On doing what you can…

Posted by on Apr 13, 2022 in Blog | 2 comments

yellow flowers

Perhaps this Easter you will read the Mark 14 account of the woman who pours perfume over Jesus. Lest that doesn’t sound like an especially exciting story line, grab hold of this. She used the entire bottle which had cost more than a year’s salary. While we are not certain how many dollars that was in AD33, even if she was only on Australia’s minimum wage, it would now translate to about $40 000. Gulp! A tad extravagant, don’t you think? After all, I agonize when I spend $40 on flowers for my wife (who I love greatly), and wonder if a pot plant wouldn’t make more financial sense. But how long does the aroma of perfume linger—a few hours? I can understand why Judas (the Iscariot version) and the others objected. $40 000 for a bit of aroma therapy—talk about a budget blow out!

Of course Jesus doesn’t see it in this light. As the onlookers object to the woman’s generosity, he rushes to her defence, suggesting that she alone has sensed the significance of the moment, for this would be the only anointing he would have for his death.

In verse eight he speaks five haunting words, ‘She did what she could.’ Both the woman and Jesus knew that there were so many things that she could not do.

She could not persuade Jesus to slip away into the countryside, far from the Passover crowds in Jerusalem. He would have been much safer there. She couldn’t persuade the religious leaders to stop their murderous vendetta against Jesus. No doubt she would have liked to—but she couldn’t. She couldn’t stop his imminent crucifixion—how that haunted her.

What she was doing was her second choice, and it fell far short of her greatest longing—to rescue him.

Often in life there is so much that we can’t do… but it is no reason to not do what we can. She did what she could…

And Jesus did what he could, dying our death, forgiving our sin, giving us a future and a hope.

As always, nice chatting.

Feel free to repost or copy with acknowledgment of this site.

This is a lightly edited devotional reading from my book Could this be God?

Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com


  1. Thank you Brian for helpfully eliciting more light and nuance from the story we know so well. Blessings and have a very happy Easter. Shelly & Ian

    • Lovely to hear from you Shelly. Hope you and Ian have an Easter filled with hope and promise.

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