Thursday

10 August 2017

John 12:1-11

“Jesus replied, ‘Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.’” (vv. 7-8)

Psalm: Psalm 54


Background

Jesus is back at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and Mary honours him in the most extravagant way (verse 3). Seeing Judas' response to Mary's action (verse 4), the phrase 'knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing' springs to mind. All he can think of is how much money they would have made if only Mary had sold the perfume instead of wasting it on Jesus' feet - and not because he actually cared about the poor, but because there would have been more money in the kitty for him to help himself to (verse 6).

Jesus' reply to Judas gives us another quote that's heard a lot today: 'You will always have the poor with you'. For far too many people, these words of Jesus have become an easy get-out clause whenever poverty is mentioned -'Jesus said the poor will always be with us, so that's our excuse to ignore poverty'. But that was not what Jesus meant when he said it.

Lazarus has now become a focus of attention from the public, as well as a catalyst for many others to come to faith. But some of the attention is unwelcome - and he is now a target for death himself (verses 10-11).


To Ponder

  • Think of a time that someone gave you a gift that was very extravagant. How did it make you feel?
  • What do you think Jesus meant when he said, "You will always have the poor among you"? 

Bible notes author

George Luke

George Luke works as an editor and writer at Methodist Church House. He grew up in Sierra Leone and now lives in London.