12:1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
12:2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
12:3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
12:4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
12:5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?”
12:6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
12:7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.
12:8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
This passage gives us two completely opposite reactions to ones response to Christ. Mary is offering a picture of sacrifice and humility, while Judas is painting a picture of selfishness and greed. This is a reflection of the human heart and where it truly lies when it comes to our love for God or lack thereof.
We can learn many valuable lessons from these two responses. Here are a two from Mary and two from Judas. As you read them, pray that God will convict your hear to examine yourself and increase your desire to love Him more.
- Mary’s act portrayed sacrifice and humility:
- Sacrifice: Mary’s bottle of perfume was indeed very costly. Scripture does not give us very much detail on how she acquired it, however we do know that it was very valuable not only in cost but in use as well. She could have easily saved it for a personal special occasion, or she very well could have sold it and used the money to live for her own needs. However, her choice was use it to show how much she valued Christ over her own needs.
- Humility: Getting down on her knees and wiping his feet with her hair took great humility. Her act was done in love and devotion towards Him.
- Judas’s response was selfish and full of greed
- Selfishness: Judas was in charge of the money bag. He was so incredibly selfish that any opportunity he had to gain more money he would take it. There is a reason why the Bible warns against the love of money. 1 Timothy 6:10 ” For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Judas’s heart was filled with evil and hatred towards Christ. All he sought to was to meet his selfish gain.
- Greed: This is but a symptom of the selfish heart that Judas had but it was one that he thought was more important then his love for God. Greed is what drove him to indulge in his desire to gain something more that he thought would satisfy. Having been exposed to the one who loved Him beyond anything in this world, his greedy heart took over and blinded him from seeing what is truly worth more then gold.
When you look at these two responses which one does your heart represent? Beloved, fix your eyes Christ and choose to love Him above all else. Make it your prayer as the Psalmist did in Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
This passage has always interested me for two reasons. 1) It depicts Judas’ true character, that of a thief. 2) Jesus makes a clear reference to the fact that he must soon die and no-one seems to comprehend what he’s talking about. As a student in the Catholic school system I had always wondered why it was that Jesus had to die. Can’t God forgive mankind without sacrificing His own son?
I believe that ultimately. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was important and necessary and here is why. First and foremost, His followers saw first hand the resurrected Jesus. They saw that Jesus died and then was raised. As Paul said, “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.“(1 Cor 15:14) Secondly, it was in line with the Jewish sacrificial system, where the “law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) Thirdly, the sacrifice of the Father’s only son is the highest form of sacrifice. There is nothing further that He could sacrifice to demonstrate His love for mankind. There is nothing more valuable to a father than his own son. It was the last and greatest sacrifice to ever be given for the forgiveness of sins.
Just like Jesus’ disciples did not understand the sacrifice until after His death, we also have a hard time understanding it. But we can stand in faith knowing that God loves us so much that He gave us everything He had to give and He did so while mankind was dead in their own sin.
[Featured image from clarksvillegrace.org]