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God’s Word for You

Mark 14:8 The Prince of Peace

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Sunday, December 3, 2023

8 “She did what she could. She anointed my body ahead of time to prepare for my burial.”

Jesus says that Mary “did what she could.” He does not mean that she did what anyone might do or could do, but that she actually and completely accomplished, to the very limit of her ability and circumstance, what she was able to do. She had planned for this; it was a remarkable amount of this spikenard perfume. She didn’t get this on an impulse when she stopped at the corner store. She had made plans for this. She had thought about it, prayed about it, saved her money (or sold something valuable) to be able to afford it, and then went ahead and accomplished this.

  “Wherefore breaks that sigh
  From the inward of thee?”
  “What pain it cost!” (Cymbeline)

Indeed, this must already have been on her mind and been in the works when her brother Lazarus had died. In John’s account, it is clear that Jesus raised Lazarus just a short time before the Passover, perhaps just a matter of a few weeks. This was the time when the enemies of Christ were searching for him. “They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, ‘What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?’” (John 11:56), which is only two verses before this account begins in John’s Gospel.

In her heart, believing Jesus’ teaching about his imminent death, there was no time to lose. That is why she chose this moment, when he was still safe, still alive, not under arrest, and in her village, evidently in the home of a friend there in Bethany. She might not be able to anoint his body for burial when the time came, and so she anointed him now for burial, while still living, and as I have said before, it is certain that the scent of the ointment was still on his flesh, hair, and clothes the next day when he rode into Jerusalem with the crowds cheering and shouting Hosanna.

We see the effect of the Law of God here, descending upon the very shoulders of God. God is sinless; man cannot charge God with wrongdoing (Job 1:22).Yet Christ came into the world to become the victim who paid the price for man’s sin, to reconcile the world to God through his own body’s suffering (2 Corinthians 5:19). And Paul’s summary is perfect: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Here in Bethany, the wages of sin were descending fast upon the Son of God. He had come to do this thing, and the time was soon, very soon.

“In the little while,” Haggai had written, “the desired of all nations will come… And in this place I will grant peace” (Haggai 2:6-7,9). “I will extend peace like a river,” the Lord said (Isaiah 66:12). Here, with Mary’s anointing oil on his head and feet, was the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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