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Summary: What would your plans be if you knew you had only six days to live? Jesus took time to visit dear friends and fellowship with them. Their home was in the city of Bethany, and there Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus were included in a feast given in honor of Jesus.

HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

November 7, 2007

DATE: TUESDAY OF CHRIST’S LAST WEEK ON EARTH

LOCATION: BETHANY

Title: Anointing By Mary at Simon’s Feast

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 26:6-13 (FOCAL PASSAGE); Mark 14.39;

INTRODUCTION

What would your plans be if you knew you had only six days to live? Jesus took time to visit dear friends and fellowship with them. Their home was in the city of Bethany, and there Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus were included in a feast given in honor of Jesus. Mary’s adoration for her Lord was apparent and not only revealed her love, but it brought joy to His heart, exposed Judas’s sin, and gave the church an example to follow. Are the places where you go filled with Christ’s fragrance because of you? “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things” (2 Cor. 2:15–16)?

COMMENTARY

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (Matthew 26:6-7)

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. (Mark 14:3)

There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (John 12:2-3)

Bethany was a village only two miles from Jerusalem. The two sisters, Mary and Martha, lived there with their brother Lazarus; the same one that Jesus raised from the dead. Lazarus was described as a person that Jesus loved, and the Lord gave evidence of that love when He wept at his tomb. In spite of the large numbers, who were opposed to Jesus, there were still a few hearts which beat with true love for Him.

Now Lazarus is in attendance at a supper given in our Lord’s honor, where he thought he would have an opportunity for a pleasant conversation with Jesus. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, was there and she served the food out of respect for the Master. Although, she was a person of quality, she did not think it below her to serve tables. In fact, she was willing to stoop to any service, whereby Christ would be honored. At an earlier feast given in his honor Christ had scolded Martha for being troubled with much serving. However, she did not stop serving as most people would, who have been rebuked by such a respected person as Christ was. Perhaps she felt that it was better to be a waiter at Christ table than a guest of a prince. Lazarus, by being there proved his resurrection was true. Note; those whom Christ has raised up to a new spiritual life will sit together with him (Ephesians 2:5-6)[1].

This feast was held six days before Passover in the house of Simon the leper. He was probably the man who had been miraculously cleansed from his leprosy by our Lord Jesus, and he would naturally want to show his gratitude to Christ by entertaining him. By opening his house to friends and strangers, we certainly have proof of his healing, because lepers were considered to be unclean, and therefore were not permitted to socialize or even live in cities. And Christ did not hesitate to speak with him, go to his house, and dine with him. Although, he was cleansed, he was still called Simon the leper as a testimony to his healing, but that is all we know about him.

By comparing this passage with John 12:1-8 (particularly verse 4), a reasonable conclusion can be drawn concerning Simon, that he was the father of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our Lord.

Jesus was at the house of Simon the leper when a woman[TL1] came in and poured out a flask of very expensive ointment[TL2] on His head. The costliness of her sacrifice expressed the depth of her devotion for the Lord Jesus, saying, in effect, that there was nothing too good for Him.

John identifies this woman as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus. She is found only three times in the gospels, and in each instance she is at the feet of Jesus. She sat at his feet and listened to the word (Luke 10:38-42); she came to his feet in sorrow after the death of Lazarus’ (John 11:28-32); and she worshipped at his feet when she anointed him with the ointment (John 12:1). Mary was a deeply spiritual woman. She found at his feet her blessing, she brought to his feet her burdens, and she gave at his feet her best.

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