Sermon #62                                           Miscellaneous Sermons


Title:            A Good Work Done For Christ

Text:            Mark 14:3-9

Subject:       Mary Anoints the Lord Jesus

Date:            Sunday Morning - October 4, 1998

Tape #         U-86b

Reading:      Luke 7:1-50



          Before I leave this world, I would like to do something good. I would love to do just one truly good work. I would like to do one thing just for Christ, purely for his glory. Wouldn’t you?


          In Mark 14:3-9 we have the story of a woman who did just that. Today, I want to talk to you about A GOOD WORK DONE FOR CHRIST. Read the story with me.


Mark 14:3-9  "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."


          In these verses Mark records, by divine inspiration, the story of a woman coming into the house of Simon the leper and anointing the Lord Jesus for his burial. It is an event recorded in all four of the gospel narratives (Matt. 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12).


          As we look at this passage today, I will say nothing about the negative attitudes and wicked conduct of Judas and the Lord’s disciples. I want us only to observe what this woman did, why she did it, and what the Lord Jesus said about her and her work. This was the Master’s commentary on this dear woman and what she did.


·        “She hath wrought a good work on me” (v.6).


·        “She hath done what she could” (v.8).


·        “She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying” (v.8).


·        “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 (v.9).".


          May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher as we seek to learn from him the lessons set before us in this portion of his Word.


I.     Here is A SCRIPTURE FULFILLED (v. 3).


Mark 14:3  "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."


          Turn, if you will to the Song of Solomon 1:12. This act performed upon the Lord Jesus was an act of singular respect and honor. It showed great humility on the part of this woman. More importantly, this was the literal fulfillment of this text in the Song of Solomon.


Song of Songs 1:12  "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof."


A.  What this woman did for the honor of Christ, every gospel preacher must do every time he stands to preach the gospel.


1.     We are gathered here today, sitting with the King of Glory in his house, at his table.


2.     The Word of God is like a sacred chest containing precious spikenard, the rich, fragrant spikenard of Christ crucified.


3.     As this dear women broke open her box of spikenard, it is my privilege and responsibility now to break open the Word of God, that the sweet, sweet aroma of Christ may fill his house.


          The gospel of Christ is as ointment poured forth. The sweet savor of the knowledge of Christ is diffused in the house of God when Christ is preached.


B.  We, too, must anoint the Son of God spiritually, by faith in him, giving him the honor he so richly deserves.


1.    Anoint him as your Sovereign King, with the kiss of allegiance.


2.    Anoint him as your Glorious Savior with the kiss of repentance (Ps. 2).


3.    Anoint him as your Beloved with the kiss of affection.


II. Here is A SINNER FORGIVEN (v. 3).


          Let’s look at Luke’s account of this event again. He was inspired to give a few details which Mark was inspired to omit.


Luke 7:36-39  "And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. (37) And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, (38) And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. (39) Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner."


          This woman was Mary Magdalene, mentioned in the next chapter, out of whom the Lord had cast seven devils. Though most conservative and liberal theologians and commentators alike disagree, I am convinced that all four accounts of our Lord being anointed by a woman are of the same event, performed by the same woman. Try to picture the scene here.


          Here is a woman who had been a notorious sinner, once possessed of seven devils. But she had been the object of God’s saving grace. The Lord Jesus had forgiven her of all her sins, robed he in his righteousness, and told her plainly that he would soon die as her Substitute and rise again. Now, here she stands, looking at him, listening to him, loving him.


A.  She remembered what she was and who she was.

B.  She remembered who he is and what he had done for her.

C.  She knew that the time of his death was at hand.

D.  Her heart broke with gratitude and love for Christ.

E.   She wanted to honor him. So she…

·        washed his feet with her tears.

·        wiped them with the hairs of her head (her glory).

·        kissed them (kissed the incessantly - “This woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet” (Lk. 7:45).

·        anointed him - his head, running down his beard, over his body, down to his feet!


III. Here is A SIMPLE FAITH (v. 8).


Mark 14:8  "She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying."


          When I say her faith was a simple faith, I do not speak condescendingly, but admiringly. You see, all true faith is simple faith. Faith is simply trusting Christ, taking God at his Word, believing him. That faith which stands in the word of man is not faith at all. True faith stands in the Word of God alone.


          Our Lord Jesus told his disciples that he must die and rise again. Mary simply believed him, and came as a penitent sinner to anoint him for his burial.


          Where does your faith stand? What is the basis of your faith?


1 John 5:7-11  "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (CHRIST), and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water (THE WRITTEN WORD), and the blood: and these three agree in one. (9) If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. (10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."


IV. Here is A SERVICE FOUND (v. 8).


          Mary wanted to honor the Lord Jesus. She wanted to serve him. She wanted everyone around her to understand how gracious he had been to her, how much she owed him, how great, how glorious he is. But how could she do it. She was a woman. Modesty and obedience to God would not allow her to preach. She could not become a pastor, a deacon, a missionary, or an evangelist. But Mary was not one of our modern, mouthy, obnoxious domineering women. This woman, rather than being repulsed by her proper place in the kingdom of God used it most honorably. She found a place where she could serve her Lord. She found a way to do something for Christ. She could not do what others could do. But she could do what she could do, and she did. Look at verse 8 - “She hath done what she could.”


What an honorable thing! Blessed is that person who does what he can for Christ!


A.  She did what she had opportunity to do.

B.  She did what she had the God given ability to do.

C.  She did what she could when it had to be done.


          Had she not done this thing now, she could never have done it at all.


Ecclesiastes 9:10  "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."


1 Corinthians 10:31  "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."


Colossians 3:23  "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;"


          Because he did what she could, the Lord Jesus said of this woman, “She hath wrought a good work on me.” Oh, for grace to do what I can for Christ! If we would just do what we could, we would do a good work for our Master.


          Let me show you several things which are obvious about this great thing Mary did for the Lord Jesus, several things that make her work a good work.


A.  Mary did what she did for the glory of Christ alone.


All that perfume, all that sweet aroma, all that precious spikenard was meant for Christ alone!


B.  This was an act of pure love.


Love never counts the cost. Love never weighs the consequence. Love never considers a loss a loss when the loss is made for the one who is loved.



C. This was a work requiring considerable sacrifice and self-denial. - (300 pence - a year’s wages! See Matt. 20:9-13.)


D. Though it was a spontaneous act of love, this sacrifice and anointing required thoughtful, deliberate preparation.


Our Master tells us (John 12:7) that Mary had specifically kept this precious ointment for this occasion.


E.  Mary did this thing without calling any attention to herself.


Spurgeon said, “Silent acts of love have musical voices in the ears of Jesus. Sound no trumpet before thee, or Jesus will take warning and be gone.”


F.  This was the response of Mary’s heart to the sacrifice of her Savior, her Lord, her Redeemer.


She believed what she heard the Lord speak (John 3:14-16) and understood that the price of her soul’s ransom was his life’s precious blood!


G. This great sacrifice was a work of faith.


She knew that the Lord Jesus was about to die as her Substitute; but she believed that he would rise from the dead. Therefore, she anointed him for his burial in anticipation of his resurrection (Isa. 53:10-12).


          It appears that everything Mary owned in this world was in that little box of precious spikenard she had saved. With happy, willing, grateful heart, she poured it all out on the Savior. Even so, if we would honor the Lord Jesus Christ, he must be honored with all we have.


Romans 12:1-2  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."


          Those who have been forgiven much love much.


V.  Here is A SINGULAR FAME (v. 9).


Mark 14:9  "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."


          Mary lost nothing. Her oil was not wasted. Her labor was not spent in vain. She got by it that good name which Solomon says is “better than precious ointment.” You can count on this, my friends, those who honor Christ, Christ will honor.


1 Samuel 2:30  "Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed."


Application:  The Preacher and the Business Man on a Plane



1 Corinthians 10:31  "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."