I wrote yesterday about Mary and the gift of love she offered Jesus. Each day this week we will look at one of the key players in the Passion drama.
I can picture Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, wiping his feet with her hair, lovingly kissing the feet that for three years had trodden the dusty roads from Galilee to Judea, and from Judea back to Galilee. Hers was a humble kiss of devotion. Today we will talk about another kiss, a kiss of betrayal.
Mary didn’t know the great suffering that awaited Jesus. She didn’t know that in a few days she would be weeping at the sight of her Master hanging on the cross. Mary was only interested in showing her great devotion. She poured on Jesus’ feet a perfume worth a year’s wages. Money was no issue for her.
The first one to protest Mary’s expression of love and generosity was Judas, the man with the money bag, not because he cared about the poor, but because he helped himself to the content. Jesus had put him in charge of the money!
A life full of promise
Judas is another one of the key players in the Passion drama. Judas had a life full of promise! He was one of only twelve chosen as Jesus’ inner circle. He knew Jesus better than Mary! She only got to see him when he came to Jerusalem and visited Bethany. Judas traveled with Jesus. As the treasurer, he was close to the Master!
Money became his downfall! Mary was generous, Judas was greedy!
Money! Money! Money! That was the word the little boys on the coast of the Pacific mastered with excellence. I was just a kid but I will never forget when our boat anchored at a port and the little boys would swim around it, crying out “Money! Money! Money!” to the travelers. As soon as someone threw some coins in the water they would quickly dive to retrieve them.
Money! Money! Money! From the youngest to the oldest we cannot live without it, but at the same time it can mess up our life big time, and we can be so bound by it that we let freedom elude us.
One of my Cuban friends tells the story about a lady that let freedom escape her, when there still was time for her to leave Cuba after the Castro take-over. She showed my friend some jewels, maybe valued at two hundred dollars, and said, “I cannot leave, because I will not leave these behind!” And she let the opportunity go, tied down by some earthly goods.
What started well, ended in disgrace
The love of money is the root of all evil. We need to be free to be generous like Mary, to lavish on our Lord whatever earthly possessions we might have. Not that he needs them; he owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10); but it’s one way to show our love.
Judas’ story started so well, with the privilege of being one of the chosen Twelve, but ended in the worst disgrace. The thirty silver coins Judas Iscariot was paid for handing Jesus over to the chief priests burnt in his hands. When all was said and done, he threw the money in the temple and went and hanged himself.
I wonder what went through Judas’ mind as he approached Jesus to kiss him. Could it be that even at that moment remorse had set in? Oh, but the prospect of owing those silver coins erased all the scenes of his walk with Jesus for three years. One kiss, just one kiss… and he would be rich. He could travel that world! He could do his own thing!
I’m sure Jesus’ words pierced him like a sword, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48).
Judas went and hanged himself! Such a tragic end for someone who walked three years with the Son of God. Jesus said,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
This is a week of reflection. We concentrate on the precious gift the Son of God offered mankind. He gave his life to save us from sin and opened the way to fellowship with God and eternal life.
Where is your treasure?
Mary’s treasure was not her flask of precious ointment, but her relationship with Jesus. Judas’ treasure was his money bag, forgetting his relationship with Jesus.
Where our treasure is, our heart will be. Take time to reflect on what you treasure.
Judas, Judas… such a tragic end to a life full of promise!
Open your heart to the SON (Jesus the Son of God) as a flower that seeks the sun. Jesus is the Bright Morning Star, “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13). Nothing can compare to his love!
You can have the same loving relationship that Mary had with Jesus. Money and worldly possessions are nothing compared to what Jesus has to offer. Judas was blinded by money. He betrayed his Master for 30 silver coins.
You only have one life. Live it to the fullest with Jesus. What comes next is so wonderful we cannot even imagine or comprehend it.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
May your life end in glory, not in tragedy!