“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”
John 12:7

Judas protested Mary’s “waste” of expensive perfume (John 12:4-6), but Jesus defends her with another prophecy of His impending death. How often are we on either side of this conflict? Is it wrong to build a beautiful church when the money could be used to alleviate poverty? Is it wrong to support the food bank when the church roof is falling in?

This is the danger of looking at a single verse and a single issue and attempting to apply it to everything. We need to read scripture in the context of the whole passage and understand it in the connection we have with Jesus. He knows our hearts, and in this story Judas’ heart is not in the right place. First and foremost, he doesn’t care about the poor, he is angry that he won’t have the chance to get the money that the perfume might have brought, and he attacks Mary because of it.

Jesus knows that Mary is worshipping Him in truth and love, and He defends her with the warning about what is to come very soon, His passion and death. We must not be like Judas, selfish about what we could do with resources that rightfully belong to Him. Jesus knows our intentions and if we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, rather than our earthly desires, He will always defend us as He did Mary.

Heavenly Father, help us to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us in order that we might be saved. Make us good stewards of the gifts we have been given, that they might be used in love, according to Your will. Amen.

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