Broken Vessels

Mark 14:3 - 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.

Matthew 26:6-13 – probably the same occurrence. 

Luke 7:36-50 - Another time – different house - same story – different lessons.


I.    Why would a person do such a thing?

A.     Luke 7:36-50 - Everybody knew she was a sinner, but the most important was that she knew she was a sinner.

1.       Luke 7 - As  a token that only Christ is the answer to all our wickedness.

B.     Luke 7 - It is possible to give to Christ (in having Him for a meal) without really loving Christ.

1.       The Pharisee, who may have been Simon the leper, loved Christ enough to have Him for a meal, but not enough to spend the equivalent of 300 days pay on Him. (300 pence of Mark 14:5.)

2.       Mind you, this is extra, not all; therefore, it would have taken her much longer than 300 days to set aside this much money.

C.     Mark 14:8 – Preparation for the burial of Christ.

1.       Mark 14:9 – As a memorial of her gratefulness to Christ.  Matthew 26:13 states, Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her. 

2.       Here is a woman who is so thankful for what God has done for her that she doesn’t care if stiffnecked Pharisees see her.

3.       It is important to understand that Simon did invite Christ into his home for a meal, so he wasn’t as stiffnecked as some of the other Pharisees, but he was still not totally dedicated to Christ.

D.     Mark 14:8 - She did what she could. 


Hidden thankfulness will be publicly displayed and God will remember them always.


I.    Everything on this earth is to be used for the honor and glory of God.

A.     God has created the earth for his own good pleasure.

B.     Rev. 4:11 - The 24 elders praise God because He has created all things, and for thy pleasure they were created.

1.       Matt. 26:6 - Same story, different verse.

2.       John 12:2 - Mary, probably the same time.

3.       Mark 14:3 – Likely Mary, but she is not mentioned by name, probably the same time.


II.    Some things are sealed up until the right time to be used of God for His glory.

A.     This woman had evidently been saving this ointment for a long time, very likely a little at a time.

1.       Our lives may be lived for one specific event.

2.       It is very important to be prepared, and to act when God calls upon us.

B.     She had been saving it privately, not publicly.  Public service (displayed service) is good only if there is sufficient private preparation.


III.    When she broke the box open, the odor filled the room.

A.     John 12:3 – Probably the same time as Luke, but different detail.

B.     The odors filled the room.

1.       All were able to enjoy the fruits of this woman’s labor.

2.       The box must be opened for the fragrance to fill the room.

3.       Our lives must be broken for the fragrance of mercy, grace, and forgiveness to fill this world.

C.     A life that is not broken for the cause of Christ is a life where the true Spirit of God is kept locked away.

D.     What does it mean to be broken?

1.       It means that self is given up and the use of the life is for Christ.

2.       The desires, plans, and ambitions of the individual is removed and they determine to use their life for the cause of Christ.

E.      It is not necessarily easy to be broken, but it is good to be broken. 

1.       The word break in Luke 14:3 means to be bruised, or broken to shivers.

2.       It also means to tread down, as to put Satan under foot and trample on him.

F.      Brokenness without thankfulness is bitterness. 


IV.    Truly some will say that this kind of life is wasted.

A.     Every faithful servant of God has more talents than just doing the will of God.

1.       To use me for an example, I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting.  I can do accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, and can supervise others in those fields.  I know I can do it, because I already have done it.

2.       I can do carpentry, and can also be a contractor.  I know I can do it, because I have already done it.

3.       Most ministers of the gospel can do more than preach and pastor.

B.     God did not say the life was wasted.

1.       God said the ointment was for his use and would be remember anytime this story was told.

2.       Our lives are also for the use of God and our lives will be told as a remembrance of God’s eternal goodness toward us.