“On Your Mark”
The Cost of a Slave (Chapter 14 Verses 1-11)
The reason for this anointing is given by Jesus (v8), and it would seem from Jesus’ own words that it was a conscious act on Mary’s part. The fact that Jesus had mentioned again and again his violent death, and that his disciples had not grasped it, does not rule out the possibility that one of them perhaps did. And understand it clearly, for this the sweet fragrance of Mary’s perfume shall and has filled the world (v9). It was following this tremendous act of worship that Judas’ treacherous act of treason is related (vv10-11), a stark contrast, revealing the true extent of his wicked heart. It seems he goes directly following the supper at Bethany, and notice too, that he goes directly to the religious high command, the chief priests. He obviously had access to them, and one wonders for just how long, for such access is not gained in five minutes. So we assume he knows only too well their intentions and goes to them with the specific purpose of betraying Jesus (v10). A cold-blooded mercenary. Note also the tragic phrase used over and over in the gospels, “one of the twelve,” raised so high by Jesus, and yet brought so low by the devil. An apostolic throne for a hellish hole. What would you give in exchange for your soul (Matthew 16.26)? Thirty pieces of silver?
What a delight to the ears of the Sanhedrin (v11), here is one of his intimate followers ready to sell him out. That money must have weighed awful heavy in Judas’ bag, for it sunk him into the deepest pits of hell, eventually. No more than the price for accidentally killing a slave (Exodus 21.32). But then Jesus was a slave in a sense (Philippians 2.5-11; Mark 10.45), a step down so immense for us, and to be sold by one of his own twelve in Calvary’s market place. And all because he loved us so (Ephesians 3.17-18). Judas now waited for his chance (v11b). Think too though of these high priests, of their wickedness, and how often it seems proved that the loftier, the holier the man seems, the more rotten his real moral character actually is. And how many authorities, ecclesiastical too, have sold Jesus for even less than thirty pieces of silver since? These men along with Judas are guilty of the supreme sin (John 1.10), they never felt Jesus’ all-pervading presence, or saw the light, or heard his voice of love entreating them (Matthew 11.28-30). Like so many today, profane, materially minded, blinding them to the realities of the world to come.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)