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An Extravagant Love


Mark 14:1-11.

In this passage we find the story of what we call, “the Alabaster Jar.”

Now what you are going to find in this story is that some people couldn’t appreciate the gift for counting the cost.

As you look at verses 1 and 2 you find that it was a dangerous time for Jesus.

But it wasn’t up to them.

Now in verse 3, as Jesus’ day of crucifixion approaches, Jesus is in the little town of Bethany, which is just outside of Jerusalem.

John’s account, found in John chapter 12, says that Lazarus was also there.

But any way, while they are reclining at the table, Mark says, “a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard” came in.

Now why would she do that?

So what she does is she takes this “jar of perfume.”

She takes the most expensive…most precious thing she owned.

And look at the reaction of some who saw her do this. Look at verse 4.

But some were indignantly {remarking} to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted?

 For some, what she did was too much! It was too extravagant!

Well, they may have been able to do that…but not Mary.

Mary had no limits on how much she loved Jesus.

But not this woman.

And so, some of those who were present began to rebuke her indignantly.

“Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.”

Isn’t that amazing?

Today we see this manifested in a little bit different way.

Or a man quits his high paying job with all these wonderful benefits…in order to be able to attend church…or do more work for Christ…or to better fulfill his God given responsibilities to his wife and kids…and people say, “What a waste.”

John says that Judas is the one who actually spoke these words recorded here in Mark. .

But let’s not be too hard on Judas.

And you know what this tells me?

And they didn’t pay attention when the widow with the two coins put all she had in the treasury.

But you see, just like so many, those teachings of Jesus were just a couple of more sermons that went in one ear and out the other.

And so, they turn on the one person in the room who had understood what Jesus was saying.

And  it happens today.

 And let me tell you, we do this in reference to other congregations.

And do you know what I think Jesus would say to us when we do that?

Let me tell you what I have seen.

Realize this…in scripture Jesus speaks more against insincere, going through the motions, uncommitted, lukewarm, love and devotion than He ever does against what we might consider an extravagant expression of love.

Let me ask you this.

Let me tell you something…there are enough darts being shot at us from the enemy that you shouldn’t have to worry about getting shot at from the back.

Jesus says, “Leave her alone.” Why are you bothering her.?” She has done a good deed to Me.”

Verse 7: He says, “For the poor you always have with you, and whenever you wish, you can do them good; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.”

In this verse you find another reason why Mary poured this costly perfume on Jesus’ head.

But not Mary.

Maybe we ought to do more of that today. Express our love before they die.

Now look at what Jesus says in verse 9.

“And truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, that also which this woman has done shall be spoken of in memory of her.”

 Notice this. He says the “gospel” is going to be preached.

So the “gospel”…the “good news of Jesus” would be preached to the whole world…

Why? Why would what Mary did here be spoken of too?

Because when you preach the gospel you call people to love Christ.

Now look at verses 10-11.

In these verses Judas goes to the chief priests and betrays Christ.

And I think the point is clear.

Mary loved Jesus because He raised her brother from the dead.

You know He has done more than that for us…He has saved us from our sins.

And, when Jesus died on that cross…wouldn’t you say that was an extravagant act of love?

Let’s be careful about criticizing others.