3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4There were some who said to themselves indignantly, "Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."While I was preparing for the class, verse six caught my attention. So many times the emphasis is placed on how costly the nard was - a whole year's wages and how extravagant was the act. One can easily begin to sympathize with the disciples for their consternation. Notice though, Jesus says what she has done is beautiful. One of the elements of beauty is proportion, to have harmonious relationships of parts within a whole, to have balance and symmetry. In reality, in the Kingdom of God, what this woman did was not extravagant at all. It was in perfect proportion, both in time and space, for she was preparing the Messiah's body for burial and anointing her king. How carefully she must have listened to her rabbi!
Another aspect of beauty is that it points to the good and what is good points to what is true. The Greek word used in verse six for beautiful is καλὸν, which means beautiful, commendable and good. What the woman has done is not only in proportion, but is commendable, so much so that we continue to praise her act to this day, just as Jesus said we would.
I pray that God gives me a heart to see what is truly beautiful.