The woman came to Jesus repentant, broken as her alabaster jar. Luke, chapter 7, reveals that she had lead a “sinful life”…haven’t we all? She came to Jesus weeping, bringing what was likely her most expensive possession, her alabaster jar of perfume, seeking compassion and forgiveness. She came to the right One.
She poured the fragrant contents of her broken jar upon Jesus head and fell to His feet weeping. The scent must have overwhelmed the room. It certainly got the attention of many at the table. Mark, chapter 14, tells of the crowds indignant chatter as they questioned her wastefulness…”why this waste of perfume?”. False assumptions and shame followed…“It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” She must not care about the poor…you can almost hear the pride swelling behind these statements, as if they would NEVER have done such an irresponsible thing. The final punch…”they rebuked her harshly.” Talk about some serious bullies. These bullies didn’t even care that the Teacher was in the room. They did all of this in front of Jesus! Can you imagine? Unfortunately, I can.
There have been times I’ve poured myself out for God, sharing vulnerably, encouraging people, giving of myself until I had nothing left, only to be falsely accused, misunderstood and taken for granted. Such is the life of a Jesus follower. There’s nothing quite like having a brother or sister in the faith emotionally wound you, especially when they group together. Yes, bullies are in the church too, BUT so is Jesus.
Jesus, with His lazer beam focus, looks straight at the heart of the alabaster lady and looks at the crowd gathered. He cuts through all of their pretense, manipulation, greed and what I perceive as jealousy of this humble woman. Maybe they were jealous that they didn’t think of doing something so thoughtful and heart felt for Jesus? Maybe they were annoyed at the ease with which Jesus accepted her….shouldn’t she be ashamed of herself? Who does she think she is….I mean, she’s not part of their “inner circle”, yet she was exactly where Jesus wanted her.
Jesus quiets the room. “Leave her alone.” She is with Him and nobody is going to talk smack about His daughter. He calls out their hidden agendas. “”Why are you bothering her?” And by the way, you do know you can help the poor anytime you want, right? While helping the poor is a good thing, what this woman does is more urgent. “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” I love that He says, “she did what she could.” She had a jar of perfume and in that moment what she could do was sacrifice it for the One that would sacrifice everything for her, for you, for me and for all. Her action demonstrated the condition of her heart. Yes, she was broken, but that brokenness lead her to Jesus.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.~Psalm 147:3
She did what she could do in her brokenness, despite the judgmental murmurs of those present. It was a risk and I’m sure it hurt her feelings, but it was worth it. Approaching Jesus will always lead to grace, forgiveness and restoration. He’s in the healing business and He’s masterful at mending broken hearts…they are the easiest to reshape. A prideful heart becomes like stone, un-moldable. Remember, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, not our pride. What’s the condition of your heart?
2 Cor.12:9~But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
She brought her perfume. What can you do, or what can you bring to Jesus today? Maybe your offering is just a broken heart, wounded by people and trials of life. He alone can restore what people have broken in you. Maybe, like her, you feel judged, accused and exposed…He sees you as blemish free, beautiful and whole in Him. Keep going to Him to find rest and renewal. He will quiet the bullies and strengthen you to rise above.
Do what you can to love God and love people, regardless if people love you back. You and I have been given gifts to be used for Him. Use them for His glory. You can expect people will challenge your motives, make assumptions, and even accuse. That’s ok. Pour out what you have for Jesus and He will defend You. Remember His words to this crowd and know He is saying them for you too, “Leave her/him alone.” He’s got your back and one day there will be an account for all things. If God is for you, who can be against you?
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for how graciously you receive us, even when we are at our worst. Your love restores us to wholeness as we put our trust in You. Help us seek You first in every situation so that we are empowered by You, not being lead by our feelings. Emotions ebb and flow, but You are consistent in love, grace and forgiveness. Help us speak and behave in ways that reflect Your goodness. You are so good to us. In Jesus name, Amen