A woman doing a beautiful, self-sacrificial act of love in devotion to Jesus. Powerful men rebuking her extravagance and openly criticizing her. Sounds like some of the social media discussion in the #MeToo movement that even reached deep into the evangelical world as women exposed some of the harsh treatment they have received as they seek to express their gifts.
Let’s join Jesus at a private dinner party in Bethany, just two days before his crucifixion. How does he respond when a woman crashes the party, breaks open a high-end bottle of perfume, and fills the entire place with the smell?
“While Jesus was in Bethany eating dinner in the home of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster flask of very pure perfume made from spikenard oil. She broke the flask and poured the oil on his head. Now some of the men present became indignant and were saying to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? For it could have been sold for almost a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they were scolding her.
‘Leave her alone!’ Jesus responded. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. But she did what she could. She anointed my body for burial beforehand. Count on it! Where ever the Good News is preached throughout the entire world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her!’” Mark 14:3-9
In the home of a man who would be labeled untouchable under the rules of Moses, this woman did an act of kindness that sensitively prepares us for Jesus’ death—a death that lies just ahead as our Story accelerates towards its climax. She pours the entire bottle over Jesus’ head. Talk about extravagance and open display of devotion!
Like the religious leaders plotting to murder Jesus, men at this party play the role of the “bad guys.” Jesus counters their attack by not only defending her, but bringing out how her act foreshadowed his imminent death. He also declares that she will never be forgotten. Everywhere the Good News is proclaimed, she will be honored.
As a man, I need to live in this story and be careful not to play the role of the woman’s accusers who totally missed the moment because they were too busy figuring out how many poor people the money could feed. They totally missed the beauty and power of her act, but Jesus did not.
LORD, bless all my sisters in Christ that I saw in the pastorate bring such sensitive acts of beauty, truth, and comfort. Move women not to focus on the men who rebuke them but on the biblical Jesus who honors and defends them. And help me as a man to respond to your Spirit so that I will not rebuke or ignore the beautiful sacrificial gifts my sisters bring to honor you.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!