John 12:3-8 3Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. 4Then saith one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him, 5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? 6This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. 7Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of My burying hath she kept this. 8For the poor always ye have with you; but Me ye have not always.
Other scriptures that tell this story is Matthew 26:6-13 & Mark 14:3-9. But they say that Jesus' head was anointed. The other accounts say that because of this she should be remembered by it. But why is she so special that she gets to be remembered when there are disciples of Jesus that were only mentioned once or twice.
It's what she did spiritually, not that she poured oil on him. To understand it better we have to dig deeper.
So what does the bible say that so important.
1. An alabaster box
2. Spikenard ointment
3. The weight of one pound
4. The worth of three hundred pence
5. She knew, some how, knew that Jesus should be anointed
1.An alabaster box was not a box, but a vase. History shows that alabaster was a stone. During Jesus time this stone was used for two purposes
· To make small perfume bottles
· To make ointment vases
Small perfume bottles held 2-6oz
The vases held any were from 8-24oz
Scripture tells us that she had a pound of ointment. A pound would be 12oz.
So we know that it was a small vase that held the ointment. Don't think of it as a small amount of ointment, think of it as a portable.
2.Spikenard ointment comes from a plant, that today we would call it China. If you think of the wise men, the story of Jesus birth, it says that they cam from the east. Now in bible times they would call it the orient, or the oriental people. During that time it was anything east of the Middle East. It was also where a lot of ointments and medicine came from.
A study of the background of this ointment lets us know a few things.
· It comes from a plant of the same name.
· It is amber colored oil that is thick and very fragrant.
· It was used for perfume, incense, sedative, and herbal medicine.
It had many purposes, but for Jesus there was only one purpose.
Just think of this, we still can get this ointment today. Then you will have the same ointment that Jesus was anointed with right there with you.
3.One pound of ointment means exactly that, one pound. Now every ointment would be different, thinner ointments take more; the thick one would be less. With the thickness of this ointment, we come to 12oz of ointment. If you go to a fast food place and get a kids cup, it would be 12oz, to give you an example.
4.Now we can talk about everyone's favorite subject. Money. Scripture says that the price of that amount of ointment cost about three hundred pence. Now a pence is also called denarius, which was one days wage. A full day of working for twelve hours. And we cry about 8 hours. The value of that today would probably be about $32.00. After doing the math and getting all the facts in we find that in Jesus day 12oz of spikenard cost $9,600. You can still get that ointment today at a price of $6.00 an oz. So 12oz today would cost about $72.00.
We also have to understand that it was pure oil back then and now it is watered down. But the price is still cheaper than it was then.
5.Now that we understand the importance of the oil lets, lets talk about the importance of what Mary had done. The scripture tells us that Jesus was in the house of the leper that he had healed named Simon. The scripture also says that Mary walked in out of nowhere, and just walked up to Jesus and anointed Him. None of the disciples knew the importance of it but Judas Iscariot had to make his voice heard. The scripture calls him a thief and his true love was money not Jesus. I just cannot understand how someone can walk with Jesus and see all the things that he has done and sit and complain that He received a gift for a king. It just amazes me what God can do today.
But Mary walks in, and by putting all the scriptures together, and anoints Jesus head and feet then she wipes His feet with her hair. Now we already said that it was a kingly gift, but why did she do it and why was it so important. With the price I think its safe to say it took her a while to come up with the money and get the ointment. The scripture doesn't say that she was poor, but I thing she was probably about middle class. That would mean even that small amount of oil was costly. She didn't know why she was getting the oil; she just knew that she should have it. Then God put on her heart that night to anoint Jesus with that precious oil. Without a question of why she walks up to Jesus and pours the oil on Him. Now what makes this special is she didn't even know why she was doing it. She just knew she had to do it. She stepped out in faith, even though the cost of what she did was great, and took something that could have supported her and her family for a long time and just gave it to Jesus. That would be like someone taking his or her life savings today and just giving it to God. How many people are willing to do that?
Just try and imagine if you started saving money since your first job, and you had accumulated about $10,000, and God tells you to just give it all to the church. Now I didn't say 10%, but the whole thing. If you cannot say yes immediately, then you are not as ready to serve God in the way He wants you to. He wants you to serve Him with all your heart, and if your heart is not ready to put all earthly things aside, then your not ready to serve him the way He wants you to. The point is Mary was ready to serve God in any way she could (even the disciples were not ready in that magnitude), no matter the cost. The question is are you ready to serve God right now, no matter what is asked of you, no matter were you are in life, no matter the cost. Mike.