Mary had just experienced and enjoyed the best day of her life. Jesus had come to town and raised her brother to life. Lazarus was living; he was testifying, and many were coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. What a day! What a Friend! Mary was overwhelmed with honorable affection for Jesus.
But now, her worst day was around the corner. Jesus had just repeated a most troubling prediction. The day of his betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion was at hand. The Lamb of God was about to be slaughtered.
Well, there he was, right in her house. Immediately before her was the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Oh, how she longed to praise and adore the Lover of her Soul. Then it happened. Mary exploded in worship:
Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13)
Mary’s worship was unique, unplanned, different, and non-traditional. It was extravagant, expensive, bold, brash, and over-the-top. Her expression was familiar, sensory, touchy-feely, and highly emotional.
And … her worship was disdained and condemned by the men of God surrounding her. To her they gave discouraging looks and demeaning comments. All Judas and the other ministers could say was:
“Why this waste!”
However, Mary’s worship was greatly appreciated and lauded by the one person in the room who mattered. The Son of God, he loved her “out of the box” worship.
Friends, how will you come to worship tomorrow?
Will you really come like grumpy, old, legalistic judges? When people express themselves differently than you prefer, will you really respond with arrogant thoughts, disappointing looks, and depreciating words? Come on friends, who set you up as the “worship police?” Who are you to look at Jesus’ sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters, and inspect their clothing, furniture, order, meters, beats, instruments, postures, expressions, language, style, etc … and say, “What a waste!” Come on friends, who do you think you are?
Instead, come to worship and be more like the audacious woman appreciated by the Savior. Come to church and “give it up” for Jesus. Sure, he has given a few directives and principles for his worship. Learn them and practice them, for this is what he desires. Yes, honor Jesus by keeping his commands. But then, enjoying the Christian liberty afforded you by your Savior, honor him by being extravagant, expensive, engaged, and emotional in your worship. Be biblical, bold, and brash. Be reverent, real, relational, and responsive.
Yes, tomorrow, go to worship and keep your eyes and ears fixed on Jesus. He is your Lord. He is your Master. He is your Boss. He is your Worship Leader. He is God. What he says while you worship matters most, and he says, “I have loved you, saved you, sainted and sanctified you. Come boldly and extravagantly before my throne. Jump with joy or hit your knees. Raise your hands or give me a handclap. Stand and sing or sit in silence. Give me old-fashioned words or sing me a new song. Do things decently and in order, and be flexible as you follow my Spirit. Oh my sons and daughters, I lived for you, I live in you, and I find your worship incredibly beautiful. You are my family. You are my bride. You are my perfect saints. You are free, now freely worship me.”