Summary: Jesus was anointed at least twice in His ministry with the last time being just days before His crucifixion. What do we see in these accounts that is often overlooked?
Mary’s Singular Focus
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
1 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love one another as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil.
“Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. This is what God has called you to do and He will bless you for it.”
(Illustration from Sermon Central -
“One night a wife found her husband standing over their infant’s crib. As she watched him looking down at their very first baby, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism. Touched by this unusual display and deep emotions, with eyes glistening she slipped her arm around her husband. "A penny for your thoughts," she said.
"It’s amazing" he replied. "I just can’t see how anybody can make a crib like that for only $46.50."
What’s that saying? Some people can’t see the forest for the trees. Sometimes when you concentrate on the details of a problem, you lose sight of the overall picture; in other words you focus on the unimportant, rather than on the important things. You miss the big picture.”
The passages we will be reading today include events recorded in all four of the Gospels and they all have one thing in common; The Anointing of Jesus.
The accounts of this event are found in:
First let’s read Mark 14:1-9
OK, now let’s turn to Luke 7:36-50
(Prayer for help)
All of these are the accounts of Jesus being anointed by a woman during a dinner given in His honor.
Who is it that anoints Jesus?
It is interesting to read these accounts and to see the differences.
- In Matthew and Mark, Jesus is anointed by “a woman”
- In Luke Jesus is anointed by “a woman … who lived a sinful life …”
- In John Jesus in anointed by Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus
Where are the dinners held?
In Matthew and Mark, Jesus is at the home of Simon the Leper
- Apparently Simon had been healed from leprosy otherwise he would be outside the village yelling out “unclean, unclean” whenever anyone would come near and he would not be allowed in a house in the town or village
In Luke, Jesus has been invited to a dinner in the home of Simon who is a Pharisee
- Is this the same Simon found in Matthew and Mark? Probably not …
- According to the rules of the Pharisees a leper could never be a Pharisee even if he had been healed of the disease
- FYI - there are nine men in the Bible named Simon and at least six women named Mary and this is all in a relatively small pool of names found in the New Testament
In John there is no indication of where the dinner was held but it indicates that Martha is serving while Mary is anointing Jesus.
What about the timing of the events?
- Matthew and Mark say that the dinner took place two days before the Passover began
- In Luke the dinner seems to be early in Jesus’ ministry as it appears that John the Baptist is still alive and sending some of his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the Messiah or not.
In John it doesn’t say exactly when the dinner takes place.
- Some seem to think it took place six days before the Passover
- Other’s seem to believe that the Scripture does not say exactly WHEN the dinner took place
- What the Scripture DOES say is, “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’ honor.”
- All we can draw from that is that Jesus arrived in Bethany six days before the Passover and sometime between then and the Passover a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor …
So, what happened at these dinners?
- In each dinner Jesus is anointed with “very expensive perfume” from an “alabaster jar” or simply “expensive perfume” from “a jar”.
- In John it says that, “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.’”