Remembering a Woman

Few scenes are so touching as that found in Matthew 26. Jesus had finished some of His most ominous teachings (Matthew 23-25), which were perceived correctly and received poorly. That Jesus had to be killed was decided; the only remaining issue was the delicate matter of how to do the dastardly deed. Jewish history was about to take a radical turn for the worst, but there was this woman….

Prior to the pain of the cross, a preparation was made; not elaborate but the sacrifice and sentiment were monumental. Setting this world’s goods aside, casting off all pretense of dignity, an unnamed woman quietly entered the house of Simon the leper and opened “an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head” (v. 7).

With the thick sweetness still hanging in the air, His apostles protested, “Why waste this?” Waste? How could anyone assign a sacrifice to the Christ, especially one of such cost, as a waste? Does it not strike you as somewhat hypocritical to rationalize the protest under a cloak of philanthropy (v. 9)? It sounded like someone was more worried about the money, perhaps a forecast of those thirty pieces of silver.

She stands as reminder of what is really important in life. We hustle and bustle to the beat of the dollar drum, rationalizing our lack of service with a conscience-salving pretext of greater and future dedication, which never materializes.

This woman seized the moment, not allowing the attraction of things present to impede her progress toward things to come. And, in Jesus’ words, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Matthew 26:13). Do you remember this woman?