Matthew 26.6 “While Jesus was at Bethany, in the house of Simon (known as the ‘the Leper’), a women came to him with an alabaster case of extremely valuable ointment. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table”.
On Sunday we began our journey looking at evangelism, that is telling people about Jesus, sharing with them who he is and what he is done and what he is doing and what he will do (it’s a little more nuanced than that, but that’s a general picture for the moment).
Evangelism is scary. For most of us it’s really difficult we’re not sure what to do or what to say.
In this passage in Matthew we get a picture of what it can be. An expression of gratitude, and honouring of Jesus, and the courage to not worry what others think. Here is this woman, not named by Matthew, what is significant is what she has done, not who she is. She comes into this home, and does something outrageous, she pours a bottle of perfume on Jesus’ head. No ordinary perfume, but top shelf stuff – a whole years wages is poured out and goes all over Jesus. We know this because in John 12 this story is told and the woman wipes Jesus feet with her hair. She drenches him in this stuff – she doesn’t hold anything back. Imagine doing that, in NZ $ we are talking about the equivalent of $52,000 spilt over Jesus and the ground. It’s a beautiful thing, she has done, says Jesus.
A beautiful thing – against the wishes and the wisdom of Jesus’ disciples, here is an expression of love, and honour and gratitude. Fearlessly displayed!!
How can we be a witness for Jesus? We could start by being grateful. We can be grateful and acknowledge what he has done for us. We fearlessly acknowledge our dependence on him. We don’t hold anything back – we are willing to give all we have for him – why? Because we know what he has done.
This women is grateful to Jesus for the difference made to her life, and yet the full power of Jesus was still a way off from being displayed. We know this Jesus as the one who died and rose again. The one who has conquered death, the one who has proven he is the longed for and promised saviour, the one who will put all things right, the one who said he would never leave us, and who said he is coming back to take us to be with him forever.
Isn’t that a whole lot to be grateful for?
What about us? Are we living lives of gratitude for all that Jesus has done? Are we letting people know how grateful we are for what he has done for us? Are we giving freely of what he has given to us?
Gratitude can be difficult In a sense, gratitude is an expression of modesty. In Hebrew, the word for gratitude – hoda’ah – is the same as the word for confession. To offer thanks is to confess dependence, to acknowledgment that others have the power to benefit you, to admit that your life is better because of their efforts.
By showing gratitude we speak of something beyond us. We point to something that is away from us but important to us. By gratitude we we note that we are not the centre of the universe. Are you willing to tell others how grateful you are for what God has done?