Jesus is Anointed
12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said,5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
John 12:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
It is Holy Week and that means each day this week we will have a special devotional from the gospels. Many of these will be the events that happened between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Today our devotional looks at the anointing of Jesus. John tells us that this happened shortly after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was meeting with Lazarus and his sisters. From what we can tell from John’s narrative, at least some of the disciples were there – because we know that Judas was there. We learn that Mary decides to anoint Jesus. We know it was expensive because Judas decides to protest. John offers some commentary. He tells us that Judas wasn’t really concerned about the poor – Judas was not a good steward of the disciples money. Judas was the treasurer and we are told he often stole some money for himself. Judas was using the cost as a smoke screen. Someone was doing something good – Mary was anointing Jesus and Judas acts all offended. The question for us is this: Do we act offended like Judas did – do we throw up smoke screens? Judas was hiding the motive for asking the question in his heart. Judas is rebuked by Jesus, saying, “Enough of your false protestations…and by the way…Mary is doing a good thing…Mary is preparing my body for my death…I will not always be around, so knock it off.” As we kick off this season of Holy Week, it is important that we be honest with God, after all, He knows what’s going on – he knows our motivations.
In the next paragraph, John describes that Jesus coming to the home of Lazarus is drawing a crowd and this is causing great concern for the Jewish leaders. When Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, many people started to believe in Jesus – and this causes great concern, because the people were listening to Jesus instead of the religious leaders. The second thought I have is this – who are we truly following – are we following after Jesus – or are we following after religious leaders – and that can make all the difference.