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Sermons and Outlines

Mark 14:1-9


Intro: "A Christian businessman was traveling in Korea. In a field by the side of the road was a young man pulling a rude plow while an old man held the handles. The businessman was amused and took a snapshot of the scene.

"'I suppose these people are very poor,' he said to the missionary who was interpreter and guide to the party.

"'Yes,' was the quiet reply, 'those two men happen to be Christians. When their church was being built, they were eager to give something toward it, but they had no money. So they decided to sell their one and only ox and give the proceeds to the church. This spring they are pulling the plow themselves.'

"The businessman was silent for some moments. Then he said, 'That must have been a real sacrifice.'

"'They did not call it that,' said the missionary. 'They thought themselves fortunate that they had an ox to sell!'

"When that businessman reached home, he took the picture to his pastor and told him all about it. Then he added, 'I want to double my giving to the church and do some plow work. Up until now I have never given God anything that involved real sacrifice.'"

Our text this evening is about that kind of sacrifice. It's about the kind of sacrifice that is supposed to mark the life of every single believer. It is the kind of sacrifice talked about by men like Paul in Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Ill. The Context. Jesus is on His way to Calvary. As He goes, a woman expresses the depths of her love and devotion to Him by a costly sacrifice. Her labor of love is misunderstood by others, but it is commended by the Lord Jesus. In fact, He tells those around Him that she has done all she could do, and that her sacrifice will be remembered and rehearsed forever. In fact, I am fulfilling that prophecy this evening.

I want us to look at this passage for a few minutes this evening, and as we do I want us to consider the thought, She Hath Done What She Could. As we think about the sacrifice she made for the Lord, we need to ask ourselves the question: Have we? Have we done what we could for Him? Have we given all there is to give? Notice three areas where she did what she could. As we do, search your heart and see if you have.

She hath done what she could:


A. She broke a box of ointment and poured it on the head of Jesus. This ointment was valued at 300 pence. A pence was the daily wage of the average worker. Therefore, in modern terms, it was worth about $15,000.00. This spikenard was produced from a rare plant that grew in India. It was very expensive and many people saved for years to be able to provide this for their own funeral preparations. However, this woman, whom we believe to be Mary, John 12, poured it out on the head of the Lord Jesus.

B. Two ancient eastern customs are in here. The first has to do with the breaking of glasses. When a distinguished person ate in a home, often the glass they had used was broken to prevent a lesser person from using it in the future. This may have been in Mary's mind as she broken the box. Another custom had to do with burial rituals. After the body of the deceased had been washed and anointed, the box that had contained the embalming spices was broken and the fragments were buried with

the individual. Perhaps these were in Mary's mind.

However, I like to imagine that she broke the vessel so that she might extract every drop of ointment for use on the Lord Jesus.

C. Regardless of the reason, one thing is clear: Mary gave all she had to Jesus for His glory! I wonder have we broken the alabaster box of our life and poured out ourselves, every drop for Him? This is the thought that occupied the mind of Paul as he faced his own death, 2 Tim. 4:6!

D. We should look at our lives and ask ourselves if we have given everything we have and are to Him. You see, Mary's sacrifice was the ultimate expression of her love and worship of the Lord Jesus. She gave all she had! Have we placed everything we are on the altar for Him? Think about it seriously. What have you given to Him and what have you help back for yourself or for another?

I. In The Area Of Sacrifice


A. Jesus' statement regarding the sacrifice of Mary summed up the depth of her service to Him. He simply said that she had done everything that was in her power. The expression "what she could" refers to all she possessed. There were many things Mary could not do for Jesus, but in anointing Him with that box of costly ointment, she was giving Him all she had. Her service was absolute.

When the critics started wagging their tongues, Jesus told them that what Mary had done was respond to a once in a lifetime opportunity to serve the Lord, v. 7.

B. When the opportunity presented itself, Mary took advantage of it and experienced a once in a lifetime blessing.

C. The implication for us is clear this evening. When the Spirit of God speaks to our hearts, that is the time to step up and serve God. Too often, we miss out on those special moments of service to Jesus when we ignore the impulses and leadership of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Bible warns us to be careful lest we quench the Spirit of God, 1 Thes 5:19.

(Ill. How many times have we ignored the impulses of the Spirit of God and missed opportunities to serve the Lord? Until we reach the place where when He speaks we immediately respond, we will never be doing all we can do for Him. What the Lord is seeking is those people who have surrendered everything they have, everything they are and everything they hope to be to the will of the Lord. He is looking for people who will assume the place of servants before Him. He is looking for those who will merely respond when He speaks to them. He is looking for those about whom He can say, "They have done what they could."

I. The Area Of Sacrifice

II. The Area Of Service


A. In Christ's day, people did not sit at a table to eat their meals. The tables they used were low to the floor, and the people reclined around the table at meal time. Typically, their heads were near the table while their feet were farther away. This would mean that anyone walking up to a person in such a position would be considerably taller than the person at the table. It is, therefore, assumed that Mary would have assumed a kneeling position near Jesus, in order to anoint His head with the ointment.

In this one moment of time, Mary was making a great statement of surrender. By kneeling to Him and anointing Him, she was declaring her faith in Him as the Messiah. She was telling everyone who saw her do what she did that her faith was in the Lord Jesus Christ. She, at that moment, surrendered all to Him!

B. Her act of love and worship also made a big statement concerning Who she believed Jesus to be. You see, there were four classes of people who were anointed those day: Kings (2 Kings 9:3), Priests (Ex. 29:7), Prophets (1 Kings 19:16) and the dead (John 19:39-40; Luke 23:56; Mark 16:1). I believe that by her selfless act, Mary was acknowledging Jesus to be all of those things to her heart.

Certainly, Jesus is all of those things. He is the King of Kings, Rev. 19:16. He is the Great High Priest, Heb. 3:1. He is the Prophet, Matt. 13:31. He was dead, but is alive forevermore, Rev. 1:18. This is what Mary believed about Jesus and she demonstrated her surrender to Him as all those things by her act of love and worship.

C. Mary was more in touch with Who Jesus was and is than were His own disciples. She believed that He was about to die. They did not! Apparently she knew that His body would not available to anoint after death, so she did it ahead of time. No doubt her faith enabled her to see beyond the cross and the tomb to a day when Jesus would rise from the dead and occupy the throne of glory in Heaven. She was absolutely surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.

D. What about you? Are you surrendered to the same level as Mary? Does the life you live show you kneeling before Him as absolute Lord and God? When Mary arrived at that place, truly she had done all that she could do. When we get there, we can go no farther with Jesus. At that point He will everything and we will be nothing. We will find ourselves lost in His glory. Are you there yet, or are there pieces of your life that remain unsurrendered? Just as Mary broke the box of ointment so that every drop mind be extracted, let us break our lives on His altar so that He might extract the very last drop of glory from us. That is the price of surrender!

(Ill. There is a story from the Middle East of four brothers who decided to have a feast. As wine was rather expensive, they concluded that each should bring an equal quantity and add it to the common supply. However, one of the brothers, thinking to escape the expense of such a contribution decided to bring water instead of wine. "It won't be noticed," he reasoned.

But at the feast when the wine was poured out it wasn't wine at all. It was only water. Each of the four brothers had thought alike, "Let the others do it. Water is less expensive."

And you thought the aversion to serving others was a 20th century North American disease! No, anywhere you go in the world, you'll find that everybody loves a servant but nobody wants to be one.)

Conc: She hath done what she could! I wonder if Jesus would be able to say the same thing about my life? Would He be able to say it about yours?

Ill. William and Mary Tanner were crossing a railroad track some years ago when Mary's foot slipped and became wedged between the rail and a wooden crosswalk. Frantically she tried to get loose as a train approached around the curve. Her husband desperately attempted to free her. As the express came closer with its brakes screeching, Mary realized it couldn't stop in time. "Leave me, Bill! Leave me!" she cried. Seeing his efforts were useless, he arose quickly and held her in his arms to protect her as much as possible. While bystanders shuddered in horror, the train thundered over them. It was reported that just before the engine hit them, they heard the brave man cry, "I'll stay with you, Mary!"

Although this man was unable to save his wife, his devotion never faltered, and in this sense it is a graphic picture of level of sacrifice Jesus expects from us. She hath done what she could. Have we?

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