Friday, June 2, 2017

Breaking Our Alabaster Jar

UV 2287 Breaking Our Alabaster Jar
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head

Mark 14 v 3

Mary Magdalene broke what was her most valuable possession to honour, glorify, benefit Jesus. She had experienced the forgiveness of Jesus. She had seen His resurrection power and authority by which He had commanded the long dead Lazarus to rise from the dead. It was her turn to show her adoration, her gratitude, her worship, her thanksgiving. She chose to break that which was most valuable to her – an alabaster jar of most expensive anointing oil of nard. She had found something more valuable and life-enhancing than mere perfume in the message of love of Jesus. She was willing to give up that which was dear to her heart to benefit Jesus. She did it not with a sense of obligation or pride or boastfulness but with tears , repentance and utter humility in washing the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiping it with her hair.

Are we willing to give up that which is most precious in our lives to honour the Lord? Are we ready to break our alabaster jar at the feet of Jesus as an offering? It is the cost of discipleship- to give up what we formerly most valued in order to obtain what cannot be purchased- forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus. The alabaster jar is a metaphor for our careers, our gifts and talents, our relationships, our treasures, our very life. The alabaster jar is a symbol of that from which our life’s worth is derived. Our life’s worth should be derived from our faith in Jesus and our appropriation of grace. It should not be derived from what and how much we possess. It should not be derived from our social esteem or our social status. Jesus gave up His status as prince of heaven to live among mankind as one of us. He gave up His status as a member of King David’s household to dine with Simon, the leper. He did everything to advance the kingdom of God on earth. We ought to emulate Jesus as well as Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene gave up what was hers willingly and without being asked to. But there were others whom Jesus asked to give up what was most valuable to them but they did not. Jesus asked the young rich ruler to give up his riches and to follow Him as He knew that the latter’s sense of security and self esteem rested on his possessions. Jesus asked some to follow Him after leaving their homes as He knew that their homes were the source of their comfort and security. We too will be asked to give up things that were up to a point the source of our security, comfort and worth. When so asked, we should not hesitate but be enthusiastic like Mary Magdalene on bestowing it on Jesus. The action of anointing the head of Jesus with perfumed oil was symbolic and prophetic. It was a preparation for His death and burial. Jesus did not protest or resist the action of Mary. He in fact welcomed it and appreciated Mary for it. It was looked down upon and scorned by others. Our giving up of our worldly options of career, fame, possessions may invite likewise the condemnation or scorn of others but it should be pleasing to the Lord. Today, Jesus needs little or nothing of us but it comes as a test of our heart’s devotion to the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

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