We are to remember her act of service (of worship) and her. Yet, Mark and the same incidence recorded in Mat 26:6-13, did not give her name. Some people consider a similar story told in John 12:1-8 to the same one. They both happened in Bethany, in roughly the same time, 6 day and 2 day before the passover. Same perfume used but differed in where it was apply, head vs feet. But if we just consider the anointing is to prepare for Jesus' body, then anointing from the head to the feet was a complete picture. If this is the case, then we can perhaps infer that the lady was Mary of Bethany.
There is a similar anointing by yet another unknown lady recorded in Luke 7:36-38 in the house of Pharisee with a name called Simon too! But this one occurred at an earlier time and in a different location, Galilee instead. She received a commendation and acceptance from Jesus. "Thy sins are forgiven; Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace".
I personally think that missing out the name of the lady is a double emphasis on importance of the act. So we must discover what the key lessons for us here.
Most of us will agree that she has done a service to Jesus. It was an act of worship to Jesus out of her depth of heart expressed in real economic terms of 1 year of wages for a useful purpose of preparing Jesus' burial.
Let look at this act from what Jesus said and learn about the true form of worship service.
Mar 14:6-8 And Jesus said,
- Let her alone; why trouble ye her?
- she hath wrought a good work on me; she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
- For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
- She hath done what she could
The true worshiper has a different value system than the world. True worshiper values God, Jesus our Lord, more than anything else in the world. For worldly minded people do not understand our actions. They don't value Jesus that highly. They think we are wasting resources. Why do you tithe 10% to your church? Why do you spend so much time in serving and giving to others. Keep them for your ourselves to enjoy. Give to the those in needs. The Church are so rich that they are wasteful (Could be true consider the misuse, abuse, and lavish living of the leaders that even got some into jails that are happening worldwide). Giving is our responsibility. Keeping the leaders accountable to the church members, a duty often neglected by members, is an important responsibility and need a separate discussion. Nevertheless, the way we live and give to God and subsequently to others show how we value God and how we truly worship God. We are to worship God in spirit, in truth, with all our might and mind and that also means with all our substance and wealth. The all to God include God providing some for us. In fact, God set a simple standard of 10% for Him and 90% for us! But most, like the unknown lady, give much more than the 10% and we don't even think about it. When God speak to us about a need, we will give even though we have already done above the 10%.
Secondly, worship has a purpose - glorify Jesus.
In this particular case, she was preparing for Jesus' burial. Now we worship to lift up the Name of Jesus; to draw people unto Jesus. How do we do that? By the way we live - our behavior, our giving, our care, our kindness, our speech. We have covered one form of giving in point 1 above. The difference from the world draws the attention. They think we are stupid to give but they also recognize that we are serious about our Jesus. Jesus must be so real to us for us to do such 'silly' things.
Thirdly, Doing Good Things need to be Done at the Right Time, Manner and Place and to the Right People for the Right Cause.
Notice Jesus did not say don't give to the poor. Jesus said it is good to give to them. There are right time for doing those good things. The right thing for the unknown lady to do with her precious perfume kept for wedding, was actually to pour it out on Jesus.
Fourthly, Do what you Could & Have and not what you Couldn't or Have Not.
She done what she can to her best to serve Jesus. God does not want us to over extend ourselves. God is please whenever we use what we have to give and to serve Him. The fact is that God does not need our gifts or serving but rather it is the relationship and the loving heart expressed in our giving. The highest form of giving, as Jesus said, is our lives. We have started giving our lives to God the day we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We are in the process of learning to give more of ourselves to Him.
So we can summarize worship as
- Right Cause - Glorify Jesus
- Right Manner - With our hearts, expressed in acts of our service and giving of things that are valuable.
- Right Time
- Right Place
- To Right People
Don't be Blackmailed by Prosperity Preachers
Sadly, there are preachers who use this touching story to emotionally and spiritually 'blackmail' people to give much, if not all of their wealth, to the church building and other projects. Some even want them to pledge future earnings & wealth now to the church !
Don't be forced into such giving by the preachers or such people in the church. Leave such churches if you cannot stand the pressure.
Worship is More than Just Singing & Dancing.
Singing and dancing are some forms of worship. They are not the only forms. Singing is something that most people like. Look at the popularity of Karaoke. Just singing with out meditation and reflection on the worship songs could be just the same as singing Karaoke songs.
Worship is About Spending Time with Him too.
The Bible did not relate how the unknown lady was able to do such a sacrificial(to use outsider, not to her) act of worship. If we say the lady is Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha, then we could relate better to her relationship with Jesus and the spending of her time with Jesus as top priority.
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Worship is Obedience.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. Spending time with Jesus will lead us to understand Him and His will. We can be so charged up so as to be able to act out and to keep the things he tell us to do. By our acting on His commandments, we get to know Him better.
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Seek God first. Taste His Goodness and Do the Right Things. Good things must be done at the Right Time in the Right Manner at the Right Place and for the Right Cause.