My Musings

Looking Good

Looking Good

Besides being greedy, Judas Iscariot was a fake!

One day, when Mary (Martha’s sister) poured a pound of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair, Judas resented it. To make himself look good, he expressed his objection by asking, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” (John 12:5).

His question sounded noble on the surface but Judas was just masking nefarious motives. Actually, “he was a thief.” (John 12:6). He regularly pilfered the disciple’s money box. Feigning concern for the poor was just a disguise for thievery.

Don’t you just love how evil can hide behind noble statements or appearances? Judas knew how to look good while being bad. Or so he tried.

Later, the chief priests used Judas to get to Jesus. After Judas threw his 30 pieces of silver back at them, they refused to put the money into the temple treasury because it was not lawful “since it is the price of blood.” (Matthew 27:5-6). How noble? No, how phony! They wanted to look good as law-keepers, but they had no qualms about shedding Jesus’ innocent blood.

Maybe Judas should’ve gone into politics. Claiming compassion for the poor as a cover for greed and power remains in expert form to this day. Politicians promise to fight poverty but poverty seldom takes a hit. Meanwhile, moral poverty flourishes! Some politicians speak glowingly of respecting rights while using the machines of power (like the IRS) to rip our rights to shreds. Looking good while being bad keeps them in power.

All this works far better on Americans than it did on Jesus. He told Judas to let Mary alone. As for the poor, he said, “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:8).

No honest person could use those words as evidence for a lack of concern for the poor in Jesus. He simply had bigger concerns in mind, like his impending death, burial and resurrection, resulting in the eternal redemption of sinners like me. Jesus knew that all earthly riches are worthless to those who stay stuck in sin. Just as we need God’s word even more than bread, we also need forgiveness much more than cash.

One of the most unique and admirable qualities Jesus maintained as a man was his complete disinterest in looking good for the moment. In the wilderness, he sustained temptations to put bread over truth and abuse his miraculous powers to look good. Satan even tried to seduce him with to give up on God’s plan for great political power. But looking good was not Jesus mission.

Judas was a different story. He never seemed to ask himself the big questions, like what good is it to be good at looking good if I remain lost in resentment, greed, lies, selfishness and pretense? Small-minded, he sniped over expensive perfume when a far greater expense was about to be paid. Judas’ flaws were fatal for both Jesus (temporarily) and himself. Nevertheless, they did not thwart God’s larger plan for Jesus, and by extension, for us.

Ask big questions: What good it is to be powerful if you have to live on pretense? What good would winning the lottery be if we were about to die? Don’t forget; we are all about to die. That’s why Jesus stuck with God’s plan for him to go obediently to the cross on behalf of lost sinners like you and me.


About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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