging verse. It can be used to rationalize complacency to the needs of the world around us. But Jesus seems to instead be emphasizing the importance of abiding in His presence. That’s the most important thing I can do.

  5. Diane Frances Rogers

    Question Answers:
    1. My older sister always told me that I lived life in a Jesus bubble. I’ll take that.
    2. Reclining with Jesus’ where there is no judgement, no pressure, just trust, beauty and peace. I rest there every day.
    3. My perspective of people and their motives. I need to lead with grace.

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