The alabaster box and her powerful tears of faith

God desires those who love him to enter his kingdom. In addition, he seeks the gold, not the clay; those who have chosen to give their lives over to him and are willing to submit to his refining fire. He seeks those who honour his words and keeps his instructions. Indeed, all his unworthy servants understand but still choose to abandon their sins in the hope of entering paradise through his grace. Mary, the sister of Lazarus (John 11:1-2), loved as much as her multitude of sins and bent her knee in submission. She anointed the Son of God, whose shoe latchet we are not worthy to unloose (John 1:27), with the alabaster box oil she saved for his burial.

Find the account of the alabaster box.
Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50, and John 12:1-9.

It is essential to teach this event, not only because we are instructed to but because of the overall significance. Equally important, we must all hold the alabaster box dear to our hearts and live by Mary’s conviction.

Only the gold

1. And he answered me, saying, The most High hath made this world for many, but the world to come for few.

2. I will tell thee a similitude, Esdras; As when thou askest the earth, it shall say unto thee, that it giveth much mould whereof earthen vessels are made, but little dust that gold cometh of: even so is the course of this present world.

3. There be many created, but few shall be saved.

2 Esdras 8:1-3

God has given us all a choice, and those who choose to serve him will pass through the fire. Furthermore, after showing their true hearts, whoever survives these trials will be rewarded with the presence of the Most High.

The alabaster box

36. And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.

37. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

38. And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

40. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

41. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

42. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

43. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

44. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

45. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

47. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

48. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

49. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

50. And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Luke 7:36-50

Mary left shame at the door and brought an abundance of faith, crying tears of longing for God’s compassion. Moreover, she came into the house and never stopped kissing the feet of Jesus, wiping his feet with her hair and tears. With no concern for money, she brought the best oil she could, giving all of herself to God (Mark 12:41-44). Her commitment was unwavering and an outstanding example of submission and gratitude.

She believed

She sought him out in the house of Simon, the unbelieving Pharisee. Despite witnessing the resurrected Lazarus, Simon doubted Jesus, but Mary did not. She believed even his words about his death and resurrection (Mark 9:30-32, Matthew 17:22-23, John 2:18-22), while the disciples did not understand. She brought the perfumed oil to prepare for his burial, demonstrating her belief with actions.

18. Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

19. Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

20. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

21. But he spake of the temple of his body.

22. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

John 2:18-22

Her faith was unshakeable, and she loved him. She loved him even more because she understood that she was wretched and poor (Revelation 3:17), knowing she was unworthy. She was merely grateful to be given the opportunity of redemption.

Simon, the pharisee, called her a sinner (Luke 7:39), not realising that he was also sinful, and Jesus came for all the sinners and not the righteous (Luke 5:30-32)—even the many with humility to recognise their sinful state.

We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is no forgiveness without the acknowledgement of sin.

The acknowledgement of sin brings forth repentance and thus the request for forgiveness.


She left her shame outside alongside those who did not believe. Despite the people seeing the resurrection of the dead or seeing the Spirit of God given to Jesus without measure, they didn’t understand. Evidence of a faithless generation (Matthew 8:5-13), but Mary was set apart and duly forgiven. Thankfully, the comforter would come, and although we have not seen these miracles today, we will believe (John 20:29).

Today, we who stand for God must be shameless as Mary, rejoicing that God sent his Son to redeem us for the multitude of our sins. Being grateful that the Spirit will be poured out upon us (Acts 2:16-20, Joel 2:28-31), and despite seeing no miracles, we believe wholeheartedly in our salvation—Jesus.


Mary chose the path of gold. Pray that this is also your path.

The gold is those who understand they are sinners with faith as little as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), who submit to the Highest for redemption. The ones who surrender their lives to his service, leaving the arrogance and the self-righteousness in the ashes of their transformation.

Mary’s faith made her whole and pulled from Jesus those words she cried for: “your sins are forgiven”. It is beautiful to hear those words and not: “depart from me; I never knew you”.

God must lead our lives and direct our steps (Psalms 37:23-24, Proverbs 16:9, Jeremiah 10:23). Furthermore, to achieve this fortune, we must be humble, understand our state and be ready daily to change according to the will of the Father. We must know we will be lost in our sins without the Son. Furthermore, we will only receive those cherished words Mary heard with humility and submission.

In conclusion, it is never too late to be humble, to change and give yourself to God—not to man.

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