How do you respond to PDAs?
What about PDAs for Jesus?
What if someone expresses costly, counter-cultural public affection for Jesus in your workplace, in your family, on the streets or even in church. Do you cringe?
In Mark 14:1-11 we see a woman break open a jar of perfume worth tens of thousands of pounds. And she expends it all in a public display of affection for Jesus.
Jesus likes it. He thinks, v6, it’s a beautiful thing. Verse 8 He says ‘she has anointed my body for burial’. No-one would get the chance to do this after His death. Jesus was an early riser you see. So here the woman takes her opportunity in fulfilment of Song of Songs 1:12:
"While the King was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance."
She plays the part of the beloved and the King thinks it's beautiful.
Judas does not think it's beautiful. We know from the other gospels that he was the one leading the protest from v4: He thinks it’s a waste. It could have been sold and given to the poor.
But of course Judas wasn’t going to sell the perfume and give money to the poor. He was going to sell Jesus and get money for himself.
But it’s a shocking contrast. One follower of Jesus is moved to heart-felt, all-out devotion, centred on His death. Another follower of Jesus is repulsed by such devotion. And this event is a significant tipping point for Judas to betray Jesus.
Prior to the moment of betrayal, Judas's hard heart is never more exposed than here. He kept up such a good pretence the rest of the time. But here - in the presence of vulnerable abandonment and adoration - the true state of his heart is exposed. Nothing threatens the impostor more than genuine love for Jesus. He sees the woman's devotion and he thinks the focus is all wrong.
'Stop focussing on Jesus. Go out and do stuff in Jesus' name. Go and be Jesus to the poor.' That was Judas's attitude. Actual love for Jesus made him extremely uncomfortable.
So then, next time you're tempted to disdain certain Christian music as 'Jesus is my boyfriend' worship...
Next time you criticize some street-preacher's unenlightened methods...
Next time you feel superior to some simple saint's devotional sweetness while crediting yourself with getting out and doing the work...
Maybe, just maybe, that's the spirit of Judas.
You must know that a Christian is nothing if they are not a lover of Jesus.
If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. (1 Corinthians 16:22)