Point for Meditation: Mark 14:8 - "She has done what she could.” Seize the moment. Do what you can while you can.
Jesus continued making His way toward Jerusalem and arrived in Bethany, which is two miles east of Jerusalem. The family of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, gives a dinner in honor of Jesus. At some point during the dinner, Mary makes a memorable gesture. John 12:1-3 tells what happened:
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Mary gave this expensive perfume in service of Christ while He was with them. Despite protests from Judas, who made an outward gesture of wanting to do good (but who was in fact selfishly lining his own pockets with the money he was given charge of), Jesus commends her for her attitude of service to Him.
The timing of this event is named specifically here as being six days away from Passover, but an almost identical event happens in Mark 14:1-9. In that account, it’s the same people, the same events, the same reactions, the exact same lesson from Christ. Some believe it was two separate events, but it’s also possible that this story is the same events, written as an inset within the chronological story flow of Mark 14—an aside that Mark remembered to write in after he had gotten a bit too far to put it where it belongs. Whichever is the case, we can still draw good lessons for our spiritual benefit.
Today’s point for meditation comes from the story in Mark; in Jesus’ reply to those who criticized her for what she did:
“Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial” (Mark 14:6-8, emphasis added).
Jesus praised Mary for doing what she could. It didn’t say she did more than she could—she couldn’t stop His execution, she didn’t do some great and mighty work—but she played her role. She anointed Him with oil for His burial. In our trials throughout the year and specifically before Passover, we should do what’s within our power. We can’t beat ourselves up for things that we can’t do—healing the sick or solving all our friends’ problems or resolving conflict all on our own. But we can’t shy away from doing those things we can do and playing our role in both our own lives and those of our friends and family.
Today's Point for Meditation: Mark 14:8 - "She has done what she could.” Seize the moment. Do what you can while you can.