John 12:1 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. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
What an unusual but familiar story this is. It’s filled with facts that are puzzling. Jesus is a fugitive from the law but this dinner is to honor Him. Lazarus is evidence that honors God. Martha is honoring Jesus by serving. Mary honors Jesus’s in an unusual display of foot washing at the table. Judas is blatantly showing the truth of what he honors most.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s choices have been perfect…so far. He hasn’t made any mistakes in his choosing to confront the Pharisees unbelief or in the timing of raising Lazarus from the dead or in choosing how and why Mary will anoint Him. But what about His choosing Judas Iscariot?
What does it say about people?
Each person in this story, Lazarus, Martha, Mary and Judas Iscariot, has had a very different experience with Jesus. It makes me think of that brain game, “which of these does not fit?”
Is there truth here for me?
The answer to that question seems so obvious, but is it? Jesus did not make a mistake in choosing Judas, nor did He choose Judas to be his betrayer. Judas chose to betray Jesus, the one who’d chosen him! I believe Jesus chose Judas to teach us a truth that is so simple and so painful that our hearts cannot miss the message…that Jesus chooses to give even betrayer’s a final choice.