Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, who had a skin disease. While Jesus was there, a woman approached him with an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. She poured this perfume on Jesus’ head while he was eating.
His followers were upset when they saw the woman do this. They asked, “Why waste that perfume? It could have been sold for a great deal of money and the money given to the poor.”
Knowing what had happened, Jesus said, “Why are you troubling this woman? She did an excellent thing for me. You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. This woman poured perfume on my body to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached in all the world, what this woman has done will be told, and people will remember her.” Matthew 26:6-13 (NCV)
In Jesus’ time, a woman didn’t have much to her name. Every possession belonged to her father until she was married. The woman of Bethany offered the Lord everything in a prophetic act of worship, another foretelling of his coming death and resurrection and spoke of her devotion, her love.
The costly perfume that this woman anointed Jesus with was probably spikenard, the most valuable and costly perfume of the time. The alabastron of perfume was likely a part of her dowry, to be used on her wedding night to anoint her new husband, displaying an even greater sacrifice for the time. The disciples were so upset with her because pouring the perfumed oil over Jesus, seemed wasteful and careless, unnecessary even. They did not understand her extreme measures and the significance of her extravagant worship.
Extravagant worship is the kind of worship that demonstrates willingness and desire to offer everything to Christ in love and adoration. It is worship that is unrestrained and generous, a living sacrifice. Extravagant worship does not seek glory for itself; it strives to lavish praise on the Lord in copious amounts.
In this woman’s case, she offered valuable perfume in humility, boldly and without fear. She gave no concern to the people around her. She only had eyes for Jesus. Her actions honored Him and touched His heart.
As I remember the woman at Simon’s house, I search my own heart. Am I willing to give everything to worship my Savior? Am I courageous enough to worship with extravagance despite what others may think? Do I worship only in certain settings, specific situations or is my every undertaking an act of worship?
Yesappa, thank you for offering Yourself as a sacrifice for my sins, giving me life and love. You are worth more than silver and gold. I am a living sacrifice of praise for You. I want to be like the woman of Bethany, willing to pour out everything of value in myself for You. I offer myself, as a fragrant perfume. I offer everything I have and everything I am to You. I offer my heart of worship. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.