When we celebrate a person’s birthday, we typically do something to honor them, perhaps giving them a gift or a card. But how does this apply to celebrating the birth of Jesus?
At first, it may seem futile to consider giving Jesus any kind of special gift at Christmas. After all, He’s now sitting at the Father’s right hand, reigning in majesty. Surely there’s nothing He needs from us.
However, I want to share a powerful story we can learn from—the story about a woman who gave an extravagant gift to the Savior.
Not many stories about the life of Jesus are found in all four Gospel accounts—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But Jesus said this one story was so important that it would be shared “wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world” (Mark 14:3-9).
Jesus was referring to the account of the woman who broke an alabaster flask of “very costly oil of spikenard” and poured it on His head in a beautiful act of love and worship.
Why was Jesus so blessed by this woman’s sacrificial act? And why was this story considered so important that it should accompany the preaching of the Gospel throughout history and throughout the world?
Lessons for Us
This simple story is packed full of important applications for those who follow Jesus today:
- The woman’s gift was costly and sacrificial. In light of how much Jesus sacrificed for us, how can we not give our best to Him?
- She was taunted by critics who said she was wasting her fragrant oil. In the same way, we are likely to face criticism if we radically abandon our lives to Jesus. Perhaps you’ve already dealt with this when people scoff at your commitment to sow generous financial seeds to win lost people to Christ. “Why this waste?” they ask. Although it’s hard to ignore people’s ridicule or anger, this woman refused to be deterred from her act of blessing to her Lord.
- Jesus said the woman’s act revealed a vital key to the proclamation of the Gospel. This might seem puzzling at first. The woman’s attention was fully focused on Jesus Himself, not on reaching the Lost. But don’t miss the message here: Those who proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be energized by this same kind of passion for Him—willing to pay whatever cost is necessary to spread His message throughout the earth.
Spreading the Aroma Everywhere
In a parallel passage, we read that “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil” (John 12:3). You see, when we passionately give our all and all to Jesus, the fragrance will inevitably spread to others. The Good News spreads as God “manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB).
Through your partnership with Inspiration Ministries each month, you are displaying the same kind of love for Jesus this woman showed. Your passion to worship Him and win souls is helping to “fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
What kind of gift are YOU giving Jesus this Christmas? I pray you are leaving the same kind of legacy as the woman in this story—a legacy that sends the Gospel throughout the whole world.
Ben Cerullo has been named by Charisma Magazine as one of the “30 Emerging Voices” who will lead the church in the next decade. His ministry carries a powerful anointing and prophetic message. Traveling extensively, both domestically and internationally, he has spoken in more than 27 nations. God continues to use him to reach people with the Gospel, confirming His Word with signs following.