We perceive the world through the five senses that God has given us. And worship, as God ordained it in both the Old and New Testaments, was a multi-sensory experience. Consider the Lord’s Supper, baptism, sacrifices, and feasts. Maybe our modern worship services could benefit by giving us more to see and touch and even smell.
The Passover was only two days away. Up to three million people may have come to Jerusalem for the festivities that year. The chief priests and scribes were nervous. They had witnessed Jesus’ popularity. They risked a riot if they made a public arrest. So, they doubled down on their plan to seize Jesus secretly.
That afternoon Jesus left the crowd and retreated to Bethany, this time to the home of Simon the leper. When a prominent person visited a home, it was customary to leave the door ajar, so others could join the gathering. While Jesus was reclining at the table, a woman entered with a jar of very expensive perfume.
She went to Jesus, broke the vial—demonstrating the totality of the gift—and poured it over His head. This was far beyond normal courtesy. Jesus would have been drenched. The sweet fragrance would have filled the room. It was a bold, extravagant, sensory- filled expression of love.
Some people, possibly even the disciples, scolded (“snorted” or “roared”) the woman. They thought she wasted the perfume. It could have been sold and given to the poor. But Jesus defended her and called her act beautiful. He questioned their concerns. Devotion to Him must outweigh all material matters. He connected her act to His impending death, and He promised her a place of prominence in the gospel proclamation.
>> This woman’s love for Jesus spilled over with an extravagant gesture. Many of us have spoiled the people we love with over-the-top gifts. Have we ever done the same for God? How can you give to God extravagantly?
You are worthy of every act of devotion and each extravagant gift. This story reminds us that loving, knowing, and serving You is the glorious purpose of our lives. May our love for You grow and grow!