03/20/F – Extravagant Worship

Exodus 28:15-43; Matthew 26:1-13; Psalms 31:21-22; Proverbs 11:20-21

NT: “While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman approached him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This might have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a noble thing for me. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me. By pouring this perfume on my body, she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:6-13‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Two things stood out to me about this passage. The first is the mention of Simon the leper. If Simon was still leperous, he wouldn’t be living in the city, he would be forced to live outside the city. Because of this, people believe that Simon was one of the lepers that was healed by Jesus, and that he was no longer a leper, but the “title” stuck to differentiate him from other Simons. So Simon, most likely a recipient of Jesus’ healing, was throwing Jesus a banquet. From a parallel telling of this story in John 12, we know that the woman was Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus. Not only did she anoint Jesus’ head, she also anointed His feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. The second thing that stands out is the extravagance of this act of worship. If the accounts here and in John are the same story, we see the fullness of Mary’s worship. The perfume was probably the costliest thing she owned was was most likely part of her dowry. Her hair that she used to wipe Jesus feet was seen as her glory. All that she had to offer to Jesus, she gave to Him as an offering of gratitude, devotion, and worship. Because her worship was so extravagant, she was criticized by the disciples – specifically Judas Iscariot. But Jesus commended her. Worship is to be extravagant. It is the laying down of our everything in trust, devotion, surrender, etc.; that we may in exchange receive His everything. And if we truly live our lives surrendered to our Lord at that level, we will be criticized by those who still have trappings in the world – but we will be honored by Jesus.

Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his faithful love to me in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the sound of my pleading when I cried to you for help.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:21-22‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

What a relevant scripture for where we find ourselves these days. Our city, our state, our nation, and most of the world is under siege by an unseen virus that has the ability to kill – to cut people off. But God hears us when we call for His help… and for those who place their trust in Him, they will experience His faithful love in the midst of a city under siege. And we, like Simon the leper, Mary of Bethany, and King David of old, will say Blessed be the Lord! All glory to the Lord! All I have, I give to You, for You are my life and my salvation.

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