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. Mark 14:3
This act of anointing with oil was done to honored quests upon arrival. Olive oil was mixed with perfume then poured on the head. In this case the woman broke a vial of perfume worth a year’s salary and presumably added it to oil. Mouths dropped when she did this.
But the woman recognized who it was in her presence and that he was worth every denarii and more. This was an act of worship. In Jesus’ eyes, it was even more. It was a symbolic preparation for his soon coming death and burial.
Reading on, the guests’ alternative use for the perfume was to sell it and give the proceeds to the poor. This hypothetical sounded lofty, but I’m not so sure this would have ever happened given human nature. Surely Judas Iscariot would have pocketed the proceeds.
The question for us is this. Our turn on this earth is brief. Will our devotion, time and resources be poured out on the head of Jesus, or kept selfishly for ourselves? After all we owe everything to him!