1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.
It is about this time every year that I begin to think about Judas, U2, and an article I read many years ago about Judas being our patron saint. This passage shows us the heart of Judas and perhaps a little of our own hearts. If it we not for the explanation from John about why Judas makes his statement we would think that it is a perfectly legitimate thing to say. Giving to the poor is a good thing, a righteous act, a wise use of the money. His real intent was to keep the money for himself. He was a thief.
We can hide our own selfish desires behind altruistic acts. Some have argued that there is no such thing as a selfless act. And that may be true but the real danger is when we begin to believe that our outward acts of goodness make us good even when our hearts are only turned toward ourselves. At some point Judas may have decided that he knew best how to use the money that had been coming in (which may have even been true) but he takes his eyes off of the work of Christ and puts them on his own method for righteousness. It could be that he was just a big con artist all along and never thought of anyone but himself, but even then Christ has him close to Himself. Christ had him near.
He has us near as well. We may hide behind our good deeds but Christ knows our heart. He knows what we truly mean when we do good works. He understands we are either pulling the wool over the eyes of those around us in order to gain something from them or we are pulling the wool over our own eyes believing our good doing can gain us something that we desire.
Mary on the other hand came to worship. She came empty of self with a need to honor Jesus. Doing something she didn’t even know she was doing.
Father, teach us to worship. Teach us to love you like Mary loved you. Help us to move from gaining our own righteousness to giving you all glory because of the righteousness you give us. Keep us near to you even as we have the heart of Judas that we may hear of your love for us. Amen
I know I have linked to this song in the past meditations but it is so great. Take a listen sometime today to hear the Gospel. God loves you. U2 “Until the End of The World.”