Apr. 4, 2017
Broken, Now Useful.. Matthew 26:6-13
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, (7) There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (8) But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? (9) For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. (10) When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. (11) For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. (12) For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. (13) Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
For Christians world wide, we are about to celebrate our most sacred time of year. The world calls it Palm Sunday and Easter. We call it Lamb Selection Day and Resurrection Sunday. Each of the Gospel's draws us to what Jesus was about to endure for us. You can find this story in Mark 14:3-9...Luke 7:36-39 and John 12:1-8.
It is interesting that Matthew, Mark and Luke's account of service does not mention the woman by name. Verse 7 above and Mark 14:3 simply calls her a woman. Luke 7:37 goes one step further by describing her as a woman in the city which was a sinner. It is John's Gospel that finally gives us a glimpse of who this woman really is, her name is Mary.
Whether you call her a woman, sinner or Mary is not important because she is introduced to us for one specific purpose...to serve and in this case...to serve Jesus. What is important is the gift she has for Him. The gift (called spikenard or ointment) was described as very precious in Matthew and Mark, very costly in John and the description of its aroma is included. John wants us to know its fragrance was so strong it filled the home. It smelled goooood.
How befitting for a King, being served this way but the only way this ointment could do what it was designed to do was to be exposed. The only way for it to be exposed was to break the container that held it for it was then and only then the purpose for which it was designed to be used. Notice, no men had any part in the act of service, it was a woman, sinner woman...Mary. The only role men played was to try and discredit there act of service.
We know the gifts that God placed within each of us is what the world needs. Men and women have these precious gifts. Perhaps us men folk are too concerned about the "broken" part of this process to be of any good but the Bible takes great pains to let us know how special the gift was, used on a truly special individual for what turned out to be a Divine purpose.
The woman gave their most important gift and gladly broke the container so the ointment could become useful. These women loved Jesus so much, they are described as washing His feet with their tears, drying His feet with their hair and using this precious, expensive ointment for Him to smell good. What a tremendous act of humility.
Some of the men took issue claiming this to be too extravagant, being better served to be sold and the money from the sale being given to the poor and maybe there is some validity to their issues. But I look at the cost Jesus paid, the phony accusations from church folks because He hung with the poor, the needy, tax collectors, sinners, the sick giving them hope.
You and I are Christians, Christ like, which means we are supposed to do the same. Soul saving is dirty work, those we need to reach have the perception we are too good for them, we can't relate to them because they are dirty and we are not. If they see the true us, the one that has been broken due to the sins we happily took part in, broken marriage, broken by debt, bad decisions, broken by life and because of that breaking process those needing to have hope can see what God does with brokenness.
The brokenness Jesus suffered is unimaginable to us, the movies like "Passion of Christ" showed just some of what He endured. The treasure in this old earthly vessel became valuable to God because of the price Jesus paid. Allow His will to be done in your life allow that sweet fragrance locked up inside of you to become exposed. You can't become useful to the Kingdom until you have been broken.
As you can see from the passage of scripture, the selfless gift to Jesus from the woman cost them dearly but they gave willingly. Due to their unselfishness, their act of service is the legacy for all to draw from. Verse (13) Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.