4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot,
Judas is introduced here to contrast his selfishness with Mary’s generosity.
“Simon’s son” is not in the older manuscripts. Simon, however, is named in Matthew and Mark.
who would betray Him, said,
No one at the dinner knew that Judas would betray Jesus at this point. John was writing a few decades later.
“Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii
There is a contrast between Judas’ meagerly attitude about money and Mary’s generosity. Mary gave lavishly to Jesus. “Three hundred denarii” was the wages for about three hundred days of work for a laborer. Judas had calculated carefully the cost of this act and constantly had money on his mind. This amount of money represented a years’ work for a laboring man. To his mind, Mary’s act was one of extravagance.
and given to the poor?”
Matthew and Mark also focus on the economics of whether Mary should have poured this perfume on the feet of Jesus. Judas’ concern for the poor was pure hypocrisy.
This he said,
John knew in A.D. 90 that Judas was a traitor, but he did not know this during the meal in honor of Jesus.
not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief,
Judas’ statement about giving to the poor covered his real motives as a thief, as a person of greed. However, the discovery of Judas’ true character by the disciples had not yet occurred. He operated underhandedly until he betrayed Jesus just before the crucifixion. Judas was a sneak thief who personally enriched himself. He saw an opportunity for his personal enrichment to be lost by Mary’s action. He was a chameleon whose only concern was himself.
and had the money box;
The “money box” was the container where Jesus and His disciples kept the money that sustained them day by day in their ministry. Judas was a treasurer for the band of disciples.
and he used to take what was put in it.
Judas pilfered from the treasury of Jesus and His team. He was no philanthropist who cared for the poor. Neither was he misguided or misunderstood. He was nothing but a thief. He later betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of sliver. Money was constantly on his heart.
We need to keep the focus of putting priority on the things of greatest value.
Judas was money oriented. That is all he had on his mind. He looked at everyone from the viewpoint of material value. This says something about the character of Judas. Greed for material things often masquerades for philanthropy.
There is a contrast between Mary and Judas. Mary embodied sacrifice; Judas characterized cheap selfishness. Mary served the Lord; Judas was a critic. Mary was loyal; Judas was disloyal to the point of betrayal. Mary gave sacrificially to the Lord; Judas stole from Him and undermined Him. Judas slyly betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Everything was selfish about him. One was a person of integrity and the other not.
The contrast between Mary and Judas demonstrated the dynamics of belief and unbelief. Mary’s belief produced ardor and action. Her faith dynamically blossomed. Judas’ lack of faith shriveled to the point of repudiation of Jesus.
Judas was an example of those who regard worship as a waste of time. Many who attend church today are like him. Pragmatism is no excuse to neglect worship.