There are four different versions of today’s passage, depending on which gospel account you read. Each gospel writer has a slightly different telling of the story of the woman anointing Jesus: sometimes she is named, sometimes she is called a “sinner” or “woman of ill-repute,” sometimes the story takes place at a Pharisees house, and sometimes at a leper’s house. But in every version, there is one common element: the viewers completely missed the point of her humble act of worship. They valued the costly perfume more than her sacrifice at Jesus’ feet. In Matthew’s account, Jesus reframes her service this way, “By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial” (Matthew 26:12, NRSV).
There’s one other part that each of these four accounts have in common: Jesus truly sees this woman and stands up for her. He defends her against those who spoke out against her and says that she chose the better thing. She chose sacrifice and humility, and because of that, “wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her” (Matthew 26:13, NRSV). That is why we are still telling her story to this day.
Jesus looks upon you with the same eyes of love and compassion with which He looked upon the woman all those years ago. He sees your humble sacrifice. He sees when others ignore you or overlook you. He sees you when others view you with contempt. Jesus sees you.