An alabaster jar worth a year of wages. A woman lavish in her love. Practical disciples who call this waste. An intimate betrayer who wastes his friendship with the Christ for 30 pieces of silver. A man willing to waste his life for the unlovely.
The theme of waste is woven into the 26th chapter of Matthew’s gospel.
Hearing this chapter read this morning by my oldest son, the juxtaposition of the beautiful waste of love from the alabaster jar and the treacherous waste of Judas struck me deeply.
Jesus came to her defense when the disciples indignantly asked, “Why this waste?”
“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 word, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26:10-13.
As he defended this brave women, I cannot help but imagine Jesus thinking of the crowds who would call His life a waste. Just as He came to the defense of the wonderfully wasteful woman, the Father would come to His defense as the crowds mocked His wonderful waste on the Cross.
The Wasteful Ones
Reflections on Matthew 26
They say of her, “Wasted perfume,”
As she breaks her precious jar.
They’ll say of me, “Wasted life,”
As blood flows my body they mar.
“There are better ways to invest,”
They say as perfume begins to rush.
“There was so much He could’ve done,”
They’ll say as fluids from me gush.
They say, ”With great needs on earth,
Why does she squander all on one?”
They’ll say, “Our hopes of a new reign
Now with you have come undone.”
I say of her, “You let her be,
Let her lavish her oils on me.
She does a beautiful thing,
Her memory for years will ring.”
You’ll say to me, “Forgive them.
Pour your love down from that tree.
This is most beautiful deed, my son.”
Then I’ll cry, “ Totelistai. It is done.”
Nothing offered to Christ is ever wasted. It is treasured and touted by Christ Himself.
May we find, fill and break our own alabaster jars.