In Bethany, a woman brought a great treasure to Jesus. She carried an alabaster jar filled with ointment. Before the shocked eyes of the disciples, she emptied the expensive perfumed over Jesus’ head. The disciples cried out in dismay. “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” They understood charity. They understood giving to the poor, yet they could not understand this woman’s actions. Jesus, however, responded, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me.” He saw this woman’s actions as service, as serving. More, she demonstrated an awareness of the coming death of Christ. Jesus said, “By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial.” The service the disciples would have rejected, the Master accepted and commended.
Through out history other women have faced similar struggles, in fact, that struggle continues today. Too often they are told, as this woman was, that the service they offer for the body of Christ is unwelcome or spiritually wrong. Jesus offered encouragement, however. He said, “Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” We need to remember the brave woman with a jar of oil and all the other women in the Bible and in our history.