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John 12:4-6 meaning...

Imagine the scene: a dinner party in Bethany, hosted by Lazarus, whom Jesus had recently raised from the dead. Jesus is reclining at the table, and among those present is Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples. A woman named Mary enters the room with a pound of very expensive ointment, pure nard, and anoints Jesus' feet, wiping them with her hair. The fragrance fills the house, and a precious act of devotion unfolds.

  • Judas' Reaction

However, not everyone in the room is captivated by this display of love. Judas Iscariot, the treasurer of the disciples, voices his discontent. "Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?" he protests. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable concern—a substantial sum of money could have been used for charitable purposes. But the text unveils a deeper truth about Judas' heart.

  • Unmasking Judas

John, the narrator, pierces through the facade. He reveals that Judas wasn't genuinely concerned about the poor. His objection wasn't born out of a desire for benevolence, but rather from a darker motive. Judas was a thief, pilfering from the communal funds. The mention of the money box is symbolic—a tangible representation of his deceitful heart.

  • Significance in Betrayal

This brief episode foreshadows the impending betrayal of Jesus by Judas. The very one who feigned concern for the poor would betray the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver. The act of selling Jesus, like the suggestion to sell the ointment, was driven by greed and a distorted set of priorities.

  • Lessons for Us

1. Heart Matters More Than Actions:

Judas went through the motions of being a disciple—following, listening, even performing miracles with the others. Yet, his heart was far from aligned with Christ. It serves as a reminder that outward actions, while significant, must be rooted in a genuine heart for God.

2. The Deceptive Nature of Sin:

Sin is often masked by seemingly noble intentions. Judas used the pretext of charity to conceal his ulterior motives. It's a cautionary tale about the subtlety of sin—how it can creep into our lives under the guise of righteousness.

3. Value of Devotion:

Mary's act of devotion contrasts sharply with Judas' deceit. Her willingness to pour out something precious on Jesus, without reservation, exemplifies a heart surrendered in love. It challenges us to evaluate the sincerity and depth of our devotion to Christ.

Cross References

Matthew 6:24: No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.

Judas serves as a poignant example of one trying to serve both God and the love of money, ultimately succumbing to the latter.

Luke 16:13: No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to one and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and mammon.

The theme of serving two masters echoes here, reinforcing the spiritual principle that our allegiance cannot be divided.

In conclusion, the narrative of Mary anointing Jesus' feet with costly ointment and Judas' hypocritical objection paints a vivid picture of contrasting hearts. It's a scene rich in symbolism, foreshadowing the betrayal that would soon transpire. As we reflect on these verses, may we examine our own hearts, ensuring that our actions are not a mere facade but an outpouring of genuine love and devotion to our Lord.

John 12:4-6. Then Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?” Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it.



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