Matthew 26:7-8: “A woman came to Him (Jesus) with an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?”
Mary gathered her courage and came to Jesus, broken hearted. Not only did she crave spiritual healing, she longed to honor her Lord. The powerful religious leaders pressured Him. Her heart ached for Jesus and she desperately wanted to be near. So, she carefully chose the most precious gift she had: an exquisite alabaster jar filled with beautiful, fragrant oil. It was an unconventional gift, but her heart called her to offer it to Jesus. Taking a deep breath, she entered Simon’s house and approached her Lord as He reclined at the table with his followers. As she tenderly began to anoint Jesus with her oil, it became apparent to her that the expressions on the disciples’ faces had changed. She struggled to understand and wondered, “What have I done?”
As she continued anointing Jesus, she was distracted by the realization that the disciples were whispering criticisms of her wastefulness. They said her gift was too extravagant. “Maybe they are right,” she thought. Perhaps she should have sold it and given the money to the poor as they suggested, but that thought never crossed her mind. She just desired to honor Jesus.
The intensity of their words increased as more disciples joined the conversation. Their chatter took a harsh turn, calling her a sinner. And, she was. She knew it. Her reputation was not pure. She knelt there beside Jesus as tears began to stream her face. She felt humiliated as the disciples fired one complaint after another against her, as if she didn’t exist in the room. “Don’t they know I can hear them?” she thought.
The harsher their criticism, the more she became convinced they were right. She was unworthy. Maybe she shouldn’t be here. Suddenly, she felt so ashamed. Her heart was broken. If only she hadn’t come!
Through her tears, she looked up from the alabaster jar and into the Savior’s face. What would He say? “Will He humiliate me, too?” she wondered. She knew she couldn’t bear it if He did. She held her breath and waited, eyes fixed on Him. Finally, the Savior spoke, but not to her. His words were directed to his disciples. “Why do you trouble this woman? For she has done a good work for me.”
Had she heard Him correctly? Did He say that what she had done was good? Immediately, relief flooded her veins. Jesus was coming to her defense! He was not rebuking her. He was rebuking his followers.
She reached up to dry her tears with the grateful realization that her Savior had looked beneath the surface of her actions and had seen the intentions of her heart - a generous and loving heart that longed to honor Him.
Thank you, Father, for seeing the intentions of our hearts. Give us the heart of this dear woman who served generously and with unfailing love. Help us to do your will, regardless of criticisms. May we ever stay mindful of the pain and discouragement our words can inflict upon others.