How much is Jesus to You? Mark 14:1-11

Mark 14:1 dated the stealth plot to kill Jesus two days before the Passover while Mary’s anointing of Jesus at Bethany took place before Jesus entered Jerusalem, six days before the Passover (John 12:1-3). Why did Mark include this earlier event (14:3-9) at this juncture and follow it up with Judas’ agreement to betray Jesus (14:10-13)? I believe Mark wanted to contrast between Judas and Mary.

Both Mary and Judas are remembered but for different reasons. Judas is the man who would be better if he had not been born (Mark 14:21) and Mary is the woman who anointed Jesus beforehand for burial (Mark 14:8-9).

I am not sure if Mary realized the significance of her action or understood that Jesus was going to die. She did what she did out of love and appreciation for Jesus who recently had raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. She broke the vial of perfume and poured its entire contents over Jesus’ head. She lavished the precious perfume valued at 300 denarii on Jesus. A denarius represents the daily wage for a laborer. In today’s value, that anointing costs approximately $30,000! Mary was extravagant in her adoration because in her eyes, Jesus was worthy … far more valuable than 300 denarii.

Not so in the disciples’ eyes, they considered the anointing a waste. John identified Judas as the instigator who led the disciples' criticism of Mary's action (John 12:4). Though the declared reason was that the perfume could have been sold and the money distributed to the poor, the truth was that Judas was deprived of an opportunity to steal from the proceeds of the sale (John 12:6).

Then Judas went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins (Matthew 26:15). Judas was not a believer (John 6:70-71; 13:10-11; 17:12). Like the other disciples, he was interested in “what is in it for me?” (Matthew 19:27-28; 20:20-22). But Jesus seemed more interested in spiritual transformation than kingdom restoration. He had provoked and angered the religious leaders and recently had talked about His impending death. Judas concluded that Jesus was a lost cause; he decided to implement his exit strategy and recoup his losses. To Judas, Jesus was worth only thirty silver coins.

Spiritual Exercise: : “How much is Jesus to you?” As you follow Jesus, have you ever asked, “What is in it for me?” Or are you, like Mary, willing to pour out what is precious for Jesus?

Prayer:

Lord, You were broken and
poured out for me on Calvary.
In sweet abandonment,
let me be spilled out and
used up for Thee.


Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © January 2010 by Alan S.L. Wong

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