John really downplays Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem on a donkey unlike all the other Gospels. In all the other Gospels immediately after Jesus rides into Jerusalem his next stop is then the temple where he cleans house. Not so in John. His riding into Jerusalem takes place after Mary washes Jesus’ feet, in essence preparing him for burial, at her home in Bethany. You remember Mary, the sister of Martha, who is accused of having a terrible work ethic and whose only interest is to sit at the feet of Jesus and to soak in his teaching? These are the same Mary and Martha who are the sisters of the resurrected Lazarus who is probably loving life right now. This is the same Mary who wastes this costly ointment on Jesus’ feet in a symbolic act which was recognized by no one except Jesus himself. But isn’t that the point? Anytime that we take any action which is not for Jesus but for the public, it is folly. While conversely anytime we take action which is only for the sake of Jesus, then that is the action that we ought to take.
Judas’ words were meant for the public, and not for Jesus. He wanted the public to see how foolish it was for this fan of Jesus to waste this money when it could have been used for the poor. Who could argue with that? Jesus was all about the poor and of course if he disagreed with Judas then it could only be seen as hypocrisy. He disagreed and it was at this point that we read that Judas looked for a way to betray him. We get some other interesting tidbits about Judas in these verses where we read nowhere else. We read that Judas was dishonest, a thief, and only had interest in money. He was the treasurer of Jesus’ gang, the one who held the purse.
This chapter seems more disjointed and less connected than the others in regards to the events that happen in Jesus’ life. From the washing of his feet by Mary, to the entry into Jerusalem, we then launch into a monologue about his impending death where he equates his life to that of a seed which needs to die and be buried in the ground before it springs to new life. What a great image for this time of year as things are springing up and bearing new fruit and revealing life. It is a great time of year. It also serves as a tremendous contrast to what we have been through. There are still vestiges of the damage of winter that linger. Our side bank has a big chunk taken out of it as a result of our removing the snow from the driveway. That will take a while to heal. But all that was once dead is now springing to life and it covers that which is unsightly.
We find ourselves appropriately in the very same time period in which Jesus and his disciples find themselves. They are on the Sunday right before his death and resurrection at the beginning of this chapter. As the chapter continues so does our following of his life. The next chapter we will find ourselves on Maundy Thursday, so it makes sense that today later in this chapter we find ourselves on Holy Wednesday. Just like that God somehow manages to coordinate the timing of the Gospel and the real time in which we find ourselves.