The Review and Herald


August 7, 1900

At Simon's House


“And the Jews’ Passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should show it, that they might take him.” “Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. RH August 7, 1900, par. 1

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” Mary had long kept this ointment; there seemed to be no fitting opportunity to use it. But Jesus had forgiven her sins, and she was filled with love and gratitude to him. The peace of God was upon her, her heart was full of joy; and she greatly desired to do something for her Saviour. She resolved to anoint him with her ointment. She thought the ointment her own, to use as she pleased, and so it was in one sense. But had it not first been Christ's, it could not have been hers. RH August 7, 1900, par. 2

Seeking to avoid observation, Mary anointed Christ's head and feet with the precious ointment, and wiped his feet with her long, flowing hair. But as she broke the box, the odor of the ointment filled the room, and published her act to all present. “Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” Judas looked upon Mary's act with great displeasure. Instead of waiting to hear what Christ would say of the matter, he began to whisper his complaints to those near him, throwing reproach on Christ for suffering such waste. “Why was not this ointment sold,” and the proceeds given to the poor? he said. Craftily he made suggestions that would be likely to awaken disaffection in the minds of those present, causing others to murmur also. Writing of this, Mark says, “There were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor?” Oh, that they had known that even though the most valuable treasures that science or art could produce had been bestowed on Jesus, it would not have been waste! RH August 7, 1900, par. 3

Judas was one of the twelve; but he had not been striving to overcome his natural traits of character in accordance with the light that was constantly shining upon him. He had a high opinion of his executive ability, and looked upon himself as superior in financial management to his fellow disciples. Constantly he strove to exalt himself, and by his business ability he had gained the confidence of the eleven. But he had a narrow, avaricious spirit. For the slight services that he performed for Christ he paid himself from the money in the bag. He took from the store committed to his care, thus narrowing down their resources to a meager pittance. He was eager to put into the bag all he could obtain; and when something that he did not think essential was bought, he would say, Why is this waste? Why was not the cost of it put into the bag that I carry for the poor? RH August 7, 1900, par. 4

General principles touching his case had been laid down by the Great Teacher, but Judas had not profited by these instructions. Instead, his selfishness had strengthened. This had tainted and corrupted the whole man. When Mary made her offering to the Saviour, Judas talked about the poor, “not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” He who was about to sell his Master for thirty pieces of silver had no heart for the poor. He who stole from the treasure in the bag was capable only of cruel, mean actions. He carried blasphemy in his heart. Had Mary's ointment been sold, and the proceeds fallen into Judas’ possession, not one particle improved would have been the condition of the poor. RH August 7, 1900, par. 5

Mary heard the words of criticism, and felt the lowering glances directed toward her. Her heart trembled within her. She feared that her sister would reproach her for extravagance. The Master, too, might think her improvident. Without apology or excuse, she was about to shrink away, but the voice of her Lord was heard: “Let her alone; why trouble ye her?” He saw that she was embarrassed and distressed. He knew that in the act of service just performed, she had expressed her gratitude for the forgiveness of her sins; and he brought relief to her mind. Lifting his voice above the murmur of criticism, he said, “She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.” RH August 7, 1900, par. 6

“She hath done what she could,” Christ continued; “she is come beforehand to anoint my body to the burying.” Jesus knew that when Mary and those accompanying her should go to the sepulcher to anoint him, they would not find a dead Saviour, whose body needed their loving ministrations, but a living Christ. RH August 7, 1900, par. 7

Mary could not answer her accusers. She could not explain why she had anointed Christ on this occasion. But the Holy Spirit had planned for her. Inspiration has no reasons to give. An unseen presence, it speaks to the mind and soul, and moves the hand to action. Thus many actions are performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. RH August 7, 1900, par. 8

Christ told Mary the meaning of her act, the full significance of which she had not understood. He gave her more than he received. “In that she hath poured this ointment on my body,” he said, “she did it for my burial.” Mary did not then think of connecting death with her gift of love. But Christ was to die; his body was to be broken. He was to rise from the tomb, and the fragrance of his life was to fill the earth. “Verily I say unto you,” he declared, “wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done be told for a memorial of her.” RH August 7, 1900, par. 9

Mary's act was in marked contrast with what Judas was about to do. He was soon to betray his Lord into the hands of cruel and blood thirsty men. What a sharp lesson Christ might have given him who had dropped the seed of criticism and evil-thinking into the minds of the disciples! How justly the criticiser might have been criticised! He who reads the motives of every heart, who understands every action, who weighs the spirit that prompts to action, might have opened before those at the feast dark chapters in the experience of Judas. The hollow pretense on which the traitor based his words might have been laid bare; for he did not sympathize with the poor, nor make efforts to relieve them. But had Christ unmasked Judas, this would have been used as a reason for the betrayal; and though charged with being a thief, Judas would have gained sympathy, even among the disciples. RH August 7, 1900, par. 10

The love that Mary expressed for Christ made apparent the selfishness of Judas. By commending the action that Judas had so severely condemned, Christ rebuked Judas. This should have brought him to his senses. He should have been led to investigate his motives, and to confess that his judgment of Mary's action had been wrong. But his past experience had not been one of repentance and confession. His narrow, selfish ideas had often been rebuked by Christ in a general way. In his teachings Christ had presented the danger of selfishness and avarice. But Judas had not benefited by the instruction given. He did not take Christ's words into his heart, engraving them on his character. Of him it could be said: “Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” RH August 7, 1900, par. 11

Judas was given opportunities and privileges which, had they been improved, would have constituted him a man having that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. He would have been cleansed from selfishness and covetousness. Light was given him, but he refused to act on this light. His character was not changed for the better; his heart was not purified. The opportunities given him were not appreciated. He did not appropriate the truth, and put it into practice in the service of God. His mind was open to receive the temptations of the prince of darkness, and he fell into the snare prepared for him. He wanted his own way; and as the Lord does not force any man to do him service, he was permitted to entertain the temptations of the enemy. Instead of resisting Satan, he admitted him, and therefore he was controlled by a spirit that led him to criticise the words and works of Christ. RH August 7, 1900, par. 12

The Saviour's love for his followers can not be measured; and Judas could not but see the lovable traits of his Master's character, his sympathy and compassion, because they were in such marked contrast with his own. But the words spoken by Christ as he rebuked him for criticising Mary's action rankled in his heart. He was not humbled, but provoked, by the reproof. He said to himself, “I will be revenged for this reproof.” By betraying Christ, he thought to obtain a large sum of money. He went directly from the supper to the chief priests, and agreed to deliver Christ into their hands. The priests were greatly rejoiced, “and they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” RH August 7, 1900, par. 13

The history of Judas is given as a representation of the history of some who will be in the church till the close of this earth's history. There are more than one Judas among the professed followers of Christ. They are to be found in every country, in every church. Persons that are not Christians are brought into church relationship. They may appear to serve Christ; but because of this, it does not follow that they have the love of Christ in their hearts. There are those who have the name of being in the service of Christ, but who are inspired by the same spirit as was Judas. RH August 7, 1900, par. 14

Not always is a man a Christian because he professes to be a disciple of Christ. Though a disciple, Judas never understood Christ. He refused the light given him. He who sets his feet in a wrong path is very apt to misunderstand. He is blind; he can not see. He misinterprets what he hears, giving it a meaning that is altogether wrong. The Holy Spirit must guide the imagination, or words will be so placed that they will do harm. Wise words, words that the Lord has spoken, words tender and kind and true, will be given a meaning that God never meant them to have. RH August 7, 1900, par. 15

There are today those who have acted as did Judas. Every opportunity has been given them to hear the word of truth, and to be sanctified through it; but they refuse to eat the bread of life. They have been given light, but they have refused to walk in it, and the light has become darkness to them. That which they once loved and upheld, they now hate and tear down. Filled with rage, they treat as poison what once was light and joy to them. RH August 7, 1900, par. 16

“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” “Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and who say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?” RH August 7, 1900, par. 17