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Enduring Sincerity

Staff Member
But when His disciples saw [it], they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? "For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to [the] poor." Matthew 26:8-9 NKJV

George Herbert, the younger friend of the poet John Donne, captured the irony in today’s reading in his poem, “The Sacrifice”:

For thirty pence he did my death devise/Who at three hundred did the ointment prize.

Not half so sweet as my sweet sacrifice:/Was ever grief like mine?

Herbert’s insight follows today’s reading. According to John’s Gospel, Judas Iscariot was indignant about the expensive ointment poured on Jesus. He said it should have been sold for three hundred pence (a year’s wage) and given to the poor (John 12:5). Ironically, this was ten times the amount he sold Jesus for (Matthew 26:15). Maybe this irony in the devaluation of Jesus’ life became part of the anguish that caused Judas to take his own.

As sad as the irony in Judas’ treatment of Jesus appears, it’s even more ironic that Jesus sacrificed His life for people like Judas—people who cared more about their lives than His love.

Like Judas, your living can trade a friendship with Jesus for nothing of value. God takes His relationship with you personally. He still watches sadly as His people make ironic choices Maybe that’s why Herbert ends his stanza with Jesus’ question, “Was ever grief like mine?”

Prayer: Father, help me to avoid an ironic life.
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