Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, p but you will not always have me.”
Living God’s Word:
Judas was given the position of trustee of the money bag most likely because he had some capability or expressed some interest in doing so. Sometimes the abilities we have enable us to function so effortlessly that we let down our moral or spiritual guard as we carry out those duties. Has God allowed you to assume responsibilities that match your strengths? Whether we are preaching, teaching, or managing money, remember that strengths can become weaknesses if we settle for poor preparation, shortcuts, and acting as if we “own” what truly belongs to another. If Christ is truly Lord of all you do, you will be on guard against greed, self-service, and taking moral shortcuts.
Words to Live By:
In humble devotion, yet with extravagant expense, Mary anoints Jesus, while Judas the betrayer and thief covers his greed with seemingly pious intentions. Sinners may appear to have pure motives, but inwardly they have greedy hearts. Through repentance and the blessings of the Word, God grants us pure hearts. No monetary value can be placed on our “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Eph 1:7).
O Lord, may we follow Mary’s example by lavishing love on Him who died for us! Amen.