Scripture: 6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. 7 While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. 8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. 9 “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me?
11 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. 12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
[Matthew 26:6-13 NLT]
The practice of anointing was very prominent in the Jewish culture of the Old Testament and New Testament times. Oil would be used to anoint people for several reasons. Anointing was used to show respect to a host or to the guests in a home. Anointing was used as a rite of inauguration as a prophet, priest, or king. Those who were in need of healing would also receive anointing with oil. All of these practices were used to show respect and for a specific purpose. The individual who was anointed received a special blessing and in some cases set apart for a special role. Anointing in every case had a purpose.
This is why the woman pouring expensive perfume over the head of Jesus is so important. It is not a random act. The woman comes in and pours the perfume over Jesus’ head because she wants Jesus to know how important he is to her. This anointing with perfume is her way of telling Jesus that she loves and respects him. So much so that she was willing to anoint him with something far greater than ordinary oil. She uses expensive perfume in a beautiful jar. Something that she would have treasured. It is quite obvious that this is a little out of the ordinary because the disciples object immediately, calling her actions a waste. They didn’t know her intentions and she didn’t know just how important her anointing of Jesus would be.
We see the heart of Jesus in the response to her anointing. Jesus asks his disciples, “Why do you berate her for doing such a good thing to me?” Indeed, why do they berate her at all? It is her perfume, her beautiful jar and she can do with it what she wants. Jesus tells his disciples that she has done this for a reason that they don’t yet understand. Not only that, what she has done will be talked about throughout the world in her memory. The words of Jesus to Martha can almost be heard in this response as well, “Mary has chosen what is better.” The woman who anoints Jesus doesn’t fully realize the example she has set and the lives that her anointing will affect.
This is where we come into play. There are several ways that we can connect this story to our lives. The question it raises for me is this, “How have I anointed Jesus today?” Have I taken the most valuable things in my life and poured them over the head of Jesus? Have I given Jesus the anointing as my Prophet, Priest, and King today? Today anoint Jesus as Lord of your life with the most valuable parts of your life. Give your family, your faith, your love, your marriage, your finances, your kids, and your everything to Jesus today. Anoint Jesus as Messiah of your life.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for the example of the woman who anointed Jesus. I desire to give everything that is valuable to your care today. I desire to anoint Jesus as the Lord of every moment of my life. Empower me through the anointing of your Holy Spirit to live today as one who anoints others today. In the name of Jesus. Amen.