Lavish Devotion

by Brandon Ware

Matthew 26:6-13

In Matthew 26, we read the story of Mary and her alabaster box of ointment which she poured out upon Jesus.  Only John’s gospel identifies her as Mary, and John also includes the detail that she anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.  She is found three times in the gospels, and in each instance she is always at the feet of Jesus.  She sat at His feet and listened to His Word, she fell at His feet in sorrow at the death of her brother Lazarus, and she worshiped at His feet when she anointed Him.  A woman’s hair is a symbol of her glory and dignity.  By wiping the Lord’s feet with her hair, Mary surrendered her glory to Christ and worshiped Him above all else.  Jesus was her treasure, and so she willingly gave such a lavish offering to Him.  

Matthew’s account says that the disciples were indignant at such an extravagant display.  They gasp, “Why this waste?”  John 12:4 specifically says that it was Judas Iscariot who spoke these words.  Despite his affiliation with the disciples, he was not a true believer.  Lavish devotion to Christ is seen as extremism to the one who doesn’t know Him.  Jesus was Mary’s treasure, while money was Judas’ treasure.  Jesus immediately comes to the defense of Mary and rebukes the group while praising her for such an act of devotion.  

We can learn from this story that no act of devotion to Jesus is ever wasted or unnoticed.  Beyond the sacrificial act is the attitude of the heart, which is always God’s main concern.  Mary’s act of worship brought joy to the Lord and a sweet aroma to the whole house.  It also brought blessing to the world.  Jesus said that wherever the gospel would be preached throughout the wile world, Mary’s act of worship would be brought up.  Her devotion encourages us to love and serve Jesus with our very best.  After all, isn’t He worth it?

For more, read Psalm 95:1-11

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