Lenten Devotion

March 31, 2023

All Day

Mark 14:3-9 

3While 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. 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 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. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,

what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 

Is It a Waste?

In this passage the disciples, including Judas, scold the woman for pouring expensive perfume over Jesus, instead of selling it and giving it to the poor. To put in context how valuable that perfume is, verse 5 says it could have been sold for more than a year’s worth of wages. In Switzerland today, that could amount to

CHF 50,000. A lot of money! But in saying that it is a waste, the disciples are implying that Jesus is not worth that much money. Jesus defends the woman and says it is a wonderful thing that she has done for him and that she has done all she could. Jesus is not at all concerned about the waste or the best way to spend money, nor is he discouraging us from helping the poor. He is a champion of the poor. The point of this passage is about worship. The worship of Jesus. Jesus is God incarnate, he is part of the Holy Trinity and he sacrificed himself on the cross for us. He is our Lord and Savior. Jesus is the object of our worship and nothing is too precious to give to him. 

If you look at your life, why do you do what you do for the Lord? Is it to feel gratification when helping others? Is it to feel satisfaction when seeing results of serving him? Sure, it feels great, but it is the wrong motivation for serving the Lord. The true motivation to serve him should be because you love him, because he is worthy of everything you can do and because he gave himself up on the cross for you. If Jesus were a most precious jewel or the treasure hidden in a field, then it would not be considered a waste to sell all you have to buy that jewel or that field. He is worthy for you to devote all you are and all you have to him. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to understand the true meaning of worship and to live by the example of the woman in this passage. Let us remember that no matter how expensive it is, it is never a waste to you. May we act like her and devote all we have and all we are to you, our Lord.  Amen.

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