Matt. 26 and John 12 record a feast, at which the respective characters of Mary and Judas are revealed.
They had much in common: the fathers of both of them, remarkably enough, were called Simon; both were in the presence of the same Lord; both heard His words; and both carried something. But how vastly different they were!
Mary had a box, and Judas had a bag. Mary gave to the Lord the contents of her box, whilst Judas stole from the Lord the contents of His bag. Mary’s gift was worth three hundred pence, about the equivalent in those days of one year’s work. Judas apparently bought a field with the cash taken from the bag, “the reward of iniquity” (Acts 1. 18).
Mary not only filled the house with the odour of the ointment, but she anointed the feet of the Lord with the ointment. Moreover, she wiped those feet with the hair of her head, and therefore carried away the fragrance on her head. How her act has helped numbers to worship the Lord ever since that day! Judas, on the other hand, complained of the waste, caused disciples to grumble, and went his way with eternal shame on his head.
We, too, often sit at a feast provided for us by our Lord; we hear His word read to us, and should be conscious of His presence; we eat the bread and drink of the cup, but are we as Mary or as Judas?
We may come empty, to get all we can, having been stealing our Lord’s time during the week.
God gives to us with a liberal hand many good things to enjoy, but do we waste them? Is our sight used on novels or spending undue hours over the newspaper and too few at feasting on His Word. Do we lend our eyes to things that tend to destroy the soul and unfit us for worship? Or, do we lend our ears to talk not convenient, listening-in when we should be listening to Him? Or is our tongue given to speaking unwisely, to foolish jesting and talk not worthy of our Lord? Are we wasting the time He has given us when the world is full of need, or squandering - as unjust stewards - the money He has loaned to us?
Because of these things we may arrive to partake of the Lord’s Supper in a critical frame of mind, and so be a hindrance instead of adding to the well-being of the assembly! We have not actually taken money from the bag, as Judas did, but does our appearance belie the true state of soul? If so, surely God (who knows) is grieved, the Holy Spirit is hindered, and the whole assembly suffers?
On the other hand we may, as Mary, store up the good things He has placed at our disposal, until we are so full of praise and thankfulness that we place ourselves at His feet in worship, and so beneficially affect the whole assembly by our presence.
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