Broken Flasks

from Lynda Lindsey

And while He was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over His head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?” Mark 14:3-4

But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. …But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.” Mark 14:6; 7(b)-8

And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” Mark 14:22-24

Alabaster flasks used to store perfume usually had long, narrow necks that had to be broken to release the contents. Jesus, while reclining at Simon the leper’s table, was approached by a woman carrying an alabaster flask filled with a costly perfumed oil. When she broke the flask and poured its contents over Jesus’ head, she was immediately scolded, accused of being wasteful and squandering precious resources, because something valuable, once broken, is usually seen as being wasted. However, that isn’t always the case with God.  

While indignant voices cried out over the lost opportunity to sell the oil and use the money for something worthwhile, the only voice that matters said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Jesus praised the woman for her beautiful act, for the fact that she did what she could, with the resources she had, as she anointed her Lord beforehand for burial. Her generous outpouring of love and worship prepared Jesus for His death. His generous outpouring of love prepares us for life. 

Crushed for our iniquities, pierced for our transgressions, Jesus was led like a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter. The sinless One offered His life as a guilt offering to account sinners righteous. A grieving woman. A broken flask streaming oil. A broken body. Life draining from Jesus as His blood leached away. Two sacrificial offerings, broken and poured out. Precious resources. Jesus poured out His life to ransom the guilty, to account sinners righteous. Have you sought His pardon? It’s the only way to be prepared for life, now and for eternity!