For What Purpose?

Matthew 26:7-8 – There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?

Consider the scene: Jesus is in Bethany, a favorite resort for him where he healed Simon the leper and raised Lazarus from the tomb.  All of Jesus’ disciples were gathered around the table as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mary and Martha were nearby.  As they are sitting down to dinner, a woman is struck by the wonder of who and what she sees.  She sees Jesus, the savior and healer, prepared to surrender his life for her and for all the others (26:12).  Moving with exuberant love, she humbly poured out the most precious and personal gift she had available.  How could she not display humble gratitude in service and surrender?

The disciples, although somewhat misguided, asked a poignant question, “To what purpose is this waste?”  The woman gave to Jesus a gift of immense sentimental value, and Jesus ensured that her gift obtained eternal value.  Others understood the financial value of the gift and could have used it for a righteous cause.  Yet Jesus wanted them to see more clearly that the real object of their service and affection should always be Jesus.

Simply put, the woman did the right thing for the right reason in the right way.  Her gift was so highly regarded because, first and foremost, she gave personally, loved deeply, and served passionately.  That is precisely what Jesus wants to see in us today: to see him clearly, love him deeply, and serve him passionately.

How would you describe the purpose and motive for your service of Jesus?  Reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for you.  Rejoice in his resurrection. Praise him for his majesty.  Allow the Lord to cultivate a longing for you to see Jesus clearly, love him deeply, and serve him passionately.

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