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The Plot and the Perfume

March 26, 2013

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Matthew 26:6-13 (NIV)

Note: In his Gospel John tells us that the woman who anointed Jesus was Mary of Bethany. John also names Judas Iscariot as the disciple who objected. (John 12)

Lord Jesus, they’re out to get you. For all of them it is the elephant in the room. They know what is afoot no less than you know, but for them it is a malicious secret whispered in dark corners. You make it plain to your disciples that you must go to the cross, but only Mary and Judas know for sure what is about to happen. How differently those two respond!

Mary anointed you with costly perfume from a precious alabaster jar. As the fragrance filled the room she lavished you with love, preparing you for burial. Judas was indignant and protested that the perfume could be sold, the money used for the poor. Then Judas turned right around and sold you for the going price of a slave, far less than the perfume was worth. And with that transaction, he sold his own soul. O Jesus, the poor are indeed always with us, pitiful souls afflicted with poverty of the spirit that have no sense of real value.

Forgive me, Lord Christ, when I miss an opportunity to express my love for you blinded by my own plans and personal ambition. Without love I am as poor as Judas.

Amen

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