“…a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table…” Matthew 26:7
“…a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’”
I cannot begin to do justice in testifying what God has done in my life over the past couple of weeks; I am still standing in awe of His loving goodness. But in a nutshell: He has taken me on an incredible and life-changing Journey filled with restoration, renewal and an outpouring of His generous blessings. Its truly amazing… one day I may be able to explain it in more detail. I hope so; He deserves the glory of such a testimony.
But for now.
This week the Holy Spirit showed me something that hints at what I’ve been through… He showed me two women mentioned in the Bible; the woman with the alabaster box and the woman with the case of bleeding. How very different they are and yet, how clearly did I see myself in both!
The Gospels differ slightly in the story of the Alabaster box. John says the woman is Mary (of Martha and Lazarus fame), while the others simply describe her as an anonymous woman who gatecrashes a dinner party, much to the annoyance of the other guests. The story is basically this – she arrives at a house where Jesus is dining with a group of people, and she proceeds to break an alabaster box of perfume (the equivalent of a year’s wages, a precious sacrifice) and anoint Jesus’ head and feet. The act is an incredibly intimate and vulnerable display of affection, especially as it was done so publicly. She didn’t seem to notice the others – her focus was on Jesus. His too, it seems was focussed upon this act of worship, as was everyone else in the room.
What the Holy Spirit showed me is this… that woman approached Jesus out of a heart desperate to worship, to be in a place of sweet intimacy with her Lord and Saviour. She wanted only to bless His heart; by coming to the house and offering such a precious gift, she sought His heart – and captivated His attention. The heart of the Lord of All was captivated by a woman who approached Him, simply seeking His heart and nothing else. She had his full attention – his gaze was upon her in an intimate moment of worship.
The second woman, who had the issue of blood, approached Jesus in a completely different manner. She snuck up from behind, simply wanting to reach out and touch his cloak. She knew (and had amazing faith) that by touching Jesus, she would be healed. She was right. She did get healed. The Gospels describe how Jesus was being pushed about by the crowd but that he felt power leave him as she touched the edge of his cloak. He turned to her and told her that she’d been healed by faith and was to go in peace. Yes, he spoke to her, but there was no moment of intimacy.
Both women approached Jesus in faith and encountered him, but how vastly different were those encounters! The first woman sought only to bless him, to be in his presence – her heart’s motivation was to seek his heart. The second woman approached Jesus seeking his hand – her heart’s motivation was to gain something from him. Yes, her needs were met… but who really encountered Jesus? Once again I was reminded to check my heart’s motivation when approaching Jesus. Do I simply approach him to gain his hand? To get something from him – healing, an answer to prayer, a blessing..? Or, do I come before him with my own alabaster box and seek only to bless him; to captivate him in an intimate moment of extravagant worship?
Part of the Journey I alluded to at the beginning has taken me through this heart attitude; of returning me to the place where above all else – no matter how specific or splendid the Promises God has given me – I want only his heart. In many ways, God has reminded me of how Esther had a choice when approaching the king: if she had sought the king’s hand, she could have had “up to half the kingdom”. She chose instead, despite great risk, to seek the king’s heart by requesting to be in his presence. What she gained was far greater; out of intimacy and adoration, the king did not only contend against those that contended against her, but did not hold back anything to provide for her. She gained far more than half the kingdom – she had access to it all out of the intimacy shared with the king. What a role model for a worshiping heart!
My prayer for you reading this… may God give you a similar revelation and may he draw you into that place of intimacy, where you seek only his heart and be satisfied with the richness of entering his presence.
May the King of Glory be captivated by your worship.