What’s your most valuable possession? Jewelry, cars, home? Antiques, artwork, memorabilia?
Two thousand years ago perfume was a highly valued item. Extremely expensive, not owned by many. The ingredients to make it were scarce and pricey.
“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as He was reclining at the table.” (Matthew 26:6-7 NIV)
Imagine the scene. Those present hurled their accusations: ‘how dare she’, ‘what a waste’, ‘it could have been sold and many poor taken care of’, ‘what’s the matter with her’.
I’m trying to picture Jesus there among poor and rich alike, followers and non-believers, sincere and hypocrite, praisers and scoffers. The whole room must have smelled heavenly. And the giver was surely frozen in place wondering ‘oh no, what are they going to do to me’.
“Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured the perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.” (Matthew 26:10b-12 NIV)
That would have turned attention back to the Who and away from the what in an instant. Now all present would be turning over the word ‘burial’. Jesus is going to die? Not one there understood how very imminent that humiliating and torturous death was – only a few days away. The purity and amount of perfume that washed over Jesus’ hair, skin, and clothing would not have faded for a very long time.
I wonder what those who mocked and tortured Him thought of the beautiful fragrance as they spit, slapped, whipped, and staked Him to a cross? No mention is made but I would guess that after all that transpired surrounding His arrest, torture, death – and resurrection – they would recall that smell for a lifetime.
Whatever happened to the woman who was so extravagant? “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:13 NIV) The Holy Spirit made sure that the writers of the Good News told of this event. And Jesus does the same for you and me. We are remembered for our love for Him, our story is written in eternity, with as sweet a fragrance as though we had poured out the alabaster jar.
May your celebration of Easter this week find you thanking Him for writing your story – the good and bad parts – knowing that in eternity it is all redeemed and heaven is full of the scent of a Risen Savior. Happy, happy Easter indeed!
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