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.
Jesus’ death was imminent. His set time was drawing near, and soon He would, like Mary of Bethany, give the most valuable thing He had. He Himself would be broken, and His precious blood would spill out, and our humble Savior would anoint us with His blood to prepare our old lives of sin to be buried forever. Covered by His blood, we are prepared for death—yea, rather the life that is to come after our souls leave this flesh behind and enter the life He has prepared for us.
There was no sparing the vessel. Mary had to break the alabaster box to release the ointment, and once it was broken, there was no going back, no undoing what had been done. And Jesus, too, gave Himself over to the torture of the Roman soldiers, the violent death on the cross, His broken body a reminder that He took our pain upon Himself, our punishment, our sin. And once it was done, there was no undoing the sacrifice that Jesus made to pay for our sins. There was no scooping up the ointment and putting it back in the vessel. It was used up completely.
The ointment was given at high cost. Some were indignant at the perceived waste, but it was not wasteful to the giver or the one who received it. And beyond that, it was given willingly. It’s not like the box fell and broke. Mary gave it as an offering deliberately, just like Jesus willingly gave His life at such a high cost. But it was all worth it to Him and surely worth it to those who receive this gift from His hands. No price could be placed upon it. Mary spared no expense in giving her gift, and Jesus spared nothing in giving His life for us.
Then after all is said and done, after Jesus went to the grave anointed with that ointment, He rose again victorious, and then He came back to His disciples to anoint them with the precious ointment of the Holy Spirit. He pours into us this most precious and holy thing, filling our lives with the sweet perfume of His love for us, drawing us together into that special relationship, equipping us as vessels fit for His use. So now may we go and be broken and poured out for Jesus, used for His purposes in whatever way He would have us to be.