“She has done a beautiful thing to me… She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.”
With his arrest, trial, and crucifixion drawing near, Jesus reclined at a meal, aware of those seeking to kill him. In this episode a woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfume as an expression of gratitude to him. “Some of those present” were quick to react. Without waiting for her to leave, “they rebuked her harshly.” John specifically identified Judas raising this complaint, hiding his hypocrisy behind a concern for the poor (John 12:4-5).
Notice Jesus’ confrontation. “Leave her alone,” he said. He knew God’s plan. The cross was just ahead. He knew he would soon face death and probably a criminal’s burial, which would mean no anointing of the body. Therefore, her act was “a beautiful thing.”
Jesus wasn’t dismissing the need to care for the poor, but preparation for his burial was also appropriate.
Notice that Mark concludes the account with Judas’s arranging to betray Jesus. In contrast, the woman’s lavish sacrifice serves as an example of expressing gratitude and devotion to him. Here we see the difference of attitude in someone saved by grace and in someone on a power trip, seeking selfish success!
What motivates us? When we have new life in Christ, how do we express our gratitude?
Dear Jesus, thank you for rebuking those who were more concerned about themselves than showing you gratitude. Empower us to express our gratitude by serving others in your name. Amen.
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