HOLY WEEK REFLECTIONS
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 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. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over
The day draws closer for Jesus’ Passion. While everyone is busy preparing for Passover, talking about the hutzpah Jesus has been displaying in the temple, and anticipating what might happen next, a woman approaches. She carries with her an expensive jar of perfume. So expensive that it is apparently worth more than a year’s worth of wages. She breaks the jar and poured her gift on Jesus’ head.
She did not give some of it to Jesus. She did not take a tablespoon out and carefully measure. She gave all she had. It was a gift that cost her dearly. Jesus saw her offering as beautiful. She gave all she had to the One who would give all He has for her. In doing so, she unknowingly prepared Jesus for His burial.
It did not come without the men in the room judging her offering. How wasteful they thought! Doesn’t she know how many people that would feed? After all, Jesus fed 5000 with a few fish and some bread. How much more could he do with the money from that perfume! They missed the beauty of the gift. Jesus reminds them the poor they will always have, because as a follower of Jesus, taking care of the poor is part of the rhythm of life with Jesus. It’s what we do.
The more important reality, though, is to experience Jesus. It’s easy to get caught up in the details of different ministries, work, and even good things like taking care of the poor. For us to be effective at those though, it starts with Jesus. We worship Jesus. We adore Jesus. We offer Jesus our best because Jesus gave us all He had by the shedding of His blood. Heaven could give no more than what it gave in Jesus Christ our Lord.
This Holy Week might be busy for you. Maybe you have family coming in. Maybe you have extra responsibilities or are going to extra services. Don’t forget to gaze at Jesus. Don’t forget the beauty of the empty tomb.