How do we respond to the sacrifice others have made for us?
Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.7 Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”
There is a lot going on in this passage, but I felt we might miss some things if I broke it up, so let’s look at this passage as a whole. This is a popular piece of the crucifixion story. I didn’t remember Judas being the one who objected to Mary using the perfume. The cost of what she used was supposedly equal to about a year’s worth of wages. We could go off on tangents talking about why she had it in the first place, how she was able to afford it, etc. The point here, however, is that Jesus is worth it. Jesus is worth all that we give Him. The apostle Paul echoes this in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Jesus is worth dedicating our entire lives to. Why? Because He died for us.
Generally, if one person risks or even sacrifices their life for another, the one who was saved feels indebted to the one who sacrificed. If the hero died, it isn’t unusual for the rescued to devote time and energy to their family, as a way of trying to pay back the sacrifice. Certainly, it cannot be paid back in full, but it is understood that this devotion is in response to the sacrifice made so they can live. Similarly, we have an opportunity to have this type of relationship with God.
We see the flip side of this, one who is more concerned about money and the things of this world. Judas displays for us the selfish part of us, the part that gauges actions upon the worldly value of things. How often do we neglect the sacrifices made for us in exchange for selfish, temporary desires?
We don’t have a choice to make in regards to the sacrifice being made for us. It has already been made. The choice we have now is how we will respond to it. Will we thumb our nose at the one who sacrificed for us? Who showed us ultimate and perfect love? Or, will we embrace it, appreciate it, and in return do our best to honor that sacrifice through worship?
He’s worth it.