Matthew 26:10 – Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” NIV
This question is asked of the Disciples as they are making “indignant” comments about the extravagance of a woman (whom John’s Gospel (12:1 ff.) tells us is Mary of Bethany) when she anointed Jesus’ head and His feet with expensive perfume. They immediately started figuring out all the other uses for which this expensive gift could have been sold and the proceeds used to feed the poor or some other tangible ministry objective. They were accusing her of extravagant worship! John comments (12:6) seem to indicate that Judas was behind this criticism of the woman not because he cared for the poor but because there would be more money for him to embezzle from ministry fund.
Jesus immediately springs to her defense. In Matthew’s Gospel we have this question, which would hopefully lead the Disciples to question their own motives for criticizing Mary who was obviously tremendously grateful to Jesus for raising her brother, Lazarus, from the dead and for His Messianic ministry in general. Both Mark and John include the words, “Leave her alone.” Jesus then goes on to explain that she was doing this in preparation for His burial. He, also, notes that there will always be opportunity to minister to the poor; but they will not always have opportunity to minister to Him in this way. Jesus indicates that here story will be told wherever the Gospel is shared.
Some things to consider: When was the last time I worshiped extravagantly? What feeling, circumstance, or realization prompted that kind of worship? What was the result of that sort of worship? Have I ever criticized someone for worshiping extravagantly? Why was I bothered about that person’s worship? What would Jesus tell me in that situation?