May 15. Mary Anoints Jesus for Burial

Mt. 26:6-13; Mk. 14:3-9; Jn. 11:55-12:11

The Jews remembered that Caiaphas had ordered that Jesus be put to death and that the chief priests and Pharisees had commanded that if anyone knew where He was, they were to report it so He could be arrested. As they prepared for the Passover, the big question on their minds was, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?”

Bethany was a town a mile or two outside of Jerusalem. It was here that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead several weeks earlier. When He arrived, He and the disciples went to the house of Simon the tanner. His dear friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha were there and Martha served while they ate.

While they were eating, Mary brought a pound alabaster flask of oil of spikenard and poured it on Jesus’ head and feet. This was an expensive fragrant perfume mixed with oil and worth about three hundred denarii or more (nearly a year’s wages). She then wiped His feet with her hair.

Judas and some of the other apostles thought it was a waste of money because this could have been sold and given to the poor. Since Judas was a thief and had been taking from the money box, which he carried, this “waste” particularly outraged him.

Jesus praised Mary’s action. He said that they would have the poor with them always, but that they would not have Him always. They could take care of the poor after He was gone. Mary had looked at the spiritual side of life and had done it for His burial. They would have done the same thing for Him if He had been dead, but she did it for Him while He was still alive. “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Many of the local Jews came to the place where Jesus was to see Lazarus because of his being raised from the dead. The chief priests then plotted to have him put to death also, since many of the Jews believed in Jesus because of him.