Focal Passage: John 12:1-11
Not long after we married, my wife and I quickly discovered the value of looking at the weekly supermarket circular before heading to the store to buy groceries.
It was astounding to see how much money we would save by simply planning meals around what was on sale. After doing this for a while, we became very familiar with how certain products were priced and could quickly determine if it was a good time to buy.
For example, if we noticed that salted caramel ice-cream was listed for $1.99/quart, it wasn’t a hard decision to add it to our list. But if a pork loin was $4.99/pound, we were definitely eating chicken that week! However, for any item, there was always a mental process of determining if what we were paying was really worth what we are getting in return.
A similar thought process takes place when it comes to following Jesus. For some, when they think of who Jesus is and consider His life and sacrifice, they are willing to give up everything to follow Him. Jesus is worth whatever it might cost them.
However, there are others who might admire Jesus or respect His teaching, but they would give up very little of anything to follow Him. In their minds, His life, ministry and promises are not worth the cost putting Him first.
Therefore, the decision to follow Jesus really comes down to how much we value Him, and we see a prime example of these two options in John 12 based on the different attitudes of Mary and Judas.
As Jesus entered the last week of His life, He and the disciples were invited to Simon’s home for dinner. While everyone was reclining at the table, their attention was drawn to Lazarus’ sister Mary, who broke open an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment and poured it over Jesus’ head and began wiping His feet with her hair.
John mentions that the ointment was made from “pure nard,” which was an ultra expensive perfume imported from the Himalayan Mountains. Such a bottle would have been considered a family heirloom, valued close to $30,000 in today’s economy.
However, Mary believed that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah, who would give His life to save hers.
She had no issue humbling herself and giving up what was most valuable to her to emphasize His incalculable worth.
But as Mary did this, John records that Judas Iscariot became angry and said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (v. 5).
His question appeared to reflect a super spiritual concern, but John is quick to remind us that Judas “was a thief” and would often take money for himself from the disciples’ ministry funds (v. 6).
Therefore, in his unbelief, Judas was only thinking about himself. He thought it was foolish to give up so much for Jesus, and this decision reflected his sinful heart.
Ironically, while Judas didn’t think Jesus was worth following with everything he had, he would later sell Jesus into the hands of sinful men and lose everything eternally. However, Mary reflects the true heart of belief. She knew Jesus was worth everything! I hope you feel the same. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R