Today I read the account of Jesus' anointing at Bethany in Matthew 26. As I mulled over Jesus' acceptance of the woman's extravagant act, the disciple's frustration with her waste, and Judas' decision to betray Jesus, I realized that this is a picture of worship for us, too. The woman saw Jesus for who he is, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One (not sure if the pun is intended or not), and she decided to give to him an extravagant and very expensive display of her devotion. She believed that Jesus was worthy of this worship; in fact, whatever the ointment's normal purpose was, she believed that it was more important to employ it in worship of Christ.
Conversely, the disciples were "indignant." They couldn't fathom wasting all this very expensive ointment because they were being practical; this ointment could have been a great blessing for many poor people. What were they missing? Obviously, they were still in doubt/denial about Jesus' approaching death. The woman, however, believed his words and decided the time was right for her to give her best in worship of Jesus.
Interestingly, Judas was so offended by this "royal waste" that he couldn't take it any longer. What would drive him to such betrayal? Did he worship the value of this ointment more than he valued the worship of Jesus? I think the Scriptures are clear that he, being the treasurer, was less than thrilled with the wasting of this treasure. Despite being a disciple of Jesus, he was even more so a lover of money; and thus, he was no disciple at all.
So... how do we fit into this story? How does this story apply to our lives? Are we pouring out our best treasures in worship of Christ, or are we treasuring what is rightfully his? Are we nullifying our identification with Christ by finding our greatest satisfaction in something other than Jesus himself?
Forgive me, Jesus, when I desire other things more than you! Forgive us!