Notes On Mark’s Gospel (114)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

The Sweet Smell of Worship
(Chapter 14 V 1-11)

The planning and scheming of evil continues (vv1-2). But of course nothing must interfere with their fair show of religion (v2). You can murder, but not on religious days. Meanwhile in sweet contrast (v3), we have this beautiful act of worship by this un-named woman, who is generally thought to be Mary, Magdalene, that is. Of course it was the thief Judas who did the moaning about cost (vv4-5; John 12.6), and pretends he cares for the poor. Judas cares for no- one accept himself. She, Mary breaks the perfume and pours it out upon Jesus in the most lavish way. But is not that a lovely picture of just what Jesus has done for his people? His body broken on the cross, his blood poured out over us, for our forgiveness, a sweet fragrance in heaven (Ephesians 5.2). This beautiful act and mood of devotion takes cultivating. It is an awareness of living in the constant presence of Jesus, of holding inward conversation with him, of private worship in Spirit and truth (John 4.24).

Jesus shelters, protects Mary from the critics (v6), and calls her act of worship beautiful. That is an interesting description. Is that how God would describe our worship of him? That necessitates a heart that is beautiful, adorned with love for Jesus, pure in every part.

“O cleanse my heart and make it pure,
Each thought that’s not of Thee;
Let love for Christ o’er power and cure,
My heart a sanctuary.
O rule my heart, with sovereign power,
Subdue and drive out sin;
My mind control, Your grace take o’er,
And Jesus’ love to win.
(James R Hamilton, 14th, April, 2004)

A heart that issues in worshipful acts that are beautiful. Notice that Mary does not defend herself. Our worship will speak for itself, let Jesus defend you too, if it is done before the Lord you have nothing to fear, critics there will always be, to the impure heart nothing is pure (Titus 1.15). The disciples have only a few more days in which to grasp this unique occasion of worshipping Jesus in his physical, tangible state (v7), there will be an abundance of opportunity to help the poor. This glorious opportunity to serve in this way, came to Mary (v8), she was ready, and she embraced it, as best she could. It is so important that we are spiritually sharp, on the ball, walking with the Lord. Would it not be sad if we missed such an opportunity? You just do not know when it will come. Be ready at all times. Simply with who you are and with what you have got, that is all. He loves and delights in your offering.

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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