I was walking on holy ground this morning. As I read through Matthew 26, I was brought into the events that led up to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with grief even though I’ve read this story so many times before.
It seemed amazing to me that only hours before His life would be extinguished, Jesus showed that His focus was not upon Himself but upon others.
His selfless attitude showed up beautifully when He found Himself in a room full of bullies. An unnamed lady came into the room and, because of her profound love for her Messiah, she irreparably broke open a bottle of priceless perfume and anointed Jesus’ head with it.
Matthew 26:6-7 (New Living Translation)
“Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.”
But, instead of being praised for this action, this woman was shamed in front of everyone. There seems to be no way to read these guys’ comments and come to the conclusion that they were trying to be tactful. Pure and simple, they were being mean bullies!
Matthew 26:8-9 (New Living Translation)
“The disciples were indignant when they saw this. ‘What a waste!’ they said. ‘It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.'”
So, we see that there is a woman who has a great heart who performed a selfless act. What does she get for it? She gets lambasted by self-righteous folks who aren’t afraid to ridicule her publicly. As a result, this woman may have started to gather her things and leave in shame.
I wonder if she may have thought: “I only wanted to show Jesus how much His followers adore Him. I wanted to offer Him a gift worthy of Him and His own followers scorned me for it. Rather than put Jesus into an awkward situation where He has to pick sides, I’ll just leave and try to pretend this never happened.”
This whole thing wasn’t right! If the story had ended at this point, it would have been sad indeed.
But, Jesus being the incredible leader (person of influence) that He was, could not let this story end here. This woman was hurt by the comments. The bullies needed to be chastised.
So, He did what good leaders do … they step in so that things can be made right. They take advantage of teaching moments. They stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. And, because they care for others (even bullies), they correct them so that they won’t do it again.
“But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.'”
A true leader isn’t going to remain silent when someone is being bullied. Whether you are a co-worker, a parent, a student or whomever, if you see someone being mistreated, you need to prayerfully think about how God would have to step in and be a leader to make things right.