stench | John 12.4-6
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 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. John 12.4-6 | ESV
But it was a stench to the nostrils of the Man from Kerioth, Judas, one of the disciples, who concealed his own brand of stink, vile betrayal in the vial of his heart. “This is just wrong! So wrong, so inappropriate, such a waste! The hefty price this would have brought on the market, and all the mouths it could have fed!” The truth was Judas could have cared less about the poor and their empty stomachs. It was his own greedy appetite driving his righteous indignation. Trusted treasurer holding the bag. Vile thief helping himself to its contents at will. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
The first murder took place over worship.
Historically, one of humanity’s favorite pastimes has been warring over how we worship God and who has it right. Whether it’s Cain killing his brother Abel, or David’s wife Michal sneering at him about his shameful, excessive display of worship in his dancing, or Judas’ sniffing at Mary’s sweet messy offering of love and only detecting a stench – it would seem that real worship will please God and tick off people.
Which, of course doesn’t give us license or encourage to try to tick off people as we angle for being offensive for effect.
That’s not worship, it’s just performance calculated for effect still engrossed with people and with ourselves.
There is a glorious detachment from what others think when we are caught up in an act of adoration – whether on a human or divine level. We simply don’t care – we’re not thinking about that.
Did Mary pause at the door measuring what the possible outcomes and responses would be if she followed through with this impulse to break open this vial of precious ointment and pour it all out? My guess is if she had she would still be there deliberating, and if she did step forward finally to do something it would have been more about her and how she would be received than it would be about him and what she would give.
Which is to miss the whole point as badly as Judas did.
When most recently has your worship caused an issue for someone else? How did you respond to that? When most recently have you been the one having an issue with someone else’s worship style? What do you think was driving that?
Abba, free from the chains of others expectations and evaluations that would bind and constrict genuine expressions of love for you – or for others, for that matter! Deliver me from such unhealthy preoccupation and worried anticipation of how others will “score” my “worship performance.” Just free me to love on you. Through Jesus.