The anointing (1)

210404 01 – Mark 14:1-11

Mark 14:1-11
¹Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away; and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him; ²for they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people.”
³While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head.
⁴But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted?
⁵For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her.
⁶But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me.
⁷For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.
⁸She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.
⁹Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
¹⁰Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them.
¹¹They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time.


After answering the questions about the end times, Jesus leaves for Bethany. At his guest address, the house of Simon the leper (Mark 14:3), a meal awaits Him.

This Simon was still known by the name “Simon the leper”, but apparently he was no leper anymore, as he now had contact with people around him and could invite them to his house. It is possible that he was one of the lepers who were healed by Jesus.

Some interpret this story, based on John 12:1,2, that Martha the sister of Mary and Lazarus, was also there, and was serving the table. However, this is not stated here, and in my opinion they confuse different occurrences. I will come back to this later, but first I want to continue with what we read here in the Bible.

Then it happens.
While everyone is eating, a woman comes and honors her Master by anointing His head with an alabaster bottle of very expensive spikenard oil (Mark 14:3-5; One penny was the daily wages of a laborer, see Matthew 20:2) .
Such a bottle was used by rich ladies for a lifetime after bathing. That’s why it had a very narrow neck opening. This is clearly in her way now. So she resolutely breaks the whole neck off, and pours the oil over Jesus’ head (Mark 14:3).

Actually she does a lot more.
She anoints Jesus as God’s Servant (Cf. Leviticus 8:10-12), to serve the Father in heaven. She sets Jesus aside for the greatest service a man has ever rendered to God. She does this with the best anointing oil she could get, because she loves her Lord with everything in her.

Moreover, she anoints Him in advance with a view to the embalming to which He was also entitled, but which He would not receive (Mark 14:6,8; See Mark 16:1,2).

Today we still speak of her love to Jesus (Mark 14:9)!

Question for self-reflection

▪︎ Those present immediately thought about money (Mark 14:4-7; Deuteronomy 15:11). How would your reaction be?

Prayer suggestion

▪︎ Pray that your whole life may be one great sacrifice to Jesus, your Savior and Lord.

Twitter: @SchoemakerHarry
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