“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.” – Mark 14: 10-11
At the beginning of this chapter, we are told that the chief priests and leaders sought to take Jesus by trickery and put Him to death. They had enough of Jesus and Him claiming to be Messiah. They had enough of Him messing with their business and profits.
We are then told that a woman came with an alabaster flask of very costly oil. John’s gospel tells us that it was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 12). This was a special heirloom that was probably passed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. And, it was customary to anoint visitors with oil, but she took the entire precious heirloom and poured the entire contents over Jesus’ head. The most precious thing in the world to her was given to Jesus.
When she did this, Judas and the others began to criticize her for ‘wasting’ the perfume because it could have been sold for a lot of money. This was Judas’ true heart at this point, he was out for himself only. He found common ground with the leaders. His heart represented what it says in James 3:16 “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
Jesus defends Mary’s motives here. He tells the disciples that she came and prepared His body for burial beforehand. This is the same word Jesus used back in chapter 13:23 when He said, “I have told you all things beforehand.” Mary was listening. It would seem she knew exactly what was coming because she listened to the Lord’s Words beforehand. As a result, she was prepared and served Jesus with her very best.
Where are our hearts today? Are we listening? Are we focused too much on possessions the world says are precious? Being good stewards is commanded. But, are we holding on too tightly to our 401(k), cars and houses and claiming that we are being “good stewards” in an effort to hide the fact that we care more about possessions than Jesus? Check your heart! Before Jesus returns, may we be found listening and may our hearts be prepared… beforehand!
“Do not trust in oppression, nor vainly hope in robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” – Psalm 62:10