One of my favourite passages of Scripture in the Bible is the one where Mary pours expensive perfume over Jesus’ head as an act of extravagant worship. She loves Jesus so much that she is willing to give Him something so precious to her heart. Mary wasn’t ashamed. She wanted everyone to know how important Jesus was to her.
When was the last time your worship was extravagant? You actually gave Jesus something of value, not just lip service. Sometimes we get so familiar with worship that we no longer think of doing something extravagant.
It’s time we get extravagant in our worship again. Let’s look at the story to see what happened as Mary poured out her most expensive perfume as an act of worship.
And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:3-9
Mary knew the value of her worship
Mary knew it was important to give a sacrifice. She wasn’t going to just give Jesus some cheap perfume that didn’t mean much to her. She knew Jesus was the Messiah and that he deserved her very best worship. Worship should always involve sacrifice.
Jesus meant everything to Mary. She wanted the whole world to know that. She took a perfume worth one full year’s salary and poured it all over Jesus. It was an act of love, honour, respect and worship. She knew Jesus worth. She knew that He was worth much more than this perfume.
I don’t want to go too far into this but the perfume that Mary poured on Jesus also had much sentimental value. It was for her to use on her wedding night. The evening every woman longed for. She decided that Jesus was a much more important reason to use her perfume. When was the last time you gave something to Jesus that meant something to you?
Extravagant worship will always bring criticism from others.
But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. Mark 14:4, 5
They criticized Mary for the extravagance of her worship. People thought she was giving too much and that she could do better things with her money. The things even sounded very noble and right. However, Jesus knew where her heart was. She didn’t love money. She loved Him with all her heart.
People may think you are crazy for the way you dance for Jesus or how loud you shout. Some may even criticize you for how often you go to church. Others think you shouldn’t talk so much about Jesus. However, when we love Him, He’s the only One we want to talk about.
Mary knew already how criticism felt. Her very own sister had done it before (Luke 10:38-42). Whenever our worship exceeds others, it results in criticism if their heart’s not right. Mary shows her love without words.
Other Gospel writers tell us it was Judas who was the critic. He thought she should have sold the perfume and given the money to the poor. Judas didn’t know what heartfelt worship truly was. He saw waste. Mary saw Jesus’ value.
Hearts became exposed through her extravagant worship. There will always be exposure during anointed worship. The worship revealed what was in the hearts of the others. Their level of worship didn’t reach hers, so they criticized her to try to make themselves look good.
Extravagant worship touches the heart of Jesus (v.6-9)
Jesus stood up for Mary. He shut the mouths of her critics and told them that she did the right thing. They all should have joined in, but only her heart was in the right place. The others didn’t even think to give Him a love offering. She knew that He was about to die and be buried. She was preparing Him. Jesus saw this act of worship as something good and beautiful.
Mary didn’t have to answer her critics. It was probably a very touching moment. She was crying and weeping as she broke the jar over His head. She knew it’s worth, but she knew Jesus was worth everything. For this, Jesus answered her critics. Jesus told Judas to be quiet because she was doing the right thing. She was the one who recognized the importance of that night.
Jesus is waiting for you to come to Him with a love offering. Give Him everything you have. Lay down at His feet. Tell him how much he means to you and show it. Jesus loves true worshippers. In fact, He searches for them (John 4:23, 24)
Powerful things happen in your life as you worship Jesus. Difficulties begin to shift, and you see things in a new light. Take time to worship Jesus every day. You will be glad you did.
Author of “Trusting God’s Timing”
Founder of House of Refuge Street Ministries