In spite of budgetary constraints and all conventional wisdom, a local resident known only as Mary recently spent her entire budget on just one gift. Not only that, she ended up dumping it.
As reported in last week's edition of Christ's News, an unidentified youth gave up his lunch bag of food as a gesture of generosity, in the face of the challenge of feeding 5,000 participants. This next story centres around another unidentified donor, though circumstances differ in context, content and audience reaction.
The lunch incident took place outdoors and involved a lecture by Christ; this time He received a gift at the home of Simon, a resident of the City of Bethany. Known only as Mary, it appears that she wasn't originally invited to the gathering.
"A woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil and she poured it on His head," Disciple Matthew tells Christ's News.
The gesture prompted an immediate negative response from those identified as His own disciples.
"What is the point of this wicked waste? Couldn’t this perfume have been sold for a lot of money, which could be given to the poor?” they protested.
Surprisingly, rather than back up His supporters, Jesus responded to their comments with a firm rebuke of His own:
“Why must you make this woman feel uncomfortable? She has done a beautiful thing for me. You have the poor with you always, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she was preparing it for burial…."
Strangely reminiscent of the myrrh offered by the Magi approximately 30 years earlier, death seems to be at the forefront of this One's thoughts. For the rest of the world, however, celebrating His birth is the timely topic.
Watch for more news as it unfolds.