Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?
It was only one week before the crucifixion when Judas said these words to Christ. Sure, there’s no way he could have known that, but who in their right mind would be so transparent as to his or her intentions? I have often read the account of Judas’ hardened heart and betrayal of Christ. He has been painted as the bad guy of the Gospels for over two thousand years. Familiar with this reputation, I have never before been able to identify with this character. He was evil after all, and I am not.
I challenge you to examine this story a little closer. As I was, you might be surprised to see just how much we can relate to Judas if our guard is let down. Judas was in charge of the disciple’s moneybag. We’re not completely sure how the twelve were able to keep a consistent flow of money, but they were, and the Bible makes it clear that Judas was not afraid to abuse this position. John 12:6 says that he was a thief and often stole from the disciple’s funds. John also says that it was for this reason Judas suggested the perfume not be poured on Jesus, but rather, sold and the money be given to the poor. No doubt, Judas had his own plans for much of the money before it ever made it out of the bag and into the beggars’ hands.
Am I saying then, that deep down we are all thieves like Judas? Not exactly, but I do challenge you to evaluate your motives. I wonder what ways you, as well as I, have been using the Lord’s blessings in your life against His will? It may be as obvious as Judas skimming money off the top of the bag he was to watch. It could be as harmless as using a position of leadership for personal gain. Just as easily though, you could be using God-given blessings such as singing, humor, discernment, wisdom, or even a best friend to your glory and advantage instead of God’s. In the end, I believe it all boils down to one simple truth: Where do your priorities lie? You see, Judas was never really interested in Jesus as much as he was in taking money from the purse. Because of this, he failed to see the importance of such an expensive perfume being poured out on Jesus. Instead, he was blinded by the selfish intentions of his heart. The money (a gift the Lord had entrusted to Judas) became a stumbling block the moment he allowed it to take greater precedence than the one who had given it to him.