Brother Anthony Edgmon visited today. The church has supported his ministry in Spain for several years. He gave an update on their work and how God is blessing them. Praise God for what he is doing. Following his update, he brought the morning message.
Imagine going to a survivor type contest. You can take one bag with you and you’re leaving tomorrow. We’ll all put some of the same types of things in our bags like clothes and toiletries. I’ll put other things of value to me that are different from what you’ll put in. I’ll put a photo of my wife. Some may take their own pillow.
Every day we make decisions based on what we value. Some are very concerned with their image so they spend lots of money or creams to make them look better. To do this, other things will go to the backburner. If friendships are valuable you’ll spend time and resources there and other things will go to the backburner. God’s Word teaches us the values he has that we should have.
Mark 14: After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.
I propose to you three things I see here that Jesus values. The first is authentic worship. This scenario seems odd. Jesus and the others were having a meal and a woman came in and poured a whole bottle of expensive oil on Jesus’ head. This was 300 days’ worth of wages. That’s a lot! The most expensive perfume in the world costs over $2,000 an ounce. Imagine again that you can afford that and you buy some for your wife. She places it carefully in the bathroom for future use. You have teenagers and they decide to use some of it one night when going out and pour it all on themselves. Imagine your reaction. It would be similar to this scene. You’d be filled with indignation too.
The woman here in Mark didn’t care how much it cost. She concentrated on Jesus. Some people go to a certain church because of the way it makes them feel. Others go to another. Authentic worship is not about how it makes us feel. It is all about God and how awesome and worthy he is. In Second Samuel 24:24 David said neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. I’ve afraid many of us offer leftover worship. Authentic worship should happen every day, not just in church on Sunday. Do we give him all he deserves? If not, what we’re saying is that he has no value for us. He deserves genuine worship that includes giving of ourselves to him.
The second thing I see that God values is proving confidence in Jesus. Look back earlier in the book of Mark and you’ll see Jesus healed many; he fed multitudes. Along the way he was teaching 12 men a few things, one of which was that he was going to die. In their mind he would overthrow the Roman government and he couldn’t do that if he died. They couldn’t put it all together. This woman put it all together. Jesus told the others to leave her alone because she anointed his body beforehand for burial. She had confidence in Christ’s teachings.
We have a saying that goes “put your money where your mouth is.” Some talk a big talk but don’t back it up. Attitudes, actions and behavior should prove our confidence in Jesus Christ. We say we have faith but how often will we not take a step forward because we don’t know where it will take us? We say we believe in prayer but how often do we do it? We must prove what we say by our life. Christ values complete confidence in his teachings; so should we.
The third thing I see that God values is gospel opportunities. Did you catch where this meal took place? At the home of Simon the leper. The leper! I’m not signing up to go there. He must not have had leprosy at the time because he would have been required to isolate himself from everyone. Simon was a common name. Instead of using a last name I imagine there was a Simon the butcher or Simon the shoemaker. This man was Simon the leper. Remember what Jesus had been doing?—healing people. I imagine that Simon was healed of leprosy and in gratitude invited Jesus to his house for a meal. So one person invited a friend and this person invited another who didn’t know the first. Look at the opportunity Simon had to tell his story every time he was introduced to a new person. We can all tell what Jesus did for us. We might not have a leprosy story but Jesus has done a work in us and that’s a gospel opportunity.
I read those last two verses because this scene prompted Judas to seek to betray Jesus. Later on at the supper table Jesus said one of the 12 would betray him. He turned the tables and made an opportunity. He took the bread and cup and said this is my body and my blood which is shed for you. He instituted the Lord’s Supper and brought about salvation for us all. We need to do that. There are many opportunities that can be a gospel opportunity that offers grace and peace to someone who doesn’t know.
Jesus values confidence backed with action. Don’t just say it. Back it up. Authentic worship is giving him the first fruits of our all and he deserves no less. If these things are what Jesus values, shouldn’t they be what you and I value?