Mark 14:9
And truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."
Sermons
A Thank Offering for JesusDr. Talmage.Mark 14:9
A Very Pleasant Way of Getting Ourselves RememberedDr. Talmage.Mark 14:9
Christ Deserves the Best of EverythingDr. Talmage.Mark 14:9
Give the Children to JesusDr. Talmage.Mark 14:9
Work not for Success, But for GodBishop S. Wilberforce.Mark 14:9
Works Done for Christ Remembered and RecompensedBishop S. Wilberforce.Mark 14:9
A Woman's MemorialC. S. Robinson, D. D.Mark 14:1-9
An Alabaster Box of Ointment -- Mary's GiftR. Glover., J. Morison, D. D.Mark 14:1-9
AnointingH. W. Beecher.Mark 14:1-9
Blinding Influence of PrejudiceMark 14:1-9
Broken Things Useful to GodP. B. Power.Mark 14:1-9
Contrast Between Mary and JudasT. M. Lindsay, D. D.Mark 14:1-9
Costly Gifts Acceptable to ChristM. F. Sadler, M. A.Mark 14:1-9
Costly Offerings Acceptable to GodBishop H. C. Potter.Mark 14:1-9
Mary Anointing ChristC. Bradley, M. A.Mark 14:1-9
Profusion not WasteProf. J. Stacey, D. D.Mark 14:1-9
She Brake the BoxP. B. Power.Mark 14:1-9
The Alabaster CruseR. Green Mark 14:1-9
The Anointing At BethanyAlex. McKenzie, D. D.Mark 14:1-9
The Anointing At BethanyW. Denton, M. A.Mark 14:1-9
The Box of OintmentAlexander Finer, D. D.Mark 14:1-9
The Broken VaseBishop Christopher Wordsworth.Mark 14:1-9
The Offering of DevotionAlex. McKenzie, D. D.Mark 14:1-9
The Sacrifice of LoveJ. C. Gray.Mark 14:1-9
The True Principle of Christian ExpenditureBishop H. C. Potter.Mark 14:1-9
Wasted AromaDr. Talmage.Mark 14:1-9
Working for ChristHenry S. Miles, M. A.Mark 14:1-9
The Betrayal by JudasJ.J. Given Mark 14:1-11, 18-21, 43-50
Anointing for MartyrdomE. Johnson Mark 14:3-9
The Precious Spikenard; Or, the Impulse of the AbsoluteA.F. Muir Mark 14:3-9
Covetousness not Confined to the RichGeorge Petter.Mark 14:9-11
Helping the PoorHans Christian Andersen.Mark 14:9-11
Mary and JudasT. Nightingale.Mark 14:9-11
Modern ApostasiesMark 14:9-11
Money that Profits NotMark 14:9-11
Policy of JudasH. R. Haweis, M. A.Mark 14:9-11
Remedies Against CovetousnessGeorge Petter.Mark 14:9-11
Remembering the Poor But not ChristDr. Cuyler.Mark 14:9-11
The Church InjuredWilliam Nicholson.Mark 14:9-11
The Sin of CovetousnessGeorge Petter.Mark 14:9-11
The Treachery of JudasR. Glover.Mark 14:9-11
Traitors Despised by Their EmployersMark 14:9-11
Describe the feast in the house of Simon the leper, and distinguish the incident from that which is recorded in Luke 7. Indicate Mary's reasons for loving the Lord, with all her heart and soul and strength, and show that this act of exquisite self-abandonment was the natural expression of her love. Learn from the subject the following lessons: -

I. THAT AN ACT WHICH IS PLEASING TO OUR LORD MAY BE MISCONSTRUED AND CONDEMNED BY HIS DISCIPLES. All the disciples were guilty of murmuring against Mary, but John points out that Judas Iscariot began it. Entrusted with the bag in which the common fund was kept, he had carried on for some time past a system of petty thievery. It has been suggested that, as our Lord knew his besetting sin of avarice, it would have been kinder not to have put this temptation in his way. There is, however, another aspect of this question. Evil habits are sometimes conquered by a tacit appeal to honor and generosity. An outward habit may be got rid of by removal of temptation, but absence of temptation does not root out the sin. In effect our Lord said to Judas, "I know your sin, but yet I put this money in your charge; for surely you would not rob the poor, defraud your brethren, and dishonor me!" This appeal might have saved Judas; but he yielded to his sin till it damned him. Such a man would be likely to feel aggrieved at this generous act of Mary's. He felt as if he had been personally defrauded. He knew that if this spikenard, which had vanished in a few minutes of refreshing fragrance, had been sold he would have had the manipulation of the proceeds. Therefore he was angry with Mary, and angry with the Lord, who had not rejected her offering. We can easily understand the feeling of Judas. But how was it the disciples re-echoed his complaint? They sided with him, although they certainly were not actuated by his base motive. Well, we all know that if a word of censure be uttered in the Church it swiftly spreads, and is like leaven, which soon leavens the whole lump. Suspicion and slander find easier access to men's hearts than stories of heroism and generosity. Weeds seed themselves more rapidly than flowers. The disciples had more to justify their fault-finding than we sometimes have. They were plain peasants, who had never known the profusion of modern life, and they were aghast at the idea of such a prodigality of luxury as this. From all they knew of their Lord they supposed that he would have preferred the relief of the poor to any indulgence for himself, and that he himself would have been disposed to say, "To what purpose is this waste?" Many now imagine that they can infallibly decide what will please or displease their Lord, yet in their condemnation of others they are often mistaken. Mary, no doubt, was discouraged and disappointed. Her gift had been the subject of thought and prayer, and now that her opportunity had come for presenting it she eagerly seized it. She was prepared for the sneers of the Pharisees; but surely the disciples would be glad to see their Lord honored. At their rebuke her heart was troubled; her eyes filled with tears as she thought, "Perhaps they are right. I ought to have sold it." Then Jesus looked on her with loving approval, and threw over her the shield of his defense.

II. THAT ANY SERVICE WHICH IS THE OFFSPRING OF LOVE TO THE LORD IS ACCEPTABLE TO HIM. He perfectly understood and approved her motive, and therefore was pleased with her offering. Whether it came in the fragrance of this ointment, or in the form of three hundred pence, was of comparatively little consequence. It meant, "I love thee supremely," and therefore he was glad. Naturally so. When a child brings you the relic of some feast which you would rather not have, yet because it has been saved from love to you, you eat it with as much gusto as if it were nectar from Olympus. Why? Because you judge of the gift from the love it expresses; and this, in an infinitely higher sphere, our Lord also does. Unlike us, he always knows what the motive is, and about many an act condemned by his disciples he says, "She hath wrought a good work on me." Καλόν, translated "good," means something beautiful, noble, or lovely. Mary's act was not ordered by the Law, nor dictated by precedent, nor suitable to everybody; but for her, as an expression of her love, it was the most beautiful thing possible. She poured her heart's love on Jesus when she poured the spikenard from the broken cruse.

III. THAT A GIFT OR ACT PROMPTED BY LOVE TO THE LORD MAY HAVE FAR MORE EFFECT THAN WE DESIGN. "She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying." Some argue from this that Mary knew Jesus was about to be crucified, and would rise again from the dead, so that this would be the only time for such anointing. I doubt that. Probably she had no distinct, ulterior design when she simply did what her love prompted. But in commending her Jesus in effect said, "In this act she has done more than you think - more than she herself imagines; for she is anointing me for my burial." In God's Word we find that we are credited for the good or for the evil latent in our actions, by Divine justice or in Divine generosity. We read of some standing before the Judge of quick and dead who are amazed at the issues of their half-forgotten acts for or against the Savior. "When saw we thee an hungred or athirst?" etc. This was the principle on which Christ attributed to Mary's act a result she could not have foreseen.

CONCLUSION. This is true of evil as of good. There is not a sin you commit but it may beget other sins, and in effect as well as in memory the words are true, "The evil that men do lives after them." For the far-reaching effects of sinful words and deeds, of which he may know nothing till the day of judgment, the sinner is responsible to God. What an encouragement is here to steadfast continuance in well-doing! That which has the smallest immediate result may have the greatest ultimately. The story of Mary's inexpressible love has had far greater effect in blessing the world than the distribution of three hundred pence among the poor, which human judgment might have preferred. - A.R.







And Judas Iscariot.
As these verses, and especially the narrative of the Fourth Gospel, place in juxtaposition the grandest act of Mary and the vilest deed of the son of Iscariot, let us take this opportunity of contrasting the one with the other, that the brightness of the one character may allure us into the path which she trod, and that the baseness of the other may determine us with all speed to shun all sin, that we may not be destroyed by its plagues.

I. We here have Mary's love for her Lord arriving at its loftier elevation, pouring its costly treasure on those feet at which she was wont to sit with so much reverence, and learn lessons whose value is beyond rabies. It was not at first that she wrought this deed of munificence, the fame of which shall be coeval with the duration of the world which now is, but after continuing to receive and to profit by the instructions and works of her Lord for some time; the gracious impression on her mind and heart toward her Lord, once in its infancy, is full-fledged and full. grown; now the little leaven has leavened the whole lump.

II. Now let us glance at him who was called to be on earth one of the twelve, and called in heaven to sit on an apostolic throne; but who became covetous, and, in consequence, stole from the poor, and sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. He was not all this at once, even as Mary did not break her alabaster box the first time she saw Jesus, but the last, immediately before His death and burial. Judas Iscariot erred by allowing a creaturely thing, even mammon, to have an undue place first in his thoughts and then in his heart. Jesus was the object of Mary's regard, her thoughts were ever running after Him, until her heart was filled and ruled by His love, so that she would consider it a little thing to be allowed to pour a fortune down at His feet. She was spiritually-minded, and in that she found rest to her soul; Judas was carnally-minded, and he fearfully proved that to be so is death.

III. These opposites serve to show that a continued course of virtue or sin will lead to extraordinary acts of goodness or crime when opportunity or temptation arises. While the love of Christ leads to constant acts of beneficence for Christ, and extraordinary acts on great occasions, as with Mary, so, on the other hand, the disciple who allows himself to indulge at first in lesser acts of delinquency, waxes gradually worse and worse, becomes so habituated to wander from the straight line, that he is prepared to commit under strong temptation the greatest enormity, to do that of which at one time he would have cried with horror, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?" Nip sin in the bud; cease from it at once, for you little know to what height of crime and depth of shame it may conduct; seek, by God's help, to eject from the heart the little leaven of perverseness ere the whole heart and life be corrupted and misguided thereby; the beginning of sin is as the letting out of water, there is the trickling stream at first, the overwhelming flood afterwards.

IV. We have the Lord's commendation of the one and condemnation of the other. How contrary his fate on earth to that of the woman of Bethany! Thus, the one who forgot self and thought only of her Lord, and gloried that she might become poor if He might but be honoured, the fragrance of her name fills the whole world with a sweet perfume, even as the ointment filled the house with a grateful odour; while the other, who, yielding to temptation, did not care that His Lord should be destroyed if he might be enriched and aggrandized, his fate is to stand forth among men as most destitute and desolate, cursed of God and man. And where are they now — the Christ-loving one and the money-loving one — brought into contact for a moment under this roof? The distance between them, the moral distance, has been widening ever since, and will evermore and evermore; the one has been soaring always nearer to the throne of infinite love and truth, following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, increasing in likeness and devotedness to her Lord; the other, cut off from all sources of restoring life, and only exposed to what is evil, is always plunging into a lower depth of corruption, wandering ever to greater distances from his Father's house, his Shepherd's fold; it had been good for that man if he had never been born. A few lessons suggested by this subject:

1. We have a terrible lesson read to us here against the sin of covetousness. It is not necessary to have large sums of money entrusted to us to be covetous. No one can sin exactly as he did by selling again his Saviour for money, but professors, if not watchful, may allow their supreme love to wander from Christ, and to concentrate itself on earthly treasure, be it equal in value to five pounds or fifty thousand; the sin is not in the quantity of wealth which is preferred to the Saviour, but in giving to wealth or anything else our highest love instead of to Jesus. Those who do this are as guilty of soul-destroying idolatry as ever Judas was. Take heed and beware of covetousness; all the more need to beware thereof because it comes to us in such specious forms, and assumes such deceptive titles, as economy, carefulness, prudence, honesty, provision for the future, provision against old age; it is a sin which among men is treated with respect, and not held in abhorrence, as are sins of murder, adultery, and theft; and yet it has been the millstone which has sunk many besides Judas among the abysses of the bottomless pit; it is idolatry, says the Word of God; and we know that no idolator hath place in the kingdom of heaven.

2. The only safeguard against this and every other evil besetment is to imbibe the spirit and track the steps of Hazy. Her heart was full of Christ. Let Him have your heart, that He may wash it from all sin in His blood, and fill it with His perfect love. Regard Him as your one thing needful, the only one absolutely essential to your well-being. Having given Him your heart, and fastened its strongest love on Him, all boxes and bags containing treasure will be forthcoming at His demand; and in life, in death, in eternity, like Mary, you will be infinitely removed from Judas and all who are like-minded. Well, my fellow sinners, do you choose with Judas or with Mary? Not with Judas, you say. You would not, if you could, betray the Holy One and the Just. But his original offence, the root of the great betrayal sin, consisted in allowing something in preference to Christ to engage his thoughts and affections, even money, until he became wholly absorbed thereby; there was the seat of the mischief. As long, then, as anything has your heart, be it money, be it a fellow creature, be it a sensual indulgence, a carnal gratification, be it anything else, you do choose with Judas and not with Mary. You give your heart, like the apostate, to some creaturely thing or other, and as long as you do your soul is in danger of eternal ruin; that one sin of yours, unless it be abandoned, will destroy you. Oh, choose with the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and give the whole heart to Jesus.

(T. Nightingale.)

On a cold winter evening, I made my first call on a rich merchant in New York. As I left his door, and the piercing gale swept in, I said, "What an awful night for the poor 1" He went back, and bringing to me a roll of bank bills, he said, "Please hand these, for me, to the poorest people you know." After a few days, I wrote to him the grateful thanks of the poor whom his bounty had relieved, and added: "How is it that a man so kind to his fellow creatures has always been so unkind to his Saviour as to refuse Him his hearty" That sentence touched him to the core. He sent for me to come and talk with him, and speedily gave himself to Christ. He has been a most useful Christian ever since.

(Dr. Cuyler.)

On one occasion only did I hear Jenny Lind express her joy in her talent and self-consciousness. It was during her last residence in Copenhagen. Almost every evening she appeared either in the opera or at concerts; every hour was in requisition. She heard of a society, the object of which was to assist unfortunate children, and to take them out of the hands of their parents, by whom they were misused and compelled either to beg or steal. "Let me," said she, "give a night's performance for the benefit of these poor children; but we will have double prices." Such a performance was given, and returned large proceeds. When she was informed of this, and that by this means a number of poor children would be benefited for several years, her countenance beamed, and the tears filled her eyes. "Is it not beautiful," said she, "that I can sing so?" Through her I first became sensible of the holiness there is in art; through her I learned that one must forget one's self in the service of the Supreme."

(Hans Christian Andersen.)

Judas and Mary are at the two poles of human possibility. Perhaps in their earlier years both seemed equally promising. But now how vast the interval! Little by little Mary has risen by following God's light, and little by little Judas has fallen by following Satan's temptation.

1. Many begin well who perish awfully.

2. Self is the destruction of safety and sanctity alike.

3. Greed leads to much inward backsliding, and to much open apostasy.

4. There is meanness and cowardice in all evil. Evil lays plots and practises deceit, ashamed and afraid to act in the open.

5. The goodness of good men makes bad men worse when it fails to wake repentance in them.

6. The world thinks as Judas thought, that the lack of money is the root of all evil; but God says what Judas forgot, that the love of money is so.

7. To get one-third of the sum Mary had spent on ointment, Judas sides with the foes of Jesus, and becomes a traitor to his Saviour.

8. They who plot against the Saviour plot against themselves. It was Judas, not Christ, who was destroyed.

9. Beware of half-conversion and the blending, of worldliness and discipleship, for such mixtures end badly. The thorns springing up, choke fatally the grace that seemed strong and healthy.

(R. Glover.)

I do not think that Judas meant to betray Jesus to death. He sold Him for about £3 16s. He meant, no doubt, to force His hand — to compel Him to declare Himself and bring on His kingdom at once. Things, he thought, ought now to come to a crisis; there could be no doubt that the great Miracle Worker would win if He could only be pushed into action, and if just a little money could also be made it would be smart, especially as it would come out of the enemy's pocket. That was Judas all over. His character is very interesting, and I think much misunderstood. The direct lesson to be learnt is generally the danger of living on a low moral plane. It is like a low state of the body — it is not exactly disease, but it is the condition favourable to all kinds of disease. Dulness to fine feeling, religion, truth, leads to self-deception — which leads to blindness of the worst kind, and then on to crime. Nothing is safe but a high Ideal, and it cannot be too high. Aim at the best always, and keep honour bright. Don't tamper with truth — don't trifle with affection — and, above all, don't be continually set on getting money at all risks and at any sacrifice. We may all look a Judas and learn that.

(H. R. Haweis, M. A.)

Learn from this the greatness and danger of the sin of covetousness, the cause and root from which spring many other sins (1 Timothy 6:10). A mother sin, having many cursed daughters like itself. A stock upon which one may graft any sin almost. Hence come fraud, injustice, and all kinds of oppression both open and secret; cruelty and unmerciful dealing; lying, swearing, murder, etc.

1. It withdraws the heart from God and religion, hindering our love to God, and delight in His service; quenching our zeal for His glory; causing men to set their hearts upon worldly wealth and gain, which so takes them up that they cannot be free to love God, and to delight in His service as they ought to do (Matthew 6:24; Luke 14:1).

2. It chokes the seed of God's Word in the hearts of those who hear it, so that it cannot bring forth fruit in them (Matthew 13:22; Ezekiel 33:31).

3. Grievous judgments are threatened in Scripture against this sin (Isaiah 5:8; Habakkuk 2:9; James 5:1; Luke 6:24).

4. It is a sin very hard to be repented of. When other sins leave a man, e.g., in old age, this only clings faster to him. He that will follow Christ, and be a true Christian, must forsake all things in this world (at least in heart) to follow Him. But how difficult is this for the covetous man to do. Besides, such have many pretences and excuses for their sin: as, that hard times may come; and, "He that provides not for his own," etc., which is one main cause why it is so hard for such to repent.

(George Petter.)

The poor may think they are free from this sin, and in no danger of falling into it. But(1) look, does not the love of money or riches possess thy soul? If so, then, though thou be poor, yet thou mayest be in danger of this sin; yea, thou mayest be deeply tainted with it — if thy heart be in love with worldly wealth; if thou eagerly desire to be rich, and esteem wealth too highly, thinking only those who have it happy.(2) If discontented with thy present estate, it is a sign thou art covetous.

(George Petter.)

1. Remember, that we are in Scripture plainly forbidden to desire and seek after worldly wealth (Proverbs 23:4; Matthew 6:1).

2. Consider the nature of all worldly wealth and riches. It is but this world's goods (as the Apostle calls it), which serves only for maintenance of this present momentary life, and is in itself most vain and transitory; being all but perishing substance. Gold itself is but "gold that perisheth" (1 Peter 1:7; 1 Timothy 6:17; Proverbs 23:5; Luke 12:20).

3. Consider how vain and unprofitable to us all worldly wealth is, even while we enjoy it: not being able of itself to help or do us good (Luke 12:15). The richest men do not live longest. All the wealth in the world cannot prolong a man's life one hour. It cannot give us ease in pain; health in sickness; but most unable it is to help or deliver us in the day of God's wrath. Think of these things, to restrain and keep us from the love and inordinate desire of this world's goods. One main cause of covetousness is a false persuasion in men's hearts touching some great excellency in riches, that they will make one happy; but it is not so; rather the contrary.

4. Consider the account to be given hereafter to God, of all wealth here enjoyed; how we have used it, well or ill: for we are not absolute owners of that we have, but stewards only, entrusted by God with earthly substance to use it to His glory and the good of others. Think of this well, and it will be a means to curb the inordinate love and desire of worldly wealth.

5. Labour for faith in God's providence; to depend on His Fatherly care for things of this life. This will cut off covetous desires, which are fruits of infidelity and distrust of God's Providence (Matthew 6:30, 32; Romans 8:32; Psalm 55:22).

6. Labour for contentedness with present condition. This is true riches (Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:8).

7. Labour to make God our portion and treasure. Let thy heart go chiefly to Him, and be chiefly set on Him: thy love, joy, delight. Then thou art rich enough. In Him thou hast all things.

(George Petter.)

I. THAT A TOO INTIMATE CONNECTION BETWEEN A PROFESSING CHRISTIAN AND THE WORLD IS INJURIOUS TO THE CHURCH.

II. THAT THE HYPOCRITE IS MORE INJURIOUS TO THE CHURCH THAN A NON-PROFESSOR.

1. The world depends upon him for an opportunity. To the chief priests all plans and proposals failed, until Judas's came.

2. Hypocrites are the leaders of the enemies after abandoning Christ. Examples: Judas, Alexander the coppersmith, etc.

3. They have a knowledge of the failures of Christian brethren. A fortress attacked — an enemy disguised enters — has intelligence of the weakness of the fortification — joins the army outside — leads the assault to the weakest place. Zion trusts in the Lord.

4. They are too near to be seen. Gold and copper cannot be distinguished when held so closely as to touch the eye.

III. THAT A FEEBLE MORAL CHARACTER IS INJURIOUS TO THE CHURCH.

IV. THAT THE WORLD'S JOY AND THE CHURCH'S GRIEF MAY OFTEN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE SAME CAUSE. "And when they heard it they were glad;" and "they were exceeding sorrowful." The same cause — how different the effects! Dismembering, abandonment of God, etc., produce similar effects. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

(William Nicholson.)

The Rev. W. Archer Butler remarks: "The apostasies of the table, the fireside, and the market may be as bad as those of Judas, Julian, or Demas." And is it not so? If, for some petty advantage — some poor worldly enjoyment — our religious duties are neglected, do we not thereby appear to acknowledge that Christ is of less esteem to us? If, for example, we forsake our public or private devotions to attend social parties and engagements, fearing lest we may be otherwise censured for not uniting in them, is not this one mode of slighting Christ for the world? Or, if we allow the pursuits of money getting or private pleasure to absorb our lives, or leave us but the narrowest margin for the service of Jesus and the promotion of His kingdom, is not this also, in no imaginary sense, "selling Him for silver?" Then what will the end be if this sin shall remain unrepented of and persisted in.

When Graveston, who betrayed the Spaniards at Bergen-op-Zoom to Queen Elizabeth, came to England to give her Majesty an account of his success, and to claim the reward, the queen gave him a thousand crowns, but said to him at the same time, "Get you home, that I may know where to send when I want a thorough-faced villain."

Three men who were travelling together found a treasure and divided it. Then they continued on their journey discussing of the use that they would make of their riches. Having eaten all the food which they had taken with them, they concluded to go away into the city to purchase some and charged the youngest with this errand, so he set out on his journey. While on the way he said to himself: "How rich I am! but I should be richer, did I only have all of the treasure. Those two men have robbed me of my riches. Shall I not be able to revenge them? That could be easily done, for I should have only to poison the food which I am commissioned to purchase. On my return I will tell them that I have dined in town. My companions will partake of the food without suspicion, and die, then I shall have all the riches, while I have now only a third." During this time his two companions said to each other: "We have no need that this young man associate with us; we have been obliged to divide our riches with him; his portion would increase ours, and we should be truly rich. He is coming back, we have good daggers, let us use them." The youth returned with the poisoned food; his fellow travellers assassinated him, then partook of the food direct, and the treasure belonged to no one.

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