Jesus Anointed at Bethany
14 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b]and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
It is one of the most beautiful, poignant scenes in the Bible.
A woman, outcast, judged, deemed unacceptable by some and used by others, is at Jesus feet. She is tenderly washing his soiled feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. You can glance around the room and see the smirks, the suggestive smiles, the self-righteous glares of the people. Then, you can picture Jesus – looking at her tenderly – lovingly – in the purest sense connecting with her and telling her she has done a beautiful thing for him.
All this, while he on his way to death on a cross – and he knows it.
The Lenten season is tough on the soul, the heart, the mind, if you take it seriously. It calls us to see scenes like this one and simultaneously ponder the deep love of God and the deep hatred and sin of mankind.
May we remember this one, loving, kind woman. May we remember and follow her example. May we love, as we have been loved, by God.