Criticism — finding fault with the actions of another or what they have done.
It can sting when you are on the receiving end and yet, all to often we forget when we ourselves are criticizing another.
A few days before the Passover, Jesus was in the home of Simon, who had been healed of leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came with a beautiful alabaster jar, broke it open and poured the contents on the head of Jesus.
Immediately she is criticized by some at the table:
- “Why waste such expensive perfume?”
- “She should have sold it and given the money to the poor?”
Their objection is not so much of her action but to the extravagance of what she has done. The money which seemingly has been “wasted”.
“Concern for the poor is understandable because making a gift to them at Passover time was a custom.” (New American Commentary, Volume 23, page 222)
Extravagance, as defined by dictionary.com, is “excessive or unnecessary expenditure or outlay of money; unrestrained or fantastic excess”.
Jesus comes to her defense …
“Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?”
(Mark 14:6, NLT)
In the NIV, it reads, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
The act which the disciples saw as wasteful, Jesus sees as beautiful. In the Greek, ‘beautiful’ denotes “a good measure, a bountiful measure’ (from the New Testament Lexical Aids, The Key Word Bible).
Her extravagance was an unrestrained act of beauty, beyond human measure.
This woman gave all she had. She displayed her love and devotion to Jesus without holding anything back for herself.
In giving our all to Jesus, others may not understand. But Jesus will see our all, whatever that may be, as a bountiful measure.
Once the alabaster jar was broken and the perfume poured on the head of Jesus, the fragrance filled the room for all to notice. Is this not what we are still called to be?
“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NLT)
This woman’s act of love and devotion has indeed been remembered since the day she poured it all out for Jesus.
“Leave her alone.
Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?”
May we pour our lives out for Him and
leave a beautiful fragrance in our world.
This is Day 17 of 31 Questions Jesus Asked. You can find the entire series here.