Sunday, September 25, 2011

Matthew 26:6-13


6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. 8 But the disciples were indignant when they saw this and said, ``Why this waste? 9 ``For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.'' 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ``Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 11 ``For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 12 ``For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13 ``Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.''

John's Gospel shares this same story and identifies this woman as Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

NOTE some things that this story teaches. FIRST--It shows us the extravagance of love. The woman took the most precious thing she had and poured it out on Jesus. Jewish women were very fond of perfume; and often they carried a little alabaster vial of it round their necks. This was very valuable perfume! Both Mark and John make the disciples say that this perfume could have been sold for three hundred denarii (Mk 14:5; Jn 12:5); which means that this vial of perfume represented nearly a whole year's wages for a working man.

SECOND--Mary gave this to Jesus, because it was the most precious (valuable) thing she had. Love never thinks how little it can give; love's one desire is to give to the uttermost limits.

THIRD--It shows us that there are times when the commonsense view of things fails. Common sense obeys the dictates of prudence; but love obeys the dictates of the heart. A gift is never really a gift when we can easily afford it; a gift truly becomes a gift only when there is sacrifice behind it, and when we give far more than we can afford.

FOUR--It shows us that certain things must be done when the opportunity arises or they can never be done at all. There are some things which we can do at any time; there are some things which can be done only once; and to miss the opportunity to do them then may be to miss the opportunity for ever.

It tells us that the fragrance of a sacrificial deed lasts for ever. I'm reminded of the saying I first heard as a child. Only one life twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last. What you do for Jesus lasts forever!