Matt.26:8,9 – And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”
What we value says a lot about us. In the last week of the life and ministry of Jesus we see the conflict of what really matters in life raise its ugly head in the inner circle of the disciples of Jesus. For Mary, her actions told her story. She loved Jesus and how He had changed her life. She loved sitting in His presence and just listening to His gracious words. For Mary, He was the prize. Not even what He could do or His miracles, Jesus Himself was her treasure. She showed that as she poured out her most precious treasure, an alabaster box with spikenard valued at one year’s wage (today maybe valued at $40,000). She poured out her treasure of love because she valued Him above all things.
Judas saw things differently. Why waste this valued spikenard. We could sell it and do something for the poor. Judas valued ministry and the power ministry wields more than Christ. Things haven’t changed much over the years. Today we face the same kind of temptations. The crowds that ministry attracts brings power and influence. Too often we see successful ministry by the size of the crowds and the size of the offerings. Maybe a good Sunday is more than that. Maybe pouring out our love on Christ Himself is a better description of a great Sunday. Here are some thoughts from Barclay on today’s passage.
“We see one of the laws of temptation. Jesus would not have put Judas in charge of the money-box unless he had some capabilities in that direction. Westcott in his commentary said: “Temptation commonly comes through that for which we are naturally fitted.” If a man is fitted to handle money, his temptation may be to regard money as the most important thing in the world. If a man is fitted to occupy a place of prominence, his temptation may be to think first and foremost of reputation. If a man has a particular gift, his temptation may be to become conceited about that gift. Judas had a gift for handling money and became so fond of it that he became first a thief and then a traitor for its sake.”
So which kind of disciple are you? One lost in worship at His feet, or the one drunk on the power and influence of ministry. They look strangely familiar until someone pours out the oil.