Day 17

Plotting & Preparation

from the Mark reading plan


Mark 14:1-16, Exodus 12:21-28

BY Bailey T. Hurley

Jesus’s life evoked varied, and often strong, responses. In today’s reading from Mark, we find two such responses. There’s the woman who poured out all she had, giving Him her best, and there’s Judas, seeking momentary gain. 

In Mark 14, Jesus was reclining at a dinner party when a woman burst into the room, broke an expensive jar of perfume, and poured it out on Jesus’s head. Talk about a public display of affection! She had no shame about using her most valuable possession to worship Jesus and give Him glory. The party guests chastised her actions as wasteful, but Jesus proclaimed, “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:9). Jesus told the guests that the price of the woman’s perfume paled in comparison to His coming sacrifice. She prepared Jesus’s body like a King, an honor worthy of the one who promised eternal life (Mark 10:29–31). 

In contrast, we see Judas and the Pharisees also preparing for the death of Jesus. But they did not seek to honor Him like a King—instead, they plotted to have Him put to death as a criminal. Judas was offered money to betray Jesus, and he took it (Mark 14:10–12). Instead of pouring out everything of earthly value in exchange for “a hundred times more…and eternal life in the age to come,” he schemed in the shadows and waited to hand Jesus over for some silver coins. He put his trust in a tangible, physical thing he could hold that day instead of what is eternal (Mark 10:29–31).

As I read this passage, I find myself wrestling with dueling desires: wanting to honor Jesus and trust in the future He has promised, and wanting to run away and put my trust in what I think will meet my needs today. 

Jesus knows the heart of every person. He knew the heart of Judas, the heart of the woman who honored Him with perfume, and He knows our own wayward hearts—and He still died for us. Even when our hearts are turned away from Him, Jesus pursues us and had already prepared a way for us to turn back to Him. 

When we are tempted like Judas to run after other things, I pray we will remember what Jesus has done for us and what He promises for our future. May His compassion and saving grace lead us to be as bold and faithful as the woman at that dinner the weekend Jesus died, honoring His gift of salvation with the fragrant offering of a surrendered life for His glory (Ephesians 5:1–2). 

Post Comments (56)

56 thoughts on "Plotting & Preparation"

  1. Kate Condran says:

    Jesus sees our wayward hearts (and saw Judas’ heart!) and still went to the cross for him and for me. So humbling.

  2. Natasha R says:

    Today’s gospel planted a very practical question in my mind – How do I use the precious resources that God has blessed me with? I often find myself distracted by material things and wasting my money on items that give me temporary pleasure. The woman in Mark used her precious possession (perfume) to perform an act of love and devotion. I pray that God reminds me and guides me to be a good steward and to use my resources to glorify Him.

  3. Natasha R says:

    @Deanna, thank you. I just searched for your friend’s book and I’m looking forward to reading it!

  4. Anne Stock says:

    “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
    Every time I read this passage, it strikes me that we are the world hearing about this woman and so fulfilling this prophecy Jesus is making.

  5. Hannah McConnell says:

    Bev, I wonder about that too. How did she know??

  6. Mercy says:

    This is such a thought-provoking, action-challenging passage. (John 12: 1-11 is the parallel account of this event with some extra details if you want to have a read). The act of worship and sacrifice by anointing Jesus’ feet with the expensive jar of perfume, will put a forever memorial for Mary whenever the gospel is preached. That is quite a praise Jesus gave. This is such humble posture of giving. I want to point out the spiritual sensitivity here that Mary knew Jesus was about to be sacrificed/crucified, while his disciples did not sense the urgency. The betrayal of Judas also marked the memorial for him as well whenever the gospel is preached I believe. Everything we do in our lives follow us, we create our own memorials through our footprints, digitally, physically, and spiritually. At times, I see myself as a toss up between Mary and Judas, devoted giving God my all, and yet at others seeking temporary treasures and satisfactions while putting God on the side. God’s word is true that we cannot serve two masters, we either despise one and honor the other, and Judas is the proof of this truth. Thank you Angie for the heart-check questions you raised. My thoughts as well.

    Thank you Lord that you know and you know completely, entirely who we are, ugly, wicked, greedy, yet You still died to redeem us. Thank you for the greatest gift of all, the Gift of Jesus.

  7. Cabin says:

    I have been reading SRT for several years, but never posted. I thank God for all you ladies and pray for your requests. Traci, I am praying for you and Tanner. I know your love for him is beyond measure. Please know that we are holding both of you up in prayer. God sees and loves you both!

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love the devotional today. The author really ties these two stories together beautifully. I never would have seen how these two stories are connected. I know that as a believer, I have two conflicting desires within me. I have the spirit and the flesh always in conflict. I pray I would become more concerned with the spiritual side of life than the fleshly side of life.

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