Origin of the Alabaster Box in the Bible
The Alabaster Box, a precious item mentioned in the Bible, is a container made of alabaster, an ornate, opaque type of stone. Alabaster boxes were usually used to carry perfumes and ointments, and many in antiquity would have been crafted with a degree of beauty and finesse. This precious box first appears in the New Testament, specifically in Matthew 26, where it is described as containing expensive ointment and being used to anoint Jesus just before his death. This particular Alabaster box was then later broken and the contents spilled over Jesus’ feet as a form of veneration.
Why Is the Alabaster Box Significant?
The Alabaster box has become an important symbol of Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection, with it also becoming a popular focus of Christian art and symbolism. The reason for this is deeply rooted in the act of brokenness with which it is associated. In Christian faith, it is those who are broken that can be used to bear witness of Jesus’ glory and grace. As the alabaster box is irreparably broken, spilling out the expensive perfume and its sweet scent, it is seen to metaphorically embody the unceasing love of Jesus that can never truly be contained.
What is the Symbolism Behind the Alabaster Box?
The breaking of the Alabaster box has many levels of symbolism, each relating to the teachings of Jesus in the Bible. On one level, the expensive ointment inside was very generous gift to Jesus and it is seen to symbolise that within each of us there is a capacity to give, no matter how broken or unworthy we may feel. On another level, it is said that the Alabaster box being broken is a reminder to us that Jesus was willing to give up everything, even his life, to save us. This particular act of brokenness and surrender illustrates Jesus’ unconditional love, which many believe gave us a chance to experience our own redemption and renewal.
What does this symbolize in terms of faith?
The symbolism of the Alabaster box goes further still in terms of its significance for those of the Christian faith. For many believers, it is a symbol of giving up everything in order to make something beautiful. The brokenness of the Alabaster box is seen to symbolise that in order to achieve really great things, giving up everything we have and allowing ourselves to be broken is something we must do, trusting that God will use that brokenness for his own glory. This act of brokenness is seen to have its roots in self-sacrifice, and it is something that Jesus personified throughout his time on earth.
Difficulties of Restoring Faith
This sacrifice is seen to be of importance to those who seek to restore their relationship with God. It is believed to be a reminder that real faith and restoration of our souls comes at a price, as in the same way, the perfume was poured upon Jesus’ feet. We may find that in order to restore our relationship with God and truly experience the fullness of his love, we may need to offer something of worth e.g. our pride, wants, needs and desires. In this way, it is argued that both modern and ancient believers are invited to offer up their own ‘Alabaster box’, to God as an act of faith and humility, understanding that once we’re broken, God will take us and use us in accordance with his own plans and purposes.
Modern Relevance of the Alabaster Box
Today and throughout the ages, the Alabaster box has been viewed as a powerful symbol and reminder of God’s love towards humanity. It is seen to remind us that when we are broken, it is in the place of surrender and faith where almighty God is most glorified. Before the box that contained such expensive ointment was broken, it was useless, a mere ornamental. However, when it was broken, the surprisingly fragrant perfume was released to those around and many were astonished. Similarly, when we allow ourselves to be broken, the perfume of God’s splendour, grace and mercy can be released and we can be used to blessing to others.
The Impact of Trust In God
Trusting in God is often hard, and in practice, it can be difficult to switch off from the incessant demands of our own flesh and to live by faith. If we look to the Alabaster box and the untold love of Jesus, perhaps it will help us build up our trust in God. If a broken box of ointment led to Jesus being glorified, could it be the same for us? It’s argued that when we surrender to God and let go of any sense of control we have, unimaginable blessings await. This can be a difficult lesson to learn but one that if applied to our lives brings growth, blessing, transformation and much more.
Conclusion of the Alabaster Box In the Bible
The Alabaster box and its story in the Bible is, in essence, about being broken for something greater than ourselves, for something beautiful and good. It serves as both a reminder to ancient and modern believers of the grace of God and of the necessity to surrender and to give up what we think is precious. Within the context of the Bible, the act of surrendering such a costly commodity and allowing oneself to be broken can be seen as a powerful symbol of ultimate trust and faith in the Lord, and it is a reminder to us today that in the same way, He can turn brokenness into a powerful testimony.