Jesus Rebukes Your Critics
Everyone has an opinion. Someone may judge you on the path you choose for a career, how you choose to parent, how you choose to spend your free time, and even how you worship or serve the Lord. We receive looks of concern and consideration; sometimes by those with the best intentions, other times by those with judgmental hearts who may see things as a waste. How do you deal with that tension? Leave it to Jesus to correct them.
Scripture tells us about a woman in Bethany who received critical eyes and heard judgmental comments as she poured out her love, worship, and gratitude to Jesus. She entered into a house for Jesus. She kept her eyes on Him. She boldly broke her alabaster flask of ointment and poured it over Jesus:
3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[a] as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii[b] and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. (Mark 14:3-8)
I'm sure the temptation was there to hold back, to wait for another time; but she seized this opportunity to worship her Lord. She looked foolish to others, even to His followers. She probably thought that she would be surrounded by supporters, by people with understanding hearts; scripture says some spoke amongst themselves indignantly about her act. Here we see that there were some who were silent, in awe and supportive, and others who were judgmental and not so accepting. It was too much; a waste. Your worship is not too much to Him. What people call a waste He calls beautiful.
Jesus rebuked her critics. He called "her waste" useful. Jesus uses all that we give Him, not wasting a single drop. A commentary I read says, "What they considered wasteful was actually a good work. Her act was good because she did it for the Son of God, who is worthy of great sacrifices."
What I love about Jesus is in His rebuke to her critics He also spoke to her heart; knowing that she was giving Him her all, He acknowledged her sacrifice and expressed His pure gratitude. He sees your efforts, He sees your sacrifices; He sees all that you can do and He receives it with gratitude.
Although she continued to worship I'm sure she still cared about what they said. He knew she was troubled inside. Do you stop your worship because of embarrassment or critical talk? Do you sometimes doubt your worship because others call it a waste? Whose opinion matters most? Which is actually true?
I've shared about an incident that happened while I was worshipping the Lord as a child (you can read more here). I had my arms raised in worship during a church service, then I heard laughter and saw little girls pointing and laughing at me. In that moment I was embarrassed, and I didn't want to let my guard down in worship any longer. It took years for that guard to come down; but having that guard kept intimacy with the Lord at an arm's length. Thankfully He has redeemed that time and I can praise the Lord with a heart abandoned.
Whether you find yourself questioning someone's worship or you feel judged, listen to what Jesus has to say to your heart. That moment of self-reflection and having the Holy Spirit comfort will bring freedom.
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