Jesus’ name should be just so precious to His saints. The loveliness of His name should delight us as if it were sweet smelling ointment or perfume poured out to fill the room. Matthew Henry says that “Christ’s name is more fragrant than any other” and that “The unfolding of Christ’s name is as the opening of a box of precious ointment, which the room is filled with the odor of.” Is Christ really so sweet to His saints? Ah, but at least to some He is. There comes to mind a beautiful story of a woman and an alabaster box of precious ointment.
Mark 14:3 tells us, “And [Jesus] 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.” Spikenard was one of the ointments Solomon used, and it was one of the sweet savours that rejoiced his lover’s heart. Here in Mark 14:3, we see a sacrificial offering brought to Jesus’, one of a sweet savour, spikenard in an alabaster box.
According to the Jerusalem Gift Shop, the Hebrew word for spikenard is “nerd,” from a Semitic root meaning “to shine” or “light up.” This refers to a reflected light, such as the light of the moon. The Jerusalem Gift Shop says, “Spikenard got its name from the ability to cause one to light up or reflect light.”
Spikenard ointment is very precious. When the woman broke the alabaster box and poured the ointment upon the head of Jesus, she was giving Him a gift that was worth a year’s wage in her day. Even today Spikenard is very expensive. Just one ounce of Spikenard oil from Nepal is worth $150 US dollars. One pound would be worth $2,400. This was indeed a very precious gift.
There was another woman who gave this same gift to Jesus. Her story is in John 12:3, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” At least two women felt that Jesus was worth such a valuable gift, and they gave it freely.
What about me? Is Jesus so precious to me that the thought of Him and the mere mention of His name is as valuable to me as that alabaster box of ointment? Is He such a cherished lover to me? If not, why not? Perhaps I need to learn more of Him so I can know how far beyond measure is His sweetness and the fruit of His love!