A beautiful thing

A beautiful thing

But Jesus said, Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. – Mark 14:6


Mark 14:3-9

 3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.

 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked.

 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.

 6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a beautiful thing to me?

 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.

 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.

 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

In November 1922, in the Valley of Kings, Egypt, Howard Carter found a flight of steps cut into the bedrock which led to mud-plastered doorway. On November 26, 1922, Carter made a “tiny breach in the top left-hand corner” of the doorway. He was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place.

Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, “Can you see anything?” Carter replied with the famous words: “Yes, wonderful things!” Carter had, in fact, discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.

On 16 February 1923, Carter opened the sealed doorway and found that it did indeed lead to a burial chamber. For the first time in thirty-five hundred years, the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun was visible to human eyes. The tomb is considered the best preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

Carter had found wonderful things, beautiful things. Many beautiful things and beautiful acts are found in the Scriptures.

Mark 14:3-5

 3 A woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.

 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked.

 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.

The woman is identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus in John 12:3. Mary brought an expensive alabaster jar of perfume. She broke it and poured it on His head. How did the disciples react? They were aghast! They were disgusted! What a frivolous waste of costly resources. They harshly lashed out. Try to visualize what this temper tantrum looked like.

How did the Lord Jesus Christ react to their vicious, undeserved criticism? Did He answer in kind and return evil for evil? Not at all. I imagine He said something like this, “Calm down guys, let Me put this in perspective.” There will always be poor people and you can take care of them whenever you want, but I am not going to be around much longer. Mary is making the most of the time left. He praises her for her actions.

Mark 14:6, 8

 6 She has done a beautiful thing to me.

 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time

The Lord Jesus Christ found Mary’s actions beautiful and wonderful. The Lord Jesus Christ appreciates the beautiful and wonderful things we do because of our love for Him. To some, even our love for Him is a great waste. Nothing much has changed in 2000 years. People still seem to be able to criticize and find fault with just about anything. But what other people think, should in no way affect our choices.

The disciples judged by appearance; but the Lord Jesus Christ judged by motive. Using their criteria, in their assessment, Mary had done a wasteful thing. But the Father’s criteria are entirely different. In His view, she had done a beautiful thing.

In any given moment in time, our giving is informed by our emotional, physical, and material means. Our ability is fluid. The Father judges based upon our ability and motive. Quantity is not part of His equation. Mary did what she was able to do (Mark 14:8).

What made this Mary’s act beautiful? She did it out of pure, innocent love. Gifts given from loving motives make them beautiful in the Father’s sight. Her beautiful heart, made her gift beautiful to the Father.

The woman was responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Did she know why she was anointing Jesus? Did she understand that He was about to die a cruel death? Perhaps. Or maybe she simply acted in faith, not knowing why.

Her act of devotion defied common sense. It was extravagant. It was neither practical nor productive. There was nothing in it for her. She did it for the Lord Jesus Christ. There were no ulterior motives, and she assumed there would be absolutely no payback.

There are two different words for “good” in Greek. One emphasizes on the rightness of the action, the other focuses on its beauty. The second is used here: the woman did not pause to seek moral justification for her action; she simply expressed her devotion to Jesus. Jesus says it was a beautiful thing.

The Greek term translated good or beautiful is kalos. Things which are kalos are intrinsically good, beautiful, or lovely. They are noble, praiseworthy, delightful, fine, precious, or even excellent.

REFLECT & PRAY

When you feel the impulse to do something beautiful for Father, do it. Promptings ignored may result in a thing of beauty being lost forever.

Father may I find beauty in the things that You find beautiful. Remove my callous heart from the equation.

INSIGHT

Sometimes what we give is meager, miserly, and minuscule. Other times we give way beyond our apparent means and ability (2 Corinthians 8:3). Acts of faith and devotion are not about what we desire to be or do. Rather they grow out of who we are and what we are able to do. They do not require moral justification, only affection and love.

Worth is derived not from the material value of the gift, but rather from the motive and the intent of the giver.

Who recognized and valued the Lord Jesus Christ more, the Mary or the disciples? Her extravagant gift demonstrates that she understood the value of the person to Whom it was given. He is worth every cent. Mary’s extravagance demonstrations that “she alone understands Jesus’ incommensurable worth” (Edwards).

Imagine for a moment that the Father has a treasure box. It is filled with objects and acts of love and devotion. They have no real monetary value, but they warm His heart and recall treasured moments. There are lots strange things in His box of valuables: pennies from a widow, myriads of records of wise, self-sacrificial decisions, cups of water, one broken alabaster vase, AVGs (angel vision goggles), bottled tears, blinding scales,  a few shepherd staffs, pictures of prodigals and lost sheep, photos of tear-stained cheeks, bronzed impressions of bended knees, a bronze serpent, a door from the fiery furnace, a breastplate of righteousness, some lion’s teeth, broken tablets, tattered scrolls, a crown of thorns, three spikes, a bloodstained robe, and countless lists of canceled sins.

One thought on “A beautiful thing

  1. If you understand and believe:

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.“

    You owe your very existence to Jesus, the Word of God. Worship of Him is a reflection of your understanding and Faith of your Salvation. Submit yourselves continually as you walk and communicate for guidance from the King of the Universe!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: