Matthew 26:6–13; Mark 14:3–9; Luke 7:36–50; John 12:1–8
Sixth, when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, Leprosy was a word used to describe a variety of skin illnesses; see Leviticus 13 ” href=” f1-“>17. awomancameuptohimwithanalabasterflaskofveryexpensiveointment,andshepoureditonhisheadashereclinedattable. “Why this waste?” they demanded, when they realized what had happened to the disobedient. 9 For this, it might have been sold for a huge quantity of money and the x donated to the destitute.” “Why are you causing problems for her?” replied Jesus, who was well aware of what they were doing.
11 Forz you’ll always have the poor with you, buta you’ll never have me with you.
13 Truly, I say to you, whereverc thisgospelisproclaimedinthewholeworld, what she has done will also be remembered in her honor.”
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Leprosy was a name used to describe a variety of skin ailments; see Leviticus 13 for further information. 3b Andwhilehewasatc BethanyinthehouseofSimontheleper, “A href=” f1-“>Anchor text: 1ashewasrecliningattable,awomancamewithanalabasterflaskofointmentofpurenard,verycostly,andshebroketheflaskandpoureditoverhishead. Four people expressed their outrage by asking themselves, “Why was the ointment used in that manner? 5 Thisointmentcouldhavebeenavailableforsaleformorethanthreehundreddollars. arii It was equivalent to a day’s salary for a laborer ” href=” f2-“> “>2 and d were given to the less fortunate.” And they reprimanded her for it.
However, you will not always have me.
9 And really, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the entire globe, what she has done will be remembered.”
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
36u One of the Pharisees approached him and invited him to join him for dinner; he agreed and went to the Pharisee’s house to accept the invitation. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment,38 and standing behind himathisfeet with tears in her eyes began to wet thisfeet with her tears and wipe them with the hair of her head, kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.
- One owed five hundred and fifty denarii, while the other owed fifty.
- Nowwhichofthemwilllovehimmore?” 43 Simon responded, “I’m assuming it was for this person that he forgave the greater debt.” Andhesaidtohim,“Youhavejudgedrightly.” 44 ThenturningtowardthewomanhesaidtoSimon,“Doyouseethiswoman?
- .45f You offered me a kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet from the moment I arrived.
- 47 As a result, I tell you that her crimes, which are numerous, are forgiven—because she was greatly loved.
49 Then those who were seated at the meal with him started to ask among” href=” f1-“>1themselves, “Who is he, who even forgives sins?” 50 “Your faith has rescued you,” Jesus told the woman, “and now depart in peace.”
Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany
12 Because it was six days before Passover,j Jesus traveled to Bethany,k where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had resurrected from the grave. 2 As a result, they prepared a meal for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who sat at the table with him. Therefore, 3m Marytookapound Greeklitera; an alitra (or Roman pound) was about 11 1/2 ounces or 327 grams. A href=” f1-“>1ofexpensiveointmentmadefrompurenard was applied to the feet of Jesus, and she cleaned the soles of his feet with her hair.
4 Nevertheless, Judas Iscariot, one of his followers (and the man who was about to betrayhim), asked,5 “Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii?” “Adenarius was the equivalent of a day’s salary for a laborer.” Is 2andn given to the poor?
6 He stated this not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and because he was in charge of the moneybag, he used it to help himself to whatever was placed in it.
The anointing at Bethany in John 12
On this Sunday, we will take a break from our reading of Luke’s gospel and instead will be focusing on the anointing of Jesus at Bethany by Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, which takes place in John 12.1–8. (If anyone has an explanation for this maneuver, I would really appreciate it! According to one line of interpretation (which holds that the account of Jesus’ anointing in Luke 7.36–50 records the same incident), this is the only other event in Jesus’ ministry, aside from the feeding of the five thousand, that is recorded in all four gospels (other than the feeding of the five thousand).
There is a notable similarity in the stories in Matthew, Mark, and John; at this point, we would be tempted to believe that these three gospels are the’synoptics’.
|While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
|While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
|Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 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. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
The accounts are all about the same length (though, not untypically, there is more detail in Mark than in Matthew). There is agreement among the three accounts that the incident took place in Bethany, near the time of Jesus’ Passion, that a woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, that there were objections to what she had done, that Jesus defended her action as a sign of his impending death, and that Jesus made a reference to ‘always having the poor with you.’ In comparison to Matthew, Mark gives a few extra specifics, and John seems to agree with Mark (referring to the scent as (spike)nard and stating that it is worth a year’s pay).
This is quite different from the account in Luke 7.36–50, which describes an incident that occurred earlier in Jesus’ ministry and occurred in the north of the country at the home of a Pharisee (though he was also known as Simon, a very common Jewish name), where Jesus is anointed by a’sinful woman,’ and to which he responds with teaching not about the poor but about devotion in response to forgiveness.
It is very hard to locate a representation of the anointing at Bethany in the history of art that is consistent with the first three narratives (my painting is by Rubens and depicts the anointing according to Luke!).
The assumption that there could not have been two different anointings (which I do not believe is justified) and the one connection between the wiping of Jesus’ feet with the woman’s hair in both John’s and Luke’s accounts has led some to believe that the Mary of Bethany is identical to the Mary Magdalene and that she is also the sinful woman, as an interpretation of the statement in Luke 8.2 that Mary Magdalene has been delivered of’seven demons’ The amalgamation of the three characters (Mary of B, Mary M, and the wicked woman), as well as the link of demons with sinfulness, are all unhelpful and unjustified in their interpretations.
As we read through the passage in John 12.1–8, we should pay particular attention to two aspects of the Johannine narratives that we should keep in mind as we go.
This is illustrated in the timing of Jesus’ conversations with Nicodemus and the woman at the well in chapters 3 and 4: while the evening is a reasonable time to hold a conversation, the twilight also symbolizes Nicodemus’ lack of understanding, while the woman comes to the well at noon, having been shunned by her peers, the broad daylight symbolises her clear understanding by the time the encounter concludes.
The second set of characteristics to take attention of is analepsis (building links with what has gone before) and prolepsis (creating new connections with what has come before) (making connections in anticipation of what will come).
Six days before the Passover is mentioned twice in this narrative: first, it establishes a connection to Jesus’ impending death, beginning a kind of Passion week countdown (hence, this passage is often read on the Monday of Holy Week), and second, it is the third mention of Passover, giving us a chronological shape to Jesus’ ministry (covering all or part of three years), but more importantly, it connects Jesus’ ministry with Jewish festivals, symbolically designating Jesus as the Passover lamb.
This began with John the Baptist’s description of Jesus as the ‘lamb of God’ in John 1.36 and will be completed by John’s scheduling of the crucifixion at the time of the sacrifice of the passover lamb—a schedule that may be more historically accurate than the traditional timing of the crucifixion and resurrection.
When compared to Mary’s more extravagant action, Martha serves in a more practical manner; this corresponds both with the difference we already saw in chapter 11, but also with the distinction inLuke’s unique accountof the sisters in Luke 10.38–42, though here in John Martha’s service is depicted positively, using the discipleship termdiakoneo.
The introduction of Mary requires no explanation because we already know who all three characters are from chapter 11—and their introduction in that chapter contains a proleptic reference of this particular episode in preparation of the next episode.
Perhaps this also serves as a symbolic representation of the fact that such an expensive act of devotion has an influence on everyone who is fortunate enough to experience it.
Whereas Matthew and Mark attribute the complaint to the disciples as a whole, John states that it is the fault of Judas Iscariot.
The association between Judas and the common purse is resumed in John 13.29; the word for ‘purse’ used here isglossokomon, which appears only in these two places in the New Testament (in contrast to the words used in Luke 9.3 and 10.4) and is more commonly translated as ‘coffin’ in other contexts.
And this narrative is typical of John’s overall positive portrayal of women, which is frequently in contrast to men; for example, the understanding of the woman at the well contrasts with Nicodemus’ befuddlement, and at the cross, the women remain as witnesses while the majority of the men (with the exception of the ‘beloved disciple’) have fled.
- The objective of John’s description of these persons is never primarily to draw our attention to them; rather, he narrates their tale in order to teach us something about Jesus, which is worth remembering.
- However, he emphasizes the point further by stating that Mary is ‘saving this’ for the occasion.
- However, I believe a more accurate interpretation is that Jesus recognizes that Mary has waited until this moment to anoint him, indicating the imminence of his death and the arrival of ‘the hour,’ which has been delayed until this point in time (see John 2.4).
- There is no need to draw a strong distinction between lavish worship and service in this passage; after all, the very following chapter depicts Jesus performing modest service for his followers, and we are given the order to follow in his footsteps.
- I prepared a brief devotional for the Encounter with Godnotes series for the Scripture Union a couple of years ago, drawing on some of these insights: We don’t know when Lazarus will be raised because John didn’t say anything about it.
- The relationship between Jesus and Lazarus is not addressed in the other gospels; the fact that he himself was in risk of treachery (v 10) may have prompted them to leave him out of their accounts.
- As in Luke 10, Martha is preoccupied with serving others in any capacity she sees suitable.
Why can’t Mary express her affection in the same inconspicuous practical way as she is now?
Do you consider yourself to be a spendthrift?
In that society, letting one’s hair down may be construed as a sign of one’s sexuality being displayed.
Their finances were shared, and they were reliant on the charity of others (Luke 8.3), and if Mary had intended to help Jesus, she should have made a donation.
She has chosen to make this sacrifice because she loves and is devoted to Jesus.
Although her sacrifice is not an alternative to providing care for the impoverished, Jesus references Deuteronomy 15.11 as a reminder that we must provide care for them at all times.
What self-sacrificial act of devotion is Jesus inviting you to perform today?
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What is the significance of Jesus being anointed by a woman with expensive perfume?
QuestionAnswer All four gospels have a description of Jesus being anointed by a woman with an expensive jar of perfume (Matthew 26:6–13; Mark 14:3–9; Luke 7:36–50; John 12:1–8), which is consistent with the tradition. While Matthew and Mark both recount the same story, they do not identify the lady; Luke recounts a different woman, who is likewise unnamed, on a separate occasion; and John, in yet another instance, identifies the woman as Mary of Bethany (John 11:2), the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
- “Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at the table,” Matthew 26:6–7 (ESV).
- As a teaching lesson for the disciples, Matthew emphasizes the anointing of Jesus, which causes them to get enraged as a result of the woman’s extravagant wastefulness.
- During the anointing, Christ reveals that it is to prepare His corpse for burial and that the woman’s gesture of love would be remembered eternally everywhere the good news is broadcast across the world.
- As they have done in the past, the woman’s detractors accuse her of giving an exorbitant present, claiming that it could have been sold for more than a year’s pay (Mark 14:5).
- Jesus informs them that He will not be among them for a lengthy period of time, an allusion to His coming death and interment.
- There may also be an inference of Jesus’ monarchy, because the anointing of the head was frequently related with the consecration of kings in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 9:15–10:1; 16:12–13; 1 Kings 1:38–40; 1 Kings 1:38–40).
- Anoint Jesus’ feet with a sinful woman’s love and gratitude while she dines in the home of Simon the Pharisee, who had arrogantly omitted to give the traditional respect and hospitality to his visitor.
The tale is identical to those told in the other gospels, with the exception that this anointing takes place six days before Passover and that Judas is identified as the disciple who complains to the “wasted” oil.
When Judas criticizes Mary, Jesus responds by emphasizing the unique chance that Mary had: “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (Matthew 25:34-35).
It is Mary’s anointing that once again draws attention to Christ’s identification as Messiah-King, but it also draws attention to His lowly position as Servant-King.
In each of the accounts, a woman performs an elaborate act of devotion by pouring forth a rare and expensive perfume.
Two anointings of Jesus take place during the week of Passover, both of which are connected to His impending death and burial on the cross.
In each instance, the woman’s behaviors communicate more than she is aware of.
Jesus Christ has been anointed as God’s Messiah.
As a result, Christ is the Greek counterpart of the termMessiah.
Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18).
Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) In what way does Jesus being anointed by a lady with costly perfume signify anything?
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Jesus’ Anointing in Bethany
When Jesus and the disciples were nearing the end of their earthly mission, they made their way to Bethany, which was located just outside of Jerusalem. It functioned as a type of home base for them during their final days on earth (Mark 11:1; see Matt. 21:17). This happened at Bethany, not long before our Savior was crucified. It was there that one of the most well-known scenes in the Gospels took place: the anointing of Jesus with perfume. In today’s section, we’ll take a look at this particular story.
- Mark’s description of Simon suggests that he was formerly a leper who had recovered from his condition, which is consistent with the fact that leprosy was a disease that required one to live away from society while suffering from it (Lev.
- This anointing took place at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, according to the related passage in John 12:1–8; hence, it seems probable that Simon was their father.
- To comprehend the significance of Mary’s deed, we must first comprehend the significance of the perfume she used.
- Because it would have been quite uncommon for a woman in that age to hold something of such worth, some critics speculate that the perfume flask was a family legacy, which would increase the sentimental value of the perfume in addition to its monetary value.
- Her anointing of our Lord in preparation for His burial in Mark 14:8 suggests that she had some theological insight into what was about to happen to him.
- Historically speaking, the disciples were dissatisfied with the costly gift, claiming that it would be wiser to sell the perfume and donate the proceeds to the needy (v.
- Jesus, on the other hand, corrected them, praising Mary’s deed (v.
- One critic points out that in this instance, Jesus prioritized his dedication to Himself over his love of neighbor, despite the fact that the Bible constantly extols the virtues of aiding the needy.
It is permissible to give extraordinary—and what some may consider extravagant—gifts to the Lord, as evidenced by his acceptance of Mary’s gift (14:6–9). When we give what we value to our Creator, He is grateful and accepts it with open arms.
Because our great and holy God is the owner of all of creation, everything we have is actually His property. However, He provides us with resources to manage, and one way we might express our thankfulness for His blessings is to return to Him those things that we hold in high regard. For the sake of the kingdom of God, let us be loyal in returning to our Creator His wonderful gifts, and let us be willing to give up what we consider to be important to us.
For Further Study
It is not uncommon for us to hear about allegedBiblecontradictions and then carefully investigate the sections in issue to discover that they are not, in fact, contradictions at all. One such alleged inconsistency is that the Gospel narratives appear to show that Jesus was anointed both before and after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. While this would be problematic if the Gospels were simply recounting one particular incident in history, that does not appear to be the case in this case. Throughout this essay, we’ll look at the four gospel stories from Matthew to John to argue that Jesus was not anointed for burial on a single occasion, but rather on two or possibly three consecutive times by a woman, with the first one not being done as a commemoration for Jesus’ burial.
The First Anointing
The first anointing of Jesus takes place in Luke 7:36–50, according to the chronology. The first anointing of Jesus takes place in Luke 7:36–50, according to the chronology. 1 This story differs from the portions in Matthew, Mark, and John that are fairly similar in content. Let’s take a look at the facts as they are reported in this passage:
- This incident took place in the home of Simon the Pharisee, who resided somewhere in Galilee, most likely in Capernaum, Nain, or Cana, at the time. It indicates that Jesus had just returned from Nain, where he had cured a widow’s son (Luke 7:11–16), and that he was now in Capernaum. Then, probably immediately after that, John the Baptist’s disciples came to him (Luke 7:19–23
- See also Matthew 11:1–6), and following that, Jesus gave a brief talk regarding John the Baptist (Luke 7:24–35
- See also Matthew 11:7–19
- See also Matthew 11:1–6). Moreover, according to the Gospel of Matthew, he specifically chastised Capernaum last (Matthew 11:23–30), and it appears that at this time Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus and his disciples to come for dinner
- Because John the Baptist was still alive at the time, this event appears to have occurred at least two years before the Crucifixion. John’s death is recounted in Matthew 14:10, Mark 6:27, and Luke 9:9, all of which occur somewhere within the first year of Jesus’ estimated three-year mission. According to the Bible, the Lord’s earthly ministry did not endure for a specific amount of time. It is commonly believed that Jesus’ ministry lasted three years because of the number of Passovers described in John’s Gospel
- However, his ministry could have been shorter or longer than three years
- The woman is referred to as a sinner, which could be a euphemism for a prostitute, and she is also unnamed
- She appears to have approached Jesus from behind, knelt down, broke open the flask, and began to weep
- Afterward, she cleaned Christ’s feet with her hair, crying as she did so, and then anointed Christ’s feet with fragrant oil (there is no mention of anointing Christ’s head)
- At this anointing, none of the disciples expressed concern about the expense of the ointment, but Simon the Pharisee expressed displeasure that Jesus would allow a renowned sinner to get close to him. During his discourse with this woman, Jesus acknowledged and pardoned her faults
The Second Anointing—Just Before the Triumphal Entry
The story in John 12:1–8 is the next one in the sequence of events. It differs significantly from Luke’s narrative, and while it is extremely close to Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts in many ways, it differs in a few important ways. Let’s go over the specifics of what was said in this passage:
- In Bethany, this event is believed to have taken place in the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha
- It took place six days before Passover (and a few days before the Triumphal Entry), and it corresponds to the timeline of the Matthew and Mark accounts, which are believed to have taken place four days later in the same city. The woman who anointed Jesus’ feet was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha
- Mary anointed and then wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair, but there is no mention of her crying, either before or during the time she is anointing Jesus’ feet with the spikenard oil
- And Mary anointed and then wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair
- It appears that Judas was the only one who was furious with Mary for what he saw to be a waste of money, and that was only because he was a thief in disguise. The other disciples, apparently out of respect for Mary (and Martha and Lazarus, whom they all knew), did not dare to speak out and admonish Mary, but they did so four days later to an unknown lady, according to the Bible. For example, it is possible that Judas moaned about this “extravagance” for days and “poisoned” the disciples’ views, such that four days after the anointing, they began to argue that it was a waste of time and expressed their displeasure publicly.
The Third Anointing—After the Triumphal Entry and Just Before the Crucifixion
Jesus’ last anointing is recorded chronologically in both theMatthew 26:6–13 andMark 14:3–9 narratives, which are identical to one another. Let’s have a look at the facts as they are reported in the two passages: Immediately following the Triumphal Entry and two days before the Passover, Christ was anointed with oil, which took place immediately before his death on the cross.
- This occurred in the house of Simon the Leper in Bethany, where the incident took place. Some have attempted to reconcile the Matthew and Mark narratives with the Luke account on the basis of the host’s name being Simon, but this has proven unsuccessful. This is certainly not the same Simon who appears in Luke’s story because a leper, even one who had been cleansed of his sins, would have been refused membership as a Pharisee. In addition, as previously stated, the dates and locations are different. As far as we know, this is the only story in which Jesus’ head (rather than his feet) was anointed. According to some stories, an anonymous lady broke an alabaster box containing fragrant oil (in other versions, it is referred to as “ointment”) and poured it on Jesus’ head. The lady appears to have approached Jesus from the front before she broke the box open
- Jesus mentions her, but does not appear to address her directly
- The box is identified as spikenard by Mark. She will be remembered as a result of her actions, according to him, everywhere the gospel is proclaimed. For some who have attempted to reconcile this narrative with the one recorded in John, it is exceedingly implausible that Jesus would not mention her name or speak directly to her if she was Mary, the sister of Lazarus, as some have claimed. But the circumstances are different this time, as previously said
- The lady here anointed Jesus’ head rather than his feet, and she did not do it with her hair
- And several of the disciples are concerned at the expense of this, with more than one objecting out loud. This anointing took place after the Triumphal Entry and two days before the Passover, just before Christ was crucified
- It took place after the Triumphal Entry and two days before the Passover
- It took place just before Christ was crucified
Another Possible Solution
Because of the many parallels between the stories of Matthew, Mark, and John, many experts believe that a different explanation than that provided above is preferable. 2 They think that the events described in these three Gospels occurred at the same time. Take a look at the following similarities:
- The ointment was evidently worth the same amount (300 denarii) according to the narratives, and several persons in the room objected to the deed
- Matthew and Mark describe the disciples as being outraged, while John states that Judas raised his voice in opposition to the conduct. When the Lord speaks to the disciples and Judas, His response is virtually same in all accounts, albeit His response in John is slightly shorter. In response, he informs them that they will always have the poor with them and that they should leave her alone because her actions are connected to his burial.
According to this probable harmonization, John is accurate in stating that this occurrence occurred in Bethany six days before the Passover celebration. When the incident took place, Matthew and Mark don’t say when it did so explicitly. In these two Gospels, it comes after a discussion of the Jewish authorities’ conspiring to capture and execute Jesus, a debate that was believed to have taken place two days before the Passover holiday. As a result of this proposed solution, Matthew and Mark in Matthew 26:14 and Mark 14:10 make a passing reference to the tale of Christ’s anointing that took place four days earlier before returning to the narrative of Christ’s betrayal by Judas.
This, however, poses a number of additional issues.
Although it is unlikely, it is plausible that Simon the Leper invited Jesus and his followers over for a supper, and that Martha aided with the food preparation at his home.
Also, according to this interpretation, the Lord’s head and feet were anointed at the same moment because Matthew and Mark mention the Lord’s head being anointed while John emphasizes the Lord’s feet being anointed.
Different Circumstances, Different Dates, and Different Accounts
In most cases, the anointing recounted in Luke is not the same as the anointing or anointings reported in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John. It has been demonstrated above that there are at least two feasible solutions to the purported conflict. Although I believe the first alternative makes more logic, any option demonstrates that the texts do not contradict one another. The specifics of all three versions varied greatly, and this is not due to any inconsistencies, but rather to the likelihood that Jesus was anointed with various oils at different times.
- There were three anointings that took place in three distinct residences in two different cities, with the first event taking place around two years before the second and third occurrences, respectively (which were four days apart).
- His feet were anointed three times, and during the final anointing, the pungent oil of spikenard was sprayed all over his head.
- Instead, it appears that the lady performed the anointing as a love and thankfulness gift, and that Jesus accepted her offering and forgiven her sins.
- In this instance, the “contradiction” comes as a result of the anointing sections being muddled or coerced into a single story when they are not intended to be combined.
The Anointing of Jesus at Bethany
It seemed as though I could hear the words of ages ago. “Arise. Anoint him with oil. “This is He,” he says. In the same vein as Samuel before me, I thought, “What better place for him to be than in the company of his brothers?” I took a few steps back and looked around at his companions, Lazarus, Simon Peter, James, and the rest. The words “two days” resounded in my head. Were they oblivious of his presence? He informed us that he will die in two days. In the same discourse, Christ foretells both his death and the establishment of his kingdom.
- Despite this, I’ve witnessed him bawl life into my deceased sibling.
- Something awful.
- will happen in two days.
- In death, he was a king.
- My hot fingers clasped the stone of the vial, which was refreshing to the touch.
- The alabaster jug was nestled in the folds of my robe when I took it out.
- Eventually, the dark liquid flowed down his temples and began to collect in his beard, before settling on both his shoulders.
My fingers clasped his cheek, spreading the nard across his face and neck.
Was I expecting a cacophony of “Hail the king” cries?
Wasn’t it evident that he deserved to be anointed properly?
Then there were howls of fury.
“What’s the point of wasting this perfume?” It might have been sold for more than a year’s earnings, and the proceeds could have been put to better use!” “Mary, what are you thinking?” says the narrator.
My deafening silence has been criticised.
A cloud of embarrassment gathered over all of the wrong things, threatening to engulf me.
I drew my hand away from the table.
“Can you tell me why you’re being so difficult with her?” Then he stretched out for my hand again and gripped it.
This scent will be used during my funeral.
I cast a peek around, hoping that someone else might question him more.
I’m not hearing or comprehending anything.
“Believe me when I say this.
“Everywhere in the globe!” He cracked a grin. After all, two days is hardly the end of the world. However, this is only the beginning. He is the Messiah, God’s Anointed, as I have declared it. ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
Jesus’ anointing (Mark 14:3-9) marked him as Messiah, prepared him for his coming crown, and memorialized the faith-filled ritual of a woman.
There is more to it than a commonplace funeral rite, despite the fact that it is sometimes regarded as little more than preparation for death. “One Smeared with Oil,” as the anointing act is known in the Bible, conjures up hallowed Old Testament associations with historical heritage, priestly ceremonies, kingly consecration, and the prophetic figure of Messiah, whose name literally translates as “One Smeared with Oil.” Among Israelis, the “Anointed One” was a popular title for the predicted future ruler of Israel.
Before beginning worship, the high priest of the temple was anointed.
This group of men had not only been selected by God for a specific job, but they had also been empowered by the presence of His Spirit and shielded by their position as God’s anointed.
In Luke 4:18, Jesus announces himself as the promised Messiah.
The only time Jesus is literally “Smeared with Oil” is by a woman serving as God’s anointing hand.
These tales, which are told in all four gospels, can be understood as either a single occurrence with varying editing, or as two separate events involving two distinct women at two different periods. It doesn’t matter how it happens, the lady (or women) is used to expose the identity of the Messiah, in a manner similar to Peter’s announcement, “You are the Christ!” but with one important distinction. Peter disputed the necessity of Jesus’ crucifixion immediately after making his proclamation, demonstrating a lack of comprehension and immature faith — a lapse Jesus referred to as diabolical – which Jesus condemned.
The woman’s act reveals complete understanding and mature faith.
Aside from believing in the deity of Jesus as the Christ, she also acknowledges that his death is a necessary component of his Messianic mission. Jesus can only ascend to the throne as a result of his impending death. As a result, Jesus declares that her anointing is preparing Him for the tomb. Her symbolic gesture speaks for her, just as the sign acts* of the mute Ezekiel expressed volumes without saying a single word. The woman’s anointing expresses her belief that Jesus is the Messiah and foretells that he would die in order to ascend to the throne of his people.
It is significant that a woman serves as the anointing agent.
In the Old Testament, anointing was used to declare monarchs, ordain priests, and herald the operation of the Holy Spirit. It was a transfer of authority from God himself to the people. The person who performed the anointing as well as the rite itself were both documented and hailed as watershed occasions in history. God used this modest lady to anoint His Son as King, and He picked her because she was humble.
It is easy to let her gender confuse the true importance of this occasion.
Her gender obscured the disciples’ understanding of the actual significance of her conduct. They despised her and valued her service just in terms of money, completely discounting her spiritual edge.
Jesus, on the other hand, was not blind to the symbolism. He acknowledged her actions and stated that they “will also be told in her memory.” She spilled the oil in order to remember him, but he thinks it should be used to remember her.
Have we remembered her?
She is a prophet of God who, through the use of a “sign act,”* announces the upcoming reign of King David. She foretells his death by preparing his body for burial, which she does before it occurs. And she establishes her gender as one that God may employ in critical situations.
She is Mary of Bethany, the woman who anointed Jesus.
What can we learn about real discipleship from the lady at Bethany (whom most biblical scholars believe to be Mary) and the other women in the Bible? What is anything you might do for Jesus in return for his sacrifice on your behalf that would be meaningful to him?
Wright, N. T., et al (2004). Women’s Service in the Church: The Biblical Basis will be held on September 4 at St John’s College in Durham. Susan Miller Miller, Susan (2006). The Woman who anoints Jesus (Mk 14.3-9) is a prophetic sign of the New Creation, according to the New Testament. Journal of Feminist Theology, January (14): 221–236. For centuries, prophetic messages and warnings were sent through pantomime to those who were observing.
Bible Gateway passage: John 12:1-8 – New International Version
The day before Passover, B)”>(B)Jesus traveled to Bethany, C)”>(C), where Lazarus dwelt, whom Jesus had resurrected from the grave six days before the festival of Passover. 2A supper was held in Jesus’ honor at this location. Martha served, D)”>(D)while Lazarus sat at the table with him and the others who had gathered around him. 3Then Mary brought approximately a pint of pure nard, which was a costly perfume; E)”>(E)she poured it on Jesus’ feet and rubbed his feet with her hair, which was a symbol of her devotion to her son.
In response to his objection, Judas Iscariot, one of his followers, who was ultimately to betray him, G)”>(G) questioned, “5”Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the proceeds given to the poor?” “It was the equivalent of a year’s pay.” Sixth, he did not say this because he want to aid the needy, but rather because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, H)”>(H)he was accustomed to taking what was placed in it for himself.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus said in response.
It’s true that you’ll always have the poor among you,J)”>(J)but it’s also true that you’ll never have me.” Read the entire chapter.
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Was Martha’s sister Mary a prostitute? What about Mary Magdalene? Do you think Mary, Martha’s sister, is the same person as Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom seven demons were cast away? I hear these queries surprisingly regularly. Here’s why. Stained glass depicting Martha and Mary at St. Nicholas Church, Orebro, Sweden. Public domain photo by David Castor. The gospels offer an account of Mary of Bethany—the sister of Martha and Lazarus—anointing Jesus’ feet and wiping them with her hair, and a narrative of a wicked woman doing the same.
- Additionally, popular culture often identifies the sinful woman as Mary Magdalene and depicts her as a prostitute.
- Thus it’s little wonder many ponder if Mary of Bethany was a demon-possessed prostitute.
- The simple answer:Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene were separate people and neither Mary was a prostitute.
- The New Testament differentiates between about eight women named Mary by noting to whom they’re related or from where they come.
- “Magdalene” means “of Magdala,” so Mary Magdalene came from the town of Magdala in Galilee.
- Mary of Bethany: This Mary knelt at the feet of Jesus while her sister Martha attended to the needs of the visitors. Watching as Jesus raised her brother Lazarus from the grave, she was overcome with emotion. She used costly perfume to anoint the crown of Jesus’ head and the soles of his feet. (For further information on this Mary, see the passages in Luke 10:38-42, John 11, and John 12:1-7.) Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven devils, which Jesus exorcised from her. She accompanied Jesus and the disciples on their journey, attending to their needs. Mary Magdalene was there at the crucifixion, and she was the first person to view the risen Jesus. (Passages regarding Mary Magdalene include Luke 8:2, Mark 15:40, and John 20:11-18, among other passages. )
The gospels describe a similar incident in which a lady cleaned Jesus’ feet with her hair at the home of a man called Simon, according to the tradition. In John’s account, Mary of Bethany is mentioned, whereas in Luke’s account, an unnamed sinful woman is mentioned. This is one of the reasons why some people believe Mary of Bethany is the sinful woman. Luke’s story, on the other hand, is markedly different from the others and must be considered a separate event:
Mary of Bethany
Aside from that, there is no way that Simon the leper and Simon the Pharisee could ever be the same person since a leper could never be a Pharisee. The fact that both foot perfumings took place in the home of a person called Simon may appear strange at first glance, but that name was fairly prevalent in Jesus’ day: According to the New Testament, there are around nine persons called Simon, including two of Jesus’ followers and one of Jesus’ brothers. Mary of Bethany is never depicted as a prostitute in the Bible.
Prostitution, adultery, debt, and being married to someone who works in a dishonorable trade are all possibilities for the forgiven wicked lady according to Luke’s story, which does not specify what her fault was (such as tax collecting).
However, there is no connection between Mary Magdalene and her in the Bible.
What led to the notion being so popular in the first place?
This misconception was dispelled by Vatican II, which declared that Mary Magdalene was neither the forgiven sinner of Luke 7 nor the Mary of Bethany.
That’s all there is to it: In the Bible, neither Mary nor Elizabeth are shown as prostitutes, but rather as sinners who have been forgiven and who have become disciples of Jesus the Christ.
- In Darrell L. Bock’s Luke Volume 1: 1:1-9:50, Baker Encyclopedia of Christianity (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), 690.
- Bock, 695. St. Mary Magdalene: Redeeming Her Gospel Reputation,” The Catholic Update, AmericanCatholic.org, May 2006
- Carol Ann Morrow, “St. Mary Magdalene: Redeeming Her Gospel Reputation,” The Catholic Update, AmericanCatholic.org, May 2006