By Donald P. Ames
In Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9 is re-corded the account of a woman who poured an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard on the head of Jesus. This brought a quick reaction from Jesus’ disciples, who pointed out it could instead have been sold and given to the poor. The oil amounted to about 300 denarii (the denarii was usually pay for a day’s work, hence this amounted to almost a year’s income). Matthew simply says they were “indignant,” but Mark goes on to say “they criticized her sharply.” Surely such a stinging rebuke must have hurt deeply for one who had simply acted out of love and devotion. However, Jesus quickly came to her defense and added, “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:9).
Isn’t it a great thing.that God does not judge as man does, by appearance? Instead, he looks at the heart, sees the real motive, and responds accordingly. Men may be impressed, and praise a hypocrite (Matt. 6:5, Luke 6:26). God will not make that mistake! Men may belittle someone for a great sacrifice of love, not understanding his true motives. Jesus did not make that mistake! And even though the apostles wrote the record, the Holy Spirit saw it was written as a rebuke to their thoughtlessness, and as a praise to her love and devotion.
Someday Jesus will judge all of us not by human standards, but in righteousness (Acts 17:31). He will reward those who may have gone unnoticed, such as the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16) or the woman who quietly dropped her two small copper coins in amongst the other much larger contributions (Mark 12:41-44). He will also disregard those who have only sought to be seen by men (Matt. 6:1) and rebuke their hypocrisy. Truly, “the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16).
At the same time, he also challenges us to “do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). He also warns us to beware, because “with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (Matt. 7:2). Let us take a lesson from the pages of God’s word and carefully consider all the facts before reaching any conclusions. Let us also rejoice and take warning that we have a God who will judge in true righteousness, seeing all that is done, and will reward the righteous even if no one else ever notices or appreciates their efforts, Truly that ought to make all of us love him even more!
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 14, p. 2
July 18, 1996