I am actually enthralled by this year’s discipline of reading through Scripture slowly, a passage at a time. How can I be so fascinated with this slow reading of passages I have known all my life? Because there is power and depth in the passages, sparkling inner depths that yield themselves to a close and tranquil examination.
Matthew 26 6-12
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
Simon was likely a leper healed by Jesus, since lepers were otherwise required to live apart.
The woman is identified in John as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus.
Her heart welled with love for Jesus. The best she had to give was not good enough. Mark tells us the perfume was worth a year’s wages for an average worker. Let’s say something like £40,000 in today’s money–lavished on Jesus because of her love for him!
The Greek word used, Kallos, has an ethical as well as an aesthetic meaning.
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
The idol of Judas life was love of money. We are elsewhere told that he was a thief, and would help himself to money from the community’s money bags.
It appears that Jesus’s refusal to condemn Mary for her act of lavish and “wasteful” devotion tips Judas in his ultimate betrayal of Christ for–interestingly and significantly–money.
30 silver coins was about 120 denarius, 4 months wages, since a labourer earned about a denarius a day.
What are four months wages for you? Would getting that as a lump sum be sufficient for you to betray a close friend?