Judas Feeds the PoorJudas Feeds the Poor

Judas Feeds the Poor

An unintended act of charity

Judas Iscariot’s love for money eventually led him to betray Jesus for silver. But unexpectedly, his betrayal, prompted by greed, might be one of the most incredible acts of charity in the history of the world. We all know the story.

When Mary lovingly anoints Jesus with expensive perfume, Judas is shocked by the act. He protests her lavish generosity out of a disguised concern for the poor (John 12:3-5). But in reality, he can’t bear to see that much wealth being “wasted” on Jesus when its monetary equivalent could have filled his pocket (John 12:6). Provoked by Mary’s wasteful generosity, Judas goes to the chief priests to betray Jesus. Delighted, they pay him thirty pieces of silver, and Judas waits for the right moment to hand over Jesus (Matthew 25:14-16). Later that week, when Jesus shares his last meal with his disciples, he knowingly sends Judas out to set his trap (John 13:27). Judas leaves the upper room and vanishes into the night. The other disciples, who know he’s in charge of the money, think he went to buy food for the Passover feast or give something to the poor (John 13:28-30). 

But while they’ve misunderstood Judas’ true intentions, they are right! In an irony Judas never saw or intended, he purchased the Passover Lamb, the feast for the poor sinners of the world! Judas, in his hatred for the poor, his greed for money, and his protest of costly generosity, does precisely what he couldn’t stand seeing Mary do! In handing over Jesus to those who would kill him, Judas opens the door for the costliest gift of love to be lavished on the poor sinners of the world. Jesus’ costly blood poured out on the cross cleanses people from their sins, and his broken body is the generous sacrifice by which all people may draw near to God (Ephesians 2:13).

Jesus’ body and blood offered in sacrifice on the cross is the greatest gift of charity in the history of the world. Jesus is the gift Mary lovingly anointed and Judas unknowingly offered to poor sinners like us who need to be cleansed and fed. I pray that we see and savor Jesus, the one who generously offered himself to us.

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