". . . she broke the vial and poured it over His head." Mark 14:3
Jesus loves people. Here in Mark’s gospel, we are told Jesus was attending a dinner, whose guests were not theologians, teachers of the sacred text, they were every day, ordinary people who had encountered Jesus. The dinner was at the home of Simon, a man cured of leprosy by Jesus. Also attending that night was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
Mary breaks open a costly alabaster jar of perfume and saturates Jesus’ head with it. This was an over-the-top, unselfish act of lavishing love. The perfume was from a rare plant which only grows in India and was worth thousands of dollars. The alabaster jar meant it was of enormous value. The fact that it was broken meant that it would never be used again. From the point of view of some of the other guests, it was a waste of time and resources.
There are vital elements to this lavish love of Jesus. Each element should be carefully considered so that we would learn to live a life of love.
Lavish love stoops.
Picture Jesus reclining at a low table, He props Himself up on His elbow. For Mary to get close to Jesus she would kneel down and hunch over and round her shoulders. It was Mary's love for Jesus which caused her to set her pride aside. Stooping shows we love Jesus more than we love ourselves.
Lavish love surrenders.
Mary's perfume was the equivalent to a year’s salary. She gave it all for Jesus’ sake. Her example calls attention to our willingness to make sacrifices for Jesus’ sake. Lavish loves spills over into our time, talent and treasure.
Lavish love saturates.
Mary's love for Jesus was thoughtless. Never did she ask, "What do I get out of this?" but only "What can I give to Him?" Our lives for Jesus must be poured out without measure. In true worship, there's nothing to accomplish. Giving ourselves is not productive, we must relinquish ourselves to Him without intention.
Lavish love sustains.
Mary had critics. They accused her of wastefulness. There will always be those who ridicule our love and devotion; we must not lose heart. Jesus defends us, as He did Mary.
Are you guilty of lavish love?