Updated: Apr 20, 2021
The Church recently celebrated what is commonly referred to as “Holy Week.” This is the period between Palm Sunday and Easter. Believers likely heard sermons about Jesus riding into Jerusalem, overturning tables in the temple, and breaking bread at the last supper. The gospels record that this week was quite busy for Jesus. But there is one event He participated in that often gets overlooked: Christ’s anointing at Bethany.
This marvelous work was accomplished by Mary (the sister of Lazarus) in the house of Simon the leper. Just days away from the death of Christ, Mary “took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the head of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair” (John 12:3). The disciples became upset at the gesture. They counted it as wasteful and suggested that the money could have been given to the poor. This brings a rebuke from the Savior. Jesus mentions how beautiful Mary’s act of worship was. Her anointing of Jesus has prepared the Messiah’s body for burial (Mark 14:8).
Jesus saw something in and from Mary that the others failed to notice.
Mary pours out the expensive perfume understanding that the priceless blood of Jesus will be poured out for her forgiveness. But in doing so, she is scoffed at and scolded for her actions. And quite frankly, this scene depicts a common theme concerning the worship of Jesus. As believers offer up their worship and service to their Lord, the whispering of other people can often be heard. “Why are you so crazy about that religious stuff? It seems like a waste of time!” Similar sentiments can often be heard leaving the lips of fellow family members and those who don’t understand why our commitment to Christ is such an important part of our lives.
A life poured out for Christ seems like the biggest waste in the world to those who do not know Him.
The world scoffed--and still scoffs--at the blood of Christ poured out at the cross.
How much more will they ridicule His followers for pouring out their lives for Him? Even those who do know and love Him sometimes do not understand the extent of certain sacrifices.
But we can rest assured that our obedience does not go unseen by God. Jesus Christ not only approves of a heart that is captured by His glory, He calls it beautiful.
We can often wonder if our sacrifices are worth it; ponder if we are making an eternal difference in the world. Most of the time, our service to Christ and to His Church moves in a slow and unexciting manner. Our prideful hearts can be tempted to desire immediate recognition. We ask ourselves, "Does anyone even notice what I am doing?" And to be honest, other people may not be noticing it.
But Christ sees. And He calls it beautiful.
So, don't refrain from pouring out your life to serve the One who poured out His life for you. Laboring to advance the gospel is not glamorous. Our hearts can experience an unhealthy longing for human recognition. And if it doesn't come, we are prone to become discouraged. But take heart. It is far better to quietly and faithfully serve the Lord in obscurity. And it is worth it because Jesus sees you.