SIMON’S OBJECT LESSON (Continued)
According to Strong’s Concordance, the ancients considered alabaster to be the best material in which to preserve their ointments. Mark’s Gospel reveals the exact content and value of the alabaster box as spikenard worth 300 pence. "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. For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. _ Mark 14:3,5."
Three hundred pence. An astronomical figure for those times and represents one spiritually for believers today. The value of the ointment spoke symbolically to the Victory about to be accomplished at Calvary. Where the disciples considered it a waste, it would prove invaluable in its testimony to the overcoming Power of the Gospel. When understood, one will see why Jesus requires this memorial to the woman wheresoever the Gospel is preached.
No, this was not a waste at all. It could have been sold and served as a "band-aid" relief for the needs of the poor in that time. However, this woman anticipated His Death and Burial and the Victory resulting and preserved this ointment for that reason only. Her actions represent a powerful act of faith in full operation. Jesus would say to her later, that her faith saved her. His Death and Burial were not a temporary fix for a perpetual problem but an Eternal One.
In the Chapter 7 of the Book of Judges, there is a glimpse of the power of the "value" of the ointment. Gideon faced the Midianites, a powerful foe. They represented strife and contention which is the exact state of man apart from God. Gideon’s army spiritually dwindled from 32,000 to 300. By the time all the fearful (unbelieving) and double-hearted (those who bowed the knee to drink) were eliminated, there was a remnant of 300. The contents of the alabaster box speak of the potent Power of our Lord and His Remnant. As the Shulamite in Song of Solomon foresaw that day in Bethany, she proclaimed, "While the king [sitteth] at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof_ Song 1:12."