STORY SETTING AND BACKGROUND
MARY ANOINTS JESUS -
at a supper in
John 12:1-11; Mark 14:3-9; Matthew 26:6-13
Jesus and His disciples came to
About a mile west of
The I5-mile journey from
The journey from
Jesus arrived at
Among the guests were Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead a number of weeks before (John 11). Helping to serve was Martha, his sister.
During the dinner, Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, expressed her great love for Jesus as the promised Savior. She took a bottle of very precious ointment-like perfume, broke the top, and poured it over Jesus' head and feet. Then she wiped His feet with her hair. The fragrance of the ointment filled the room.
This ointment is called "spikenard" in the
King James and "pure nard" in the Revised Standard Version. It was
made from the roots and hairy stems of an aromatic, fragrant herb of
Coming all the way from
Because the ointment was so expensive, it was put into a special bottle, called alabastron. The King James uses the term "alabaster box," the Revised Standard version "alabaster jar." This was a long narrow, drop-like juglet or bottle. Alabaster is a translucent whitish stone. If this bottle was of alabaster, it had been carefully and skillfully hollowed out.
However, at this .time, such a bottle may have been made froni glass and of a type known today as a "tear-bottle."
THE DISCIPLES' REACTION
The guests watched Mary anoint Jesus. As the fragrance filled the room, the disciples began to react negatively. To use such precious and costly ointment in this way seemed to them to be a waste of money.
Judas' reaction was decidedly negative.
He chided Mary openly for wasting so much by her act. He suggested that the ointment could have been sold and given to the poor. John 12:6 informs us that Judas had no special love for the poor. Rather he served as the custodian of the common purse of Jesus and His disciples. He took money from this purse for himself.
Jesus rebuked His disciples for their unkindness. Expressing a fact, He said, ". . . ye have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always." His death was so near that this anointing would serve as preparation of His body for His burial.
Today we remember with appreciation Mary's great love for the Savior. Her act of love undoubtedly has stimulated others to express their love for the Savior who has died, risen again, and now reigns as the Lord of the Universe and as our intercessor with God the Father.