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Image by William Bout

Beautification for a King

Rosie Rochelle

I’m a creature of my environment. Most women are. We tend to take on our environment and kind of mold or blend into it. This is why women do not merely live in a house, but they create a home. Look around, you probably have decorated your home with family pictures, Bible verses, colorful decor, and other elements that make your space special. Women make things beautiful; it is part of how God created us.

As women, we tend to take this aspect of beautification into our worship with the Lord. We like to make the Lord feel 
beautiful, so to speak.

That’s how it was for Mary. She was an ordinary woman with an expensive jar of oil. Perhaps, it was the only thing of value she owned. We don’t know much else about Mary, yet it’s impossible to read the gospels and not know of Mary.

I imagine Mary was just like you and me, she was longing for something more than this earthly life could offer. She searched for a greater purpose, maybe she felt a void or like something wasn’t right in her life. She had flaws and often reached for earthly substances to fill the eternal hole in her heart. She always hoped for more, but she did not know how to find it.

Then one day, she was invited to dinner. This was normal in her time, to join friends and neighbors for a meal. But she heard hushed whispers around town that a special guest would be present. A guest who healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead to life. She heard rumors that this guest might just be the one she was longing for, the one she needed. So, she dressed in her finest attire, covered her hair as was customary, and at the last moment, felt a stirring to pack her most costly bottle of perfume. She eagerly went to dinner, hoping to be near this special guest.

Once she arrived, the table was set, and people gathered around the guest of honor. She hesitantly peeked around the table to see if she could get closer. She could hear his voice. She could feel his peace. She was overwhelmed by his love, by his gentleness. Inch by inch, she drew closer, and inch-by-inch was overtaken by a love she had never felt before.

Without thinking, she threw herself at his feet. She threw herself at the feet of Jesus.

Mary began to weep, she was in awe, she was in wonder. “Who was this man, they called the Messiah? Could it really be him? Could he really save me?”, she thought. She was afraid to look up, afraid he would disapprove of her. She was a woman; she could be arrested for such a bold act. She felt his hand on her cheek, she heard his whisper “daughter, you are loved”. She knew she was safe. She knew he was the Messiah, the one she was waiting for. She quickly retrieved her costly perfume and began to pour it on his feet. She sang softly as she anointed him with her oil. She wept as she adorned him with the scent of perfume. She wanted to pour out her very best for him, she was willing to give up everything, if it meant she could sit with him.

Mary paid a price that day. She put herself on the line. In her culture, it was inappropriate, if not illegal, for a woman to do what she did. She likely drew the attention of those around her, who would have been displeased with her display of worship. She was criticized for wasting a costly bottle of perfume. She was deemed to be unacceptable. Her act of worship was rejected by those around her.

Except for Jesus.

While others rejected her, he promoted her, rebuking the others “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Matthew 26:10-13.

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