In Matthew 26, Jesus is anointed by a woman while he is at the house of Simon the leper. Who is Simon the leper? Bethany is the town of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Who was the woman? We don’t know.
What we know for sure is what Jesus told His disciples as they missed the forest for the trees.
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 26:8–13, ESV)
Immediately following the disciples’ epic failure to see the beauty in this woman offering a lavish gift to the Glorious Savior, who would soon be lavishly offering His very life for her on the cross, we see Judas betray Jesus, Peter lie to Jesus, and the disciples dessert Jesus in His biggest hour of need.
I wonder as I am reading this, what about us? It is easy for us to point at someone else’s offering with a critical spirit. Perhaps we think they gave too much, or they didn’t give enough. Meanwhile, the question that matters the most is: how are we personally responding to the lavish gift that He has offered us through the cross?
Matthew 28 – Mark 2
In the opening chapter of Mark, we see Jesus cleanse a leper.
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (Mark 1:40–42, ESV)
Could this have been Simon the leper from Matthew 26? Probably not. Geographically speaking, it doesn’t make much sense. Jesus is likely in the Galilee region when this healing takes place. Simon the leper was from Bethany, near Jerusalem.
Still, I can’t help but wonder if Simon the leper from Matthew 26 was still a leper when Jesus was at his home, or if he had a story similar to the leper who encountered Jesus here in Mark 2. What an unfathomable life-change it would be to have your diseased skin slowly killing you one day, and then be living in complete freedom the next day!
In a way, this is the story for all of us who know Jesus as the Great Redeemer. For those of us who have put our faith in Christ alone for salvation, God has taken our spiritually dead bodies and has made us alive in Christ! Our disease was not temporary, it was eternal! So now is our life with Christ!