Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The house of Simon in Bethany is a miniature of the church life. According to this miniature, the church life is composed of cleansed lepers who love the Lord Jesus. Those who love Him, as did Simon and as did the woman who anointed Him, take Him as their full replacement. In their heart there is no room for the temple. They would not even be distracted by caring for the poor (v. 5).
Some who were present “were indignant among themselves, saying, Why has this waste of the ointment been made? For this ointment could have been sold for over three hundred denarii and given to the poor; and they were scolding her” (vv. 4-5). Those who were indignant regarded the woman’s love offering to the Lord a waste. Throughout the past nineteen centuries, thousands of precious lives, heart treasures, high positions, and golden futures have been “wasted” upon the Lord Jesus. To those who love Him in such a way, He is altogether lovely and worthy of their offering. What they have poured upon Him is not a waste, but a fragrant testimony of His sweetness.
According to verses 6 and 7, the Lord Jesus said to those who were scolding the woman, “Let her alone; why are you causing her trouble? She has wrought a good work upon Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want you can do them good; but you do not always have Me.” The Lord’s word, “You do not always have Me,” indicates that we must love the Lord and seize the opportunity to love Him.
Today many Christians care more for works of charity than for Christ. A charitable concern for the poor often replaces Christ. But in Mark 14 the Lord Jesus would not allow the concern for the poor to be a replacement of Himself. Here it seems that He does not care for the poor, but cares only for Himself. He seems to be saying, “Do not trouble this one who loves Me. She has done a good work on Me. If you want to take care of the poor, wait for another time and go to another place. The poor are always with you. But this is the unique time for you to take Me as your replacement and to pour out everything upon Me.”
In verse 8 the Lord went on to say, “She has done what she could; she anointed My body beforehand for the burial.” She anticipated the need, or took occasion, to anoint the Lord’s body for burial. This indicates that she received the revelation of the Lord’s death by the Lord’s words. Hence, she seized the opportunity to pour the best she had upon the Lord. To love the Lord with our best requires a revelation concerning Him.
In verse 9 the Lord continues, “And truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, that also which she did shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” In the foregoing verse the Lord referred to His burial. The word “burial” implies His death and resurrection for our redemption. Hence, the gospel in verse 9 should refer to the gospel of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
The story of the gospel is that the Lord loved us, and the story of the woman who anointed the Lord is that she loved Him. We must preach both—the Lord loving us and our loving the Lord. One is for our salvation, and the other is for our consecration.
In foregoing messages we have seen that when the Lord Jesus was on the Mount of Olives with four of His disciples, He spoke to them concerning the beginning of birth pangs (13:8). These birth pangs are for the delivery of the new man, a delivery that involves a long process. How can this man be delivered, be brought forth? We have seen that the new man can be brought forth only through the death and resurrection of Christ. Through His death and resurrection He becomes everything in the new man.
After the Lord spoke to His disciples concerning things to come, especially concerning the birth pangs, he entered into Simon’s home in Bethany, where a feast had been prepared for Him. While He was feasting, a woman who loved Him poured out the best thing she had upon Him. This indicates that He was everything to her. The Lord said that this woman had done what she could, anointing His body beforehand for burial.
What the Lord says in verse 8 is crucial, for it indicates that this woman had certainly received the Lord’s word concerning His death and resurrection. I do not believe that Peter received this word, but she received it. She knew that the One she loved would soon be killed and that she would not have another opportunity to anoint Him. Therefore, while He was still present, she seized the opportunity to pour out her ointment upon Him. In doing this, she anointed Him for His burial.
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