“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mk 14:3-9)
How do people define success, or greatness? Generally, the world appreciates wealthy men, beautiful women, philosophers, poets, musicians or humanitarian people. But according to the Bible, greatness is always connected with life in Christ, with true spirituality. A great man or woman in the Bible is a child of God who pays the price for spiritual maturity and fruitfulness. The Bible calls such a one ‘a saint’. Jesus Christ is the greatest Man who ever lived on this earth. He is also God, the Second Person of the Trinity. As a Man, He walked on this earth two thousand years ago. He showed us how a Man should be. Jesus is not only our Savior, but our Teacher, our perfect Example and Standard on how we should live on earth. The main purpose of our lives, why we live, is to glorify God and to become like Jesus! That’s the most important thing! If we can do that, we have fulfilled our destinies! We have achieved eternal greatness, on earth and in heaven! Halleluiah!
How does the power of becoming great comes to you? It is because of the mystical spiritual unity with Christ! Once you become saved, you become one with the greatest Hero, Champion and Savior of all. As you can see, your greatness is not the product of human gifts, your wealth, education or social status. It is because you are now one with the King of kings. His righteousness, greatness and glory are now imputed to you. This salvation is a great mystery but thank God, it is also a reality to be experienced. Many testify to it! May you be among those blessed ones!
Let’s look at the passage above. Jesus is ready to go to the Cross. In few days He will die so that we can live. He became sin so that we can become right with God. Jesus came to the house of Simon the leper, at Bethany. Then a woman comes in and goes straight to Jesus. She is not named in this story. Maybe she was Mary, the sister of Martha. Or maybe she was another woman. She can be you or me. She brought a bottle containing a very expensive perfume. She suddenly breaks the seal of the bottle and poures the perfume on the head of the Lord. That is all she did. She did not speak any words. But clearly this is an act of deep worship. This is a very simple act. The whole thing lasted less than a minute. Even a child can do that. She gave her all to the Man who won her heart. Please observe that she did not pour her perfume on Simon the leper who was the landlord. She did not pour it on Peter or John. Her heart, her love and her sacrifice were for Christ alone! That’s worship!
The men in the room complained calling it a waste. According to men, her love was ‘a waste’. But Jesus appreciated it! This Jesus is a strange Man… He told His disciples to gather the pieces of left-over bread, scattered at the end of the miracle when feeding the crowd. He said that there should be no waste. Natural food can always be eaten later (Jn 6:12). But now, Jesus receives this so called ‘waste’. This is a reminder that without the Holy Spirit you can never understand the Son of Man. He rebuked the men who criticized the woman. Why was this simple act so important to Jesus? Because it was truly a loving and sacrificial act. It was a picture of the Cross. The value of this perfume was a worker’s annual salary. Like the widow’s mite, it is possible that this was all that she had, her life savings, her treasure. Like King David, she was a true worshipper. She knew the price of worship. She refused to give Jesus a gift that cost her nothing (2Sam 24:24). I don’t think that she planned to do this for a long time. It was more on the spur of the moment. She somehow knew that Jesus will die soon. In her mind, this was the last time she will see Him alive, as a Man on earth. She decided to sacrifice her best to mark this holy moment, to turn it into a sweet memory, able to warm her heart forever. She did not know that her act of worship will make her great. Love does not seek its own reward. Jesus said: “She has done what she could, when she could” (Mk 14:8; TM). She did this love act for Christ alone. The other people in the house, the disciples, her relatives, they enjoyed the fragrance of the perfume. But the perfume itself was for Christ alone. She did not know how great her worship was. Love is not for sale! She put no price on it. It was Christ that made her gift look great, who truly appreciated her sacrifice. Wonderful Jesus!
This is a lesson for us all: do what you can do as you love and serve God! Redeem the time thru worship! Let Jesus evaluate and reward your labor of love. He attached to her act a greater significance than any man on earth could ever do. Jesus looks at the heart. He appreciates love from the heart. For example, when you help humble Christians, Jesus sees that work as it is done unto Him. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’ (Mt 25:40). The people grumbled against her. But Christ honored her. Trust God to honor and reward you amid the rejection of ignorant and ungrateful people. So long Christ is happy, don’t care about what men say. Be a Christ pleaser, not a man pleaser. Jesus said that this simple sacrificial act of love for Him, will be part of the preaching of the Gospel. This is another great lesson for us all: the root of evangelism is watered by worship! This woman’s simple act of worship shows us what God loves! Making God happy, this is true greatness. It is greatness seen thru the eyes of God! When God commends you, His promotion is sure. No man or devil can stop it! God sees and God apricates your labor of love! One day you shall hear from His blessed lips: “Wonderful! You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in My happiness! Enter you the joy of your Lord!” (Mt 25: 23; CEV).
Dear Sister, I don’t know what you can do for Jesus. But I know that you can do something. No matter how little! Do it now. Do it for Christ alone. Forget what men say! For Christ is worthy of your sacrifice! Worship the Lord! Glory to the Lamb upon the Throne!