Anointed by a Woman 

The Bible tells us the story of a woman who anointed Jesus right before his Passion. In pouring a very expensive oil onto his head and feet, she didn’t hold back. She offered all of herself in her display of devotion, love and faith in Him, and maybe even anticipation for what was about to happen. 

The story is recorded in all four accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. In every record of this story, despite its variations, we can read Jesus’s rebuke of anyone who dismissed the woman and/or her act as inappropriate. In three of these accounts, we see Jesus declare that she has prepared his body for his burial. And, in Mark and Matthew’s account, Jesus declares the importance of this woman’s action, by saying that she will be remembered throughout history for her good work (Mat 26:13, Mark 14:9).

Some scholars say that her action (of anointing Jesus with oil) was akin to the anointing of a king at his coronation. Jesus knows he’s about to die an awful death, in order to conquer it, and bring us all to Life in Him. As the ultimate King, He knows that the preparation of his body for burial is at the same time his anointing as the Resurrected King. 

What a story! I love how God chooses to partner with us. The Bible is full of examples of humans making one mistake after another, and the only thing more consistent than our mistakes is His grace.  In His unconditional love, He keeps giving us opportunities to have a major role in His beautiful story of redemption. This is as true of the many Biblical characters we have come to know, as it is true of us today.

You may wonder how you get to participate with God. What story is there to be told? What can I do that will be of relevance? 

I would assume the woman, who anointed Jesus, didn’t know how she would be remembered. When she spent the oil that was worth basically a year’s wage, she had no idea we would be talking about her today. The truth is that Jesus really sees our hearts. Her story isn’t told because of how costly the oil was – it is her heart that is being honored every time she is remembered. 

From our earthly perspective, we tend to assign value to things that don’t matter in the Kingdom of God. In the same way, we tend to dismiss things, and worse yet, people, because of the value our society places on them. It is only when we let our minds be renewed and our hearts transformed by The Holy Spirit that we begin to see through His eyes. 

Then, the leper is touched and healed. Children are given a place of importance, and their hearts become the model for all of us. Women are held in such high regard that one brought forth the Messiah, another became the first evangelist to a whole city (John 4:28-30), others were the first ones to announce His resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10), and yet another anointed Him (Mat 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50, John 12:1-8).


It is well said in the letter to the Galatians:

“…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:26-29)

Let’s take time this Lenten season to consider the faith that makes us all one in Christ. Before you spend any time trying to figure out what role you or someone else has in the story of God, let Him search your heart. Let Him show you the ways that Christ needs to be formed in you. Let’s learn from these women their posture of trust, dependence, and true worship.  

It is with an attitude of humility and surrender that we come to realize who we are in Him. How we respond to His call determines what we do in participation with Him.

May our good works glorify Him today and always.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Christiane and Rev. Todd