Why This Waste
Sunday Dec. 18, 2022
Scripture To Consider:
“Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.’”
“Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. But they said, not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
“And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.’”
“But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.’”
“Then one of the twelve called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Jesus.” Matthew 26.1-16
Something To Consider:
Jesus had completed His discourse on Mount Olives. He had also just finished some very serious and sobering lessons on end time events. He followed up with one more reminder of His departing this earth by way of death, by declaring, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
And at the same time the so-called religious leaders were plotting the arrest and murder of Jesus, of which Judas Iscariot played a most important part in. Jesus was betrayed for the purchase price of a servant slave, as prescribed in Exodus 21.32. Yes, Jesus predicted His being delivered up to be crucified on a cross.
Therefore, Jesus became a sacrifice unto God the Father for the sins of the world. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12.1; “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Are we as true born-again believers, rendering holy and acceptable lives unto God, which is our reasonable service? Are we following in the servant-like footsteps of Jesus our earthly but spiritual example? And if not, why not? As we approach the end of this age, are we to be found desiring to live godly lives in Christ Jesus? And if so, we can expect to be persecuted according to the Word of God.
Something Else To Consider:
Some commentaries credit Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, with this anointing of Jesus. According to John chapter 12, Mary anointed Jesus four days earlier, which was six days before the Passover in the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Here in Matthew’s account this event took place two days before the Passover and in the house of Simon, a onetime leper, probably healed of leprosy by Jesus. But why is the identity of this unnamed woman kept secret? Why is her identity withheld from the biblical record?
What is important is that in an abandoned act of worship this unnamed follower of Jesus anointed Him with costly fragrant oil at a great cost to herself. Could it be that this woman was unnamed for a very good reason? And unless we see what she did as a waste, we can now follow her sacrificial example!
Personally, I do not find it mere coincidence that this costly gesture of worship follows the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25. Jesus has just finished teaching that the Son of Man, Jesus, will judge the nations, and declared in verse 31 of Matthew chapter 25, we find these words of Jesus; “When the Son of Man [Jesus] comes in His glory [immediately after the tribulation of the end times], and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.”
Therefore, this unnamed woman poured out not only this very expensive ointment, but she poured out her soul unto the soon coming judge of all the nations. Are we willing to follow in her footsteps and pour out our souls in worship and in adoration unto the soon coming judge of all the nations?
Something More To Consider:
Notice that it was Jesus’ disciples who asked, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Were they more concerned for the poor or for what they saw as a waste? Or did they simply make a hurried rash decision that they would later regret?
Was not the judge of all the earth worthy of being anointed with costly fragrant oil? According to Jesus, “For in pouring this fragrant oil on my body, she did it for My burial.” Hopefully the disciples learned a lesson of a lifetime that day. How about us? Do we still consider what this unnamed woman did to be a waste? And if so, I wonder what the angels of heaven thought of Jesus coming to this earth and doing what He did for the human race?
With the Christmas season approaching, what exactly do we think of what God did in sending His only Son Jesus, to be born in an animal stable and placed on a layer of straw in a manger? Many act as though that demonstration of tremendous love was nothing more than a waste, due to their constant refusal to receive the most gracious gift that was given so many Christmas mornings ago!
A Few Final Words:
Are we willing to remain unnamed in our rendering holy lives unto God, which according to the Word of God is our reasonable service? Or do we consider the abandoned service of some to Christ to be a waste? What is it that we have offered Christ willingly recently, this week, this month, or this past year?
According to John 3.16 and Jesus, “For God [the Father] so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him [in Jesus] should not perish but have everlasting life.” What are we willing to give up or give to God this new 2023 year, that we should not perish but receive everlasting life?
The abandoned worship of one unnamed follower of Jesus is seen as a waste by some, and as a memorial by others. Let it be a reminder of what exceedingly great things God offers to all those who take the worship of our loving God and Christ seriously!
For according to Jesus, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this [unnamed] woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” What precious gift are we willing to lay this Christmas at the feet of an old rugged cross?
Our Father in heaven, may this lesson of a lifetime inspire us to give what costs us. If it is abandoned worship of You or Your Son Jesus, may we be encouraged by the lifetime lesson of our Scripture to consider today. And as we look forward to a new year, let us be willing to be found looking wisely unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. In Him Always, Amen!