A Special Love-Gift, A Special Word of Praise
Text: Matthew 26 : 1 - 30
Jesus fully understood what Mary did. He understood her silence. He comprehended her tears. He appreciated the anointing that she had done. Of all the disciples that Jesus had taught, it seemed as if only Mary fathomed the significance of His words about His suffering and death.
While the men no longer questioned and resisted what Jesus said about His suffering and death, they never did speak much about it either. They too felt a sense of sorrow that soon their beloved Teacher would die, but they did not seem to dwell on it as Mary did. Their criticism of Mary is proof of the fact that they did not seem to have felt as she did!
Mary had given Jesus a very special and costly gift. Mark, John and Matthew noted the cost of this gift! This might have been the single most costly gift anyone ever gave to Jesus, and thus it drew both the attention and ire of the disciples! Jesus, who knew all hearts, understood what Mary did. In His own special way, He gave her a special word of praise. Her act of devotion and love would be immortalized! Let us ponder what Jesus said,
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached
in the whole world, what this woman had done will also be told
as a memorial to her.”
Let us take time to think over carefully what Jesus meant when He said these words! These words may be said to be greater than the gracious words that Jesus spoke to the centurion in praise of his excellent faith (Cf. Matthew 8:5-13). Whereas the centurion was praised for his faith, Mary was praised for her love (her faith is assumed).
IN PRAISE OF LOVE
What is the deepest response that a believer could muster as he ponders what Jesus means to him? Surely, it must be nothing less than LOVE for Jesus!
1. Love Enjoined in the Scriptures
It was Moses who taught Israel that the most desired response the nation could give to the Lord was love.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Surely, this was what Mary was displaying as she anointed Jesus with her costly gift of spikenard. She had learned to love Jesus with all her heart, with all her soul and with all her strength.
2. Love Displayed by King David
No one would dispute the love that David had for the Lord. This love was expressed in many of the psalms he wrote. Openly he expressed his love for the Lord.
“I will love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
These were not just beautiful and appropriate lyrics written as part of his composition of a psalm. These were words of tender and deep love that David sustained in his heart for the Lord!
The most outstanding expression of David’s love was seen in the way he made provision for the Temple of the Lord. To his court, David declared,
“Now for the house of my God I have prepared
with all my might… gold… silver… bronze…
Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house
of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over
and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,
my own special treasure of gold and silver.”
1 CHRONICLES 29:2, 3
3. “She has done a good work for Me…”
How many good works had been done for Jesus? How many had appreciated Him as He deserved? Jesus had never asked that anybody do anything for Him, but He certainly appreciated what was done for Him, when it was motivated by a heart of deep love.
a) The symbolic breaking of the flask
The synoptist Mark made this note in his account of this anointing of Jesus.
“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper,
as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster
flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask
and poured it on His head.”
This was Mary’s way of saying that she would never use the flask again. She would not keep spikenard in that flask ever again. Such was her depth of love for Jesus!
b) “Very costly oil of spikenard” (Mark 14:3; cf.Matthew 26:7; John 12:3)
Only a person who loved as deeply as Mary could have thought nothing of the cost of her gift to her beloved Teacher. No gift was too costly for Jesus! This was love!