When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.”
When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”
This very beautiful poignant story included in the gospels tells us a bit about Jesus, his disciples and the woman who anointed him. Out of the fullness of her heart she wanted to do something special for him. No doubt she entered the house with some fear and trepidation but her purpose was singular – to show her love and affection for Jesus. Jesus saw her precious gift as an anointing ahead of time for his burial. He was filled with gratitude
The disciples however were highly indignant about what they perceived was waste, criminal even, and raised an alternative option. Jesus defended the woman and put the disciples in their places.
I wonder how much the disciples understood about this interaction. I wonder if they looked back on it as a ‘watershed’ moment. I wonder if they were challenged in their thinking as to how much they could do for Jesus, who was with them everyday and in everyway.
This season is a time for giving. Gifts rare and ordinary. Gifts of ourselves – our precious gifts.