extravagent worship

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” John 12:3 (KJV)

This is probably one of the most beautiful and symbolic stories in the Gospels related to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Here Mary brings an alabaster container of some type filled with a precious ointment/perfume and breaks it over the head and feet of Jesus, anointing Him with it. John records the fragrance filled the room. Jesus declared this was a prophetic act of worship symbolic of His death (and resurrection) and would be declared throughout the world as a memorial to her.

It was costly. It had great value. It was an extravagant display of devotion. It was worth a lot of money. There was criticism of her then which is still with us today when people think something to be given “costs” too much when it is offered to God as an expression of love and worship. There will always be something else that is much more “practical” (in the mind of the critic) that money can be spent on. There are times for extravagance in devoting ourselves, most importantly; and of course, our possessions and talents to God!

We are alabaster boxes filled with precious ointment that come to Jesus every week. In the place of worship, we come in our external beauty as seen of others, viewed sometimes, by our dress, activities, and motives. Often, we come in beautiful and we leave the place of worship just as beautiful. But, do we leave having broken our vessels before the Lord in worship? Have we broken ourselves at the feet of Jesus and allowed the fragrance of our worship to be experienced by those present in the room and ultimately our lives by those outside the Body of Christ?

Broken pride says, “I need you.” “You are important to me.” Broken self-absorption, meets the needs of others we see. Broken walls allow others into our lives to encounter our transparency and see us as we really are. It is with this attitude of brokenness our lives become a refreshing fragrance to others around us.

It goes without saying, but I will. This wonderful refreshing fragrance is Jesus in us. However, as an alabaster box, He cannot be experienced by others through us until we allow ourselves to be broken at His feet. You see, these containers were sealed to maintain their freshness. Even though we inwardly possess Jesus, the sweet fragrance of heaven is only enjoyed by others to their benefit when that fragrance is released through our surrendered will and heart.

1. We must die to self and all that pertains to our lives, conduct, attitudes, and aspirations.

2. We must with what we possess and hold with great value, pour them out before Him.

3. We must recognize that before our possessions can realize their real purpose and worth, we must surrender ownership of them, through worship, to Jesus.

4. We must understand that surrender is not a loss of possession or loss of our lives, but a realization of full value and potential found only in Jesus and His lordship.

Therefore, our brokenness before Jesus is characterized by His fragrance that others experience when they come into contact with us!