“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. . . . [W]herever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her”(Mark 14:6,9).
Mark’s story of Jesus is rapidly coming to a close. There is an ominous feeling in the air. In the longest speech recorded by Mark, Jesus has pointed to the end of the temple and the end of the world (chapter 13). Three times the Lord has told his disciples that he’s going to be killed (8:31ff; 9:31ff; 10:33ff). It would seem, however, that no one was really listening.
No one, that is, except the woman in this story.
As Jesus reclines at a meal on the Tuesday before his death, this woman comes in and pours an expensive perfume on his head. She knows he is going to die. She likely would give anything to keep it from happening, but happen it will. There is nothing she can do and she knows it. Understanding the will of God, and accepting it, she “leans in” with a huge sacrifice of her own, anointing Jesus with an ointment worth nearly a year’s wages.
There were objections of course and unfortunately, the objections usually get the most attention, telling the woman’s story, but ignoring her and the lesson in her action.
Throughout Mark, Jesus has called people to join in his mission, to follow him, to be “all in,” all the way to the cross. The woman who gave the two copper coins cast in “all her living.” This woman likewise did “what she could” with a huge sacrifice of her own (14:8). She didn’t do it for the fame. She did it for the honor of her Lord.
As we think about the resurrection of Jesus this Lord’s day, we might also think about what we are doing to honor him whose death has saved us all.