Extravagant Gestures

Grace Claus

READ : John 19:38-42

A mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about seventy-five pounds. (v. 39)

Seventy-five pounds! Can you imagine Nicodemus lugging seventy-five pounds of burial balms to the outskirts of town? I picture him with a jug on his shoulder, pausing occasionally to shift the bulk to his other shoulder. Not until he arrives at the cross, where Jesus’ lifeless form still hangs, can Nicodemus finally unburden himself and drop the jug at Jesus’ feet.

But what a beautiful image of extravagance! It’s not the first time someone has come to the feet of Jesus, bearing expensive perfume. Mary did too when earlier in the Gospel she interrupted a dinner with friends to pour a whole pound of perfume over Jesus’ feet (John 12:1-7). The fragrance of gratitude swelled to fill the whole house. I bet that even Golgotha, which usually reeked of death, was suddenly overcome with the aroma of myrrh and aloes, the fragrance of love, when Nicodemus arrived with seventy-five pounds’ worth.

Though the gestures of both Mary and Nicodemus came at a cost to them, the scale was fitting. In response to the most costly gesture, Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, we are invited to pour out our abundant gratitude at his feet. It might mean demonstrating our love for Jesus in our homes. It might mean displaying our devotion out in public, in the places where Jesus is most despised. Wherever we show our love, we know that we’re in good company, bringing our costly gifts to Jesus.


Thank you, Jesus, for the gift you gave us, the gift of your life. Accept our sincere and costly gratitude.