Mary’s Alabaster Jar

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“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume, she poured it on Jesus’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3 NIV

Wanting to anoint Jesus with her costly perfume, Mary hurried to see Jesus.  She silently made her way to Him ignoring all restrictions of society in her commitment to Jesus. She poured the perfume on His feet and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance.

A Sacrificial Worship

Her act shows her sacrifice, service, and surrender to her Saviour.

Mary wasn’t a wealthy woman. The alabaster box containing such a costly perfume maybe represented her life’s savings. It was worth 300 denarii which was about a yearly salary for a skilled laborer in those days. She gave all she had to Jesus for His glory. She has expressed the depth of her love and devotion to Him by a costly sacrifice.

Mary's Alabaster Box | Lessons on Worship We Can Learn from Mary

“But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” John 12:4-5 ESV

Her act is misunderstood by others but it is accepted by Jesus. He profoundly honored her gift. In fact, He tells those around Him that she has done all she could do, and that her sacrifice will be remembered forever.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” John 12:6 NIV

“For sure, I tell you, wherever this Good News is preached in all the world, this woman will be remembered for what she has done.” Mathew 26:13 NLV

Mary isn’t bothered about people’s opinions or comments on her act. Because what matters most to her is to show her thankfulness to her Saviour who has accepted, loved and valued her life. He has come to save her from the snares of sin and to give her life of fullness and worth through His sacrifice on the Cross.

A Heart of Worship

Mary shows a beautiful way of worship. A heart of worship is all about pouring out praises to our King. It’s about fully surrendering our lives to Him. It’s not about us but about Him. It’s about focusing on Him, diving fully into the sweetness of His presence forgetting and ignoring our surroundings, our circumstances and people’s opinions about us.

When we wholeheartedly pour out our praises to Him, the fragrance of our love and devotion fills our surroundings.  

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. Mark 12:30 NIV

In his book “ The purpose driven life” Rick Warren writes about the worship that pleases God. “He is pleased with the worship which is truthful, authentic, thoughtful and practical. God wants your full devotion. He doesn’t want a part of it. He asks for all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. God is not interested in half-hearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of your time and service. He desires your full devotion, not little bits of your life”.

Opening Your Alabaster Box

The best way of worship is the one that most genuinely represents your love for God. Just the way Mary did. She genuinely showed her love to her Saviour by offering everything she had.

In the same way, we have to pour out the praises of our hearts to Him keeping nothing behind. We must surrender our lives fully to Him. We must break the alabaster box of our lives to show our sacrifice, service, and surrender to our King. Let us give our best offering to Him holding nothing back but pouring out every single drop of our costly perfume at His feet. Let the fragrance of our love for Him arise for His glory.

Elizabeth writes to encourage others through God's Word and her life experiences.  She writes to point people to the hope and love of Jesus in the midst of their trials. She believes God has unique plans for each one of our lives and when we embrace His promises and His plans, we can live a life which brings Glory to His name. She is a wife, mother and a budding writer who wants to reflect God's love, truth, and grace through her words. She lives in Trivandrum, Kerala, India with her husband Nevin, and children Asher and Athalie.