On Your Own Terms

The twelve chapter of the Gospel of John opens like this:

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for Him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil – pure and expensive nard – anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray Him) said, ‘Why wasn’t this oil sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor?’ He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in it.

Jesus answered, ‘Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

It’s not just Jesus’ words that are instructive, but how He delivers them. I am fascinated that Jesus didn’t expose Judas’ hypocrisy right then and there. Instead, Jesus answered Judas on Judas’ terms. Jesus held up a mirror and let Judas be judged by Judas’ own law. Jesus fed it back to Judas. On a related note, Jesus once said to the Pharisees, as I remember the text, “Don’t think I will accuse you before the Father, your accuser is Moses, in whom you place your trust.”

Another noteworthy aspect of this story is how Judas’ argument could seem so morally and rationally right and still fall flat on it’s face. Forget Judas’ ulterior motive for the moment and, like Jesus, address what Judas actually said. The argument was so moral, and yet, so wrong. This fits with the theme of my previous post The Seasonality of Revelation

There is so much more to our spiritual walk than just a list of right and wrong. This makes me consider Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 16:7, “It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away, the counselor will not come to you.” It is for your benefit, so that the Counselor, the One who comes along-side, will minister to you. He will be an individual, personal, and ongoing revelation to you. When I am no longer in the flesh, in a form you understand, you will have to reckon more deeply with what it means to follow Me …and that process will be your daily redemption.

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