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Anointing of Jesus


We live in a world which understands everything about prices and nothing about value.  The thought that anything—or anyone—could have intrinsic value not associated with a price tag is most foreign to our thinking.  We are the losers in this.

Here is an act which honors the intrinsic value of Jesus.  Does it matter the price of the perfume?  Any work done for the sake of Jesus should indeed be valued, whatever its price tag.

The disciples certainly see this action in a financial light.  They are indignant.  They have yet to realize that Jesus has but one last week with them before the Crucifixion.  They are indignant at such a waste.

One in particular raises the most serious of objections—by John's account—and that's Judas.  It appears he was having some trouble balancing the books, and was short of funds.  By about thirty silver coins.  It is interesting that this ointment could have been sold for three hundred denarii.  That would be thirty sesterces—silver coins of the Roman empire.

The woman has performed an act of devotion.  Such acts have three common characteristics:

·       First, they are expensive to the giver.  John's account tells us this would have cost a year's wages for the common laborer.

·       Next, the world views them as wasteful and extravagant—a poor business decision.  Even if the business is charity, such an act looks like a poor investment.

·       Finally, such an act brings honor both to God and to the one who performs it.

God looks on the heart, and here Jesus proclaims this act of devotion to be her memorial.  He understands the act of devotion all too well;  consider the Crucifixion:

·       It cost our Lord his very life.

·       The world saw it as useless—a waste.  Salvation for sinners?

·       But it brought great honor to God—and to Jesus.

We, the Christians, are those who imitate our Lord Jesus.  He has prescribed the pattern for the act of devotion, and given us the supreme example.  Will we follow it?

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