«And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, «Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor» (Matthew 26:6-9).
IF WE WANT A GOOD CONTRAST between a grateful heart and an ungrateful one, today’s text gives us the perfect example.
If we read the same account in the Gospel of John, the woman who anoints the Lord with an expensive perfume is Mary, sister: «Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil» (John 12:1—3).
The one who initiates the criticism of «wastefulness» is Judas: «But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ » (vv. 4, 5). Of course, it was not the poor who concerned Judas, «because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it» (v. 6).
Why was Mary grateful? Because the Lord had not only forgiven her sins, but He had also «called forth her beloved brother from the grave.»—The Desire of Ages, ch. 62, p. 558. Judas, on the other hand, should have thanked the Lord for showing him such patient and forgiving love, even though it was Judas who initiated «many of their contentions for supremacy,» among the disciples. It was he who incited «much of their dissatisfaction with Christs methods.»—Education, ch. 9, p. 91. Day after day the Lord endured this; day after day He surrounded him with every advantage at his fingertips in order to save him. But Judas never thanked Him!
What a stark contrast between Mary’s and Judas’s behavior. Both were objects of Gods superabundant grace, but only she, at a high personal cost, responded to Jesus’s kind treatment with a heart brimming with gratitude.
Today I want to imitate Mary. I want to give the blessed Savior the best of my talents and resources, the best of my time and my efforts, even if others consider it a waste!
Will you do the same?
Thank You, heavenly Father, because You did not regard the sacrifice of Your Son as a waste. In response to Your love for me, today I want to give You my heart.