Devotion and Betrayal: Life Shaping Choices
A prayer as we consider the personal decisions of Mary and Judas Iscariot.
Reveal to me through stories something of what it is like to walk around in someone else’s shoes.
Show me something about myself in the stories I read, something that needs changing, a thought, a feeling or attitude.
Deliver me from myself, O God, and from the parochial and sometimes prejudiced views I have of other people, other nations, other races, other religions.
Enlarge my heart with a story and change me by the characters I meet there.
May some of the light from their lives spill over into mine, giving me illumination where there was once ignorance, compassion where there was once contempt.” Ken Gire
Personal decisions, choices and determinations are windows into one’s soul.
Mary and Judas’ decisions reveal very different human beings at life’s deepest levels.
Analysis of the Biblical texts indicate Jesus was anointed by a woman on two different occasions.
Anointed in Bethany
John 11:1-2, 12:1-8
Anointed in Nain
Luke 7:11, 36-48
Matthew, from my perspective, intentionally shows the disparity between Mary and Judas’ internal motivations and purity/impurity of heart.
In alignment with the above Ken Gire prayer, we may see traces of Mary and Judas in our souls.
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Matthew locates these two narratives next to each other in order to spotlight the differences between devotion and betrayal.
- Devotion includes being ardently dedicated and loyal with religious fervor.
- Betrayal includes to deliver to an enemy by treachery and to fail or desert in time of need.
- (Home spun definition combinations from https://www.merriam-webster.com/
It is important to note that Mary is honored for her decisions and Judas is condemned for his.
Neither robotically or mindlessly functioned as puppets, but intentionally and personally activated their freedom of personal choice.
This is vital, from my perspective, to know I am personally responsible for choosing to be a person of deep and abiding devotion or of broad and significant betrayal.
Devotion gives the self to the other and both are enhanced.
Betrayal takes the self of the other and both are diminished.
Devotion values the other far more than material worth.
In betrayal, material worth for the self is far more important than the other.
Devotion has expansive impact beyond what the devoted could estimate.
Betrayal has expansive impact beyond what the betrayer could estimate.
Signs of Increasing Christian Devotion (Increasing in betrayal includes the opposites)
- I am increasing (decreasing) in personal commitment to that to which God is committed.
- I am increasing (decreasing) in personal commitment to God’s reward
- Pleasing (displeasing) God and knowing His approval (disapproval) brings me increasing (decreasing) peace, joy and contentment.
- I am increasing (decreasing) in “upon His law I meditate day and night.”
- I am increasing (decreasing) in my love for His church for which He gave His life.