As Jesus was eating a meal at the home of Simon in Bethany, a woman entered the house carrying a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume. Breaking the seal, she poured it over Jesus’ head.
The disciples were indignant. “This is a terrible waste. That could have been sold for a great deal of money which could be given to the poor!”
But Jesus rebuked them. “Why are you criticizing this woman for the good she has done to me? You will always have the poor among you; but, you will not always have me. She has, with this perfume, prepared my body for burial. And truly I tell you, wherever the Good News is preached, throughout all the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
The disciples loved Jesus; they had left everything for Him; they had endured hardship and danger with Him; they had stayed with Him while many could not bear His hard sayings and had left Him. We can easily sympathize with their position; when you have sacrificed for a cause, it is very difficult to see others (who should have the sense to know better!) squandering resources that could be used to help that cause.
But Jesus here pointed out a critical issue. The disciples were so intent on doing good FOR Jesus that they failed to appreciate someone doing good TO Jesus. That woman, moved by her great love for Jesus, brought an extravagant gift and gave it directly to Him. She wasn’t there to further the cause; she was there simply to love Jesus.
There will always be those who can point out how our money, or our talents should be put to better use for the cause of Jesus; they may be right sometimes, or maybe even most times. But Jesus wanted this story universally known, wherever the Gospel is preached. Jesus accepts our extravagant love for Himself, personally; after all, His love for us was, and still is, both extravagant and personal.