Holy Monday Meditation


John 12.1-11

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.


In what follows my aim is to provide something for you to reflect on in the silence that follows.  If you find something that you engage with please feel free to stay with it and stop listening to me – what you reflect on for yourself is more important than what I say.

What kind of Disciple are you?

What are your giftings?

Are you Mary, Martha, Judas, Lazarus?  None of them?  All of them?

Don’t be fooled – there is good and bad in all of them.  None of them are all good, or all bad – though some of them might seem like it.

Let’s look at them one at a time.

Lazarus – We know little about Lazarus – we know that he was a brother to Mary and Martha, and that he died and Jesus brought him back from the dead.  We know nothing about what he did – and yet… and yet … he was one of the strongest witnesses to Jesus – to the extent that the Chief Priests wanted to put him to death.  It wasn’t what he did that was his witness – it was what Jesus had done for him, it was who he was.

Rather than ask yourself what you have done for Jesus, ask rather what has Jesus done for you?  Who do people think you are?

Judas – What good is there in Judas?

Judas took on responsibility – he served acting as treasurer for the disciples; he was passionate, there was a strong desire to do what he thought right – what he thought would lead to the right outcome; and he was penitent he recognised he had done wrong and felt remorse for it.

And yet he betrays Jesus for a false idea of Messiahship.  And in a bizarre way he is proved right – although not in the way that he thought.  Jesus had to die to fulfil his destiny – without a betrayal how was that to happen?  Without a Judas there would be no Christianity!  Was Judas betrayal the ultimate act of service he could render to Jesus?

But…  Judas substitutes his thoughts, his ideas, his desires for those of Jesus.  He “knows” what God wants to happen – and goes all out to make sure that it does.

Do you serve as passionately as Judas?  Are you as penitent when you have done something wrong, or do you find it difficult to accept that you have been wrong?  Can you get carried away with your ideas, your views on what is right?  Can you find it difficult to let God make the decisions?

Mary – Mary is a generous and attentive person.  We have heard today of her pouring out the nard – and in another passage we hear of her sitting at Jesus feet learning from him – and Jesus takes her side when others question her behaviour.  However, there may have been a reluctance to act in Mary – when Lazarus died she stayed at home, and Martha’s complaints about her were about her lack of activity.

Are you as generous towards Jesus as Mary was?  Are you as passionate about learning from Jesus as Mary was?  Do you sit back – or do you act?

Martha – Martha is perhaps best known as a grumbler – the one who asked why Mary wasn’t helping her.  Yet Martha is practical – in both that story and this it is Martha who is serving, and when Lazarus dies it is Martha who goes to meet Jesus and has the faith to ask him bring him back from the dead.

Can you be a grumbler?  Complaining when others are using their gifts to do something else?  Are you practical, always willing to serve?  Do you have Martha’s faith – trusting in Jesus?

What kind of Disciple are you?

What are your giftings?

Do you need to explore areas of your weakness to deepen your discipleship?

How best can you use your gifts in God’s service?



Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess we have failed you as did your first disciples.
We ask for your mercy and your help.  When we take our ease
rather than watch with you:  Lord, forgive us.  Christ have mercy.

When we bestow a kiss of peace yet nurse enmity in our hearts:
Lord, forgive us.  Christ have mercy.

When we strike at those who hurt us rather than stretch out our hands to bless:  Lord, forgive us.  Christ have mercy.

When we deny that we know you for fear of the world and its scorn:
Lord, forgive us.  Christ have mercy.

May God who loved the world so much that he sent his Son to be our Saviour
forgive us our sins and make us holy to serve him in the world,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Loving God, thank you for the gifts you have given each one of us.  Help us to discern what they are, discovering those that are new to us, as well as those we know well.
You know that all gifts can be used for good or ill, so help us too to use them in the way that you would wish, using them in your service to help build your kingdom here on earth.

We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord

Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith,
a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven;
and the blessing …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s