Eric Dishongh, PhD
Connecting others to Jesus and His church as a husband, dad, minister, counselor, professor and friend
Back to Blog
Today is Memorial Day in America. We do this each year to honor those who gave their lives in the fight for freedom and those who are currently fighting for our freedom. The American flag flies this weekend at the gravesites of those who served our country in a time of war. V.F.W. and American Legion Post members are conducting special services. They are decorating the graves of former soldiers and sailors.
A different type of memorial, though, is discussed in Matthew 26:6-13…
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.”
In this story, a woman does something for Jesus. Notice in verse 13, Jesus says, “what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her." We aren’t given her name in this Bible passage. However, John 12:1-8 tells us it was Mary. We know Mary as the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
The disciples must have been surprised when Jesus said this. It doesn’t appear she did anything significant. All she did was pour out some expensive perfume on His head. We learn in John 12:5 that the perfume cost 300 denarii- an entire annual wage of a day worker. To put that in American dollars today, that would roughly be equal to someone working 40 hours a week earning the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour or about $15,000 before taxes.
Now you can see why the disciples responded the way they did. They couldn’t believe it! What a waste. What was she thinking? Knowing the value of that perfume themselves, the disciples thought it would have been better used- by selling it and giving the money to help the poor. Just think how many poor could have been helped.
Nonetheless, notice Jesus’ response in contrast to theirs. They thought it was a wasteful act! Jesus saw it as an extravagant act of love for Him. Even though selling the perfume and giving it to the poor would have been a good thing to do, what she did at that time was even better. Jesus says what she did will become a memorial to her.
This perfume poured on Jesus was extremely valuable. Are you holding onto any bottles of perfume in your life? Is it your family? Could it be your possessions? Friends? Sinful relationships?
What means more to you than Jesus? Jesus meant more to Mary than the perfume!
God wants our memorial to be where people see and know that we love Jesus more than anything or any person.
Mary was a person who deeply loved Jesus! That’s how I wish to be remembered! What about you?
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what you have done will also be told as a memorial to you.”—Matthew 26:13