Mark 14:8a “She has done what she could. . .” The alabaster jar of perfume was hers. She had worked hard to “buy it”. It doesn’t matter what she did to get it i.e. her job description. The fact remains that it was hers and she could do with it what she wanted to do. She wanted to spend it on Jesus for he had done something great for her. He had changed and saved her life, caused her to repent (change her mind and way of living) and to stop destroying herself, and letting others use and abuse her. He gave her a reason to live and not just survive. He gave her life back its meaning, the blueprint God had stamped upon her before she was born. Jesus reawakened in her her destiny and desire to live, and thrive! (What woman wouldn’t want a man who would do this for her?) So she wanted to bless Him for blessing her. She did what she could.
She gave what she had, and “it ain’t nobody’s business if I do” was the song she sang as she poured the perfume upon him, starting from his head. It might have been “Joop! For men” or “Polo”. Maybe “British Sterling” or “Grey Flannel”. Or it may have been her favorite (and mine) “Beautiful”. J Whatever it was, it came from her heart and soul and it made Jesus smell good for His last hours on earth, for shortly after this incident, He was arrested, tried illegally by a nightlight, whipped and beaten and abused; And then nailed to a cross faster than one could sing the ABC’s song. He did not even have time to take a bath and wash the perfume out of his hair or his clothing. He went to the cross covered in her sacrifice, smelling beautiful as He endured the stench of hatred against Himself by those He created, by those He loved with every fiber of His being. Crucified by those He came to save. She did what she could to make Him feel good during a difficult time. I think every time He got a whiff of the perfume in His hair, He remembered that at least one other human, a woman, truly loved Him.
She empowered Him to do what only He could do for you and me, the world. (What man wouldn’t want a woman who does this for him?) And to this day she is forever with Him in history just like He said. Mark 14:9 “And surely I tell you, wherever the good news (the Gospel) is proclaimed in the entire world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” How could she have known that a simple act of love, scorned and condemned by one-dimensional men, would be applauded and appreciated by God so much that He would always remember it and her, and never let the world forget it either? We don’t know her name, but God does. I believe maybe He leaves out her name (even though another gospel account calls her “Mary”) so we would remember her act of love and not create a religion or a sect or a set of beliefs upon this woman, for to do that would take the focus off of Jesus and His sacrifice. And she was about exalting and magnifying Him, not herself. So she did what she could.
Because we don’t know her name that means we can put ourselves in her place and do what we can too. What is your “alabaster box”? My alabaster box? What do I “have” that’s valuable to me, that for which I’m working so hard to achieve and earn in this life, on the earth, that I can lavish on Jesus, just because of Who He is? What can I “break” that cannot be repaired (for once the glass alabaster box is opened – only possible by breaking it – the perfume gets spilled out and must go somewhere) and pour on the Son of God? This is why those men called “disciples” condemned her, because the box could not be used again nor the perfume salvaged and sold. It could not even be saved to use the rest later, for it was not that kind of box. Nope, she did not, could not save any for herself. It was all broken and spilled out. On Jesus.
When we’re in church and/or in prayer at home and the atmosphere is charged with power, energy and the physical presence of God, we feel so much love for God and everybody, even our enemies, so we pray lofty prayers, by faith of course J and we make promises to God etc. We tell Him that we give Him everything. Then Monday and Tuesday come and we’re at home alone, or at work, in the daily grind, traffic with mean and hateful people. The high time we had on “Sunday” (whatever your Sunday may be) is just a memory. Our prayers were just words from our emotions, yes with the gushing tears and saliva and all. But we really did mean it at the time.
If we broke our alabaster box then, now we’re saying “it was an accident”, or we should have been more careful to break it in such a way that we could keep some for ourselves, for we didn’t mean to “spend it all at one time”. Or we should have taken more time to “think it through logically” away from that emotionally charged atmosphere in which we felt ‘pushed’ to give God our all. We didn’t mean to give it all, not all at one time in one place, and to ONE PERSON, for it cost us soooo much. Hmmmm. What a waste. On Jesus. And we’ve no guarantees that our life will be “better” (for better is in the eye of the beholder). We’ve no guarantees that we will receive the desires of our hearts for which we’ve prayed and believed. Darn! At least when we had “our” alabaster box we knew what “we” had and it was “ours”, and “we” could use it for “ourselves” when “we” wanted to. J
But now “I’ve” given it all away, to Jesus. And He’s going to take it to the cross, in His hair, on His skin, in His clothes. Oh wait . . . Oh no!! He’s taking ME to the cross, in His hair, on His skin, in His clothes! But I don’t want to go. I don’t want to “die.” So what else can I do? What else can be done? Do what you can.
As long as the box (me) is not broken, the perfume inside is “safe” and sound, but it is not being “enjoyed” by anyone, including myself. It is only when our alabaster box is broken that our fragrance can bless God and be useful to Him. It is only by being “broken” that we can and will be a sweet smelling savor to Him and to those “around us”, and even in “stinky” situations. (This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to like and love us. Be honest, none of us likes all the perfume fragrances in the world. But what it does mean is that we carry within us the fragrance of life, and light and hope – Jesus Christ – Who cannot be denied.) It is only when we pour out ourselves, totally and completely upon Him that we lose ourselves as we know ourselves, and gain unto ourselves the “we” He has created us to be. It is only when I allow Him to take me to the cross and nail me there that I will stop struggling to save some of me for myself, and I will cease being afraid that I will never truly live in this life.
When I sing and write I do so from where I’ve been. But sometimes I sing and write from where I am now, as I am doing today. Not because I know everything about what I know, nor what I think I know, and not because I’ve “arrived” and now can write a manual for fellow “tourists” and voyagers. J Some people think public figures have it all together and figured out, and shouldn’t be struggling with anything because he or she is a woman or man of the cloth. But they forget, there was only ONE Jesus (in the flesh) and He alone was and is perfect and sinless. The rest of us are cut from the same material as everybody else. If you cut us, even with a Bible in our hands and our hearts full of God’s love, we will still bleed. J
Nevertheless, even though we choose to “accept” God’s phone call to us to live a certain way and thus to die daily to what others are allowed to live, we are still human. And we may sometimes be given the 411 so we may sing and write about where we are going – where I am going – and that’s when I feel hope holding my hand; and as we walk she constantly tells me to just “do what you can.”