Extraordinary Worship

An old blog that I wrote several years ago…

An unforgettable moment is found in Matthew 26 and Mark 14. It takes place during the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. The Word tells us of how a woman came in, broke a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. Then the disciples began to fuss saying that the perfume could have been sold for a fortune and the money used to feed the poor. Jesus rebuked them by telling them that the poor would always be with them, but that He wouldn’t be around much longer. He added that because of her extravagant gift, her story would always be told…..

After some conversations with a friend regarding this story, there are a few things that God has really pointed out to me. The first thing is, who is this woman? Many theologians disagree over her identity. Some think she was the sinner woman mentioned in Luke 7 and John 12, others think she was Mary Magdalene, while still others think she was Mary of Bethany (Martha and Lazarus’ sister). Since I’m no theologian, I’ve decided that she was just “…a woman…” No one special. They didn’t even go far enough as to give us her name, or where she was from. She was a common woman who was about to perform an uncommon act of worship…..

The second thing that I think of is that she was uninvited. For a woman to walk into the middle of a meal where only men were gathered was a BIG “no-no”. But this woman had a purpose. Maybe she had been planning on reaching Him for a long time. Maybe she just heard that He was in town and was rushing to get to Him before He was gone again. Either way, she knew that she had to have just a moment in His presence. That was all that mattered…..

The next thing I see is that this unnamed, unnoticed woman came in carrying a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. This is what Matthew and Mark noticed about her – what she was carrying. This was no ordinary jar. It was a flask-type jar with a long neck, made of alabaster. The men in that room knew what kind of jar this was. It was created to hold the most expensive perfumes and oils and ointments. They saw an ordinary woman carrying an extraordinary jar…..

What happened next caused the people in that room, I’m certain, to hold their breath. This woman didn’t open the jar; she broke the neck of the jar off. She broke it because she had no intentions of taking any of its contents home with her. She came to pour it ALL on Jesus. But not everyone appreciated this display of worship, because as the aroma of the oil began to fill the room, the disciples began to murmur. “This oil and jar could have sold for a fortune and then the money given to feed the poor!” You see, this wasn’t just any perfume, it was spikenard. This perfume was made from the root of a small plant that grew in the Himalayan mountain range. It was one of the most expensive perfumes of that day. The Greek root meanings of spikenard are “faithful” and “believing”. Without saying a word, as the perfume ran down over the head of her precious Master, she was telling Him, “I believe in You.” So, although not everyone in the room was impressed by her worship, we need to realize that she didn’t come to impress anyone. She came to pour her worship on Him…..

Mark tells us the value of it and in today’s terms, it could have been sold for $12,000.00. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a LOT of money. In those days, it was a year’s income. I wonder how she earned it. Some think she was a prostitute. I’ve thought that myself, but what if she had a farm with chickens and went to the market every day and sold eggs? What if she sewed garments for her neighbors? What if she took in other people’s laundry and washed clothes all day to earn income for her family? What if she really was, just a woman? What if she had saved that money for years to buy this perfume? What if it was all she had? For me, this sheds a whole new light on this extravagant offering…..

Another thing that strikes me is that she came to GIVE something to Him. She wasn’t coming to receive or to try to get something from Him in return for her worship. The majority of the people that we read about in the life of Christ were coming to Him to receive, and He didn’t turn them away. He healed them. He helped them. He revealed the truth to them. He opened their blinded eyes and fed their hungry children. He made the lame to run. He gave of Himself every day, but here was a woman who came to give to Him, to bless Him, to honor Him…..

This event is found in Matthew 26 and Mark 14. It takes place during the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. It tells of how a woman came in, broke a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. Then the disciples began to fuss saying that the perfume could have been sold for a fortune and the money used to feed the poor. Jesus rebuked them by telling them that the poor would always be with them, but that He wouldn’t be around much longer. He added that because of her extravagant gift, her story would always be told…...

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