Our Savior Is Anointed
Open Your Bible
Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 14:1-9, 1 John 4:7-10
In today’s reading, Christ is anointed in both word and deed. First, we read about the children in the temple who declare, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:15). And then there is the woman in Bethany who anoints Jesus physically, breaking open a jar of perfume and pouring it out on His head (Mark 14:3). Both are beautiful examples of exulting Christ both with our words and with our actions, though not everybody in the story is happy.
Scripture describes the chief priests and scribes as indignant after hearing children call Jesus “Son of David,” a title reserved for the Messiah. And after the woman anoints Christ with perfume, the onlookers are described in the same way—indignant—asking, “Why has this perfume been wasted?” (v.4).
The anointing of Christ was an offense and a disruption. For the chief priests and scribes, it represented a disruption to their hierarchy, placing this man Jesus at the top. For those watching the woman spend her most expensive perfume, the anointing seemed irresponsible: Why waste such a precious possession? Additionally, as members of two marginalized and powerless demographics in first-century Judea, a woman and a group of children would not have had the authority to make such claims about a man. The anointing of Christ grated against an otherwise ordered and reasonable existence.
But did Jesus come to ensure a reasonable and ordered existence for us all?
When the woman anoints Jesus, He says she is foreshadowing an even greater disruption to society as they knew it. Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection were about to turn humanity upside-down. The greatest societal disruption of all was still to come, one in which the unclean would be clean and the unrighteous made righteous.
If I’m honest, I can be resistant to the Jesus who disrupts my order in the same way He disrupted the temple and the town of Bethany. I can grow very comfortable in the world I’ve created for myself and my place in it. The anointing of Christ, as well as the way He was anointed, tell me my purpose is not to be complacent with the way things are. I am to anoint Christ in word and in deed, following my King and doing His work, even if it pushes social boundaries, even if it prioritizes the wellbeing of the marginalized over my own comfort. This is the work that acts out real love toward one another, not because we are so good at loving, but because we have been so loved.
This is my prayer for us today, that our hearts would be set on the anointed Christ. I pray that the sacrificial love we have been shown and given would propel us to love others, so that one day Jesus will look at us and say, “She has done a noble thing for me” (v.6).