Blog: February 2013
“A woman came to Jesus with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. ‘Why this waste?’ they asked. 'This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.' Aware of this, Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.’” Matthew 26:6-10
In one of the Gospels’ most dramatic scenes, a woman anoints Jesus’ feet with a jar of very expensive perfume. The disciples’ response is predictable. They’re indignant and angry with her “waste." Under the guise of stewardship and responsibility, the disciples put down this unnamed woman.
But Jesus sees the situation very differently. He defends her. Lifting her up as a model of Christian discipleship, he announces, “I tell you the truth, wherever this Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (The Promise Effect, p. 26)
Reflect & Discuss
Jesus cautions his disciples not to miss the heart behind the act. The woman loved “wastefully” and Jesus affirms this expression of faith. Are you more like this woman, showing the Lord extravagant love, or like the disciples who criticized her “wasteful” display? Do you ever hold back on actions of worship or discipleship because they’re “a bit too much”? Share your thoughts on our blog.
Lord, I want to love and serve you fully. So if that means crossing some lines, offending decorum, being imprudent, or going over the top, so be it. Give me the courage to love you with all I’ve got.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10: 27
What I love about this command to love God and neighbor is the drama that precedes and follows this statement. A religious scholar is trying to debate with Jesus to argue about how a person can gain eternal life. To some this might seem surprising; but Jesus isnt interested in abstract conversations about the next world. Jesus appeals to the religious scholars knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures and asks him to answer his own question, which he does correctly.
Does that settle it? Not so fast. Scholars seldom want to settle on an answer that is so clear and practical especially from an untrained, upstart, itinerant preacher. He asks Jesus, Who is my neighbor? Rather than sharing a propositional statement, Jesus tells the compelling story of the Good Samaritan. He paints a living picture of what it means to love ones neighbor. And by using the Samaritan as a hero, Jesus reminds the listener that people who truly love neighbors are people who are willing to love across lines of race, ethnicity, and social class. (The Promise Effect, pg. 126)
We encourage you to open your door and look to the left, to the right and across the street and see how you can show your neighbor the love of Jesus. What small acts of love can you do for your neighbor? Share with us how you show love to your neighbor! Then, tell us ways you have taken the love of Jesus from your neighborhood to the greater community.
Teach me, Lord, to learn what it means to be other-centered. Remind me that my neighbor is of utmost importance to you.