One of the things I love about this thing called Bible Journaling is the way it invites a conversation with the author. Sometimes it is the imagery in the story and at other times it is the message behind the story that He speaks through. But He also has a habit of highlighting things that perhaps I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been purposefully looking and was just reading. It is often, but not always, in the chewing over or mediation that GOD speaks. For this page it was the was three stories of pouring out, one after the other that caught my attention.
Firstly, the perfume that was extravagantly poured out as worship and anointing, that could never really be extravagant enough for Jesus. The woman knew that her gift was not enough, yet others that were there had issue with the extravagance. They could not see Jesus’ worth like she could. It is described in my translation that the disciples, when they saw this, were indignant. Now that is a strong word. Indignant: feeling or showing anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment. What? This wasn’t the feeling of the people plotting to kill Jesus, this was the feeling of his own followers. They were angry at this ‘wasteful’ act of worship. It wasn’t fair treatment … for the Messiah? Did they know him at all? I wonder if the disciples had become so familiar with their saviour that they no longer saw him. This woman took something of the greatest value, and offered it as worship. She did not hold back but gave it all. This woman loved Jesus in a way that others could not understand and her act of worship would be spoken about wherever the gospel was preached. She valued Jesus because he did not conform to the Jewish standard, he saw her, taught her, accepted her, gave her freedom, allowed her to be who she was without embarrassing her, celebrated her. He was her all. There is provocation here: Do we see the worth of Jesus? Is there anything that you value more than him? Is he our all?
Secondly there was the 30 pieces of silver that were poured out of the chief priests’ coffers and into the waiting hands of Judas. It was the payment of betrayal for a brother that they felt threatened by. There is always a cost to betrayal. Judas didn’t value Jesus the way the woman did. I have heard it said that the act of worship that Judas had witnessed sent him to the chief priests, he couldn’t bear seeing the waste and the money that he could gain from the perfume. His love of money was greater than his need for a saviour. When I read about Judas I feel sad. I wonder at what point he fell out of love with GOD. There are no accounts of him being a bitter spy waiting to trap Jesus until this point. He would have been involved with many miracles and seen so many wonders. He responded to Jesus’ call to follow but then fell away. I heard Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church say recently that ‘falling is an accident, you need to grow in love – because what you did by accident [falling in love] you will need to do on purpose’. Maybe Judas fell in love with the idea of a man who would rescue the people from the Romans, but Judas didn’t grow in love with the man who would rescue the human race from death. Judas didn’t grow his love at all. He didn’t intentionally continue to follow Jesus. I remember friends that have drifted and feel a call to pray again for GOD to do a miracle. But the pouring out came from the chief priests. They were threatened by Jesus and what they feared would happen if the people rallied to him and actually made him the king – the wrath of the Roman Empire would fall on them. They feared Rome more than the GOD that they worshiped, taught about and professed to have faith in.
The third, the wine poured out remembering the time when a nation was delivered by their GOD. It celebrated the Passover when GOD passed over the nation of Israel, spared them from death and set them free from slavery. A lamb died so that the blood that was smeared on the door posts would protect them. Jesus connects the disciples with the blood, wine and his own sacrifice. The wine in this meal, the blood that he would shed would represent the forgiveness of sins. His blood poured out will save all who trust in it, from the punishment of sin that is death. Jesus going to the cross would mean permanent and total forgiveness.
Each pouring out was a premeditated decision by the pourer-outers but also known by GOD before the creation of the world; the perfume poured out because of being accepted, the betrayal silver given because of fear and the blood flowing because of sin.
Each one had a purpose to fulfill; worship, death and life.