Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly. But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
Mark 14:3-9 NLT
This story of Jesus being anointed by perfume in the house of Simon is also found in Matthew 26 and John 12. By putting the stories together, we discover that the woman who anointed Jesus was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She came to anoint Jesus as an act of worship. It was extravagant worship because she chose to use a bottle of perfume that was worth a common laborer’s annual income. We learn from John’s record that it was Judas who led the other disciples in complaining about this wasteful act of worship. He was the one who complained that the money should have been used to feed the poor instead of poured on Jesus. John notes that the motivation of Judas was greed because he kept the money bag and had a practice of taking some from the bag for personal usage. Jesus let’s us know that Mary’s worship was from a pure heart. She was not seeking attention or recognition. She gave out of a heart of love and devotion. She chose to show her love before Jesus’ death. The indication is that Mary understood His coming death while the disciples didn’t yet understand Jesus would have to die. There are always those in the church who think some people are a little too extravagant in their worship. Maybe they sing too loud, or with too much enthusiasm, or maybe they clap too much or express too much energy. I believe God is honored with our extravagant worship if it is done with a pure heart. There are always some who want to be seen by their worship. Their enthusiasm and energy are an outward act of seeking attention. For those individuals I do not believe God is pleased. I have had to confront some in my ministry who I sensed had a selfish motivation in their worship. They were seeking attention for themselves and not for God. The test to me is whether they can have that same enthusiasm and energy when no one is around. Some of my most emotional times of worship have been in my private times with God. There have been times in my truck when I sang at the top of my lungs in worship. Other times when I danced before the Lord in my private times of worship. If I need to have a band or audience to worship then perhaps it is not coming from a true heart of worship.
Holy Spirit help me to have a pure heart of worship. Help me not to judge others but to leave that to You. Help me to be extravagant with my worship.
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