Mark 14:3 – And while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over His head.
In John 11, we see the woman is Mary, the sister to Martha and Lazarus. This moment in history seems to be lost in our hearts and minds. We must look deeper into the context of this act to see the type of servant Mary is. Mary entered into a room filled by men reclined to eat. Immediately, she had the attention of the room as her entrance goes against the cultural standard of the time. Mary makes her way to Jesus with a jar of very expensive oil. In fact, the oil originates in India and imported to the house of Mary. Needless to say, what was in Mary’s hands has great value. In today’s economy, the jar is equivalent to $50,000. The jar was estimated to cost over 300 denarii. A denarius was day’s wage for a common laborer thus equaling a year’s wage. We see Mary takes the $50,000 bottle of oil and pours it on Jesus – His head and feet. She then begins to dry Him with her hair. Jesus tells all those in the room that Mary’s act will always be remembered as part of the preparation for Jesus’ death.
Mary is a surrendered servant. She is willing to give Jesus her most valued possession because she recognizes who He is and what He is about to do. It has been apparent through the Gospels that Mary is contemplative and listens when someone is speaking to her. When her sister Martha is busy preparing the meal, Mary is at the feet of Jesus hanging on to His every word. When Lazarus dies, Mary remains in the house with the mourners as Martha jumps into action to go meet Jesus on the outskirts of town. Mary is one who feels, notices and is thoughtful about where she is and who she is around. It should not be surprising that she serves Christ in such a beautiful and humble way. Mark tells us Mary breaks the flask and pours it on Jesus. She does not pour a portion of the ointment on Jesus; she pours the whole jar showing she is willing to give everything. Nothing is held back as she worships Jesus. She is fully surrendered to Him. Everything she has she offers to Him as an act of worship. She is our example of surrendered servant.
We must ask ourselves the question: what kind of servant are we? Are we willing to give everything of ourselves in worship to Jesus? Or are we the kind of worshipper who wants to keep some for ourselves? What kind of servant will you be today?