It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 "But not during the Passover celebration," they agreed, "or the people may riot."
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 good 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."
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
· We all have illusions
· One theologian has suggested that the key movement of the spiritual life is a movement from illusion to reality
· The four primary illusions that all of us deal with are: self, God, Work, and the world
· As we look at this text, we are dealing with the illusion of success.
· What is success spiritually?
o Whether we go to church?
o How often we go to church?
o How many Bible studies we attend?
o A theology we ascribe to?
What Jesus thought of success?
I. Three are three characters in this text.
1. Simon was probably a leper who had been healed.
2. Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to his house.
· Having Jesus in his home would raise Simon’s status among his friends
3. The custom was for the host to give Jesus a kiss upon entering his home
4. Simon also did not wash Jesus’ feet, nor did he offer Jesus a towel and a bowl to wash his feet.
5. He also did not offer Jesus fragrant oil to place upon his feet.
6. Eastern culture tells us that Simon was showing insult to Jesus.
· He had invited Jesus to his table but was not willing to sit down with Him
B. The people watched our second character, Jesus, to see how He would respond to this obvious insult.
C. Our third character, a woman enters from the crowd.
1. Mark does not identify the woman who anointed Jesus, but we know from John 12:3 that she was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
2. Mary seems to have no knowledge of social ethics.
a. She sits in front of Jesus.
b. She starts to wash His feet, again a task that should have been performed by Simon.
3. She is moved emotionally, probably crying uncontrollably.
a. Her tears fall upon His feet.
b. She is probably embarrassed.
4. She seeks a towel but finds none.
5. Finding no towel, she does the unthinkable, she lets down her hair.
a. It was taboo for a woman to let her hair down in public.
b. The law said that a man could divorce his wife for letting down her hair in public.
c. She wasn’t thinking about the consequences.
6. She used a fragrant oil upon the head of Jesus.
a. The “alabaster jar” that contained the perfume was a “vessel with a rather long neck which was broken off when the contents were used”.
b. The “nard” (perfume) was made from the root of a plant found chiefly in
c. Mary took the bottle and broke the neck so that she could pour the ointment profusely over Jesus’ head.
II. Living large is about experiencing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ
A. Mary’s act of love shows her realization of forgiveness.
B. Unconditional love leads to radical generosity.
1. The perfume had a value of more than three hundred denarii.
2. A denarius was what a man received for a day’s work.
3. The NIV says this was “more than a year’s [worth of] wage[s].”
C. Mary was willing to give her most expensive thing to Jesus even though others would ridicule her for this.
D. Her action of anointing Jesus with a bottle of expensive perfume was a beautiful expression of her love and devotion to him.
III Living large is a response to God’s love toward you.
A. Brokenness leads to outrageous giving.
· Mary’s brokenness was shown in kissing His feet and the drying of his feet with her hair.
B. Luke 7:44-50
44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn't offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn't greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.
47 "I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love." 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."
49 The men at the table said among themselves, "Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?"
50 And Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
C. The statement of Jesus
1. Words and inflections make up about 30% of our conversation, the other 70% is from the body language.
2. Jesus was speaking to Simon but turned toward the woman.
3. Jesus was demonstrating an important principle of success.
a. The body actions of Jesus indicate Jesus was about hanging out with the outcasts and the ordinary, not the rich and famous.
b. It was about aligning yourself with those who are weak, hurt, and broken.
· In the 1st Century, many communities were decimated by pandemics.
· These were so bad that people would usually leave.
· But interestingly, the Christians would stay.
· People say that this is why many people became Christians, because of what they had seen portrayed in these.
· The Christians would stay and help the outcasts . . . even at physical costs to themselves
A. God is enough for us
1. He will be our shepherd.
2. God will take care of everyone of our needs
B. The reason we can be extravagantly generous in our giving is because God is been generous to us.
C. What is your alabaster jar?
D. Who are the people you need to touch today?