Worship That Lingers

There is a story that takes place in all four gospels about a woman who pours perfume on Jesus’ feet. By Justin and Courtney Rose

I really dislike using elevators in the morning. Not in the evenings, only in the mornings. I am not claustrophobic or scared of heights—I simply can’t stand the smell of strong perfumes. All of the different aromas join together and get trapped in the elevator to create one, giant stench. I know many people love the smell of perfume, but to me it is a bit overpowering.

There is a story that takes place in all four gospels about a woman who pours perfume on Jesus’ feet. Luke 7 tells us this woman was known for living a sinful life and that she brought an alabaster jar of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet. We are also told that she wept at Jesus’ feet, wiping her tears away with her hair.

Honestly, this is a very strange and intimate scene. I can understand why the other guests were confused and unsettled by what the woman was doing. In fact, I might have thought something similar if I was in the room.

“Doesn’t Jesus know what kind of woman this is?”

“Doesn’t he realize what this makes Him look like?”

“Why would this rabbi let this woman touch Him?”

At the end of the passage, Jesus tells the woman that her sins are forgiven and that her faith has saved her. Presumably, the woman then walks out of the room, out into the street and to her home. But imagine the smell that must have been all over her. The perfume that she poured on Jesus’ feet covered her hands and hair. As she wiped her tears from her cheeks, the smell must have reached her face. When she got up to leave, the perfume could have spilled on to her clothes. In her worship she was messy and disorderly, and the aroma of her worship followed her as she left.

Throughout the Old Testament law, the Lord tells His people exactly how to offer sacrifices. They are told how, when and where to offer acceptable sacrifices to God. In these books, the phrase “aroma pleasing to the Lord” is used about 40 times. The idea is that God will “smell” their worship and be pleased with His people due to their personal sacrifice and obedience.

We see this idea taken even further in 2 Corinthians 2. The Apostle Paul says that Christians have the privilege to spread “the aroma of knowledge” of Christ to the entire world. He goes on to say that the Church is “the pleasing aroma of Christ” that goes up to God. Our worship and obedience to the message of Jesus is pleasing to God.

In Mark’s version of this story, Jesus says that this woman “has done a beautiful thing to Me” and that whenever the gospel is proclaimed, “what she has done will be told, in memory of her” (Mark 14:6, 9, NIV). We see here that our worship changes us, lingers with us and touches the heart of God. Worship is more than the songs we sing or the instruments we play—it is our positioning at the feet of Jesus. That we, like this woman, would pour out the pleasing aroma of worship to our Lord.

Daily Readings:

  • September 1:  Matthew 26:6-13
  • September 2:  Mark 14:3-9
  • September 3:  Luke 7:36-50
  • September 4:  John 12:1-8
  • September 5:  2 Corinthians 2:12-17
  • September 6:  Genesis 8:15-22
  • September 7:  Leviticus 1
  • September 8:  Leviticus 2
  • September 9:  Number 15:1-31
  • September 10:  Numbers 28
  • September 11:  Numbers 29
  • September 12:  Romans 12:1-2
  • September 13:  Romans 14:13-18
  • September 14:  Philippians 4:10-20
  • September 15:  Hebrews 13:20-21
  • September 16:  Ephesians 5:1-20
  • September 17:  1 Timothy 2:1-7
  • September 18:  1 John 3:11-24
  • September 19:  Proverbs 15:8
  • September 20:  Matthew 11:25-30
  • September 21:  2 Corinthians 5:1-10
  • September 22:  Galatians 1:6-10
  • September 23:  Colossians 1:3-14
  • September 24:  1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
  • September 25:  Hebrews 11:1-6
  • September 26:  1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
  • September 27:  Romans 8:5-8
  • September 28:  Luke 21:1-4
  • September 29:  Psalm 141:1-2
  • September 30:  Exodus 34:29-35

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