1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 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. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 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.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
What an amazing text for Sunday. Jesus is being anointed for burial in this passage. Whenever this reading comes up in the lectionary- you know Holy Week is approaching.
This reading is located in the 12th chapter. Contextually, there is plotting of Jesus’ death going on amongst his adversaries. Jesus has spoken about his death and resurrection, and people are plotting. It is not a secret and anybody paying attention to what is going on is aware “something is going to happen soon.” Mary is aware. She is preparing his body for burial. Her action is selfless and caring. I think Judas is aware also. He currently has a financially good thing going. He is in charge of the communal purse and he helps himself to whatever he wants. This arrangement is about to be over. He is concerned about padding the purse as much as possible in these last few days in order to skim as much as possible. His action is selfish and dishonest.
There is so much to discuss and learn from these verses, but in a big picture sort of way it points to how “we,” as followers of Jesus can/should respond to future challenges. Even when life is difficult and painful, do we respond selflessly or selfishly. Essentially, everything that happens to us in life, the good and bad, can be approached as an opportunity to care for others.
Blessings to you as we continue our Lenten reflections~ Pastor Erik