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A Tale of Two Disciples

Mark 14:9-10

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As Jesus came to the end of his earthly ministry, Mark recorded the reactions of two of his disciples, one a woman and the other a member of the Twelve. Mark 14:9-10 is the tale of two disciples who went in very different directions.


I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Mark 14:9 NET

Mark 14:3-9 tells us the story of a woman who honored Jesus. She brought a costly perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. It was an act of love. One that Jesus said was in preparation for his upcoming burial. And, Jesus said, the story of her act of love would accompany the gospel proclamation around the world.

This woman was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 12:2-3). She had sat at Jesus’ feet, eagerly listening to what he had to say (Luke 10:39). And Jesus had restored her brother’s life, giving him back to her (John 11:17-44). Mary loved him and was willing to give him the best she had.

Another account immediately follows this story. The two stories might seem unrelated, but Mark’s positioning of the two would indicate a relationship between them.


Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus into their hands.

Mark 14:10 NET

Judas had followed Jesus for three years as one of the twelve chosen disciples. He had listened to all Jesus had taught. He had gone on mission trips, proclaiming the kingdom of God, healing the sick, and casting out demons (Mark 6:7-13). But, in the end, he betrayed him.

After Mary’s gift, Judas went to the Jewish religious leaders who had been trying to figure out how to arrest and kill Jesus (Mark 14:1-2). They were delighted with Judas’ betrayal and offered to pay him for it. And now, the story of Judas’ betrayal also accompanies the gospel story.

Different Directions

Two disciples of Jesus. Why did they go in such opposite directions? John tells us that Judas was a thief and was the one objecting to Mary’s extravagant gift to Jesus, wanting part of it for himself (John 12:4-6). While Mary gave herself fully to Jesus, Judas sought his own advancement. And it led them down two very different paths. And we remember both for where they ended up. One in the hall of fame. And the other in the hall of infamy.

How much better to be remembered as a Mary, one who has given themselves completely to Jesus, than as a Judas, one who holds back, and whose life is a betrayal of Jesus’ life and teaching?

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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