In this moment, as I sit down the type, I have to slide over because the glare of the sun on my computer screen is almost blinding. I thank God for this moment of morning sunlight, especially because it’s seemed to have been so cloudy and gray lately.
This week, reflecting on the days right before Jesus’ death, I’m drawn to the story of the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume. This woman was Mary (the Mary whose sister is Martha) and yet still a woman “who had lived a sinful life”. She was about to experience a moment in her life that would change it forever.
This women encountered a moment of sacredness. It was that moment where she was vulnerable, on her knees and not even knowing that what she was doing for Jesus must have been one of the most holy moments He experienced while on earth.
“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” (Luke 7:37-39 NIV)
“Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” (Mark 14:3-8 NIV)
She was helping prepare him for his burial after his sacrifice. Back then, when someone died, before they were buried, they were covered with scented oils. They were expensive oils, too. She was giving him the gift of ALL she had saved.
She gave him the gift of her tears confessing her sin and even more her love for him. She was not a person of prestige in her community. She was a common woman, who had sinned in her life (hmmm…can’t we relate to that?), helping prepare Jesus, who will be sacrificed and killed. Jesus knew that. Jesus loved her for who she was and he loved every second of this holy moment as tears rolled down her cheeks into her hair as she wiped his feet with it. It makes me wonder if a holy tear rolled down Jesus’ face too because it meant so much to him that she was doing this from the depths of her heart.
He saw what she was doing as a beautiful moment. He saw her beauty within through her tears. It was a moment in his life that made him feel loved. He feels the same way with us when we get on our knees and give our all to him from the depths of our hearts. Lord, I want to be like that woman who gave all she had and I want you to feel my love for you, too…