Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 18 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Mark 14 today, and our focus is on the extravagant love of Mary of Bethany for Jesus. Warning: today’s show might go a smidge long because our chapter is super long…but don’t fear – my commentary is short!
Today we are talking about one of my biblical heroes – Mary of Bethany. If you’ve been listening long to this podcast, you know that I am a huge Mary of Bethany fan – her love for Jesus is unveiled, unfaked, unpretentious and unperturbed by the criticism she receives from others. Today’s title is admittedly provocative, but intentionally so. There is indeed a danger to loving Jesus greatly…but let me say right up front that this is one of those situations where the risk is worth the reward. What is the danger or the risk of loving Jesus much? As we see in Mark 14, the danger is being criticized and judged…but in this case, the source of the attack is surprising. Mark is vague, just telling us that “some” were angry. John gets more specific, telling us that Judas Iscariot was one of those angry…which is not surprising. Those who live their lives like Mary – focused on obeying Jesus’ first and greatest command – to wholeheartedly love God – should expect to be criticized by fake followers of Jesus like Judas…but wait, there’s more. Because Matthew informs us that it wasn’t just Judas but ALSO the other disciples who were indignant. This reminds me of one definition of a Christian fanatic – somebody who loves God more than you do. The disciples were obviously uncomfortable with this display of adoration by Mary…and their chief issue probably wasn’t the money. Maybe Mary’s adoration made them uncomfortable, but one thing is sure: It did NOT make Jesus uncomfortable…indeed, in our verse of the day, He commends her. First, by saying that her actions are noble, and then:
8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body in advance for burial.9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Mark 14:8-9
Here’s pastor Tim Keller on this incident:
lMary] pours it out on Jesus’ feet. It’s so incredibly expensive. It’s like their whole family net worth, and it’s her way of saying, “I give you everything. I put everything at your disposal.”
Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for January: Mark 1:15 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
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