There is an episode towards the end of Jesus’ life that casts love in an unexpected light. A more “impractical” expression of love is shown to be preferred by Jesus to a more rational one. John recaps it well in his gospel (this is the New International Version John 12:1-8).

1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

As a side note, this scene is also poignantly depicted in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.

These verses have stumped me before, because (John’s editorial comment aside) I have always felt that I could relate to Judas’ comment. I mean, if we were being practical and wanted to do the “very right thing”, then we’d want to spend the money to help the poor, and not to adore Jesus with it. In fact, it seems that Jesus himself should have promoted this. But Jesus saw through Judas’ words to his heart.

And in his heart, Judas was one of those people that tries to undermind the sincere and honest good that others try to do by snide remarks that aim to show those very people that they are irresponsible, thoughtless, careless. Know anyone like that? You see someone really trying, and you get jealous, and mean. And then you say, “you know, that money could have been spent on the poor” or, like the Crow (from here), “But look at you – what an outrage! All you have is an empty sack left for your hungry little ones!”

The Crow is trying to undermind Rabbit’s genuine goodness, and Judas – Mary’s real adoration.

But love shall not be underminded, shall it?

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