Originally scheduled for February 20
The story is an old and familiar one. During
the week before the crucifixion a woman comes to Jesus while he is
eating and anoints his head with expensive perfume. The disciples
object; the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the
The disciples were obviously surprised that
Jesus’ response. It comes in the form of a question: “Why do you
bother the woman?” It is as if to say that it is none of the
disciples business to pass judgment on the woman. Please note these
Jesus alone defends the woman. Only
he sees the virtue and what she has done. It’s a lesson to us; our
Lord sees things somewhat differently than we do. He often values
that which is absurd to us.
He calls this act “a beautiful thing”
in one translation. The point is not financial but artistic. It’s
important to God, the creator.
What the woman has done is to perform an act
of devotion. It is difficult for us to understand such things,
but they are fairly easily to recognize:
They are always costly to the one who
is giving them — remember the widow’s mite? Even though it was no
great value to most people, it was expensive to her.
The world’s view such an act as
either extravagant, or useless. This is an example of an extravagant
act of devotion; the widow’s mite is an example of a useless act of
devotion. Either way, the world is astonished that anyone would do
such a thing like that. But notice that extravagance is one of the
characteristics common to lovers. Flower shops exist for a reason.
The motive for an act of devotion is
always the same: love. It’s not a reasonable thing; it’s a loving
Communion celebrates the greatest example of an
act of devotion. You can see this clearly if you think about what it
Costly? Is there anything more costly
to a human being than losing your life? Christ did this willingly
The world saw it as a useless
gesture; a man who went willingly to his own lynching. It is
extravagant, but hardly useless. In the cross we find our salvation.
The motive, as always, is love. There
is a reason that John 3:16 is the most quoted verse of the Bible.
As you partake this morning, set the example of
Christ before you and ask how your love for him compares with his
love for you. Examine yourself, and then take the body and blood of
Christ in remembrance of his sacrifice.