Week 12, Saturday, Mark 14:1-11

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram

Go to Mark 14:1-11

[Please read and meditate on the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]


John identifies the woman as Mary (John 12:1-8), Martha’s and Lazarus’s brother. Nothing is mentioned as to a reason behind her deed. What is clear is that the alabaster jar (or vase) had very expensive perfume in it, and Mary broke it to anoint Jesus with it. The deed affected everyone in the room. Jesus received it as loving ministry done to him, an act of worship preparing him for the death he knew awaited him. (As an aside: this was a prophetic act similar to the wise men’s gift of myrrh months after Jesus’ birth, the very same substance used to anoint him after his death). Some disciples (and host) were repelled by what they called a waste and inappropriate act. And Mary? Anne Ortlund in her book Up with Worship says it best:

“Mary broke her vase. Broke it? How shocking. How controversial. Was everybody doing it? Was it a vase-breaking party? No, she just did it all by herself. What happened then? The obvious: all the contents were forever released. She could never hug her precious nard (perfume) to herself again…The way up is down! The Holy One lives among broken people. Christian, break your vase. Help your brothers and sisters break theirs…Then life will begin to mingle and flow around you and fill the whole church with the fragrance of Jesus…The nard fills the air. Beautiful! Take a deep breath.”

And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (v.3)


Prayer (written by Anne Ortlund from “Up with Worship”): Lord, break my strong will, my argumentativeness, my quickness to reach decisions ahead of others and always think I’m right, my desire to have my opinion always considered. I’m sure I’m obnoxious, Lord – maybe embarrassing to those closest to me. Forgive me, and help my fervent spirit be converted into just being fervent in loving you, fervent in joy, fervent in peace… Lord, break me. Thank you for doing it. Amen.

Listen to Anne Ortlund’s, Up with Worship

Nashville: B & H, 2001.

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