Wednesday – Today we consider two very private scenes in the final few days on the road to the cross.
The first is the incredibly intimate scene of Jesus relaxing with over a meal with his disciples, something we will see again soon. Whilst there a woman comes in with a jar of ‘nard’ and anoints Jesus with this.
This seems like an odd thing to happen in a private house that some random person would walk in and break a jar of oil over someone’s head. I think it’s fair to say that this was a different time and a different culture and the lady was undoubtedly known to the people in the village.
Some people (in Matthew’s version they are identified as the disciples) get upset about this, saying that this precious oil was worth a lot of money, possibly as much as a year’s wage and this could have been sold and given to the poor. This seems a bit odd that the disciples felt they had a right to tell the woman how she should deal with her finances! Clearly they couldn’t see what she did!
‘Nard’ had traditionally been used in temple ceremonies as the offering on the altar of incense, so there was a lot of symbolic events going on in this one little scene. Jesus says about being anointed for his death, but whatever the reason, this woman anointed Jesus because she knew He was worth it. She anointed Jesus as a King with a rich perfumed oil.
Immediately after this we see Judas sneaking off to visit the Chief Priests and Elders who are seeking a way to trap Jesus. Judas clearly does not know Jesus’ worth because he asks them what they will give him to betray his Rabbi. I get the impression that the priests would have been desperate, Judas could have named his price. Instead they offer him 30 pieces of silver and he accepts. It doesn’t seem like much to sell out a friend, let alone the Son of God.
This 30 pieces of silver has a huge significance though because this was the price of a dead slave as set in the law in the book of Exodus. Judas sold out Jesus as a dead slave.
Jesus came as a man not to be served, but to serve – to show us the way to the eternal with the Father, but now He is exalted at the right hand of God, greater than the highest King. What is He worth to you. For me it should be nothing less than my all!
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1