Worship, Part 1, Fragrant Oil

On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection Mary Magdalene and another Mary went to Jesus’ tomb. Upon arrival an angel informed them that the Lord had risen, he then told them to go and tell His disciples.

“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” Matthew 28:8-9.

The dictionary defines worship as: “reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred. Or it could mean an adoring reverence or regard; for example, an excessive worship of business success.”

As in English the Greek word for worship can be interpreted in different ways depending on its usage in the sentence or context.

In all the following verses in this study the word for worship or worshipped is the same, with two exceptions, latreuo in Philippians 3:3, which means, to render religious service or homage, to worship.

“For we are the circumcision [all Christians], who worship [latreuo] God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh [our own abilities] …” Philippians 3:3.

And sebasma, “whatever is religiously honored, an object of worship”, from Strong’s Concordance, in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, which will be covered in part two of this post. This verse is posted below in case you are curious.

“… [the Antichrist] who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped [sebasma], so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

The rest use the word proskyneo which means to do homage, obeisance, or an act of profound reverence; the latter, an act of profound reverence is for God in heaven, though it is also used for idolatrous worship.

It is believed that the word proskyneo is from a root word meaning, to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand. While this may be offensive to the Western mind, it does indicate the depth of the heart from which this adoration comes.

There is nothing more selfless than a dog’s love for his master, just adoration with no expectations for anything in return. If we really knew God, just the awe of Him alone would make us respond in the same manner.

Lest some think in their heart that they would never sink to slobbering over anyone; think again.

We all worship something, whether beauty, our spouse, riches, intellect, and if nothing else, ourselves. How far would you go to keep the thing you love?

The atheist worships man as the peak of evolution, the communist worships the state, and the hedonist worships sex and sensuality.

The idolater worships a rock, false gods in cult religions, sports, entertainment, games, royalty, or movie stars to name a few.

The Satanist worships, and like all the others, licks the hand of the devil like a dog, though he would deny it.

Here are two examples that show us just how deep the worship of God should go, and they are both directed to Jesus, God the Son.

The first is that of a sinful woman coming to the Lord knowing her hopeless condition.

“Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” Luke 7:36-38.

Notice several things here; she was a known sinful woman, perhaps notoriously. She did not let her sins keep her from seeing Jesus, as some do with excuses like, I must clean up my act first; quit drinking, smoking, drugs, or engaging in immoral activities.

Folks need to realize, as this woman did, that the Lord wants you to come to Him just as you are, He cleans up your act.

The depth of her sin was such that she stood behind Jesus and at His feet, not His head.

Her consciousness of her sin was so great that she could cry enough tears to wash His feet. She did not just grab a towel to dry them, she used her hair, which is considered a woman’s glory; try to imagine doing that.

She kissed His feet; she had to have known that He was the Creator and sustainer of all things; she took the place of the dog licking his master’s hand.

Could you humble yourself this much, even for God? Finally, she honors Him by anointing His feet with this fragrant oil; His feet, not His head for she would not be so presumptuous.

“Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, ‘This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ And he said, ‘Teacher, say it.’ ‘There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have rightly judged.’ Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ And He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’” Luke 7:39-50.

All of us, like this woman, have to realize the enormity of our sin and in repentance, come before God and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and our only hope for salvation. There is a great chasm between sinful men and God, and man cannot work his way to heaven, it is impossible.

The second example of worship below is different in that the woman is already saved and is worshipping Christ as she now is, a child of God.

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…” John 1:11-12.

“Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” John 12:1-3.

This same account as given in Matthew and Mark, adds the fact that the woman, Mary, anointed the Lord’s head with oil.

This is omitted here because the book of John portrays the Lord as God, and so the aspect of worship is meant to be brought out more clearly. These facets of worship are as follows.

The spikenard had a value of a year’s wages, so the woman willingly gave up the things of most value to her.

The anointing is this woman’s way of honoring the Lord and in doing so we find her at His feet, a position of quietness as a child of God.

I like what it says of the Gadarene demoniac after Jesus had cast out an entity named Legion from him (a Roman legion could be up to 6826 men). This means that Jesus cast out more than six thousand demons from this man.

“Then they [people from the city and the countryside] went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.” Luke 8:35.

This is where a person who comes to Jesus finds himself, “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind”, consider this carefully.

Lastly, she wipes His feet with her hair. Like the sinful woman this is an act of true humility, yet it is not tears she wipes up, but oil which fragrance fills the entire house, as worship should.

Who asks for worship, who is worshipped, and who is worthy of worship? This will be discussed in the next post.

Worship, Part 1, Fragrant Oil taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 10-26-16, updated on 2-2-24 ck.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *