The Alabaster Jar of Ourselves

“A woman came up to Jesus with an alabaster flash of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table…Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.

Matthew 26:7,13

This passage really spoke like crazy to me last night.

Basically this woman comes up to Jesus and pours on his head a very expensive jar of ointment. The disciples were indignant towards her for wasting such an expensive bottle and suggested it should’ve been used for the poor.

But Jesus rebukes them and proceeds to say that “She has done a beautiful thing to me.” On top of that, he tells them that what she has done will be proclaimed wherever the gospel is proclaimed.

We have a stark disparity of perspectives, to say the least. Why does Jesus offer such praise for her actions? And what can we learn from her?

The key is the difference between the attitudes of Jesus and his disciples.

When you pour something very precious out to the Lord, the disciples, signifying the response of others, see it as wasteful. When you give your time to Jesus, when you give your car to Jesus, when you give your kids to Jesus, when you give your life and all your time to Jesus, people around you will see it as wasteful.

But Jesus doesn’t see it as wasteful. Jesus sees it as precious in his sight. Nothing is wasted in the Lord’s eyes when it is given to him.

But why is her story to be preached wherever the gospel is preached?

That seems to be such an interesting platform to place this story. It must be very important if he is saying that wherever people preach Jesus, her story will be told as well.

Think about this way-

Has the preaching of the gospel into a foreign country ever been a cheap affair? Does it not usually cost the lives of those who are set to do it? That it requires their blood in order for seeds to be planted in the enemy’s territory?

You see, when Jesus is highlighting her devotion to him, he is praising her as the model of those who are to preach his gospel throughout the whole world. When you are preaching to the world, it will take nothing less than a heart that has sacrificed all to Jesus.

At the same time, he is reiterating the first point that he was making- that the sacrifices of those who undertake that endeavor are precious to Jesus. They are precious to his heart. And they are not, as the world thinks, lives wasted. They are, in his sight, spent well. For they are spent for His glory.

We are the alabaster jar. We pour ourselves to the Lord and he is pleased to accept it.

Posted by Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing in the Black Box for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

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