Holy Wednesday and the Value System of Jesus

Jesus’ Wednesday of the Week of Palm Sunday, the Cross, and the Resurrection

Today is often called “Holy Wednesday” because of the significance of this day in the life of our Lord.

Let’s pick up the events of Jesus’ Wednesday in John 12:1-8.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound[a] of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it[c] for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

John 13:21-30 continues the story.

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,[e] 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus[f] of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

On Palm Sunday we studied the political and religious implications of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

This study investigates the value system implications seen in the contrast between Mary and Judas.

Church tradition indicates that Lazarus was raised from the dead the day before Palm Sunday.

Indicators of Mary’s personal value system regarding Jesus.

  1. “They gave a dinner for him.” John 12:2
  2. Martha served. Lazarus joined in eating. Mary gave an expensive
  3. More than just giving a gift, she anointed
  4. Mary anointed Jesus’ feet.
  5. She wiped his feet with her hair.

Mary’s value system indicates Jesus is more valuable than:

  1. Reputation.
  2. Social constructs
  3. Material goods and the value human beings give them.
  4. Pride

Indicator of Judas’ personal value system regarding Jesus

  1. He valued a supposed sale and gift to the poor above the adoration of Jesus.
  2. With God before him, he valued material goods more than God Himself.
  3. He valued a lie about himself (gifts for the poor) more than the truth about God.
  4. Eisegetically, I wonder if Judas would have the same response if Mary anointed his feet?

Considerations on Holy Wednesday

  1. Do I withhold things of great value from my worship of Jesus?
  2. Am I willing to lose my reputation because of my worship of Jesus?
  3. Am I willing to break social norms in my worship of Jesus?
  4. Am I willing to embrace humility in my worship of Jesus?
  5. Does failure to value Jesus open me to a fate similar to “Satan entered into him?”