Jesus begins by reminding His disciples that after two days it’ll be Passover; He then tells them that the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified. Jesus prophecied what was to come. Meanwhile, the chief priests, scribes and elders of the people went to the palace of the high priest and plotted to take Jesus by trickery to kill Him. They decided that they couldn’t do it during the feast out of fear of the numbers in the crowd that would turn against them. They feared the amount of people who followed Jesus and didn’t want to risk being overthrown. They decided that doing it at night in private would eliminate the crowds and prevent them from being overthrown. It was customary to arrest people during the day unless it was a robber or something drastic and dangerous that required it being done at night. Which is why later in the chapter Jesus told them that they were arresting Him at night like a robber when they had multiple opportunities to arrest Him in the day. Jesus knew they were being sneaky and afraid of His followers which is why they came in the dark of night to sneak Him into their hands without His followers knowing.
Just before passover Jesus was at the house of Simon the leper, a women came to Him with her alabaster flask of very costly perfume and she poured it all of Jesus’ head as He sat at the table. This woman was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (the man who had been dead that Jesus then rose back to life). This is an important story in the gospel for many reasons.
This shows just how loving and devoting this woman was to Jesus; she poured possibly all that she had onto Him to bless and serve Him when she didn’t have too. No one was telling her to do this, and this type of fragrance was very expensive. In fact, it was so expensive that many of the disciples judged this woman for “wasting” the oil when it could have been sold and use for something more important (in their eyes). Jesus knew the disciples were judging her and He called them out for it. Jesus told them that they would always have the poor (the ones the money could have gone too had they sold the perfume) but Jesus was not there always and this oil was done for His burial. Jesus declared that whenever the gospel is preached, this story will be preached as well, but why? Jesus wouldn’t have said it if it didn’t matter or wasn’t important. There is depth and meaning to this that needs to be understood.
We gather the obvious, this was expensive oil that the disciples felt was wasted but she wanted to use it to serve Jesus. That oil could have been her most valuable possession given its worth and price, yet she chose to give it to Jesus. We too need to be like this, all that we have should be for Jesus. We should be willing to give all that we have to serve Him. There was nothing that was holding her back financially to give it all to God. We should all tithe and give to Him what is already is. To unbelievers this probably appears to be a waste as the disciples viewed the perfume being poured unto Jesus as a waste. But Jesus corrected them, and we need to honor and respect and learn from that. Nothing is wasted when it is being given back to the one who created it in the first place. Whether it’s through tithing or serving our time we should give so much to Jesus that to outsiders it appears reckless. We should desire to give to Him.
We need to pay attention to her love and devotion. She didn’t have to do this, no one mentioned anything about it. It was out of her love and appreciation for Jesus that she wanted to do something drastic to serve and honor Him. She was willing to go to such extremes to show her love for Him. We should have this same desire in us, we should all want to serve and honor and love Jesus this much. It might appear reckless to others, but this type of love is what we should all strive for.
Jesus mentioned this oil was to prepare Him for His burial, at this point, even though He had prophecied His death and resurrection, the disciples didn’t really understand it. They didn’t really believe He would be taken and be brought to His death to overcome it. Yet again though, Jesus prophecied it and declared the oil was used for His burial. When we give things to God we might not understand the need for it or what He intends to use it for. The beautiful thing is we don’t need to know, we need to just give with loving and giving hearts; with a deep desire and passion to serve Christ. We can’t serve God half heartedly. We are either in or out. When we are fully in, the actions that we have to the lost may seem crazy or wasteful. It might even appear that way to ones who aren’t lost, who know Jesus like the disciples, they just lack the understanding in that moment. However, it shouldn’t matter to us what others think, when we choose to surrender ALL to serve God that should be all that matters. How can we possibly show our love and affection to God the way this woman did? By surrendering, giving all of yourself to Christ. By dying yourself so you can rise as a new creation IN HIM, as HIS. When we have fully surrendered, we are no longer our own, we are HIS.
Judas witnessed this and grew disdained at the wastefulness. He couldn’t appreciate the waste of money that could have been made from selling the perfume. Judas was already struggling with financial greed and this was the last straw for him, this led him to betray Jesus for money. Judas went to the pharisees and made a deal, to show them Jesus and in turn they will pay him 30 pieces of silver.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples, under Jesus’ command, went into the city to a certain mans home and set up their Passover meal there. When evening arrived Jesus sat down with His twelve disciples, He tells them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’
They were all remorseful and shocked and all began to ask who would do that? They asked if it was them, however when Judas said, ‘Rabbi, is it I’ Jesus replied with a simple, ‘You said it.”
Jesus knew that Judas was to betray Him, He always knew. Yet Jesus treated Him with love and gave Him opportunity after opportunity to confess and declare that Jesus is Lord. Of all the disciples there isn’t any record of Judas ever confessing that Jesus is Lord. Jesus chose those twelve to follow Him knowing that one would betray Him, 11 would believe and one would reject Him. Some say that Jesus rejected Judas, but He didn’t. You see, Judas was never a true believer of Jesus, which is why he never confessed. Jesus knew this, He also knew Judas being the treasury, stole from the money bag and was a thief. Yet Jesus treated Judas with love and kindness and countless opportunity for Judas to truly choose Jesus. After Judas betrayed Jesus, which Jesus knew, He still allowed Judas to join them for the first night of passover.
There is debate if Judas ate communion with them, some say scripture supports it some say scripture Denys it. In John Jesus dips bread and gives the bread to the one (judas) who had betrayed Him. Judas takes the bread and then it says that satan enters into Judas at this instance. None of the disciples notice or know whats going on but Jesus does and at this point Jesus tells satan to go and do whatever it is he is planning and to do it quickly. At this point Judas immediately went out into the night. Being this was Passover, it was custom that wherever you went for passover on night one you stayed there for the night, you didn’t go back outside passover night. Yet Judas who was possessed by satan ran out into the night. Jesus didn’t reject Judas, Judas chose not to believe or truly follow Jesus and because of that he was unknowingly working for satan. This is why scripture shows us that we can’t be Luke worm. You either choose Jesus, confess and follow Him, truly follow Him or you have chosen the devil by default. To the outside it looked like Judas chose Jesus, He was one of his twelve disciples after all. But internally, He hadn’t chosen Jesus and He never confessed. He still had a desire to serve money instead and because of that he was being used by satan without even realizing it. This is why NOTHING can come before Jesus in our hearts. We can’t serve money and Jesus at the same time. We can’t serve anything and Jesus at the same time. We either surrender all to Him or we can’t serve and know Him.
This is a big lesson for us, just because one may call themself a christian doesn’t mean they are. The question is, do you know Jesus? Does Jesus know you? Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? Have you denied yourself to truly follow God? Don’t be like Judas, someone who says they follow Jesus and externally he did, but internally they couldn’t be further away from Him. Learn from this!
Know that Jesus knew where Judas stood yet He still loved him. The night Judas’ betrayal played out (vs 50) Jesus still called him Friend. He never stops loving us, no matter if we choose to really follow Him or not, He is just that kind and loving. Could you imagine if someone betrayed you, and that betrayal would lead to your supposed death sentence, yet still calling that person friend and showing them kindness? His love truly shows no bounds.
We are going to stop here and mediate on this, we will finish this chapter next week. There is so much to have understanding of in this chapter, rushing through would be a disservice. This is some deep stuff, we see how we need to truly have a passion and desire to love and serve Jesus like the woman with the alabaster jar. We also learn that Judas was a disciple yet still didn’t follow Jesus. This is something important that we all need to meditate on. We need to reflect and make sure that we are not like Judas. Just because we have a bible and go to church and outwardly appear to be a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean we are. It’s whats on the inside that makes the difference. Do you love Jesus? Do you want to know Him more and have a deeper relationship with Him and fully surrender to what He wants? Is He first in your heart or are you serving other things instead (money, material items, power, greed). Lets re-examine our lives and make sure that we are where we need to be. I pray that we will allow the Holy Spirit to convict us and show us where we falter so that we may change. Our works don’t save us, Judas is our lesson on that. I know this message can be deep if its taken seriously, but with the new year afoot lets make sure we start it on track!
Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.
(Fun Christmas things to celebrate with kids: the Christmas tree can be a great way to share about the tree of life, the red that is used in Christmas decor is a great way to share about the blood of Jesus and wreaths go in endless circles like His love for us)