Mary – First of two anointings by two different women, John 12:1-11

Mary, sister of both Lazarus and Martha, anointed Jesus’ feet with spikenard six days before He was to be crucified. Spikenard is a very expensive perfumed ointment used for anointing the dead.

Judas Iscariot objected to this apparent waste of money, protesting that it should have been given to the poor. Jesus replied that while the poor will always be with us, I will be crucified in just a few days time.

This happened at the house were Mary, Lazarus, and Martha lived. This is the same Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead.

This was His first of two anointing in a week with perfumed ointment, the next took place two days prior to the crucifixion. Mary knew that her friend was going to die on the Cross, while those around her, whom Jesus was still teaching, could not believe, or understand, that this was going to happen.

Background Reading:

Mary Anointed Jesus at Bethany in her home

12:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany, where Lazarus lived, the man whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a litron of very expensive perfume made of pure nard and anointed Jesus’ feet. She wiped his feet with her hair, and the house became filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, who was going to betray him, asked, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the destitute?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the destitute, but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the moneybag and would steal what was put into it.

7 Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone so she can observe the day of my burial, 8 because you will always have the destitute with you, but you won’t always have me.”

The Plot against Lazarus

9 When the large crowd of Jews realized that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the high priests planned to kill Lazarus, too, 11 since he was the reason why so many of the Jews were leaving to believe in Jesus.
John 12:1-11
Read the other times Jesus was anointed with perfume: Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9 and Luke 7:36

More Information:

The jars were sealed and had to be broken for the contents to be used. So it was use the jar once and throw it away. The perfume was usually used on the wearer at their death. The perfume cost about a year’s wages.


Other modules in this unit: