Mary’s work compared to Christ – Part 1

Cherith Baptist Church
Barrett Holloway


Mat. 26:7-13 There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on His head, as He sat at meat But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon Me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

In considering the actions of Mary in pouring the precious ointment on His head, one can find much in comparison to the work of Christ which He did for the Church when His body was broken and His blood poured out to flow to all the members which God had chosen in Him. Her work like His, flowed from a heart fully devoted and much in love with the recipient of this ointment. In following Mary during the ministry of Christ, you will always find her near or trying to get near to her Lord. When she is there, she assumes the role of a learner before the great Teacher and feeds much upon every morsel that drops from His lips. She desires to be with Him for this is the One whom her soul loves and can let go even necessary duties if Christ is in the house. Everything can wait while He is visiting for everyday chores can be put off until this most loved guest has finished His discourse. She had found in Him eternal life; had found Him to be that very life and resurrection her Savior, Lord, King, yea, everything in which her soul delighted. In considering what He had done for her and her family, how could she do anything less than minister unto Him? He had singled her out from the many that were in Bethany and extended much grace and mercy towards her. He had revealed Himself to her in her afflictions and now she knew that He was the resurrection and life and that this life was in her because of Him.

Now when the saved are brought from religious bondage and can get beyond the letter and doctrine (even that which is true as revealed in the Scriptures), they begin to see that which Jesus did flowed simply from a heart that loved them even more than He loved His own life. He loved them so much that He would forsake that intimate fellowship with His Father; descend from the heaven where angels worshipped Him, and even empty that precious box of ointment, His body, that He might redeem unto Himself a people. He took upon Himself the form of a body and filled it with the essence of the Godhead; yet lives as man that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest for all those that the Father had given Him. Nothing short of a love which no creature this side of heaven can understand was the one moving factor in all that Christ did for such poor wretched sinners as we. As that ointment filled the house with its aroma, so there ascended from Calvary an aroma of a sweet smelling sacrifice which was so pleasing to God that He could cry out AMEN when Jesus said, “it is finished.” Since that time unto this present hour, that same aroma has flowed around the world and the chosen people of God have also found that sweet smell of the sacrifice and now we cry unto Him to give us more love to Christ. Jesus could not look at the church and love her for who she was or what she had done for Him as Mary could at Him. All He could see when He first looked at us was a people that loved themselves, the world, and sin but this did not deter His love. Thanks be unto God in that He looked beyond who we were and saw who we would become in Christ Jesus. Now because of Christ, God looks upon us as perfect and complete, yea without spot or blemish.

Mary had such love for this dear One that she gave no thought to what the disciples or anyone else in the house thought. It did not matter what the world might think or even those who knew Him much better than she. Prov. 29:25 “the fear of man bringeth a snare…” and John said in his first epistle, “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear…” so you can see by this that the love Mary had for Christ was perfect or nearing that perfect state. If what we do in the service of our love does not flow from a motive such as Mary’s, we are missing the point of service and could find all our works burned in that day. If we are conscious of the opinions of others, then we become very careful with our deeds. The disciples for some time were more concerned about what the crowds thought than they were of their Lord being honored. “Lord don’t You know that you have offended the Pharisees this day in what You have taught?” Their fear of man was still too much and they tiptoed around their duties afraid that they might offend those in the upper seats of the synagogue. Oh, for such love that is not afraid to offend the masses, even religious.

Mary’s work took on the appearance of that which Christ did through His earthly ministry and at Calvary in that it was of a self-sacrificing nature.

The devotion she held for the Lord Jesus cost her. John 12:5 and Mark 14:5 tell us that the ointment she poured on Christ was valued at 300 pence. This was quiet a large sum in her day and especially in that she was a woman and held no regular job nor brought home a weekly pay check. We are told that this sum was a year’s wages for a working man. You can now see what a sacrifice she made in pouring out this precious ointment. Jesus said of her work, “she hath done what she could” in that she has expended all her resources to accomplish this task. All her earnings and savings had gone into purchasing that box and no doubt its contents were very precious to her. This was no ordinary love but one of a self-sacrificing devotion. There is another woman that Jesus referred to when He saw her cast in her two mites and called the disciples attention to it saying, she has given more than all those who gave large sums to the treasury that day. Will not a heart fully devoted and in love with the Lord of glory respond as opportunity arises in such a way as these two women? Surely, when we come to see what Jesus did we can do no less than give our all to Him. Everything He had was in that body that was broken and emptied. The years of humiliation, temptation, sorrow and suffering and in the end Him being made sin and cursed of God reveals to one the depths of love. He became poor that poor, wretched creatures might not only be made rich in glory but that they also might have a merciful and trustworthy high priest sitting at God’s right hand on their behalf.

It is loves’ delight to endure hardships and to bear the burdens of the objects it loves. Love seeks not her own, does not behave itself unseemly, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. It beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things. Love never fails. Selfishness looks for a way out when things go contrary to the old man and shrinks from suffering. It always pities self and will pay as little as possible. Nothing but the whole box would do from the heart of one who loved as Mary. The disciples who knew not this kind of love at present thought that a little would have done as well and if Mary had been performing only a ceremony, then a little would have accomplished this end. The heart devoted and in love with Christ is not satisfied with performing some religious duties. Love will make whatever sacrifices necessary to accomplish it ends. Was Jesus satisfied with finding an easy way out? Was he looking for the smallest payment possible when he purchased to God His elect? Did He not weep over Jerusalem and sorrow over the rich young ruler who refused to depart with his riches to follow Him? Could not a little of His blood do for us? To satisfy the just demands of a Holy God, do justice to his own heart, and express His deep compassion, He emptied the box. To the disciples there appeared to be a waste and after all they were just following what Christ had told them to do in taking care of the poor. They did not object to the service rendered by Mary, but to the waste. Poor, religious creatures that are satisfied with doing as little as possible.

Jesus accomplished the redemption of “many” by means adequate to redeem all had this been the determined end of Christ’s death by God. Did He weep for the elect only? Did He preach and teach only to those that His Father had chosen in Him before the foundation of the world? The stripes on His body, the thorns on His head, and the nails in His hands and feet were not measured. He did not proportion His blood to the number of the saved but spilt the last drop that precious body held and even shed bitter tears for those that were doomed. David, when speaking of the oil that was poured on Aaron’s head said that it ran down to his skirts. It was not sprinkled for the purpose of a ceremony no more than Mary’s was to perform a religious duty in regard to the man Jesus. Her heart was so attached that she could nothing less than empty the entire, costly box on His body. May no Christian be satisfied until they can say that their love for Christ is with all their heart, mind, soul, and body. Dear ones, how can it be anything less when we consider the extravagant cost, the high price that was paid for your salvation?

May the Lord be pleased to bless these few remarks to the edification of your heart and draw you with the cords of love to the very bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ.