April 17, 2019

Mark 14:1-11

In 1997, MasterCard debuted its “Priceless” advertising campaign. Joyce King Thomas, the ad exec behind the campaign, reminisced about its genesis: “The strategy team came up with an insight that no one else had noticed, something we called ‘the grocery list’—a list of purchases that led to something priceless. The work connected with people and even inspired them to think about their own lives in a slightly different way.”

I was reminded of the MasterCard ad as I studied today’s passage. On the menu today, Mark serves up a sandwich of aromatic sweetness between two acts of betrayal:

  • Wednesday—the chief priests continued to look for a way to arrest and kill Jesus: 14:1-2
  • Sometime before Palm Sunday—Mary anoints Jesus in Bethany: 14:3-9
  • Wednesday—Judas set in motion his betrayal of Jesus with the chief priests: 14:10-11

Juxtaposed, these storylines enable the reader to better grasp Judas’ horrific treachery.

Essentially, it boils down to a value lesson. Mary demonstrated how much her Savior meant to her by anointing him with an oil that was worth 225 denarii (which would be valued today around $25,000). Her act of love received a gleaming exhortation from Jesus. “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Mark then abruptly jumps back to Wednesday with a dismal “Then Judas . . .” who by comparison, betrays Jesus for a meager 30 pieces of silver (which today would be valued around $3,000), thus setting the stage for Jesus to pay the ultimate price for our sins and die on the cross in our place.

How much is Jesus worth to you? How much do you value your salvation? Is it priceless? Remember, actions speak.