“She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It is true. Something or someone may be beautiful to you but unappealing to me. The evaluation of beauty is a judgment of taste or even value. You cannot measure it, and you cannot argue with the one who declares the existence of beauty.
Jesus enters Bethany and eats at the home of a leper named Simon. A woman comes to Him with a jar of perfume made of “pure nard.” This was an aromatic oil extracted from an Asian root, and it was a key part of expensive perfume. She breaks the flask to release the aroma and anoints Jesus in anticipation of His death.
Her action does not go over well. Matthew says the disciples are critical of her, and John identifies Judas as the main complainer. This was indeed an expensive anointing. Three hundred denarii was the equivalent of about a year’s wages. Why not sell the perfume and help the poor?
But Jesus rebukes the critics and praises the woman. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Jesus beholds beauty in this woman’s act. He likely suspects the purity of the critics’ motives because He chides them by saying that they can always help the poor. Yet Jesus will not always be with them, and He is about to do something so amazing that it is worth the price of the anointing and will be remembered throughout “the whole world.”
Why does Jesus see such beauty in what this woman has done? Perhaps because He knows she sees the beauty in what He is about to do. She sees a man who is far more than any other man. His words and deeds have revealed Him to be the Son of God. He will soon give His life as a ransom for the sins of His people. His sacrifice will secure the deliverance God the Father has promised for countless generations. Through His death, people will gain life as the good news of the gospel is “proclaimed in the whole world.” She may not have a perfect understanding of all the details of Jesus’ plans, but she beholds beauty in Jesus.
Do you? This act is beautiful because Jesus is beautiful. As the hymn proclaims,
Beautiful Savior! Lord of the nations! Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forever more be thine.
We worship Jesus because He is the Beautiful Savior. Men battered His body and nailed Him to an ugly wooden cross, but the beauty of His heart and life will never fade. Best of all, His death is the most beautiful and beneficial act of all time. Jesus is worth every drop of this perfume, and He is worthy of all your worship and living. See the beauty in Jesus, and He will rejoice in your joy over the beauty you see in Him.