Matthew 26:7-9 (New International Version)
7 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.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9 "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."
Step into Matthew 26. Be there in the moments in time captured in words. Agony, turmoil, a sense that all familiar and safe was unraveling, coming to an end--close bonds being torn apart. Feel it rather than read it--as it must have felt to those involved.
Yes, all these things are there in that chapter, but today I'm seeing only Jesus--and the pain that came before the searing physical pain that lay ahead--that those closest to him--his most intimate companions were so far from being with him in his preparation for suffering.
The chapter starts by describing the conspiracy of evil, the plot, the lies against one who had only ever done good. Jesus doesn't hide from the disciples what is brewing. He tells them clearly, "The Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
What were they thinking, I wonder. Their response isn't recorded by Matthew--no acknowledgement of what he just said--no protest or expression of devotion or love.
Only one act of devotion is recorded. A woman comes with an alabaster jar containing perfume. The perfume is very expensive, the writer notes. What she does is outrageous, scandalous--a lavish expression of love. She pours it on Jesus' head.
Then the words that cut to the quick, "Why this waste?"
Jesus was preparing to die, more alone than he had ever been and about to be even lonelier for even his intimate communion with the Father would be broken.
I'm so glad that through the act of this woman, Jesus was touched by loving hands. Perish practicality where love is concerned. Love knows nothing of measure and carefulness.
"...you will not always have me," said Jesus, "You will not always have me..."
Dear Lord, I am not so different to your close companions. I would like to think that I'm the woman, full of devotion, but I only want to be like her. Forgive my disconnectedness, my distractedness, draw me to your feet to worship and love you as you are worthy of being loved. Especially now, especially this week, as we remember all that you did for love.