Day 1 – Untamed Worship
Read Mark 14:1-11; John 12:1-11
Imagine the scene. Jesus is within 72 hours of going to the cross. He knows that death is imminent. The Scribes and Pharisees were waiting for their opportunity to attack, like wolves waiting for the cover of darkness. The pure hatred emanating from these guys was nothing short of demonic influence. They were pawns in the hands of the Prince of Evil–this great dragon of old, who had been swaying the minds and hearts of kings and leaders for centuries to wipe out the Jewish lineage from which would come the Messiah.
And with the clock ticking, what does Jesus do? He visits a leper named Simon in a sleepy little town called Bethany. This is the same town where Jesus had raised his friend Lazarus from the dead sometime earlier in his ministry. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, were dear friends of Jesus. In fact, we read in John 12 of a similar account where Mary is named as the woman in the story. Many scholars believe this to be a parallel account here in Mark’s Gospel. Either way, the truth we discover about this woman is pretty phenomenal. Scripture says,
“…as Jesus was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head” (Mark 14:3).
Ancient tradition tells us this was a way of showing respect to someone in authority. But the manner in which she went about it broke the boundaries of tradition. She poured it all out. She held nothing back. With a crowd of people looking on in confusion and arrogant religious contempt, she emptied the jar of precious oil on the sacred head of Jesus. It was expensive. I was costly. It was pure, without the slightest impurity. It was something to be treasured, possibly a dowry she was saving for marriage. And yet, in spite of all of those factors, she poured it all out on the head of Jesus in extravagant worship.
Matt Redman, in his book The Unquenchable Worshipper describes the scene this way:
“For Him (Jesus), it was a well-timed act of devotion–unexpected, unusual and yet so meaningful to the Son of God. It was the act of a woman who had not been tamed by cynical religious minds. She came across those attitudes that day but was unaffected by them. It was the worship of a woman who didn’t know the rules– an unpredictable, untamed heart on a quest to see Jesus glorified” (Matt Redman, The Unquenchable Worshipper, Regal Books, 2001, p. 50-51).
May this be our heartbeat- to no longer be tamed in our worship of Jesus. That we would no longer be preoccupied with onlookers and skeptics. That we would be unashamed of our worship and unwavered by the opinions of others. That all we would care about is pleasing our Lord and seeing Him glorified.
Over the next two weeks in preparation for Easter, I challenge you to prepare your heart by asking yourself some honest and difficult questions. At the end of each daily reading, you will be presented with some challenge questions. Let these questions be a guide for your conversation with Jesus. Answer them honestly and with openness to any changes the Holy Spirit wants to bring in your heart.
● What things are you holding back in your worship of Jesus? Is there a taming of your worship happening when you pour out your oil before Him?
● Have you been more preoccupied with the opinions of others than the desire to see the approval and smile of God?
● This week, what are some practical ways you can let your worship be unhindered and untamed?