Mary’s Alabaster Box
Updated: Feb 24
By Pastor Dr. Shana Wise
· Have you ever been moved to say something or do something that you didn’t understand? For example, I was prophesying before I understood what it meant (pre-salvation). After salvation, I may speak a word, but I am just speaking or being a vessel. I don’t fully understand why I said it nor do I understand the meaning of it at the time.
Mary’s Alabaster Box Parallel to The Day of Pentecost
· I have chosen to highlight the women mentioned in the first several chapters in Acts., specifically, Mary, Lazarus' sister. Even though the book of Acts did not mention her by name, only Mary mother of Jesus, I do believe she was present amongst the disciples, not in the upper room, but before and after the upper room experience took place.
· Acts 1:12-14 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
· John 12:1-3 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
John 12:7-8 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
· Mary sacrificed something very valuable. She could have paid many of her bills from the money she would have made from selling the oil in the jar. Instead, she chose to give a sacrifice to Jesus, as a symbol of her worship and adoration unto him. Did Mary understand the symbolization of her actions? Did she know that oil represents the presence of the Holy Spirit? Did she know that in a few days Jesus was going to die and be resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit? Could she sense that something major was about to take place with Jesus concerning his deity and Lordship in the earth realm? Was she offering her sacrifice of praise before the death, burial, and resurrection? These are just some of the questions that go through my mind as I think about what this woman did before The Day of Pentecost mentioned in Acts 2.
· By the way, Mary was not the only woman to anoint Jesus with oil. There were two other incidences in the bible where women anointed Jesus with oil, Mark 14:3–9 mentioned an unnamed woman, it happened two days before the Passover at Simon the leper home and the other stories happened in Luke 7:36–50 at the Pharisee's house with another woman with many sins; this took place about a year before Jesus’ death. I picked Mary’s anointing oil sacrificed to Jesus over the other two women because that other passages of scripture do not mention that the whole room was filled with the fragrance, only Mary’s sacrifice.
· Questions: What have you sacrificed recently for Jesus? Did it cost you anything? Was God pleased with it? What are you willing to lay at Jesus’ feet today?
· Acts 2:1-4 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
· The parallel that I picked up in the Spirit was “the room”. In the book of John where we find Mary sacrificing her oil, and in the upper room where the Apostles were, both instances stated that “the house was filled”! In Mary’s case, the house was filled with the smell of the costly oil and I believe her sacrifice of praise and worship. In Acts 2:2 it stated that the room was full of the sound from heaven, as a rushing mighty wind=“Holy Spirit”.
· When was the last time your room was filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit? We can learn from Mary that our sacrifice does not have to make sense, as long as we are doing it unto the Lord. Has the Holy Spirit ever led you to do, say, or sacrifice something that did not make sense? What were the results?
· Have you ever heard about a woman’s intuition? It is that thing that God gives us that falls in the line of discernment. I believe Mary was discerning the coming of a new day, yet she didn’t know how it was going to happen. I know that Mary believed in Jesus before he died and was resurrected because of the relationship she and her siblings had with Him. They all enjoyed spending time listening to their friend, Jesus' teachings, enjoying the dinner fellowships with him, and serving him. They believed the Word that was spoken to them through Jesus. Jesus enjoyed visiting them at their home in Bethany as well.
· Questions to ponder: Does Jesus call you his friend? Have you been a good friend to Jesus? How has your fellowship been with Jesus in your home? What areas of our life can you improve on to make “your home” more inviting to Jesus?
· Women had a major part when it came to demonstration and evidence of the Holy Spirit after Christs’ death, burial, and resurrection and the growth of the new church. Throughout the book of Acts, you see women being used for God’s glory. I believe that Mary was a part of this wonderful movement through the Holy Spirit. (Who can name a few of these ladies?)
· Acts 2:14-21 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men, and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
· We are living in 2021, and the same Holy Spirit that was moving in the book of Acts is still moving today. He has not changed because He is part of the Trinity, and the Trinity is unchanging.
· What areas of your life do you desire to grow in as it relates to the gifts of the Spirit? Before you answer that question, you must examine your relationship with Jesus Christ. Why, because the Holy Spirit was given to shine the light on Christ. How can you shine your light, on The Light, if you can’t’ see or comprehend it?
· One of the problems I have seen in the modern-day church is that we want to flow in the gifts of the Spirit but neglect the Gift itself, which is Jesus Christ. When we do that, we become ineffective witnesses. In this lesson, we learned that Mary enjoyed spending time with Jesus, and because of this, it wasn’t hard for her to sacrifice the expensive oil that was given to her. She loved the relationship and fellowship that she had with Jesus.
· When we spend time with Jesus, authentically, we will automatically flow in His Spirit. All the gifts that have been given us will flow naturally because of the relationship with Christ.
· I encourage you today to be like the disciples, at the beginning of the book of Acts, which is spending time in supplication and prayer, read the scriptures regularly, fellowship with others in the body of Christ, obey what Christ tells you to do, be filled with the Holy Spirit, walk in your purpose, and demonstrate the power of God in the earth realm through the gift(s) of the Holy Spirit!
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
Books available on Amazon at:
Acts of Intercession
The Impact of Your Election
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