I love Gospel music and singing the songs lifts my spirits and I give God Glory because of Who He is. As I was reading Mark 14:3; “Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.” I thought of the song that Ce Ce Winans sings; “Alabaster Box.” Some of the words are: “So now I’m giving back to Him all the praise He’s worthy of. I’ve been forgiven and that’s why I love Him so much. And you don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box.” This passage in Mark 14 verse 3 is about Jesus. And it is about worship. Sometimes worship is expressed in song or the spoken word, other times it is expressed in deeds or actions. If it is not from the heart it’s not true worship.
Worship of God means assigning worth to Him, declaring Him to be worthy of our praise. We should not think of genuine worship as something we’ll do someday in heaven. Nor should we think of it as something we do only on Sunday mornings. Genuine worship should be the pattern of our everyday lives. In Mark 14:6 Jesus said, “She has done a beautiful thing for Me.” Notice the preposition: “She has done a beautiful thing for Me.” We are eager to do things for Jesus, to rush about in ministry, singing in the choir, visiting, caring for others, evangelizing, leading studies, entertaining, going to meetings, and meeting the needs of others. That’s good and pleasing to God. But one thing is even better —- doing something beautiful to Jesus, honoring Him with the alabaster box of praise in response to His grace in our lives.
The phrase “sacrifice of praise” occurs three times in the Bible —- twice in Jeremiah 17:26 and 33:11, and once in Hebrews 13:15, which says: “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” When you praise Him when you don’t feel like it, and when you rejoice in your heart despite the hardships you’re facing —- that’s the alabaster box of praise. Every moment is a moment of grace in our lives, and every day is the right time to praise Him. Why is praising God a sacrifice? The Greek word “sacrifice” (thuo), a verb meaning to kill or slaughter for a purpose. Praise often requires that we “kill” our pride, fear, or sloth/laziness — anything that threatens to diminish or interfere with our worship of the Lord.
Russ Taff sings a song entitled: “God Inhabits The Praise Of His People.” The words are: “When you’re up against a struggle, that shelters all your dreams. And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by satan’s manifested schemes. And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fear. Don’t let the faith you’re standing in seem to disappear. Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him. Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise. Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you. Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you —- when you praise Him.” Do you lift your voice and shout His praises? Has anything good happened to you? Has anyone been healed? Anybody had a miracle in their life? Jesus is worthy of our praise! There is no waste in praise! If you dance, it’s not a waste. If you run, shout, leap, walk the aisles. wave your arms. That oil was precious but Jesus is more precious. The alabaster flask was made of marble. Breaking it was a sign that all was to be used. Custom in the East was that if a glass was used by a distinguished guest, it was broken so that it would never be touched by the hand of any lesser person. She was giving Christ her best. Head speaks of honor and feet speak of humility. Matthew and Mark speak of Jesus’ head and John mentions his feet. You cannot be blessed until you’ve been broken.
The flask of oil this woman used was either the key to her present social status, or it was the key to her ability to marry, or to have a proper burial. What she held in her hands represented a highly significant part of her hopes, her dreams, her future. This was an act of kindness. This woman demonstrated her honor and love for the Lord. it was a customary practice of hospitality in that culture to wash the feet of visitors. Travel was mostly by foot and the weary traveler would be soothed and refreshed by the washing of his feet upon arrival at a friendly destination. But this woman went beyond the ordinary practices and gestures of cultural hospitality. She “broke the flask” of expensive oil and poured it on His head. Jesus is worthy of our best; our highest honor! We cannot go overboard in honoring Him. We cannot praise and honor Him too much. If someone is honoring Jesus with sincere honor, Leave Them Alone.! We must let people honor Jesus, and not distract them with our criticism about any neglect or benevolence. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the Bible does not honor women. The Bible upholds the many examples of godly, courageous women who did what they could to honor the Lord. Women, in that ancient Jewish and Gentile world, were victims of paganism and disrespected by corrupt leaders. Some of the most inspiring parts of the Gospels concern our Lord’s contact with godly women. They afford us profound examples of tender service and reverence to Jesus Christ. We need to learn not to waste our time, but to do now those things that are our power within to do. There is a song we sing at church from the Broadman Hymnal entitled: “For He Alone Is Worthy.” The words are: “For He alone is worthy, For He alone is worthy, For He alone is worthy, Christ the Lord. We’ll give Him all the Glory, We’ll give Him all the Glory, We’ll give Him all the Glory, Christ the Lord. O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
This woman felt she owed everything to Jesus and nothing was too much for Him. There was one thing that stood before her mind and heart; the love and gratitude she owed to Him who had forgiven her many sins, opened her eyes, and had given her heavenly hope. Whatever we are doing is useless unless it comes from the heart. She loved Christ and wanted to express it.
We need to learn to bring in our offering of praise and worship and give it to the Lord regardless of how others may act. The Bile says a woman’s hair represents her glory. She laid her glory at the feet of Jesus This woman let down her hair. She let go. When was the last time you let your hair down, let the tears flow, and worshiped God in Spirit and truth? To worship in Spirit means to quit trying to hold back. Quit trying to control how much you let out. She broke the box. She let if flow freely. This woman did not come to worship a building, or to hear some special singing group. She didn’t come because of traditions or because it was church night. She came because of Jesus. She didn’t wait until all the imperfections in her own life were worked out. She came to Jesus just as she was and knelt at his feet She broke the box and began to pour it all out. What a picture of repentance and breakthrough. While others murmured and talked about her, Jesus said, “Her sins and they are many are forgiven.” It doesn’t matter what others think about you. Allow me to invite you today to pour it all at the feet of Jesus. Pour every hurt, every care, every sin, every problem, and every circumstance. Let us lay our glory at the feet of Jesus, and not become complacent in His presence. May our lives be a fragrant sacrifice of praise to You O Lord…
Milley Brewington is a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.