Event: A supper
Date: Six days before the Passover
Place: At the house of Nazarus, Martha, and Mary in Bethany
Invitee: Jesus and disciples
Records found in Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-8
The writers of the three Gospel books focus on three people in this event: a woman, Judas Iscariot, and Jesus.
When Jesus was at the table, a woman (Mary) with an alabaster jar of very expensive oil came, broke the jar, and poured it on His head. Judas Iscariot said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted?”
In this scene, we see the contrasted image and emotions between the woman and Judas.
John recorded the name of the woman as Mary, sister of Nazarus. Jesus raised him from the dead, and the house must be full of joy and gratitude. The deep and overwhelming gratitude toward the savior made this woman bring out her the most precious heart and break the alabaster jar of expensive oil. She valued life greater than what she could offer. Jesus was the Savior for her family and herself. Mary anointed Jesus by pouring oil in His head and wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair.
When Judas saw Mary pour costly fragrant oil in Jesus' head, he was indignant. He said, “Why this waste?” Judas wasn’t the only one who was indignant (Matthew 26:8),’ but also ‘His disciples’ (Mark 14:4). John recorded the reason for Judas’ criticism, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. (John 13:6).” We can see Judas went astray and betrayed after this event. Judas and the disciples calculated the money value and were blinded by the greed. The disciples who followed Jesus and spent the most time with Jesus criticized the act of this woman’s dedication to Jesus, her Savior.
Jesus knew his time was coming and what kind of death and suffering was ahead of him. It was six days before Passover, the path of cross. Jesus berated disciples who creticized the woman and said, “she did it for My burial. (Matthew 26:12, Mark 14:8, John 12:7)
Matthew 26 (NKJV)
6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,
7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.
8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?
9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.
11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.
12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.
13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted?
5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.
7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.
8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.
9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
12 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.
2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said,
5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”
6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.
8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”