When you think of the word extravagant what comes to mind? Wealth? Gold? Mansions? In our vocabulary extravagant often is attached to descriptions of opulence, vast inexhaustible fortunes and all the over the top toys that go with them. But what about applying it to our worship of God?
The Message (MSG)
Anointing His Feet
36-39One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.”
40Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Oh? Tell me.”
41-42“Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?”
43-47Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”
“That’s right,” said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”
48Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.”
49That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!”
50He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
The thing that gets me about this is how pure this woman’s worship was. She wasn’t out to impress. She wasn’t worried about singing the right song, or even being on key or clapping on beat. It was about her getting to Jesus.
I want to pull three truths out of this interaction that apply to our worship.
Truth 1 – She desperately wanted to be in Jesus presence.
This woman knew in her inner most being who Jesus was. How do we know she was desperate? Just look at her actions.
- She didn’t care what anyone thought of her. This dinner was at the house of Simon (a Pharisee). A woman of her standing certainly would not have been invited, or even made welcome. Imagine the stares, the silent judgments of these “righteous” men. She had tunnel vision, she only saw Jesus.
- This woman was broken and humble in the presence of her Savior. She was bowed at His feet, washing them with her tears, wiping them with her hair, even kissing His feet. She had placed herself in the role of a servant, submitted in humility to Jesus, asking for nothing.
Desperate people do desperate things. Does your worship reflect how desperately you need Jesus’ presence in your life?
Truth 2 – Her worship cost her something
This truth has three practical applications in our lives as believers.
- The first thing it cost her was her pride. We established already the humility needed to wash and wipe someone’s feet with your tears and hair.
- It cost also cost her time and effort. I am sure there were other things she could have been doing. We have to make time with Jesus a priority above all things.
- It cost her financially. The scripture says she came with a “very expensive bottle of perfume”. Our tithes and offerings are a form of worship and sacrifice, just like the purchase and use of the perfume was hers.
Is your worship costing you anything? David says in 2 Samuel 24:24;
“I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
Your worship is everything you are, everything you have, brought to God every moment of every day.
Truth 3 – Brought her face to face with forgiveness and grace.
She came before Jesus to worship at His feet. What she got was so much more. She moved into His presence with humility, and found a place where Jesus’ love and power touched her heart, changing Her in ways she never expected.
Worship Him. Move desperately towards God’s presence. Fall at His feet in humility, not afraid to be broken before Him. We have been forgiven much, nothing short of extravagant worship will do.