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Mark 14:3-9 The Anointing of Jesus

by Dr. D ~ October 19th, 2006

Vs. 3  Jesus and his disciples had been staying in Bethany with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.  That night he was having dinner at the home of Simon the Leper, apparently known well enough by early Christians to be named.  The ‘A woman’ is identified in John 12:3 as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus.  Both the alabaster jar and the ‘nard’ perfume was extremely expensive.  Mary and her brother and sister were wealthy folk, but this would have been quite costly even for them.     

This event was substantially different than an anointing of Jesus by a ‘sinful’ woman which is recorded in Luke 7:36-50.  That event happened early in the Ministry of Jesus in the home of a Pharisee, also named Simon.  However, the message and lesson taught by Jesus on that occasion is entirely different.  Also in Luke, it is the Pharisee who judges Jesus, rather than the disciples being upset with the woman and the waste of financial resources as in Mark.

Vs. 4-5  “There were some…they scolded her.”  In Matthew 26:8, they were identified as the disciples.  Also, Judas Iscariot was singled out in John’s account (12:4-5).  It should be noted that it was customary in those days to give gifts to the poor during Passover.  A denarii was the usual daily wages for a laborer.  If the perfume was worth 300 denarii, than it would be equal to a years wage, quite a substantial sum indeed.

Vs. 6-9  Here, Jesus tells the disciples to leave her alone, because the woman had done a beautiful thing and had anointed him for his burial beforehand.  He prophesied that her actions will be remembered down through time, wherever the Gospel is preached, and so it has been.  Sometimes the statement of Jesus here is quoted as an excuse for not helping the poor.  However, his time on the earth was unique, the ‘one and only Begotten’ Son of God, the Co-Creator in the flesh; living, breathing, and ministering in the midst of his creation. 

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