I don’t watch the Antiques Roadshow very often but it’s a programme that can draw you in. How much is that worth? I can remember seeing people disappointed when experts have revealed the true value of an item and I can remember a woman lost for words as the very ordinary piece of pottery was valued at thousands of pounds. Apparently, that particular type of pottery was extremely common in the past, so common that no one thought to preserve it so the very few examples that remain are considered priceless. She then said; “perhaps I shouldn’t take it home on the bus then.”
Today we see a very expensive item used up in an extravagant gesture and the person who did it was well aware of its value.
Jesus is in the home of his friends; Mary, Martha and Lazarus, enjoying a meal. As we see from verse 2, people reclined at tables so their feet would have been away from the table, when Mary took ‘an expensive perfume’ (Mark tells us it was worth more than a year’s wages) and poured it over Jesus’ feet. ‘And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.’
This was worship. She took the best thing that she had and spent it for Jesus. Isn’t that what true worship is? To give everything we have for him. It’s easy to sing; ‘Lord with all my heart I worship you’, but it isn’t easy to do.
She attracted criticism, worship always does; you could have done this with it, you should have done that with it. Satan hates worship.
She may have been criticised, but Jesus defended her. We read earlier:
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (4:23)
The Father is actively seeking true worshippers like Mary.
Finally it’s a picture. The perfume wasn’t the only offering, Jesus was there and he was about to offer himself on the cross for us. Mark informs us the jar was broken. Jesus was broken, he poured out his life and fragrance fills the whole universe.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
‘One day a plain village woman driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence disregarding the scorn
And once it was broken and spilled out a fragrance filled all the room
Like a prisoner released from his shackles like a spirit set free from the tomb
Broken and spilled out just for love of you, Jesus
My most precious treasure lavished on thee
Broken and spilled out and poured at your feet
In sweet abandon let me be spilled out And used up for Thee
Lord you were God’s precious treasure his loved and his own perfect Son
Sent here to show me the love of the Father just for love it was done
And though you were perfect and holy you gave up yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon you were used up and wasted for me
Broken and spilled out just for love of me Jesus
God’s most precious treasure lavished on me
Broken and spilled out and poured at my feet
In sweet abandon Lord you were spilled out and used up for me.’