Extravagant Devotion

6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Jesus wants this message burning the hearts of His disciples. We should keep this model of extravagant devotion close to our hearts and it should color our vision for Christian living. The reason He stresses Mary of Bethany’s anointing Him with oil for His burial is she is a picture of giving everything to God as happy, yet costly devotion. And this is what He wants.

That oil was a typical inheritance from a family of that time. It was worth a year’s wages. To many she was unwise in ‘wasting’ what could have helped her in this world. But she poured it on His head, perhaps knowing that as He carried the cross beaten, that he would smell the fragrance of the oil, of her love and it would give Him strength. It was this love that He was giving His life for. The 1st Cor 5:15 He died for all so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for Him. And Mary was the picture of the disciple that was willing to give everything for Jesus.

The Lord is highlighting this scripture in this generation. What Jesus is saying is that whenever the gospel is preached, preach so that your disciples walk away with this heart, the desire to give all in extravagant devotion! This heart is also made radical by actually sitting at His feet and listening to His word (as Mary did in Luke 10:38). What made her radical? How can we be made this radical? Taking our prayer time seriously and going deep. Getting to that place of closeness that we can quiet our souls and hear Him. James 4:8 If you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you.

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