Read: Matthew 26:6-13 and Psalm 26:1-8
Sometimes someone with a past will find Jesus. Those nearby who see this will sometimes make snide comments, and sometimes will be outright mean about it. We talk big about wanting to bring people to Jesus, but apparently that only applies to people who look like us, dress like us, live like us, and vote like us. If you have an alternative lifestyle, or have tattoos and crazy hair, or wear clothing that seems strange or inappropriate, or vote for the other party (or vote against the church boss), then there’s no place in the Church for you. That’s the message we give out, and it has been believed wholeheartedly by those who are not disciples.
The woman in today’s passage was one of those with a past. She was a prostitute, actually. She came into Simon’s house and poured out her fragrant oil on Jesus’ head. That oil was the sign of her trade; it marked her as a prostitute as surely as Jesus’ robes marked him as a rabbi. She was giving Jesus every thing she had. Her livelihood depended on that oil, and here she is, pouring it out on this guy from Nazareth. Jesus is going to smell like he’s been to see her for other reasons. People are going to know what’s happened. They’re going to gossip. They’re going to judge. Only they’re going to be wrong.
Jesus quickly forgave her. After all, she was trying to show him that despite the fact that she was now financially ruined, she was going to put all aside to do the right thing. But at the same table, Jesus’ own disciples are sitting and judging. “You should have sold that and given the money to the poor.” This was probably Judas Iscariot, who was the treasurer. He was more interested in the money than the poor.
Jesus’ response is interesting. “You’ll have plenty of time and opportunity to doing good toward the poor, but my bodily presence is about to end soon. She’s pouring this out for my burial, and wherever the Gospel is preached, this woman will be remembered.”
Take some time to pray about this. How do you react when people come into your church? Are you more concerned with their outward appearance and lifestyle than you are with showing them who Jesus is? Do you gossip about them behind their backs? Or do you show them the grace and love that God has extended to everyone? Are you Jesus to them? Or are you Judas?