leave. her. alone. | John 12.7-8
Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:7-8 | ESV
“Leave. Her. Alone.” Jesus retorted. “She’s kept this ointment for just this occasion – pre-anointing my body for burial.” And then Jesus adds with a knowing glance at Judas, “You’ll always have poor people around to care for, but me? Not so much.” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
Yes, it’s Greek to me. But it’s really not foreign to us at all. It’s the word Peter uses when encouraging believers who are suffering in their culture for being a “Christian.” Don’t shy away from the name or the suffering that often attends it, Peter urges – just make sure you’re not suffering because you deserve it for being a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or an ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος (al-loh-tree-eh-pis-koh-pos; allotrios = belonging to another + epispokos = overseer, manager, “bishop”).
Translation: “busybody in other peoples’ business.”
I like Thayer’s full definition:
“One who takes the supervision of affairs belonging to others and in no wise to himself…the writer seems to refer to those who with holy and intemperate zeal meddle with the affairs of the Gentiles – whether public or private, civil or sacred – in order to make them conform to the Christian standard.”
The revelation here is not that we are busybodies trying to take a supervisory role in the lives (and worship) of others, but that Peter puts it in a list including “murderers” “thieves” and “evil-doers”! I mean, being a busybody is bad, but it isn’t that bad, is it? Evidently so. And Judas here models the behavior for us – and if we look closely enough, we just may see a mirror in him.
He took the oversight of what pertained to others in that bag he carried, dipping into it for his own self-interests – and then stood up as rebuking “worship regulator” accusing Mary of a foolish, wasteful, misguided PDA. Jesus has three words for him, and for us. “Leave. Her. Alone.”
Your opinion is not sought or needed.
Take off your supervisory hat.
Lay down the worship regulator badge you wear so proudly.
This is not about you.
The fact is, it’s not even about the poor, is it? The fact is, she has done a beautiful thing to me.
And it’s not long after this that Judas made the fateful decision to approach the authorities with an offer of betrayal.
Amazing how twisted and contorted we can become when we’re wearing the wrong hat and nurturing the wrong heart. What is beautiful turns into a stench in our judging nostrils, and instead of anointing feet in love we plot to bind them for our own gain.
Oh yes, there just might be a mirror for us in this tale…
What is the key to surrendering the role of “worship regulator” (or “life regulator”!) for others? To what extent has your own worship been restricted by self-appointed “regulators” and critics? How can we keep such from raining on our own “worship parade”?
Abba, set me free from the desire to control and regulate the lives and worship of those around me – and from the fear and control of those who would so regulate me. Let me breathe free and worship with a self-dispossessing boldness. Through Jesus.