Money Bag

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, March 18, 2019

In John 13:29 Judas Iscariot has the glossokomon.  This large Greek word is rendered by different English translations as the “money bag,” “money box,” or “bag.”  Some just put “treasurer” or “in charge of the money.”  Neither James, John, Peter, or Andrew are entrusted with the group’s money.  The one who will later betray Jesus is its keeper.  Is Jesus aware of Judas’ character flaw?  My opinion?  I believe he was giving Judas an opportunity which the apostle threw away.

When the woman poured expensive perfume on Jesus head, one would think that Judas was the only one who voiced his disagreement.  The reason for this is because John only mentions Judas Iscariot and quotes this statement.

He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”  John 12:6

Matthew 26:6-9 reveals that all of the apostles thought it was a waste.  Mark 14:4-5 reveals that they were “indignant” and “murmured against her” or “scolded, rebuked, or criticized her harshly.”  Judas may have started it, but the apostles did not want to be left out.  Some today will first watch and see what others are going to do before they jump in.  They aren’t good leaders, just willing followers.  If things don’t go well, they can always step back and say, “I would not have agreed to if Judas hadn’t started it.”

When the five thousand were hungry, Jesus told his disciples to feed them (Mark 6:37).  The response was, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”  One translation renders that as “eight months of a man’s wages.”  Whether they had that much in the group’s treasury may be questionable, but it shows they had a collective treasury and Judas was entrusted with it.  The question is, where did they get that money, whatever the amount was, that was in the bag?  Were they each required to “buy” a franchise by donating equal shares as they were appointed apostles?

Hospitality was more open back then.  Jesus would receive room and board when traveling.  Keep in mind that twelve men traveled with him.  Sometimes more.  So, whoever invited them to stay, not only furnished each with a pallet to sleep on, but food to fill their stomach.   That would stretch anyone’s bank account, even today if that many people showed up unexpectedly at your door and stayed for several days.  Of course, three meals each day might not have been the common practice, but even one or two would still be a burden in practicing hospitality.  In spite of this generosity, money was still needed when not staying with someone.  Have you ever wondered what they spent their money on?

Three passages inform us about one source of their income.  Several women supported Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 8:2-3).  I’m not sure what amount these women supplied to the “bag,” but the total was enough that Judas could steal from it and the amount was not enough to warrant an audit (John 12:6).  Although Judas returned the thirty pieces of silver, nothing is said about the “bag” being returned to the other apostles.

Other question might arise about these supportive women.  If your wife was helping an itinerant preacher, wouldn’t you be concerned whether he was a cult leader or not?  Will she be swindled out of their money?  Would she be brain-washed?  Jesus himself warned about false messiahs (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22)!  He wasn’t the first on the scene recognized as “the Messiah” or “Christ” and he would not be the last.  If he was a revolutionary, as most “messiahs” were during that period, wouldn’t her safety be in question?  Joanna’s husband could have lost his job or life because of her actions (Luke 8:2-3).  Roman soldiers were not kind toward families that revolted again their occupation.  Wouldn’t you be concerned if your wife was giving monetary support to this Teacher that all the renowned preachers were saying he was sponsored by Beelzebub?

Sometimes we miss these tidbits of human weaknesses in our reading.  Those efforts could also be ours!  Isn’t there a lesson in these tidbits?