65. Matthew 26:1-16
I can remember when I was growing up a few instances when I was called out in front of everyone. I'm sure I deserved the rebuke, but I can remember the deep feeling of anger for the one who had called me out and embarrassed me in front of the class or group of friends. Have you ever had that happen? I think it happened to Judas in Matthew 26.
This is the passage where Martha (of Mary, Martha and Lazarus fame) anointed Jesus head with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. (Mark says it was pure nard, whatever that means) Matthew and Mark record that some of the disciples made a fuss about using the expensive perfume for this occasion even citing that they could have sold the perfume and given the money to the poor. Mark says they rebuked Martha for this lavish expression of her love. Jesus then rebukes them and says what a wonderful thing she had done for him. What I find interesting is that the very next verse says that Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and sold Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver.
The Gospel of John confirms that Judas was the instigator of the opposition to this act of love and worship. John also explains that Judas was skimming off the top of the monies that the Jesus and the disciples were living on.
I think that Judas saw the wasting of what he thought of as 'his' money and rebuked Martha. Jesus saw this and called him out. In front of everyone. 'Why are you bothering her? What she has done is beautiful.' Here is Judas, called out in front of everyone. I think this made him very angry. Maybe even hatred welled up inside him. This was the fire in his stomach that made him betray Jesus. The love of money, plus the embarrassment of being called out in front of the class equals betrayal.
May I always look into the word of God and into the character of Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to call me out when I am wrong. May the fire in my stomach be the refining fire of the Holy Spirit leading me to become a better servant of Jesus.