Matthew 26:6-13 - Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "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. 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 a thrill that Jesus singled out how this woman had willingly and joyfully anointed His body! She gave with deep love and sacrifice. And then Jesus said, "What this woman has done shall be spoken of in memory of her, wherever this Gospel is preached in the whole world." Surely, that rates among Jesus' most glowing remarks on anything anyone ever did for Him!
This lady's remarkable sacrifice and her willingness to spend so much on her Master is an inspiration to us all. And how much more poignant this story becomes when we realize that her act of love and devotion was pointing to Jesus' death and burial. Now, did this lady know exactly what she was doing and the significance of her actions? We don't know. But we do know this: the death and resurrection of Jesus are central to our salvation.
The apostle Paul points out how important this is when he writes, "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Therefore, when you hear the Gospel, you can know one thing for sure. When Jesus died, He died for each of us. On the cross our Savior suffered the punishment we deserved for our sins—every one of them. As Isaiah the prophet has written, speaking of the One anointed in Bethany centuries later: "But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).
This is the Jesus we worship and adore—the One anointed for burial, the One raised to new life.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Son to save us. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From "The Cost of Real Love," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Has anyone ever given you a gift that seemed over the top?
2. Other than wanting to give the money to the poor, do you think there was anything else to the disciples' disgruntlement over the woman spending such a lavish amount on Jesus?
3. Do you think the lady knew something about Jesus that the disciples didn't know or suspect?
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