When in Jerusalem, Jesus didn’t stay in the city itself. He usually stayed in the house of His friend Lazarus, in the town of Bethany, just outside Jerusalem. There He enjoyed peace and companionship. He knows his time at the Cross is drawing near, and at this time, Jesus receives a very special dinner invitation.
“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon, the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.” – Mark 14:3 (KJV)
In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Luke, the dinner host isn’t called “Simon the Leper” but “the Pharisee.” They were almost certainly the same person.
A leper wasn’t allowed to have any contact with other community members, so Simon must have been a Pharisee who Jesus had healed. When he heard that Jesus was in Bethany, Simon felt obliged to invite Him to dinner.
Luke also tells us that the woman who gate-crashed the dinner was a notorious sinner in the town of Bethany. He also mentions that Jesus had forgiven her many sins.
She brought all she had to Jesus. The value of the perfume was equivalent to more than a year’s wages. The alabaster jar was also precious. But she didn’t care. She broke it to pour the perfume on Christ’s head.
What’s the lesson here? It’s that this woman valued nothing that she owned above the privilege of knowing Jesus. She brought everything she had to Him. That’s what happens when you realise how great the love of Jesus is for you and how complete His forgiveness and acceptance for you is.
What is the most valuable thing in your life? Would you be willing to give it to Jesus? Think about why or why not. And if you were, what conditions would you put on your gift?