6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
When you read through the gospels, you quickly realize that Jesus loved nothing more than to be at a home surrounded by friends and strangers. In these moments he could do more at molding and changing hearts than any large gathering on a hill or by a lake. Here he could connect with individual hearts. He could heal people one on one and then share something greater that anything on this earth.
This is a rare occasion when the tables are turned. Instead of Jesus giving a gift, he receives one. In this chapter, a nameless woman comes to him with an experience box and flask of fragrant oil. For this woman to do this, it is because she had already had an experience with Jesus. He did something in her life that filled her with a desire to give something back. You’ll notice that it never says that the woman was rich but that the gift was. The way that she presents the gift however in humbleness points towards someone who wasn’t rich. What she was giving was beyond her means and yet she still felt compelled to give it.
That response shows a heart that truly has connected with God. It shows someone who not only received the love of God, but who was also filled with it and was compelled to give it out again to those around her. This was a person truly changed and converted. It is this character that we should be desiring to have ourselves.
Instead however and unfortunately, we find ourselves not like this woman but like the men around her. Instead of praising her gift, kindness and love, they mock her and the gift. They claim it is wasted and could have been given to better work.
While her heart was filled with love and gratitude, the men were full of envy, judgement, pride and sin. How many times do we only see the negatives in people actions? How many times do we jump over the kind act and seek out something wrong to judge that person?
Let us strive to have the conversion of this woman with the alabaster flask. May we give humbly and with true love.
Pr. Steven Couto