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  • Kristina Trott

Jesus and the fragrant anointing oil


When the woman broke the alabaster box of fragrant oil over the head of Jesus, I had always thought it was because these were expensive funeral spices used to anoint the body of someone who had died and she was doing this to acknowledge that she knew that he would shortly be dying as her Saviour (Matt. 26:6-12). All of that is true, of course, but there was a bigger lesson here than I think is generally acknowledged.


When Israel was in the wilderness and God had given instructions for the building of a Tabernacle in which He would dwell as they wandered, He gave specific instructions for the making of a fragrant holy anointing oil. This oil made from liquid myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, fragrant calamus and cassia mixed in olive oil was used to anoint the tabernacle tent, the ark of the covenant law, the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. If anything touched that which had been anointed, then it was regarded as holy (Ex. 30:22-29).


Here was Jesus whose life and ministry was represented in every single artefact in that tent of meeting and I don’t want to, at this time, look particularly at those items. I want to focus on that sweet-smelling oil touching Jesus so that, thereafter, everyone who comes to Jesus has, in effect, touched Him and has been made holy. Jesus has made us sweet-smelling.


"Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing"(2 Cor. 2:14-15 ESV).


In case you missed it, there is nothing that you have to do to make yourself holy except be sorry for the bad things you have done and come to Jesus. You can’t make yourself holy and righteous and good in the eyes of God -- only your coming to Jesus can make you that. Only when you overcome your pride, selfishness, self-centredness and admit you need a Saviour can you be made holy and whole in mind, body and spirit.

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