“But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 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. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12.4-7
It doesn’t take a detective to recognize impure motives. Sherlock Holmes could discern this problematic situation in his sleep.
Mary, one of Jesus’ close friends and followers has just done what is culturally unacceptable but morally and spiritually correct. She has just poured a years wages of perfume on the feet of Jesus in the middle of the living room at a dinner party full of men. Because she was a woman, and he a respected Jewish teacher, this action was unacceptable.
Judas, the one with questionable motives, is the most vocal in making an objection to this sign of affection. He says, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” Judas was a thief, a liar and the betrayer of Christ. He said he wanted the money to go to the poor but he really just wanted it for himself. He who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver wanted more for his personal gain.
But Jesus rebukes Judas telling him how the poor will always be with us but he would be leaving soon. In addition, this act was in preparation for his burial which was near and unknown to anyone but Jesus.
The purest of motives come from Mary and her extravagant gift. When she was rebuked for this action Jesus says in her defense, “Leave her alone.” He is the defender of truth and what is right. He will punish the actions of the unjust, unrepentant sinners. Judas represents these kinds of people who distort the gospel for personal gain.
I read today where two Methodist colleges (both founded in the 1800’s) have now believed the lies of the enemy and are turning from the Bible to liberal agendas. These Wesleyan schools most certainly founded by Bible believing saints have traded in Gods Word for personal gain and cultural relevance. I can’t help but lump them in with Judas who was more concerned with making a profit, being accepted by society, than honoring God’s Word and his truth.
Although we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, redemption is near. We can cling to the cross of Christ by confessing our sins and rebuking the darkness that so easily entangles. Turn to the Lord. Believe his Word. Soak up the Holy Spirit and join he One who’s pure motives put him upon the cross for your salvation.
“O Lord God, the country we once knew, and which was founded upon Scripture, is entering a post-Christian era. Like Europe, churches will become museums or will be repurposed for secular use. But your kingdom is not of this earth. Your kingdom is in heaven and one day soon, you will return to take those who love you with you. Come quickly Lord Jesus. Help us find hope in your hands. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen