Sunday, March 13, 2016

Jesus Prayed for His Enemies. He Also Told Bullies to Leave Their Victims Alone.

Daily(ish) blogging in Lent - Day Eighteen

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 

Jesus said, "Leave her alone.” 

“She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-8)

Judas (in today’s story) is a bully. 

He attacks Mary. He devalues her act of welcome, her act of hospitality and honor, her christening of Christ! 

He makes her feel less-than for loving lavishly, (and in the midst of her vulnerability),

for loving with her whole heart, soul, strength, and mind, 

(loving as Jesus commanded). 

He attacks her for wanting to honor Jesus in a beautiful and deeply symbolic and meaningful way. 


Judas (in today’s story) is a bully.



although (as we read the Gospels)

Jesus encourages his disciples 

to pray for their enemies, 

even though Jesus says,

to “bless those who persecute you;”

and “blessed are you when you are persecuted;” 

even though soon, 
when Jesus is betrayed by Judas, and Peter is the only disciple who will come to his defense, 
sword in hand, ready to fight, cutting one of the servant’s ears, 

Jesus will tell Peter to put down his weapon, 

to choose a radical pacifism; 

(a practice that the first century church, following suit, took so seriously that Christians did not allow their members to go to war); 

even though… [all of that], 

When Mary was being bullied by Judas...

When Mary was being bullied by Judas,

When Mary was being bullied by Judas,

Jesus stood up and said to Judas, 

Leave her alone.” (John 12:17) 

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