August 26, 2015
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Remember our discussion yesterday about the three kinds of people you meet on the way to the Cross? In case not here’s a quick rehash:
The Type #1 people are deadly. The Type #2 people are dedicated. The Type #3 people are devoted.
So where would you land Judas in this mix?
If you said Type #1 you are wrong. Judas was Type #2. He was a dedicated disciple of Jesus and a trusted one at that as we are told in another of the Gospel accounts that he actually kept up with the money for the whole group. Judas was a first round draft pick—one of The Twelve. He was dedicated to the cause. Some believe Judas was actually trying to foment the revolution by turning Jesus in; that he knew doing this would force the battle. We may never know.
This is where the deception of “dedication” comes into play. My theory is this: my dedication is really all about me and my effort and my commitment. And because one’s dedication is about oneself it can shift gears from one object to the next. The object of my dedication is a constantly moving target, and frankly, it tends to move from whatever I used to think was best for myself to whatever I think is best for myself now. Perhaps its a subtlety, but that’s the way deception works. My dedication is a lot more about whatever it is that I am doing to demonstrate my commitment than it is about the thing or person to whom I am supposedly dedicated.
This is the problem with so much of what we call the Christian faith. It’s really just trying to get people to amp up their dedication—you know, pray harder, fast faster, serve better, increase your tithe and so it goes. The Christian faith is not about increasing one’s dedication. It’s about undivided devotion; abandoning oneself to God in Love. Dedication is about self. Devotion is about the other.
It’s why Type #3 people are rare, but they embody the very core essence of the Gospel. Can you believe what Jesus said in response to this woman’s reckless act of devotion (pouring out a year’s wages worth of perfume on his head)? Get this.
Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again. It makes me wonder if the corollary is also true—that wherever this story is not being told (and enacted) in memory of her if the Gospel is even being preached.
Type #3 people are the goal. These are the kind of “like-Jesus” people the Holy Spirit longs to make. They should be the norm. So why do they tend to be the outliers? What would it mean to trade in our passion to be more dedicated for a posture of abandoned devotion? What would that look like in my life? In yours?
SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD, FALL AFRESH ON ME.
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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.