Read: Mark 14:10-11
The emotional scene of the preceding verses leaves us with a sense of wonder about this woman who anointed Jesus and His proclamation that she is the one we will remember wherever the gospel is preached. Though unnamed, she symbolizes what it means to honor the Savior.
John Mark is careful to point out that not all see it that way. This reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia where C.S. Lewis so eloquently writes:
At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 7
It seems the men in the room experienced a similar range of emotional responses when the perfume filled the room. Judas’ reaction was particularly horrible:
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Mark 14:10-11
Up to that point, Judas has been taking notes, handling the treasury, paying bills, etc. Then this woman walks in and, in his mind, wastes perfume. Judas’s perspective on Jesus’s reaction was obviously one of contempt. Enough. Time to set the record straight.
Has Judas been secretly listening to the Pharisees? Perhaps one or two got to him early, planted seeds of doubt, watered them by pointing out how Jesus wasn’t following their traditions that were steeped in Mosaic law. Something added up to Judas to the point that this episode was the event that finally won him over.
They were delighted.
Yes, Judas, well done, you finally see the light. Just in time for the latest Star Wars saga to appear. One of the trusted few, he had complete access to Jesus.
Why Judas? Why not a spy, someone in the crowd, a person that came out of nowhere. I think it was Judas to make a point for us to consider–any of us can become a Judas. Maybe not in such a huge way that would change the course of human history, but in subtle ways that shift our focus off of Jesus, our ministry, our calling. Not so bold as to sell out completely, but perhaps just slip enough that we make someone else fall.
I’m grateful it was Judas, in a warped sort of way.
It lets me know it could be me on any given day.
I’ve walked with Jesus more years than I can say.
At times I wonder if Judas is in me, even in a small way.
This is the gift: the nagging thought that I could betray,
that helps me guard my heart to watch the words I say.
Lord keep us safe, so
when we are tempted,
no matter how sweet the sound,
we would remember Judas
and instead in You be found.
Love God. Love others. Love yourself.