Mark 14:3-11 The Passion Translation
Now Jesus was in Bethany, in the home of Simon, a man Jesus had healed of leprosy. And as He was reclining at the table, a woman came into the house, holding an alabaster flask. It was filled with the highest quality of fragrant and expensive oil. She walked right up to Jesus, and with a gesture of extreme devotion, she broke the flask and poured out the precious oil over His head. 4 But some were highly indignant when they saw this, and they complained to one another, saying, “What a total waste! 5 It could have been sold for a great sum, and the money could have benefited the poor.” So they scolded her harshly.
6 Jesus said to them, “Leave her alone! Why are you so critical of this woman? She has honored Me with this beautiful act of kindness. 7 For you will always have the poor, whom you can help whenever you want, but you will not always have Me. 8 When she poured the fragrant oil over Me, she was preparing My body in advance of My burial. She has done all that she could to honor Me. 9 I promise you that as this wonderful gospel spreads all over the world, the story of her lavish devotion to Me will be mentioned in memory of her.”
It wasn’t long before this that I lived alone outside the town of Bethany. I wore torn clothes and shouted “Unclean!” to anyone within sight of me to declare myself diseased and cursed by God. But today—today Jesus is reclining at my table! Jesus the One who saw me, had mercy on me and healed me.
I was taking in the sight of friends around my table, enjoying my company and my food, something I hadn’t dared believe was possible, when a woman burst in through the door. We all looked up in surprise as the woman, who, without speaking a word, walked right up to Jesus, and without hesitation broke open a white alabaster flask. I had never seen something so beautiful. How expensive it must it have been? The oil that drenched Jesus’ head and robe, smelled of spikenard, a spice used to prepare a body for burial. One would have to work and save for a year to afford an amount such as she poured over Jesus.
The woman’s devotion to Jesus overwhelmed me. I was imagining offering Jesus something just as precious, when I heard the disciples gasp and protest, “What a total waste!” Looking around the room, I took in the angry faces and harsh words aimed at this woman. She shrank back from the room full of men, cowering at their rebuke.
But Jesus, this man Jesus, without ever taking His eyes off the woman, said to her accusers, “Leave her alone!” There was both an edge in His voice toward the disciples and a tenderness toward this woman. The woman looked up in surprise and began to smile, seeing no one but Jesus in the room. I smiled as well, for this was not the first time my heart had leapt within me in response to the lovingkindness of Jesus.
All but one of Jesus’ disciples had a change of heart after hearing His words. They too were the recipients of a love they knew they didn’t deserve. Jesus had looked into the eyes of each one of us and invited us to follow Him, and in doing so welcomed us home in a way no one or nothing else ever could.
Dear Jesus, thank You for Your lovingkindness toward me. Your love welcomes me home; home that is found only in You. Your love transforms me. I was unclean, diseased in my sin and so very far from You. But You see me, You’ve always seen me and You call me and invite me to follow You just as You did the disciples, and Simon, and the woman who gave You the best she had, all she had. I want to give You my best and my all, in extreme devotion to You. I love You Jesus.