I lean against the window soaking everything in. I still can’t believe we are all here. My family back together again. Guests in our home. I wasn’t sure I would ever see this day.
For so long my beloved was shunned because of his incurable, contagious -- flat out gross, if I’m honest -- skin condition. Our family ripped apart, mandatory separation. Of course, I understood. He was unclean, plus we could not risk it spreading to the rest of us. But that doesn’t dull the pain. Then everything changed that day nearly two Sabbaths ago. A day seared into my memory. At the time we didn’t know much about this traveling teacher, but we heard he could heal. That was all we needed to know. Looking back, we were so naïve. He has so much more to offer us, but when you have leprosy, it’s hard to think beyond the scabs and loneliness. I remember my stomach in knots as Simon approached the teacher, pressing through the shouting crowds. He noticed Simon. I knew he would notice him…and I can’t believe it all at the same time. A word. One word. It only took a word from the teacher, and he was healed. Instantly. Without even a scar remaining to tattoo the pain. I’m not sure I’ve fully wrapped my head around it all.
And now he is here. The teacher is dining with us. The healed and the healer. Our tiny home packed with the teacher’s usual followers and many of our longtime friends.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spot her walking through the door. Mary, I think her name is. Her eyes a combination of peace and fierce determination. In her hand, I see a jar. Her fingers are circling the top of the long neck of the bottle. What is in the bottle?
The other guests notice her too. All eyes are shifting her way. She has an incredible presence. I should welcome her, but I am frozen.
She confidently walks up to the teacher. His eyes lock on hers. He has a way of doing that; of making you feel like you are the only one in the room. The once noisy space is eerily silent.
She lifts the alabaster jar over the teacher’s head and breaks the thin glass neck. Instantly I know what is in the bottle. We all do. The room is flooded with the strong aroma. Expensive perfume, dripping over the teacher’s head. Soaking his hair, running down his face, pouring over his clothes, remnants dropping to the table and onto the floor. If I had to guess, at least 12 ounces. I cup my hand over my mouth and nose. The potent smell is overwhelming.
What is she doing? Why would she do such a thing? Tears stream down her face. She is filled with emotion. With love. She drops to her knees. What a display of worship. She cares not a shred what anyone in the room thinks. I wish I were more like that.
Not everyone is thinking the same. It is acutely apparent from the voices talking over each other.
“Why this waste?” one of the disciples shouted. He has a point. A year’s worth of wages in a pool on my just swept floor.
“For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor,” another said. I wonder to myself if this disciple even cares about the poor. Such indignation in their voices. Such a contrast with her peaceful countenance.
All eyes shift to the teacher. What will he say? He seems to hate extravagance and is always quick to remind us to care for the poor.
He surprises us all with his response, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.”
Prepare me for burial? He isn’t even dead. Is that what she is doing? Oooohhh…now I remember where I know her. Yes, it was her brother, Lazarus, that the teacher raised from the dead. A quick look at her face shows she is as surprised by his words about his burial as I am.
The teacher continues, “Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
What an honor he has bestowed on her. What the others call a waste, the teacher, Jesus, calls beautiful and worthy of retelling. I know I will never forget this moment.
But it stings a little too. Such extravagant worship. That should be me! This man saved my husband. This man brought our family back together again. The long-awaited Messiah comes and eats at our table. Why do I not worship him as she does? I tuck this thought in my heart as the guests scramble around.
The rest of the night a blur...
Charles Spurgeon says…
All 1 1 Corinthians 1 Peter 1 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 & 3 John 2 Corinthians 2 Peter 2 Thessalonians 2 Timothy Acts Colossians Ephesians Galatians Hebrews Info James John Jude Luke Mark Matthew Philemon Philippians Revelation Romans TItus