Holy Week Devotional: Wednesday

Coleman Collins | April 8, 2020

WEDNESDAY | ANOINTED

Jesus and his disciples had gone back to Bethany on Wednesday evening. They wanted to get away from the madness of Jerusalem and the massive crowds. Simon had invited them to his house for dinner, and now they were at the table, enjoying a meal. After a few minutes, there’s a knock at the door, and a woman comes in the room carrying a few years’ worth of retirement in the form of an ornate jar of expensive perfume. The disciples are ecstatic. Clearly, she’s going to give this to Jesus. They are already calculating all that it could do for Jesus’ ministry. She walks up to Jesus, but he doesn’t reach out his hands to take it from her. Neither of them says anything. Then, out of nowhere, to the shock and dismay of the room, she breaks off the sealed lid of the jar on the edge of the table. Does she know what she’s doing? That jar is worthless now! At least the perfume is still there. That will be worth something. Nothing prepares them for what they see next. She pours the perfume out on Jesus’ head. All of it. Before they know it, it’s flowing down his cloak and onto the ground. What a
terrible waste! Now they’re furious, and they let the woman know it. They call her to account. But, Jesus answers instead of her. They’re expecting him to rebuke her or miraculously heal the jar or something. Instead, he looks straight at the disciples and rebukes them. In fact, he calls this waste beautiful. They don’t understand.

  • Read Matthew 26:6–13. Do you find yourself sympathizing with the disciples’ reaction to the woman? Why or why not?
  • What does this change about your perspective on worship that Jesus looked at this extravagant waste and considered it beautiful?

In two days, there will be an even more extravagant waste. An extravagant waste like the world has never before and will never again experience. Jesus on a cross. The Healer, Comforter, Peacemaker, Redeemer, Friend of Sinners, King of the Earth, dead on a cross. Yet, without this waste, we would face God’s wrath, separated by our sin from our holy God. God wasted himself on a cross for you.

  • Read 2 Timothy 4:6–8. Think about Paul’s perspective here. He saw his life as given to him in order to be poured out for the glory of God. He had no limits to what he would give. At what point do you start to consider time, energy, money, and resources given to God as a waste?
  • There are two main ways that we can change our willingness to pour out our time, energy, money, and resources to God. The first is to look at what he has poured out for us. Take some time and thank God for what he gave to buy you out of your sin.
  • The next is to actively give to God things that stretch us. When we are extravagant in our worship, it changes the way we view God’s worth. How can you be extravagantly sacrificial in your worship to God this week?

Jesus didn’t view this as beautiful just because it was extravagant worship, though. There are two other things pictured here. Pouring perfume on someone’s head seems like an odd thing, and it was. Except that it was how a Jewish priest or king would be anointed. Jesus is both our King of Kings and Great High Priest. But they would have used oil for anointing. She used perfume, Mark tells us it’s nard, which is a burial perfume. She is anointing Jesus as our Great High Priest and King of Kings, who is going to die for the sake of his people.

  • Spend some time thanking and worshipping God that he would be willing to go to the cross for our sake. Pray and ask him for a heart that considers him worthy of your all.