Expensive Perfume

Did you ever hear about the time that Jesus got doused in perfume from head to toe? It was a big deal. A very big deal. There was a purpose behind it, although maybe not obvious at first. Some people thought it was a waste of costly perfume. But it wasn’t. Jesus thought it was so significant that the woman who did it should have her story told all over the world.

Here’s the story:

6 While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had a serious skin disease, 7 a woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil. She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This might have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.”

10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a noble thing for Me. 11 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me. 12 By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial. 13 I assure you: Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13)

The setting for this story is pretty amazing. Jesus and his followers are at the home of a man with a serious skin disease, a man who would have been avoided by most people, an outcast to society. But Jesus didn’t avoid him. All of a sudden, a woman who was a follower of Jesus came into the room, took out an alabaster jar of perfume and broke it open. That was the normal way to open bottles of perfume. The cost of this perfume was equivalent to one-year’s salary. Very expensive perfume.

The woman poured the perfume on Jesus’ head, reminiscent of the way kings were anointed with oil. This King of kings was soon going to wear a crown of thorns and be placed on a wooden cross. The reason for the anointing with perfume was actually to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. He knew that his death and burial were coming soon. And this woman did too. She had heard him teach. She and her family were close friends with Jesus. She knew that he came to earth to die for our sins. She was properly preparing his body for burial. The most surprising thing about the timing of this event was that she did it before he died!

This woman knew Jesus. And she knew about the cross. She knew what the cross meant. And just like her, when you know what the cross means…

  • You’re not afraid to approach Jesus
  • You are broken before him
  • You think of ways to honor him
  • You give your very best to him

Will you follow the example of this woman? She had a life changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and she responded with brokenness, sacrifice and love.

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