We have spent the past weeks looking at what Jesus has done for us. Today we look at two ways of engaging with Jesus’ life and gift.
On the one hand we have Judas Iscariot. Why did Jesus pick him. Was it only to use him in the betrayal, or was there more to Judas? I think Judas did believe in Jesus, and that his actions were drawn from a personal want from Jesus. Some say he believed Jesus was the Messiah (the Christ), but that he was looking to Jesus to bring about a revolution, to unite the people against their enemies.
John’s view of Judas, is that he was driven by greed. He presents a noble action to conceal a selfish motive. Judas used Jesus, but never truly understood Him.
In contrast we see Mary come to Jesus with a heart of love and gratitude. In verse 7 John writes that Jesus knows this nard and perfume was for his burial. As I have mentioned before, in Jewish customs at death people were placed in caves till there were only bones left, and then the bones were moved to a family location. To mask the smell of the body they placed fragrant oils with the body. Why has she chosen to use them before his death. Is it a revelation of Mary’s understanding of what is to come, or for those who were there.
What ever the reason, this is an expensive act. It is made even more special because in those days it was not necessary to wash everyday, but people would get dirty feet because they wore sandals and their feet would get dirty. So, it was common practice for people to wash their feet to get rid of the dirt. Mary could have cleaned Jesus’ feet with water and a towel, but she uses perfume and her hair.
Mary’s act is great physically, financially, and emotionally.
We could say that Mary’s actions are done out of a gratitude to Jesus for bringing her brother back, Maybe in the resurrection she has had an epiphany about who Jesus. Again it doesn’t matter, what matters is that her heart sought to honour Jesus’ the person and his gift.
What gift do we bring?