Mary and Judas. Very different these two, but you wouldn’t know how different until the crucifixion was at hand. That’s when it all spilled.

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

‘Leave her alone,‘ Jesus replied. ‘It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.’” (John 12:1-8 NIV)

Mary, literally, pours forth love for Jesus. The greatest commandment of “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”? Check. The girl’s got it down.

Yet until this point in Jesus’ story, Judas’s relationship with Him appears no different from Mary’s. Judas has spent the last three years with Jesus. He’s preached the news of the kingdom, healed the sick, and cast out demons. He’s seen Jesus walk on water and turn water into wine. In fact, Judas carried the moneybag, and no one thought twice about it. At the Last Supper, when Jesus said one of the Twelve would betray Him, the disciples are stumped. No clue.

But after Judas’s comment in John 12, something begins to smell.

The passage above reveals much about the heart of both Judas and Mary. Mary too has a close history with Jesus. Jesus raised her brother from the dead. She shines in the Mary and Martha story where Jesus praises her priority of intimacy over service. Here we see extravagant worship.

While service and generosity are important, they are not what Jesus praises, which brings another passage to mind: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”(Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus commends an extravagant relationship with Himself.

One that knows no bounds.

One for which no sacrifice is too great.

One that places Him above all else.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

Mary. Judas.

One recognized she had received much and therefore loved with abandon.

One couldn’t see what he had and consequently, was never satisfied.

God, give me eyes to see the grace, mercy, and forgiveness You have lavished on me. Help me to respond in lavish worship, praise, and thanksgiving.


If Mary is on one end of the scale of relational intimacy and Judas is on the other, where does your heart fall?

Judas _____________________________________________ Mary

How can you cultivate a Mary heart in yourself? Your kids?

How can you avoid a Judas attitude?


  • Thankfulness journal: 5 things you are thankful for each day.
  • 2-way conversation with Jesus: Expect to hear from Him.
  • Praise and worship regularly.


Initially, Judas’s relationship with Jesus appears no different from Mary’s. Click to tweet.

While service and charity are important, they are not what Jesus praises in John 12. Click to tweet.

Mary. Judas. One recognized she had received much and therefore loved with abandon. One couldn’t see what he had and consequently, was never satisfied. Click to tweet.