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March 28, 33 AD.
Jesus reclines on a thin mat around a low table in the home of a leper named Simon who lives in Bethany, a small village on the south side of the Mount of Olives.
Jesus reclines with Simon and other guests, including Lazarus.
The Lazarus who not too long ago lay dead three days in a tomb.
The Lazarus who, but for the voice of Jesus, would still be in the tomb.
One Reckless, but Beautiful Act of Worship
Lazarus’ sister Martha is serving food. The men talk. Lazarus’ other sister, Mary, enters. She’s carrying a jar of expensive funeral perfume. Perfume she bought for her own burial.
She breaks the jar and pours it on Jesus’ feet. She then pours it on Jesus’ head. She then lets her hair down in front of men she’s not married to and wipes Jesus’ feet with it.
The fragrance overwhelms the aroma of food. Everyone quiets, except one man.
One Ugly Rebuke
Judas stands and scolds Mary for her reckless act. He says the perfume could’ve been sold and the money given to the poor. , “Leave her alone…why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
And then Jesus promises that her one reckless act of worship will be remembered anytime the gospel is preached. Why?
Her dramatic act demonstrated–beyond words–her love, devotion and loyalty to Jesus. A man who not only raised her brother from the dead, but a man who was willing to lose his own life for the sake of others. Like you.
Your Own Risky, but Calculated Acts of Worship
So, the question is, what are you willing to risk for Jesus that he might describe as beautiful?
1. Give away your life savings?
2. Neglect your own burial?
3. Appear ridiculous in public?
4. Offend your spouse?
5. Tarnish your reputation?
Mary’s act was an act of worship. A symbol of her deep loyalty to Jesus. And a costly way to show gratitude for raising her brother Lazarus from the dead.
But Jesus described it as beautiful.
Something to Keep in Mind
She did what she could. She gave what she had. Not what she didn’t have.
So you don’t have to mourn what you don’t have. Rejoice in what you do have. And give recklessly. . The tangible and the intangible.
And when you’ve decided before the Lord what you can give to him as an act of worship, don’t wait. Do it now.
Risk it all so that he may one day say, “What you did was beautiful.” His is the only affirmation you should ever care about.
**Part of The Messiah: Eleven Meditations from the Book of Mark series.** You can start reading a PDF version of right now.