Friday, July 6: This perfume could have been sold
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 26:6-13
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
It's understandable how the disciples find this woman's act an excessive waste of resources that could be better spent elsewhere. Isn't it so easy to look at what someone else is doing for others in Jesus’ name and judge it as too much, not enough, too showy, not important? In rebuking them, Jesus reminds the disciples and us that the heart behind the act is most important, and that Jesus is the only one who knows the hearts of others.
We live in a world of constant comparison of ourselves to others, viewing highlights and social media posts of everyone else's "very best lives." And when we peer in so pervasively, our judgment and resentment can set in swiftly. This week, instead of questioning everyone else's actions, just pray: Pray for forgiveness for your actions, pray for those around you, pray for our leaders, pray for the suffering, pray for the sick—and then watch for the transformative nature of pervasive prayer.