“Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”’ But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to Me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have Me. In pouring this ointment on My body, she has done it to prepare Me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this Gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.’” (Matthew 26:6-13 ESV) I doubt that Mary was expecting people to shame her when she poured ointment over Jesus’ head to honor Him. (John 12 makes it clear the woman was Mary, Lazarus’s sister—who had good reason to be grateful to Jesus!) She was only thinking of one thing—How can I show Jesus how much I love Him?—and nothing else mattered to her. Who cared how it looked to others?
And what was Jesus thinking of, when He allowed His life to be poured out on the altar of the cross? How much He loved the Father, who had sent Him. How much He loved us, the ones He was saving. His death and resurrection were a gift of love that would save us all. The shame didn’t matter.
Prayer: Lord, let Your love help me when other people shame me. Amen.
* What is a specific thing you have doe to show someone you loved them?
* Have people ever shamed you for something that was good?
* How does Jesus help you when you feel ashamed or embarrassed?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on March 16, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved