It’s funny. The way we react to another person’s actions can tell us a lot about ourselves.
If someone cuts you off on the road, do you lash out and shout at them? If you’re driving down the street in an ethnically different part of town, do you immediately lock your car doors? If you see the poor begging on the street, do you cross over to the other side?
The way we evaluate situations, the way we critically analyse the threats or attitudes around us, are often revealed by our response. Society has taught us to have critical minds and evaluate situations. It’s important because it helps us make good decisions and understand the situations that we are in. But a critical mind is different than having a critical heart. A critical mind may see and know the differences and value of different situations. But a critical heart condemns and judges the others. A critical heart seeks to uplift yourself, while denigrate the other. I suppose that’s what we might consider snobbery. (Apparently I am a noted food snob.)
The way Judas reacts to Mary’s actions in John 12 reveal the character of his heart. We see Mary, sister of Lazarus (recently raised from the dead), pouring out an expensive perfume on Jesus, and wiping his feet with her hair. (No doubt a strange sight.) And then we see Judas, off to one side, protesting the act – noting the wastefulness of the act.
And though on one level, Judas’ critique might have been rationally correct. The matter of concern was the criticism of his heart. There was almost a level of annoyance and irritation that Jesus would be anointed with this. It was a waste of money. But from Mary’s perspective, it was a natural expression of worship to Christ. (Judas also had ulterior motives as he used to embezzle funds).
Mary’s unadulterated adoration of Christ, and her pouring out of this expensive perfume, was perhaps the complete opposite of snobbery. It was a total act of humility. Completely understanding who was the most important person in that room.
True worship is total and complete declaration of who is the king. The one deserving of worship. It is done in complete humility, with a spirit completely surrendered to the feet of God. Mary, pouring out of the perfume, though precious and expensive as it was, was only a symbolic act of how her very soul and life were poured out before Jesus. Judas, on the other hand, would spend nothing on Christ, letting the love of money be his object of worship.
And so we need to ask ourselves, what or who do you worship? What rules your heart? How do you respond to Christ?
And so we pray, Lord, turn my eyes from the things which tempt my heart away. Instead let me pour all things at the feet of you my Saviour. Open my eyes again to your splendour and majesty. Fill me again with the joy of your truth, letting my heart be soft and my eyes be opened, so that you might turn and heal my very soul.
in your precious name,
These were some thoughts from our current series The Remarkable Life of Jesus and our Strong and Courageous Life in Him. The message from John 12 is available here, and all our previous messages are available on the Sunday messages page.