Extravagant Worship

Psalms 141:1-2
2Tim 2:8
Revelation 8:3-4

Many people believe this Gods house, but they never expect Him to be home.
Gen. 32:2 Mahanaim

Extravagant gift of life….kidney


Jesus gave more than a kidney

Summary: Do all you can with all you have.

I enjoy smelling things…well, most things. My favorite perfume for Celeste was
purchased in Toronto. As soon as I smelled it, I knew I had to get it for her. I
didn’t even look at the price.

Perfume can be pricey. The most expensive is called Golden Delicious and sold
for $1 million! Another one called Imperial Majesty lists for almost $500,000.
Perfume costs a lot for two reasons.

• The ingredients are hard to find and difficult to extract. One of the most
expensive ingredients is a secretion produced in the digestive system of
certain types of whales.
• Another is a fragrant resin that is emitted as a defense mechanism to starve
mold infection on the most expensive wood in the world. Think about this the
next time you spray some scent on your body.

• The container or packaging can cause the price to skyrocket. The bottle that
holds Golden Delicious contains 2,909 precious stones, including diamonds and
rubies. It took a total of 1,500 hours to hand-place each stone to form the
skyline of New York City.

The Bible talks about smells, aromas, perfumes,
COVID for some attacks and removes smells…coffee, bakeries, perfumes

In Mark 14, we’ll meet a woman who demonstrated her commitment to Christ by
breaking an expensive container and pouring an extravagant amount of
ointment on Jesus.

Verses 1-2 provide the setting: “It was now two days before the Passover and
the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were
seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, ‘Not during the
feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.’” Jerusalem was filled with people
celebrating Passover, which memorializes how God spared Israel while striking
Egypt’s firstborn sons. The Feast of Unleavened Bread recalls Israel’s exodus
from Egypt. In the midst of the religious celebration, the religious leaders are
scheming how to arrest Jesus without causing a commotion among the people.

Listen now to Mark 14:3-9: “And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon
, the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of
ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his
head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the
ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than
three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus
said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing
to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can
do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she
could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be
told in memory of her.’”

We’ll use this outline to follow the natural flow of the text:

1. Duty demonstrated (3)

2. Disapproval delivered (4-5)

3. Appreciation described (6-9)

Verse 8 provides the main point of the passage: “She has done what she
could…” We could say it like this: Do all you can with all you have.

1. Duty demonstrated. Look at verse 3: “And while he was at Bethany in the
house of Simon, the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with
an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the
flask and poured it over his head.” Bethany was the hometown of Lazarus,
Martha and Mary and was only a few miles from Jerusalem.

• Their home was like a Bed and Breakfast for Jesus during the last week of his

Jesus is having supper with “Simon, the leper.” We don’t know much about him
, but we can surmise that Jesus had healed him because if he still had leprosy, he
would not have been allowed around people. It’s likely that Lazarus, who was
raised from the dead about a month earlier, was also there. Can you imagine the
rejoicing going on from Simon, who had been cleansed from leprosy and from
Lazarus, who had a new lease on life?

They where worshiping

The phrase “reclining at the table” reminds us that they didn’t sit in chairs like we
do but rather would stretch out on their sides with their head near the table and
their feet pointing away.

I wonder if we should try this in the dining room?

We then read, “a woman came….” This interruption to the meal would have been
against Jewish protocol. Mark doesn’t identify her because he puts the focus
not on who she is but on what she did.

We know from John 12:3 that her name is Mary, the sister of Martha and
Lazarus. Interestingly, in the two other passages where Mary is mentioned, she’s
seen worshipping at the feet of Jesus.

• In Luke 10:38-42, we learn that because Martha “was distracted with much
serving,” she asks Jesus to get Mary to help her. Jesus corrects her hurried and
harried heart while celebrating Mary’s undivided devotion. While Martha is
working, Mary is worshipping as she: “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his

• In John 11:32, after their brother Lazarus died, the two sisters are grieving and
want to know why Jesus hadn’t come sooner. It’s interesting that while Martha
greets Jesus respectfully, Mary worships Him reverently: “Now when Mary came
to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet….”
There’s been some confusion about the identity of this worshipping woman
because there’s another woman who anoints Jesus with expensive ointment
during a meal.

While the parallel accounts in
– Matthew 26:6-13,
– John 12:1-8 and
– Mark 14:3-9 describe the actions of Mary in the house of Simon the

Luke 7:36-50 speaks of a different woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee.
What happens there takes place a year before the crucifixion in the area
around Galilee. In addition, the woman in Luke 7 is identified as “a woman of
the city, who was a sinner.” Jesus ends up forgiving her for “her many sins.”

2 women-one a sinner one a worshipper
The main reason for the confusion is that both of these women come to Jesus
with “an alabaster flask.” Alabaster was an expensive and hard stone imported
from Egypt that resembled white marble and was used to decorate Solomon’s
Temple in 1 Chronicles 29:2.

In Song of Songs 5:15, Solomon is described as having legs “as alabaster
columns.” He must have done squats on a regular basis!

Alabaster had the ability to keep perfumed oil pure and unspoiled. The top of the
the flask had a long thin neck that was often sealed up with wax, so the ointment
wouldn’t evaporate or spill out.

Pliny the Elder, writing in the first century, noted that the “best ointment is
preserved in alabaster.”
According to John 12:3, this alabaster flask held about a pound “of ointment of
pure nard.”

This was not some knockoff nard from Dollar Tree.

It was perfectly pure, which was why it cost so much.

Nard, or spikenard, was fragrant oil made from the root of an extremely rare
a plant that was imported from the banks of the Ganges River in India.
This nard was known to be very fragrant, as seen in Song of Songs 1:12: “While
the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance.” And this nard was
“very costly,” which means, “precious, excellent, of surpassing value.”
Drop down to verse 5 to discover that this nard was worth more than 300
denarii. A denarius was the daily wage for a worker. Since the average laborer
worked six days a week, with time off for festivals, that comes to around 300
days a year. To put this in perspective, think about what you make in a year.
Once you have that figure in your mind, imagine giving that amount as an
extravagant expression of worship to Christ. Mary came with this priceless
treasure and gave it all in devotion to Jesus.

ILL. Giving my first check

Mary “broke the flask and poured it over his head.” The word for “broke” means
“to crush and break in pieces.” There was no going back after breaking the
bottle. Her commitment to Christ was unconditional and complete. In a similar
way, we must understand what it means to be broken and fully surrendered
before the Lord. God is looking for us to stop skating on the surface of spiritual
superficiality and to give our all for the One who gave His all for us.
It’s time for us to move from casual Christianity to convictional Christianity, from
duty to delight and from the obligation to opportunity because true love is always

ILL. Far too many of us are like the guy who called up his girlfriend and
said, “Darling, I love you! I would climb the highest mountain for you! I
would swim the deepest river for you! I would fight a jungle full of lions for
you! I love you with all that I have. Before hanging up the phone he says
“if it doesn’t rain tonight, I’ll be over to see you.”

When the flask was broken, the room would have filled with the fragrance of this
expensive oil. When she poured it over His head she was treating Jesus as

Oil was used to anoint kings, prophets and priests in the Old Testament.
Psalm 23:5 describes how God anoints David’s head with oil as an expression of
His unconditional love.

It was common in those days to put a few drops of perfume on the head of an
honored guest but Mary poured out every drop on Jesus!
John 12:3 says that she also poured this perfume all over his feet. Only slaves
washed the feet of others. Instead of using a towel to dry his feet, she used her

It’s helpful to consider how Mary might have obtained this expensive ointment
and what she was saving it for. Perhaps the perfume was an heirloom, handed
down to her from a relative.

Nard was used for two primary purposes.
• A dowry to be presented to her husband.
• By breaking the bottle and pouring it all out on Jesus, she was giving up her
security and putting her future in His hands. Here’s something to ponder…
since Jesus is referred to as the groom and Christians as His bride, she is
symbolizing her unconditional commitment to Christ. She’s giving up all her
dreams to the One who gave His all for her. She’s doing all she can with all
she has.

• An oil to be used to anoint a body before burial.

• Perhaps she was saving this perfume for her own funeral because nard was
also used as part of the embalming process. By pouring the ointment on
Christ, she was entrusting her death to the One who would die in her place.

There was another custom that after the body of the deceased had been
washed and anointed, the bottle that contained the perfumed spices was
broken and the fragments were to be buried with the body.

This perfume was precious to Mary and costly beyond price and her actions
affected her financially, emotionally, psychologically and socially. She gave an
extravagant amount of oil to the One who gave His life so she could have life.
Her expression could be called crazy and even radical. But in her mind she was
simply living out what the Apostle Paul described in 2 Timothy 4:6: “For I am
already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has

In what ways are you and I demonstrating our commitment to Christ in
extravagant ways?

What is God asking you to do that might be considered radical or even

Is there something you can do that only you can do?

Remember, God doesn’t expect equal gifts but He does expect equal sacrifice.
Mary gave something of great value while the widow contributed her last two

Do all you can with all you have.

When Mary went full-fanatic, the other followers of Jesus cut her to pieces –
filleted her. That leads to our second point.

1. Your Duty demonstrated

2. Your Disapproval delivered. Here’s the principle: If you fully live out your
faith in extravagant ways, other believers may blast away at you.
My first job was painting vacant apartments in the ghettos/government housing.
And I would work hard. I had goals of completing what I was asked to do. My
mom and pastor instilled a work ethic in me. My co-workers sat me down at the
end of my first week and said you need to stop….I said why “you’re making us
look bad”

Something similar was happening with the disciples. When confronted by Mary’s
extravagant worship they wound up and let her have it in verse 4: “There were
some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like

We know from John 12:4 that Judas is the spokesman who stirred things up.
The word “indignantly” means “to have great anger and fury, to be grieved,
sorely vexed and very displeased.” While Mary worshipped, they want to know
why the ointment was wasted. Extravagant worship
Their question can be translated, “To what purpose this destruction?” Ironically,
this word is used in John 17:12 when Jesus calls Judas the “son of destruction.”
Judas criticized Mary for wasting money while he ended up wasting his life!
Because he didn’t get anything out of what Mary did he was upset. He felt left
out, so he lashed out.

Get this, church: Nothing you ever give to God is wasted!

Verse 5 is really a spiritual smokescreen: “For this ointment could have been
sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they
scolded her.”

We know from John 12:6 that Judas wasn’t concerned about helping the poor:
“He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief,
and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put
into it.” Instead of celebrating Mary’s expression of extravagant love, they
“scolded her.” This word is quite strong as it referred to the snorting of a horse.
Illustration: DSM “Are you giving that much in the offering”. – missionary offering
at a convention

Actually, I don’t see tithing as sacrificial or extravagant but simply a starting
point as we joyfully give over and above to missionaries and other ministries.
When I think of extravagant worship, I remember David dancing exuberantly
before the Lord in 2 Samuel 6. We read in verse 14 that “he danced before the
Lord with all his might.” Shouts, songs, harps, lyres, trumpets and cymbals
created a racket of sound.

Illustration: Shelly and he kidney I’ve been pondering a question – do I sing with
all my might? Do I live my life for Christ with all my might?
His wife criticized David for his unbridled worship but he didn’t stop as seen in
verse 21: “I will celebrate before the LORD.”
Sometimes we don’t want to get too fanatical in our faith because we’re worried
that people might criticize us.
I like how Alistair Begg defines a fanatic: “A fanatic is someone who loves Jesus
more than I do.”

We must be careful about not criticizing someone who is living out their
commitment in expressive, extravagant and expensive ways.

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate someone’s devotion to a sports
team but dismiss a person’s radical faith as fanaticism?
1. Your Duty demonstrated

2. Your Disapproval delivered
When you do all you can with all you have, Jesus will commend you.

3. Your Appreciation described. I love how Jesus comes to the defense of
Mary in verse 6: “But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She
has done a beautiful thing.’”

The word “but” indicates a contrast between their criticism and His
appreciation . “Leave her alone” is a sharp rebuke in the Greek , which is a
command with great urgency.

Don’t miss that Jesus knew exactly what the disciples were saying, even though
verse 4 indicates that they “said to themselves.” That had to be disarming to
have their griping and gossiping exposed like that.

Remember that Jesus knows everything we say and everything we think.
Jesus defends and commends her for doing a “beautiful thing.” This word has a
multifaceted meaning: “noble, excellent, good, complete, useful and suitable.”
Jesus drives home the lesson in verse 7: “For you always have the poor with
you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always
have me.” Jesus is not prohibiting helping the poor because He’s actually
quoting a portion of Deuteronomy 15:11. Listen to the whole verse: “For there
will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall
open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your

He’s not pitting himself against the poor but rather is calling out their unholy
hypocrisy. Mary simply seized the moment and took the opportunity she had to
show her love to the Lord.

The “me” at the end of verse 7 is emphatic: “But Me, you do not always have.”
This shows that the spiritual must always take precedence over the social.
It’s not about the social gospel; it’s all about the gospel that changes society.
Actually, if we love Jesus we will love the little, the least and the lost because
true love for Christ always leads us to do something for Christ.
1 John 3:17: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need,
yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” In Luke
14:13, Jesus says: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor.”
Convoy of Hope

Compassion International


Remember too that the preaching of the gospel is the ultimate good news for
the poor as Jesus announced in Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”
Look at verse 8: “She has done what she could; she has anointed my body
beforehand for burial.” Mary did what she could or as it’s literally translated,
“what she had, she did.” She couldn’t do everything but what she could do, she
did. Since no one can do everything, but everyone can do something, do all you
can with all you have.

We’re not all given the same health or wealth, the same gifts, abilities,
personality or passion. But we can give what we have. Remember that God
never holds us responsible for what we don’t have.

Mary recognized the worth of the Savior and somehow understood what He was
about to do as Substitute for her sins. Jesus repeatedly told the disciples about
His upcoming death but they never seemed to get it. While Mary poured out
something of great value, in Mark 14:24 Jesus describes something of infinite
value that will be poured out: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured
out for many.”

What Mary did will always be linked to the preaching of the gospel as we see in
verse 9: “And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole
world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.’” Jesus again describes
the gospel as for the “whole world.” Notice that the commendation of Christ
reminds us that we are never fully aware of our own significance or role in God’s
kingdom. True worship affects others – not just how we sing but how we serve.
Mary had no idea of the worldwide significance of her action that has been
impacting believers for over 2,000 years. Talk about leaving a legacy! I want to
leave a legacy as a dad

Let’s summarize where we’ve been. Do all you can with all you have.
1. Duty demonstrated (3)
2. Disapproval delivered (4-5)
3. Appreciation described (6-9)

Have you ever heard of Air Smell-it-zers? They’re named after Howitzers, only
they emit smells, not shells. Disney uses them at their parks. If you’re on Main
Street you’ll notice the scent of baking cookies and vanilla. If you stand in line
for Pirates of the Caribbean, you’ll smell salty sea air and you’ll catch a scent of
honey on Winnie the Pooh’s Adventure.

The smell-it-zer operates like an air cannon, aiming the scent up to 200 feet
across a room toward an exhaust system. Guests traveling on moving vehicles
pass through the scene as the appropriate scent drifts across their path.
Regulated by computer, these smells can be launched just prior to each
vehicle’s arrival.

John 12:3 says that after Mary anointed Jesus, “The house was filled with the
fragrance of the perfume.” There’s always a spiritual fragrance in the home and
in hearts where Jesus is loved and worshipped.
So here’s a question. What kind of smell are you emitting?
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 says: “For we are the aroma of Christ
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in
them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the
other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 KJV

If you’re a born again believer, you carry the aroma of Christ! To those who are
far from Christ, like Judas, you’re a fragrance of death. But to those who are
saved, you have a sweet smell that leads to life.
The key is for us to be fully and completely surrendered to Christ. We won’t be
energized or smell very good until we are.
A pastor once said that 95% commitment to Christ is still 5% short. Settle your
surrender to the Savior right now.
You may wonder if someone could ever love you extravagantly?

Verse 1
The world will try to satisfy that longing in your soul,
You may search the wide world over, but you’ll be just as before.
You’ll never find true satisfaction until you’ve found the Lord,
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul
And only He can change your heart
And make you whole;
He’ll give you peace you never knew
Sweet love and joy and Heaven too,
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Verse 2
If you could have the fame and fortune all the wealth you could obtain,
Yet you have not Christ within your living here would be in vain;
There’ll come a time when death shall call you, riches can not help you then,
So some to Jesus for He can satisfy.


Only Jesus can satisfy your soul
And only He can change your heart
And make you whole;
He’ll give you the peace you never knew
Sweet love and joy and Heaven too,
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

You may wonder if someone could ever love you extravagantly?

All 0f hose can be nice and even extravagant, but they will never satisfy your
“LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; Give ear unto my voice, when I cry
unto thee. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, And the lifting up
of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
Psalm 141:1-2 KJV

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