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The Anointing of Jesus

By Pastor Marcus Brown

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The Bible says to receive the Word with gladness and sincerity of heart. There are a lot of stories I’ve liked in Mark. I’ve loved the story of the leper and the story of the woman with the issue of blood. We’ve taught about the friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus, and we’ve taught about the rich young ruler. 


We’re going to talk about worship today, and the story we’re going to talk about today is the story that Jesus liked! He said, “Wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, I want this story to be talked about.” The story is that of Mary anointing Jesus at Bethany.


This story teaches us how Jesus wants to be worshiped. When you realize that the reason you’re created is to worship God, life will begin to make a lot of sense. The reason you have breath in your lungs is to worship God. Now, you might be a success in the world’s eyes, but if you don’t learn how to worship God, then you’ll miss the whole meaning of your life.


You can climb the ladder, get to the top, and realize at some point, “I’ve climbed the wrong ladder!” The whole reason you have breath in your lungs is for your life and your lifestyle to be worship to God, a sweet-smelling fragrance to Him. 


Brook and I talked about this in our marriage. We asked ourselves this: “What is one thing we can upgrade? Well, what can we do better? What did we used to do that we quit doing?”


I don’t want to take her for granted. I don’t want to be like the old man, when somebody asked, “Do you wake up grouchy in the morning?” He said, “No, I let her sleep!” 


It’s like the guy at his 50th reunion. He turned to his wife and said, “Baby, being married has felt like five minutes…underwater!” 


So I looked at Brook and just said, “What can we do better?” She said, “I want to smile like we used to smile at each other.” I remember I would see her at Southwestern when we were dating. I’d see her across campus, and we would lock eyes, and she would smile, and I would smile!” And she just sweetly reminded me, “Can we get back to where we just smile when we look into each other’s eyes?”


This week I saw her and my oldest daughter, Ashlyn, walking in the neighborhood. I was driving down the hill when I saw them, and they turned and saw me, and Brook smiled, and I smiled. Then we had double the fun! Ashlyn smiled, and I smiled, and I thought, life just keeps getting better!


There are a lot of things that make Americans smile. For men, it’s steak. For women, it’s chocolate cake. Finding money makes you smile. You put on that coat and you find, “There’s five dollars in here!” Then you feel like you’ve won the lottery! Or you put your hand in your pocket and say, “I forgot about that 20!” Or you’re washing the clothes and you say, “That’s mine, and I don’t care whose clothes it came from!” 


This one guy told me that his kids had been begging him to walk the neighborhood with them. He said, “I am not lying, Pastor Marcus. We walked the neighborhood and started seeing money. The wind was blowing money! That day we picked up seven hundred dollars in cash!”


I said, “Hold on. I’ve seen that movie, and the daddy gets killed by the cartel in the end. You just came up on a drug deal that went south. I grew up in the hood; I don’t know where y’all grew up. I know what happened!” 


Okay, finding money makes you smile. Hugs make you smile. Hearing your kids laugh will make you smile. You parents and grandparents, when you see your grandkids doing something that God gifted them to do, you’re like, “I just smile when I just see how God’s gifted them, and that’s where they’re strong, and that’s where they’re anointed.”


But just like we look at our kids and they make us smile, you are a child of God. You were created to put a smile on His face by the way you live your life. Revelation 4:11 says, 


“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure.” He’s worthy to receive some stuff from us.


You were created to bring pleasure to God. You may ask, “How can I do that?” 


There’s a word for that in the Bible. It’s called worship. Worship. We were created to worship. Now that word has a lot of misconceptions. We make it sound like it means a church service, or a communion, or a lot of different things. 


But worship isn’t lip service. It’s life service. It’s more than the words that come out of your mouth.It’s the life that you live before a holy God. It’s more than this Sunday or this moment. When we go to Mark 14 we see Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. All three times that we see her, she’s at the feet of Jesus. Woo! Every time we see her, she’s at the feet of Jesus. She’s receiving from his teaching. She’s like, “Teach more.” Martha’s over there going, “Can you fry some chicken with me?” And Mary just looks at her like, “But the teacher’s teaching.” She’s at his feet saying, “Can you heal my brother? Can you raise him from the dead?”


Then, 48 hours before he’s arrested, we see that she’s anointing him. When you look at Mary’s life, you think, “Her lifestyle was at the feet of Jesus because she didn’t just worship, she was a worshiper of God.” Her lifestyle teaches you how to put a smile on God’s face. 


In Mark 14, Jesus said, “You gotta tell this story.”


There’s a contrast of characters in this story. There are people who are all about themselves in this story. One of them is Judas. There’s someone who is all about Jesus in this story. Her name is Mary. This happened when the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away.


Who is the Passover Lamb now? Jesus. It’s two days away. We’re 48 hours from Him being the Sacrificial Lamb. It says the chief priests and teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him, “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”


Now when the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, while he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the leper, a woman came…


Notice, Simon the leper; this is somebody that Jesus healed. That’s the only reason he’s back in the home. Jesus healed this guy. Isn’t it something that when Jesus saves you, heals you, and frees you, it restores your home. It does something in the house. He heals this guy, and now the guy has his family back. He gets to be the daddy in the house, the husband again, the man he was created to be. And Jesus is just reclining at the table. 


…in the home of Simon the leper a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages!”


I think John and Matthew said it was Judas who said this. Doesn’t this sound like a social media post from some self righteous person? 


Couldn’t this have been sold and given to the poor? And they rebuked her harshly. 


What does Jesus say? 


Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will have with you always. And you can help them anytime you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world What she has done will also be told in memory of her.


Watch this! 


Then Judas Iscariot, one of the 12…


He’s not demon possessed yet. He’s about to be But he is really under the control of Satan. 


…went to the chief priest to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money.


Isn’t it interesting that Judas was griping about her wasting perfume, but then he’s willing to betray Jesus to fill his own pockets? Watch this:


So he watched for an opportunity. 


Okay, pause right here. Remember, when Jesus was tempted for 40 days in the desert, the Bible said Satan left for a more opportune time. Judas is walking in the footsteps of Satan right now. He is looking for an opportunity to hand him over. 


Here’s some key ideas to takeaway from this moment:


  1. Worship ascribe’s worth. 


Worship is telling you what is valuable. You were not just created to worship, you do worship. 


It’s not thinking, “One day I’m going to be a worshiper.” You are a worshiper. Right now, you worship something. Some people worship their work. Some people worship their hobbies. Some people look in the mirror all day because they worship themselves. Some people worship their possessions. Some people worship their collectible items. Those people get weird real fast.


Some people worship their children. Everybody is worshiping something. Are you gonna be a worshiper of Jesus first? That is the question because as a worshiper, we declare, “This is worth something to me. This right here is worth my time. This is worth my focused attention. This is worth my money. This is worth my energy. This is worth my adoration. This is worth my allegiance.” 


You are a worshiper. You may worship your cell phone. You may worship your career, but you do worship. Worship says, “This is worth this to me.” 


Now, when I went and bought Brook that engagement ring back in 1990-something. 1996, right? Yeah. We were engaged for too long! I remember I went to the jeweler. I was talking to him. I said, “I need to pick out a ring.” I found the ring, so the next step is that it’s time to get engaged. So back then—kids, you don’t know anything about this—I pulled out my checkbook and wrote the biggest check of my life: $2,681! Whoo!


Then he took the check and went to the back room. I didn’t know what he was doing. You know what he was doing? Back in those days, they called the bank. So he went to call the bank. The problem was that my mom worked at the bank! So he called the bank, and Miss Linda picked up the phone. 


The jeweler says, “Marcus Brown’s writing a $2,681 check. Does he have funds in his account so that this check doesn’t bounce?”


And she said, “Hold on.” And Miss Linda turned to my mom and said, “Miss Mary, your boy is buying a Rolex or something!” 


And my mom said, “What?” 


“He’s at a jewelry store. He’s got a 2,600 check.” 


And I had not told my parents I was getting engaged. All right. I was an idiot.


So then the jeweler comes out and says, “Um, Mr. Marcus, I know this is weird, but they’re actually wanting to speak to you on the phone from the bank.” 


I went to the back room, he gave me the phone, and my Mama said, “Son, did you forget to tell me something?”


I said, “Mama! I’m trying to be a man right now!” 


And she said, “Are you buying an engagement ring?” 


I said, “I am.” 


She said, “You didn’t even want us to pray about it?” 


I said, “I’m not gonna give it to her today.” But I did. I gave it to her right there. But I said, “I’m gonna hold on, check her behavior a little longer!” 


When I got off the phone, I thought, “I’m making a wrong decision!” I looked at the jeweler and said, “Is this the right thing to do?” 


He just looked at me and said, ”I’m not a counselor.” 


I said, “Well, is this a good ring?” 


And he said, “Is this what she’s worth


I said, “No, that’s what I’m worth! That’s all I got!”


This is what Mary is doing. She’s declaring, “This is what I’m worth, and I am pouring my worth on You.” 


It’s a bottle of perfume. It’s a year’s wages. It’s spikenard. It came from the Himalayan mountains. It’s different from Brut 33. It’s spikenard. And she poured all of it. Can you imagine? Just think about what you make. Would you buy a year’s wage of perfume? This was a gift to her. 


She goes, “This is the most sacred thing I have, the most precious thing I have. You’re not just worth a drop.” 


In those days, if there’s a very important guest, you’d give them a drop of perfume, but she poured all of it on Jesus, down his head, down his beard, all over his clothes. John says that she washes his feet with this. It’s from head to toe, covered in all that she could worship him with.


This is what worship is supposed to be: unreserved. That means I’m holding nothing back. It’s supposed to be costly to you. It costs me something, it costs me time, costs me energy, costs me a part of my life. Worship is supposed to be extravagant, not like, “Oh, a little dab will do you, God.” No, worship is like, “God, I’m pouring out, this is what You’re worth.”


It was so much that the people in the room who were worldly said, “It’s a waste,” and Jesus said, “It’s not a waste. It’s a beautiful thing.” That word in the Greek means charming to the Holy. What she did put a smile on the face of God. 


We could be in worship service and you go too far. You draw attention to yourself and act a little crazy. It’s fine. We have ushers for that. If I’m having a bad Sunday, we’ll tase you. All right? But what about people who don’t go far enough? Right? What about people who don’t go far enough? 


So I voted, we’re going to have one service this year. I’m not going to tell you when. We’re just going to tase everybody who doesn’t go far enough! I think something special could happen. You know what I’m saying? A little revival, a little bit of Jesus, a little bit of electricity. Amen. 


She says, “Here, I’m giving it all.” 


For the next 48 hours, Jesus is arrested. He’s before the Sanhedrin. He is before all of these religious leaders. Before Pilate. Listen to me, listen. Every room that He is in, and every station of the cross, He filled the room with the aroma of someone else’s worship. When he was in Pilate’s house people breathed in and went “What is that?” Someone’s been worshiping Jesus. 


The stations of the cross you could smell this is what Psalm 141 David’s prayer was this: “May my prayer come to you like the sweet smell of incense.” Our worship is supposed to be that. It was 


  1. Obedience creates movement.


He said, “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body. Now she didn’t know this. She poured perfume on my body beforehand for my burial. No, no, no, no. She didn’t know this.” He went, “She did something and she didn’t see the other side of what she was doing.” 


Do you understand what Jesus saying? When you obediently step out and do something the Lord tells you to do, you don’t see how the dominoes are going to fall on the other end. You don’t see it. 


She gets some nudge and she just goes, “Oh, pour some perfume on Jesus. I’m going to do it.” He goes, “Nah, she did it for my burial, and wherever the gospel is preached, what she’s done will be talked about.” 


Obedience sets more things in motion than I can see. 


This is for every act of obedience. When the Lord whispers to you to do this, He is seeing five plays later down the road. The will of God is like skipping rocks. When you skip rocks, you can go, “Ha, I’m skipping a rock.” You might know how far you can throw the rock, where it might land, but you don’t know how many times it’s gonna skip. 


So, in your life, if you get this, it’s gonna help you. God’s skipping rocks with you. Sometimes we wanna have a ten-year vision, a ten year dream for our life, and go, “God, I wanna end up here, and I want my life to just be a straight line towards this dream.” Well, that’s self help books, but listen, this life is a life of faith, and God gives you one obedient act after another. 


Jesus goes, “Pour some perfume on Me.” And she goes, “What does that mean?” “This is for my burial.” This is a part of Calvary. And this is a part of the gospel being preached in all the world. He’s doing the same thing with your life. He’s skipping rocks with you.


You may say, “God asked me to do this; it doesn’t make a lot of sense.” It will. You just gotta skip a few more times. You may be getting it, thinking, “This is where I want to be in life. How can I get there?” Just be obedient for the next thing God tells you to do. 


You might be in here and the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about getting your life right with God and getting serious about it. Like having a detachment from the world and getting honest before Him. You might just say, “I’m going to give my life to Jesus.” And in this very moment, you’re just like, “That is what I’m supposed to do.” 


And then, you’re going to unlock some things for your kids. You’re going to unlock some favor and blessings for your grandkids. There’s going to be generations that don’t even have ever met you that are going, “Somebody somewhere set a new legacy in motion for my family and my future.” And it came to your act on this day. 


There are a lot of people in this room who can say this: “When I got my life right with God, I repented of my sins. Then what happened next was I got on the path to meet my spouse!” He could save your son, and He can save your daughter because God is skipping rocks. 


If you’ll just obey me here and here and here, about the third skip you’ll be going, “Oh, You’re doing something crazy!” Right? 


There were three or four churches that were at odds in 1727. This is called the Moravian Revival. God spoke to a few people in these churches. A Baptist church hated a Presbyterian church. They both hated the reformers that were in town. And a few people got together and said, “We gotta pray.” That’s the first rock. We gotta pray for peace. A few of them got into this building on a Wednesday, 11 o’clock, on August 6th, 1727. They started praying, and the Holy Spirit filled the place. That prayer meeting lasted 100 years. Around the clock. There were only 220 people in these churches, and 77 of them said, “I’ll pick this hour and I’ll always pray this day.” They continued that prayer meeting and passed that baton down from one generation to another.


One hundred missionaries came out of this first initial prayer meeting that shook the entire world. Now God saw all this, but all they saw was a prayer meeting. And do you know who led the prayer meeting? An 11-year-old girl led the prayer meeting, and when she prayed, the place was shaking. God filled the room. 


One obedient act sets more things in motion than you can ever see.


  1. Brokenness precedes breakthrough.


We don’t just worship. You break into worship. We don’t come to God worship-ready into the things of God. Something has to break first. 


While he was in Bethany reclining at the table in the home of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar. 


Now, why did she do that? 


She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 


Why’d she break it? I’m going to tell you, in worship, there are two breakings that have to happen in you for you to worship God in spirit and truth. 


  1. There is a theological breaking. You’ve got to know how God wants you to worship Him, or you’re going to worship Him the way you’re most comfortable worshiping Him. 


You’re either going to worship God God’s way, or you’re going to worship God your own way. When Brooke and I got married, I had not read The Five Love Languages of Marriage. I didn’t know the five love languages, you know? I just knew one, “I like you, you like me.” Good enough! That’s the only language I knew! 


But I would love Brook in a way that she did not feel loved. Then I learned that her number one love language is acts of service. Now, I could say words of affirmation, she’s fine with that. And then I could buy her a gift, and I would think, Oh man, this is gonna be great! So I’d buy her a gift, and she’d go, “Thank you, thank you.” 


But when I walk in the house and start changing out light bulbs, she responds like, “Oh, heyyyyyy, Marcus, how’re you doing?” I say, “Hey, I got the dishes tonight, and she’s like, “Baby, yeah! Oh, wow!” And I realize her love language is acts of service. That’s why when I go home, I just put a tool belt on, and I’m like, “Hey, baby…” You know what I’m saying?


So, that is her number one love language. 


God has some love languages, and do you know who he gave them to? King David. That’s why we have the Book of Psalms. And he taught David, who is our worship leader until we get to heaven and Jesus himself leads. David is our all-time worship leader. And he’d say, 


This is what God likes. He likes it when you clap your hands, all you people, and shout unto God with the voice of triumph. He loves it when you sing and make melody to the Lord. He loves that. That’s how He loves. 


And so this is what I used to do. I used to just come in and go, whatever he gets, He’ll just receive it because it’s honest. 


And he goes, no, I have a love language. And there’s ways. He likes it when we lift our hands to him, we reach for God. You kneel before God. The Bible says that you can bow before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. These are all ways of worship. This is why I’m reading Psalms. I’m not just saying, “Hey, that’s what they did. That’s cool.” I’m going, “This is how God loves to be worshiped.” 


Here’s my problem. Brooke will tell you this, this is true. I’ve always had a problem with public displays of affection. So we’d start dating, I’d hold her hand. We’d be in public and she would count in her mind until I dropped her hand because I was getting uncomfortable. People can see public displays of affection. I’d think to myself, “Just hold on,” but she’s so attracted to me, I was just trying to keep affection not so out there, you know?


BUT this inhibition I had actually spilled over spiritually for me, to where I had worship inhibitions because I would think, “I don’t want to be a spectacle here.”


But I got to a place where I thought, “You know what I want to be is biblically right. I don’t want to be emotional, I don’t want to be a weirdo, but I also don’t want to be dried up, and I don’t want to be an observer. I want to be so caught up in the object of my worship, who is Jesus, that I could care less of the observers to my worship in the room, like Mary.”


So, there is a theological breaking tha has to happen in you for you to worship God in spirit and truth. There is also a psychological breaking.


  1. There is a psychological breaking.


My pride has to be broken. My comfort zone has to be broken to the point where I declare, “Jesus, more than my pride, and more than my comfort, You deserve it.” Why? 


There was this custom in the Ancient East, where if someone super important came to your home—like a governor or a king happened just to drop in—if they used a utensil in your home, like a plate, then before they left you would grab the plate and break it. Boom! 


What you’d be saying is, “I break this on the ground because no one in my home has ever entered who is as important as you, and nobody in my home will ever use this dish who would be more important than you, and there’s nobody on our calendar coming over who’s bigger than the king.” And so they would just break it.


This was an ancient way of a mic drop. Boom! I’ve been trying it in my house all week. I just drink out of a glass. Boom! Just spike it on the ground. Men, do it. It’ll set you free. Just don’t let your wife be home! Amen. 


This is what she did. 

She could have just poured the alabaster jar on him. Instead, she broke it because she was saying, “No one compares to You. No one is more important to me than You, Jesus. And there will never be anyone in my life who compares to You. You are my prophet. You are my priest. You are my savior. You are my king. So I hold nothing back, and I’m done with this. This worship is broken over you. You deserve all the glory, honor, and praise.”

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