I listened to the address that Bill Johnson gave the church following the passing of his beloved wife Beni last week. It was understandably, a moving message, and there was a lot to take away about disappointment, loss, doubts and faith. If you are interested you can watch it here.

Toward the end he speaks of one of my favourite stories from the gospels; the act of worship of the woman with the alabaster flask of perfume (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-48, and maybe John 12:3-8). What this woman (Mary?) did was off the scale in terms of her sacrifice. The perfume was highly valuable, maybe a years wages, but she gave it from a heart of love and gratitude. She poured the perfume over Jesus – and with her tears she washed his feet, drying them with her hair, and kissing his feet as she did so.

How her act of worship was received by those present was utterly different from the way Jesus received it. While the room was horrified at the waste, and spoke of the ‘good’ that could have been done with the money, they were also highly embarrassed at the overt display of love from this ‘woman’. Jesus however received her offering with joy, and spoke of the fact that her act of love would be spoken of for eternity. Even now her act is remembered and celebrated in heaven. “She has done a beautiful thing” were the words of Jesus to those who scolded her, while the angels still recount her story.

God is still looking for worshipers who will give their love utterly, extravagantly. Such worship is not for any end or purpose, except to show love and appreciation to the one who is above every other. No sacrifice of worship is too expensive, no display of affection too much, Jesus showered his love on us by giving himself for us, for the joy in his heart of bringing many back into the loving arms of the Father. Jesus, who was for ever, the eternal one, laid aside his majesty to take on human form, to become like us, so that He could save us. He is indeed wonderful, as the song says “beautiful beyond description”. Why not, even now, stir up your love for Jesus. Take a few moments to praise him and speak your love and appreciation to Him.

Perhaps the unforeseen consequence for the woman (Mary?) was that she came away smelling the same as Jesus. The love and honour that she had poured out, sacrificially, stuck to her just as the perfume did: “Truly, I say to you, whenever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her”
What she did was indeed a beautiful thing.



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