Mark 14:1-9 The best laid plans

Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As the Pharisees plot, the Lord accepts kind service from a woman

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Joel and Mary Nadel, Covenant Church

From: The Holy Bible and J.C. Ryle’s “Expository Comments on the Gospels - Mark”

House Rules: Phones, Respect, Stay on the Text, No Hijacking



The last week of Jesus earthly ministry
Preaching, teaching, performing miracles for three years
Now He is in Jerusalem, to finish His work on the Cross.
In Chapter 13, we saw how the Lord taught His followers what to expect after His death.
In this chapter, we trace His final days.
Mark 14:1–9 NASB95
Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away; and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him; for they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people.” While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? “For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. “She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”


This chapter describe’s our Lord’s suffering and death.
Up until this point, we have seen our Saviour as a prophet and a teacher, but very special one.
He used miracles as lessons, and He used them as illustrations of His lessons
We now need to look as His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.

Firstly - God frustrates the plans of wicked men, and overrules them to His own glory

Its clear from Mark’s words, as well as Matthew’s, that the Lord’s enemies did not want to make His death a public spectacle
They wanted to sieze Him in secret and kill Him
They said: “Not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people.”
Their original plan was to waith until the Passover festival was over, and the worshippers had gone home
The almighty God completely thwarted these plans
Judas betrayed our Lord much earlier than the chief priests expected
The death of Jesus happened on the very day when Jerusalem was most full of people and the festival was at it’s highest point
They thought they were putting an end to Christ’s spiritual kingdom - in fact, they were helping to establish it
They thought that they would make Him disgusting by having him crucified, but they actually glorified Him
They wanted to kill Him secretly, but were forced to execute Him in public, in front of the entire nation
They expected to silence His disciples and stop their teaching - instead they provided them with lessons forever
It is very easy for God to turn the anger of men and women to His own praise. Ps 76:10 “For the wrath of man shall praise You; With a remnant of wrath You will gird Yourself.”
True Christians should be greatly encouraged by this
We live is a wicked and troubled world - we are often stirred up and anxious about public events
It is good to know that everything is arranged for good by an all-wise God - we should not ever doubt that all things are working together for God’s glory
Ps 2:1-3 “Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!””
Ps 2:4 “He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.”
It has always and will always be this way

Our second point is this: good works are often misunderstood and undervalued

Beginning in verse 3, we are told of a woman who poured perfumed ointment on the Lord’s head
We learn in John’s gospel, that this was Mary, the brother of Lazarus
No doubt she did this as a mark of honor and respect, out of her own thankfulness and love
Some there criticized her for this act (Judas) and gave her a hard time.
Mark 14:4-5 “But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? “For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her.”

These critics were religious bullies. They were angry with her and scolded her

The attitudes of these narrow-minded, critical people is, sadly, very common
Their followers can be found in every church
There is always a group of people complaining about “extremists” and they are constantly recommending “moderation” and compromise in the service of Christ
If somone gives time, money, or energy to going after worldly things, like politics or entertainment - nobody says a word
But, if someone devotes himself or herself and all they have to Christ, they are mercilessly criticized - an extremist, a fanatic, overly righteous - they regard it as “waste”
We shouldn’t let these types of complaints bother us, if they are made against us - because Christians should work hard to serve Christ
We need to hear them patiently and remember that they are as old as the Christian faith.
We should pity people like this, who make such charges against believers - such people show plainly they don’t owe Christ anything
Someone who understands the wickedness of sin, and the mercy of the Lord in dying for Him, will never think anything is too much to give to Christ
Ps 116:12 “What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me?”
He won’t want to waste time, money, work or energy on the things of this world
He will think nothing of spending his time and energy on the Savior
He will be afraid of going to extremes about business, money, politics or entertainment, but no about doing too much for Christ

The Lord appreciates all service done for Him

Nowhere in the Gospels do we see where the Lord gave as much praise as He gave to this woman
There are three important points He makes that people who are critical of Christian service should pay attention
Firstly, He says “why do you bother her?”
This a very good question and one which all religious bullies would find it hard to answer
Why are they being so critical? How do they justify their conduct? None
They make trouble for others out of envy, bad will, ignorance and dislike for the Gospel
He says: “she has done a good deed for me.”
This is a wonderful compliment from the lips of the King of ings.
Many people donate money to the church, or to charities, to show off their generosity or for false reasons
The person who truly loves and honors Jesus, really does good deeds
The Lord also says: “She has done what she could;”
He could not have made a stronger compliment
Thousands live and die in their sins, to eternal damnation, who are always saying “I try my best” or “I do all I can”, knowing that its not true
Very few, sadly, are like this woman, and deserve the complement “She has done what she could”

Bringing it home

We need to look at how this passage applies to us
Like this woman, who’s conduct has just been described to us, we need to devote ourselves and all we have to Christ’s glory
We may not have a lot of money or worldly belongings, we may not have a lot of usefulness
But like her, let us “do what we can”
Finally, we see in this passage a sweet foretaste of what we can expect in the day of judgment
We can be confident that this same Jesus, who came to the aid of this loving women when she was attacked, will one day come to the aid of all His servants in the world
We need to continue on, remembertin that His eye is on us, and that He takes not of all we do
Let’s no worry about what men or women might say or think of us because of our faith
The praise of Christ, on that last day, will more than reward us for all that we have suffered in this world from unkind tongues.

The Gospel

Hebrews 10:31 NASB95
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 (NASB95)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Romans 10:9 NASB95
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

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