“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head”.

Mk 14:3 NIV

What was the most expensive present you have ever received? The chances are that you remember it and treasure it for a long time. If it came from someone whom you know was not well off, it will be even more precious to you.

The significant thing about this gift to Jesus – made during the last few days before his crucifixion – was that it was given during the period that negotiations were taking place between Judas Iscariot and the chief priests. They were deciding on what price they were to put on Jesus as a prisoner. They agreed it would be thirty pieces of silver. We don’t know how much a year’s wages were – but that was what this unknown woman was prepared to spend out of love for Jesus. In a week of growing enmity and hostility towards Jesus, this incident stands out as an act of love, devotion and sacrifice. It was not only a sacrificial gift. It was a beautiful thing that she did – amidst all the ugliness of the growing storm. Whilst the authorities were plotting to get rid of Jesus, while the loyalty of the disciples was breaking up, whilst Judas was up to his mischief this woman out of sheer love covered Jesus with expensive perfume. It meant he would give off a beautiful smell wherever he went. Possibly the fragrance lasted until and even beyond his crucifixion? The story about it hasted for ever!

What gift have you given to Jesus?


Lord, help me to overflow with love to you.