I want measurable outcomes!
John 12: 4-6 “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.”
In John’s version of this story, it’s specifically Judas Iscariot who grows indignant about Mary’s action. This is also interesting. In terms of the people who are named in the gospels as followers of Jesus, it strikes me that no two people are less alike than Judas and Mary. Judas (“the keeper of the purse”) eventually betrays Jesus, while Mary is the woman famous for learning at Jesus’ feet instead of helping her sister in the kitchen.
We have talked before about the possibility that Judas ultimately betrays Jesus simply because Jesus is not turning out to be the sort of Messiah that Judas hoped for. Jesus is humble, patient, and spends time with the sort of people who dump a whole bottle of nard on his feet for no apparent reason. Judas wants action, efficiency, and concrete results (he’s also a thief, but people are complex, so let’s look at one thing at a time).
I, too, want results. I want a measurable reduction in homelessness. I want specific legislation ensuring fair hiring and voting practices. And if it doesn’t help accomplish my goals, I want to burn it all to the ground!
But Jesus says here, “Hey, you’re right. That’s important, but if that’s all you’re thinking about, then you’re missing it.” So what is it that we’re missing? Spend some time contemplating that question today.
Today's organization is New Hope Grief Ministries, which journies with grieving families and individuals. You can check out their website here: http://www.newhopegrief.org/