A lesson of contrasts: Mary and Judas

The Bible does much teaching through contrast. Jesus and Satan in Matthew chapter four show the contrast of the spiritual thinking of the son of God and Satan’s temptation from selfishness.

In John 12, there is another contrast between Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Judas Iscariot, the soon-to-be betrayer.

Imagine the great emotion in the house as Jesus entered. Not too long before, Jesus had raised Mary’s brother Lazarus from the dead. Not since Elijah had anyone seen a miracle like that one. Imagine the welcome Jesus received as Lazarus, Martha, and Mary embraced the Lord.

Mary could think of only one thing. She wanted to offer Jesus a gift of love, a gift of devotion. She found a bottle of Spikenard, about 12 ounces of very expensive perfume, and knew what she wanted to do. She broke the seals on the bottle and poured it on Jesus’ feet, wiping the perfumed feet with her hair.

Judas could think of only one thing. He asked why the costly perfume wasn’t sold and the price given to the poor. According to the Bible, Judas cared nothing for the poor. He simply wanted the price in the bag he controlled and pilfered (John 12:5-6).

Whose example has spoken more loudly through the centuries? Of course, it’s Mary’s extravagant gift of love! Just as the perfume’s fragrance drifted through the rooms of the house, Mary’s gift of love has flowed to us through 2,000 years of history as an example of the kind of influence that will last.

There are many people who say they can’t believe the Bible or can’t understand it. Yet, there is Mary’s influence of love that has poured light into the world!

What kind of influence does your life have?

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John Henson

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, John Henson has been a husband for 43 years and a preacher for 34 years. He currently serves as the preacher for the Dibrell Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tennessee.

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