Mark places this story in the middle of passages which are apocalyptic and others which consist of argument about the finer points of the Law. Soon Jesus will be arrested, tried, tortured and hung on a cross, but He is being prepared now for His death by the loving act of this unknown woman. Jesus was at the house of Simon the Leper and was reclining on a couch to eat as was the custom of the day, resting on it with His left elbow and using His right to eat. He would have viewed the woman approaching Him as one looking up towards the ceiling and it was customary for an honoured guest to receive a few drops of perfume when He arrived at a house. However, the woman didn't give Him a few drops, but poured it over His head. The precious Nard, worth around £20,000 in today's money would have enveloped the room with its smell and would have perfumed the body of Jesus for many days. When He died on the cross it is very likely that His body continued to give off this scent! 1. Jesus said that it was a LOVELY thing that the woman had done. Love does not only do good things, it inspires to do lovely things. 2. If love is true, then at times there must be an extravagance, a sense of not counting the cost. There is a recklessness in love. 3. Love perceives intuitively that opportunities such as these come by but once. At times, our instinct is to give generously, but we may be so English and worry about the negative effect. Give until it hurts, as Mother Teresa exhorted. 4. Jesus demonstrates His confidence that the cross is not the end, that there will be glory, that all will be well and all manners of things will be well. This is a story which truly does end in happily ever after and that is because Jesus died! The story of this woman's beautiful act would ring through the generations and inspire others to reckless acts of loving generosity in the Name of Jesus.
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