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22. LOVE WILL NEVER FAIL (Mark.14:1-9)

BACKGROUND: The leader should tell briefly what the following passages teach us about Mary of Bethany: Luke 10:38-42, John 11 and John 12:1-11. (She is not the woman of Luke 7:36-50). The parents of Martha, Mary and Lazarus were obviously dead. Perhaps they had left some money to their unmarried daughters to be used either for a dowry or for support in their old age. The last week of Jesus' life was just starting.
  1. What kind of present would you give to your friend if you knew he was dying?
    • Jesus mentions here his own funeral (vs.8)? Do you think Mary, unlike the disciples, realized he was going to die soon? Give your reasons.
  2. To buy a jar of perfume made of nard you had to pay as much as an average worker earned in a whole year. That is why it was only used one drop at a time. How much would the jar be worth in our currency?
    • How long does it take to save such a sum?
    • As Mary bought this costly perfume, what might she have been thinking about her dowry or pension?
  3. Why did Mary pour all the contents of the jar on the head of Jesus, instead of only a few drops?
    • The words "Messiah" and "Christ" mean "the anointed one". Jewish kings were usually anointed in the beginning of their career. Why was Jesus not anointed until just before his funeral?
  4. Mary had used all her savings for the jar of perfume. What part of the criticisms hurt her most (verses 4-5)?
    • How could a year's wages have benefited the poor of the town?
  5. What lifted Mary's heart most in Jesus? defense of her (verses 6-9)?
    • Can you apply Jesus' words to your own life: He/she did what she could (vs.8)?
    • What could you do for Jesus from now on?
  6. What does Mary's deed have in common with Jesus' deed (i.e., his death on the cross, the "gospel" in verse 9)?
    • Which do you think is a bigger "waste": that Mary poured the expensive perfume for Jesus' sake or that Jesus poured out his blood for Mary's sake?
  7. What in Mary's behavior is so unique that it will be remembered forever (vs.9)?
    • What kind of memory would you like to leave behind (vs.9)?
  8. How do you think Mary felt later about the money she "wasted" on Jesus that day?
    • How did Mary learn to love Jesus so much?
    • How could we learn to love Jesus as Mary did?

GLAD TIDINGS: Mary had learned to love Jesus by listening to him. That is why she also was able to serve him at the right time. Mary had first believed in the gospel, and this faith aroused a desire in her heart to offer everything for the Lord. It was because of her that Jesus carried the scent of nard with him everywhere during his last days on the earth.

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