John 12:2 – 8 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Judas thought he was sneaky, didn’t he? He wasn’t concerned about the poor. He was just stingy. And because he had become accustomed to taking what he wanted from the money bag, he was a little miffed when he saw a year’s worth of wages being “wasted.”
So he tried to express his irritation in a way that made him sound holy. But Jesus knew better, didn’t He?
I don’t want to focus today on Mary’s action. Jesus doesn’t condone silly extravagance instead of feeding the poor. But this was a very special occasion, and some occasions do call for extravagance. Mary was taking the opportunity to honor her King, before He was taken from her.
Instead, I want us to look at what’s going on between Judas and Jesus. Do you think Jesus was ignorant of what Judas had been doing?
Of course not. Jesus was fully aware that Judas had been dipping into the money bag.
So why hadn’t He done anything? Why hadn’t He stopped Judas?
Rather than answer that question, I’d like to point out that we all do things we shouldn’t do. And though God sees everything, He doesn’t always step in and prevent us from doing those things. He wants us to choose Him, to choose right, and He gives us chance after chance to make the right choices.
I am so sorry for the times I knew I was doing wrong, and yet I continued to do it anyway. Sometimes, I wish God would stop me from doing things I will regret. But it doesn’t work that way. God doesn’t work that way.
He gives us everything we need to make the right choices. And then, He stands back and lets us choose.
Sometimes, we want immediate gratification more than we want to please God. Like Judas, we reach into the money bag, dipping our fingers into whatever poor choices face us. We become addicted to those choices, and we continue and continue until . . . we destroy ourselves.
I don’t want to be like Judas. I don’t want to sneak around, making bad choices and then trying to cover them up. I want to please God and choose what is right. The good news is that when we come to Him, when we say, “God, I have this problem, and I want to change it,” He will help us. He will give us the strength we need to choose Him, and to choose right.
But in the end, it is up to us to make those choices.
Dear Father, I’m so sorry for the poor choices I have made and am still making. Please help me to make better choices.