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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received? In this study guide, we’ll continue working our way through the Gospel of Mark with a discussion of Mark 14:1–42 as Pastor Duane Roberts explores what Jesus gave up for us, the value of knowing Him, and what true devotion to Him looks like!
Below, you’ll find some key discussion point questions to reflect on and consider on your own, in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week and a look ahead.
Memory Verse of the Week: Mark 14:22–25 (NIV)“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of thecovenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them. ‘Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’”
Icebreaker: What’s the most valuable thing you own? What makes it so valuable?
Getting the Conversation Going: How much would you pay for a 10-minute ride into space? Or a house? Or a piece of art? Some things in this world carry extraordinary price tags, but what are they worth to you?
Value (/ˈvalyo͞o/): the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; one’s judgment of what is important in life; estimate the worth of (something).
While a store, company, or culture can place value on something, you may have a different valuation of that same thing. For instance, one person may be willing to pay several millions for a ride to space, while you consider that worthless. Likewise, you might be willing to pay good money for a specific article of clothing or object, while the space farer finds that of little value.
Today, our discussion centers on value as it pertains to Jesus.
What’s Jesus Worth to You?: The story of Jesus being anointed in Bethany carries so much weight. Here, we see dinner being held in Jesus’ honor at Simon’s house, a former leper—who may have been healed by Jesus—a few short months after Lazarus’ resurrection. It’s likely Simon was a relative or close friend of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. At some point during the festivities, Mary—Lazarus’ sister—takes about 12 ounces of oil valued at approximately $60,000 today and begins anointing Jesus’ head (Mark 14:3) and then His feet—wiping His feet with her hair (John 12:3). It would have been extremely rare for a woman in that era to own something so valuable, so some commentators assert that the jar of perfume was a family heirloom, which would add sentimental value to the perfume’s monetary value.
What was her motivation? Her overwhelming love, gratitude, and devotion to the One who not only brought her brother back to life, but also raised her to true life! Mary valued Jesus above all else and was willing to pour out everything she had for Him!
This act by Mary demonstrates clearly the central theme of Mark’s Gospel . . . the pure fragrance of true discipleship: There is nothing more valuable than knowing and worshiping Jesus! A true disciple holds nothing back from Jesus. They consider intimacy with Him of the utmost value and are ready and willing to submit, surrender, and sacrifice all to Him, pour it all out before Him, and go from there.
When we give what we value to our Creator, He receives it gladly and uses it for His glory. How do we know this? Because Jesus honors this when saying, “Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Mark 14:9 NIV).
Discussion Question 1: Why did Jesus tell the disciples that Mary’s actions were correct, even though, as Judas pointed out, “It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor” (Mark 14:5 NIV)? What does this tell us about following Him?
Discussion Question 2: Sometimes, like Judas and the disciples here, we can either hold something back from Him or refuse to submit to certain scriptural truth under the pretense of righteous actions, or we can criticize others for it. What areas are the hardest to surrender to Him? Why do you think that is?
The Value of Redemption: Romans 6:23 (NLT, emphasis added) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” As Romans 3:24 (NLT, emphases added) points out, “God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight.” Did you see that? God freely gifts us with His grace. However, it wasn’t free for Him. It cost Him something. The rest of Romans 3:24 (NLT) tells us, “He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:3 (ESV) says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” The cost for God to freely gift us with salvation and eternal life was the death of Jesus!
Our Lord outlines this in Mark 14 during what we affectionately refer to as the Last Supper. While eating, “Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:22–24 NIV).
The precious, priceless blood and body of Jesus was given up to pay the high price of death that our hopeless, sinful state demanded. And despite knowing how painful and difficult a price to pay that was (as evidenced by His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane found in Mark 14:32–42), we know that Jesus paid it willingly. How do we know? John 10:18 (NIV) says, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
While we were still in our sinful state, while we were hopeless, helpless, and full of darkness, God still loved us with an immeasurable and priceless love and paid the highest cost imaginable to reconcile us to Himself! Knowing this, why would we not, like Mary did, give ourselves fully and wholly to Him?
Discussion Question 3: How does knowing the cost Jesus placed on reconciling us to Himself impact your relationship with Him? How does it impact your view of others?
Discussion Question 4: What are some practical ways you can live like Mary and pour everything you value out to Jesus?
This Week: Reflect on Romans 8:31–39 as you consider what it means to surrender and submit any and everything into the hands of God. Remember these words: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32 NIV)? Be encouraged and strengthened in knowing “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39 NIV). And tell someone you know about this!
In our next study, we’ll continue working our way through the Gospel of Mark with a discussion of Mark 14:43–72.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.