Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
sermons4kids: “Two people — Judas and Mary. One talked about helping the poor while the other showed us the importance of giving our best for Jesus. I don’t know about you, but “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” ”
Collect: Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: John 12:1–8 draws our attention to three people: Mary, Judas, and Jesus. It is easy enough to identify Mary as “the good disciple” and Judas as “the bad disciple” not only in this story but also in the larger story of Jesus’ life and death. We can (and do) make this judgment: Mary is accepted and affirmed, while Judas is rejected. But is this the judgment that the other person in the story would make? As one commentator puts it, “. . . if Jesus came to save the lost, surely there is no one in the gospel story who is more lost than the one who betrays Jesus. . . . If the Good Shepherd can and does go to any length to save a lost sheep, is Judas beyond the saving grasp of the Good Shepherd?”† This is not a question with an easy answer. As this story ushers you into Holy Week, consider how the cross, the grace of Christ, speaks to this story and to your own life story, which like most life stories may not be a simple “either/or” example of faithfulness, but a “both/and” mix of faithfulness and unfaithfulness.
Sunday School—9 am on Sunday
Eye Candy: “Supper in the house of Simon” (1570) by Paolo Veronese [Jesus is on extreme left of painting; move the view window]; “Her sins are forgiven” (1943) by Roger Cushing; “The moon, the dove, and the foot washing” by Daniel Bonnell.
When Mary Poured a Rich Perfume
When Mary poured a rich perfume on Jesus’ weary feet,
Her caring filled that humble room; the fragrance there was sweet.
But full of anger, Judas said, “We could have used this more!
Why was her gift not sold instead and given to the poor?”
The Lord replied, “Leave her alone! She bought it for this day.
This caring love that she has shown is faithful to God’s way.
The poor will always be with you, but you will not have me.”
He blessed her and he thanked her, too, for giving lavishly.
O Christ, what can your people bring to show you thanks and love?
You need no fragrant offering; for now you reign above.
Since there will never cease to be the poor throughout the land,
May we, your church, serve faithfully by offering them our hand.
Video for “Did God create the devil?” is brought to you this week by Chaplain Chris and Pastor Doug. Bring your thoughts! Hope to see you at 9 on Sunday.