The last week in the life of Jesus was the most significant week in human history. In less than a month we will celebrate the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. Between now and then I want to share some short meditations that invite us to reflect and be freshly affected by the last week of Jesus’ life. He accomplished perfect redemption!
“6But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me’” (Mark 14:6-7)
It is a common feature of books, online articles and advertisements to lay out for us life’s priorities. Many of them contend that whatever they are focusing on is indeed the most important thing and that we should regard it as such for our lives. Maybe like me you’ve experienced priority overload.
Even though it was before the world of electronic media, there was priority overload at Simon’s house in Bethany (Mark 14:3). As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem, he stayed the night outside the city, in Bethany. A woman came with very expensive perfume and she anointed Jesus with it (Mark 14:4). This anointing was nothing less than an act of worship and adoration. It was said that this perfume was worth 300 denarii, which amounts to over a year’s wages for a day laborer (Mark 14:5). But as soon as this woman anoints Jesus, priority overload begins.
The woman could have easily used the perfume on herself or to anoint a close member of her family. But those standing by thought that the best thing she could have done would have been to sell it and give the money to the poor (Mark 14:5). Therefore, they called what she did a, “waste” (Mark 14:4). The underlining message to this woman was, “You got it wrong. Your priorities are messed up. What you just did was a waste.”
In Mark 14:6-7, Jesus clears the air of priority overload. Her adoration and worship of Jesus expressed with this expensive perfume was no waste. She should not be scolded, neither should she be troubled. The beautiful thing she did shows that she was the one person with the right priorities in Bethany that night.
Jesus’ words here are amazing in light of the fact that Bible has so much to say about care for the poor. The poor are a high priority, but according to Jesus, not that high. The God-man was in their midst. Jesus had a brief time left on earth. He was making his way to the cross to make atonement for sinful man.
How do we respond to the chorus of voices that say, “You got it wrong. Your priorities are messed up,” especially when our worship of Christ is among the critique? We must trust that while other things may be important, they are just not as important as Christ–his worship, his kingdom, and his righteousness. Even good things must not usurp the place the best thing. Christ will have no rivals. May Jesus’ words continue to clear the air of priority overload.