THE LOGIC OF LOVE
6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. 7 While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.
8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. 9 “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? 11 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. 12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
Tradition holds that it was on Wednesday that this woman emptied her flask of perfume on Jesus. We can’t be sure because the different gospel accounts were not all arranged chronologically. What we can be sure of is the message she sent, and the meaning for us today.
It is as simple as this: She loved Jesus, and she did not hesitate when given the opportunity to show Him. Truth be told, she made the opportunity, and she did not care what anyone thought. What she did was extravagant. It was not “measured” nor “reserved.” In breaking the alabaster flask, she crossed the line and showed she was all in. You see, that meant there would not be anything to save what was not used. Clearly, she was not looking to save some for later.
We have no idea what this woman’s enneagram number was, what her Myers-Briggs profile looked like, or how she measured up on StrengthsFinder 2.0. All we know is that she was not going to be denied the opportunity to pour out her love, every drop of it, for Jesus.
I would suggest there are really only two options on what we can do with this story.
- We can believe the disciples who shrieked, “What a waste!”
- We can believe Jesus who said, “she has done a beautiful thing to me.”
Perhaps Paul was thinking of this story when he wrote in Ephesians 5:2:
2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
In a matter of days, Jesus Himself will be “broken” and He will pour out His life—every drop of it. And He will do it because He loves you.
Let’s allow Paul’s prayer for us in Ephesians 3:14-19 to be our own today. I’ve changed the pronouns so that you can pray this prayer for yourself.
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Can you imagine the scent that filled Simon’s house that night! As they wiped up the excess which had dripped on the floor, it only sent the fragrance to every nook and cranny of the home, and into every piece of clothing each person was wearing. That scent went home with them.
Grab your favorite perfume or your favorite cologne and put some on today, even though you are not “going out.” Every time you catch the scent, remember that Jesus suffered the cruelty of Holy Week because His love for you is without measure.
The material in this guide has been adapted from Fellowship Bible Church’s Holy Week 2020 resource: Following Jesus Through Holy Week.
All scripture quotes are from the New Living Translation.