About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
begin, all four gospels record an event where a woman anointed Jesus.
They are found in Matthew 36:6 to 13, Mark 14:3 to 9, Luke 7:36 to
50, and here. The account in
Luke is not the same as the account here in John.
Some suggest that Matthew and Mark's account is the same as here in
John while others suggest they might be two different accounts. John's
account just seems a bit different. That
is to say, it was more of a preparation for Jesus' death.
One things seem sure though. All
accounts, except for Luke's account, Mary, the sister of Martha is doing
verse 1 John tells us that this event took place six
days before the Passover, the last Passover Jesus would attend. Bethany
is about two miles to the east of Jerusalem.
should note that in Matthew 26:2 the text appears to state the timing of
this event differently than John. Matthew
says it was two days before Passover, not six days as stated here by John.
I think there might be a
logical solution to this apparent discrepancy.
First of all, Matthew, as most Hebrew writers wrote, was not all
that interested in chronology of events.
I believe this is key here. Matthew
26:1 tells us that after Jesus said certain things there were two days
before Passover. Obviously
then, what Jesus said in Matthew 25 was two day before Passover, but, it
was six days before Passover when we see the dinner held in honour of
2 tells that that a dinner was held in Jesus' honour.
Matthew 26:6 tells us that this dinner was at the home of Simon the
Leper. Of course, he was no
longer a leper because Jesus had healed him.
Some suggest that Simon and Martha were married but there is no
evidence of that. It appears
to me from the last chapter that Martha had her own home.
Simon and Martha were probably neighbours.
says that Lazarus was one of the people reclining at the table with Jesus
to eat this meal. Wouldn’t
it have been nice if we could have listened in on that conversation?
Here Lazarus and Jesus were sitting side by side, and we don’t
know what they were talking about. My
guess is that part of the conversation had to do with Lazarus’
resurrection from the dead.
must remember that people did not sit on chairs at a table to eat a meal.
They reclined on large cushions on the floor.
It should also be noted that only men reclined at a meal in those
also note that Martha was doing the serving, as we see in the other gospel
accounts. Martha seems to be
the one who always does the work and has things under control. She seems
to be more of a business type than her sister.
verse 3 we note that sometime during the evening Mary, the sister of
Lazarus and Martha, took some expensive perfume made of nard and poured it
on Jesus’ feet. Nard was a
plant that when dug up had a very nice odor to its roots.
This was an expensive perfume imported from
the centuries people have romanticized Mary and Jesus' friendship but I do
not believe their was any romantic feelings, at least on Jesus' part.
That being said, we must remember that Jesus was temped in every
way a normal man was tempted. So,
I am sure He felt temptation while in Mary's presence.
this point I should explain further just how Mary was able to wash Jesus'
feet with perfume. People in
those days and in that culture did not sit on chairs and eat off of tables
like us. The tables were low
to the ground. People laid on
cushions on the floor, often leaning on one elbow, with their feet spread
out behind them. To be clear,
their feet were not under the table. They
were behind them and that is why Mary could reach Jesus' feet.
This would be impossible if Jesus had been sitting on a chair with
his feet under the table.
the men observing what Mary was doing. it was probably very disgusting.
Mary was doing a private and intimate thing in public, but once
again, this was not a sexual thing for Mary, or so I believe.
It was a supreme act of worship.
We need to understand that when we worship Jesus today, it is an
act of spiritual intimacy. Worship
is more than singing songs and hymns.
Of course I'm speaking here of worship that we do in a gathering of
the saints. Worship is far
more than simply singing songs
of worship in a meeting.
scholars believe the Mary mentioned here by John is not Mary the sister of
Martha but Mary Magdalene whom they believe to have been a prostitute
before meeting Jesus. The
reason why they believe this is due to Mary' loosening her hair, but I
think the context suggests that this Mary is Martha’s sister.
The mention of both Martha and Lazarus in the same paragraph leads
me to believe this.
verse 4 we note that Judas was upset by the fact that Mary used this
expensive perfume on Jesus. John
said this perfume was worth a whole year's wage.
In other words, it was the yearly wage of the average common
worker. He felt that Mary
should have sold it and given the money to the poor.
name Iscariot, as in Judas Iscariot, can mean either one of two things.
It can refer to a city in
verse 6 John tells us the real reason why Judas was so concerned, and it
had nothing to do with poor people. John
says that Judas was the treasurer of Jesus’ band of followers and that
he was also a thief and every so often would help himself to the money.
He would have loved to have had the value of that perfume in the
money bag so he could help himself to it.
is also interesting to note that Jesus made Judas in charge of the money
they needed to do what they did. Jesus
knew Judas was a thief, but still he let him in charge of the money
anyway. This goes
against all human common sense, but again, Jesus was not justy human.
He was God in human flesh.
is also interesting to note that Jesus needed a money bag and someone in
charge of it. Yes, Jesus
needed money to do the things He needed to do, but, was money an all
consuming thing for Jesus? No,
it wasn’t, or else He would not have put Judas in charge of the money.
history of the word "bag" we see here goes as follows.
Musicians used to carry bags where they'd put their mouth pieces
in, like a flute. This bag
eventually was used for other things, like a money bag.
verse 7 Jesus rebukes Judas with what I believe were sharp and harsh words
when He said, "leave her alone," or as to say, "stop
NIV says that the perfume was intended for the day of Jesus' burial.
There is some discrepancy over what Jesus meant here.
Jesus might have understood Mary anointing Him as an act of worship
instead of saving the perfume for the embalming process after He died.
It is like saying, she’s spending her money on me while I am
alive instead of after I’m dead.
the other hand, I'm not sure that Mary understood that Jesus was about
ready to soon die. Did she
really think in terms of Mary saving this for His burial or was this in
fact Jesus' thoughts or interpretation of this event?
Jesus might well have been putting a prophetic slant to what Mary
verse 8 Jesus says that "you will always have the poor among you, but
you will not always have me." This
is an interesting statement. Jesus
is putting Himself ahead of the poor in this particular instance.
The poor will always be around, but Jesus will not always be
around. As a matter of fact,
Jesus only had a few days left before His death, something those with Him
at that moment didn't realize. Jesus
is putting things in their proper perspective.
Yes, there is a time to feed the poor, but the poor did not come
before Jesus at that particular moment in time.
liberal church is very socially conscious, but social consciousness apart
from Jesus is not Biblical. Jesus
needs to be the centre of all the good works we do.
We worship Him first, and then we go and feed the poor.
Feeding the poor should be a natural outgrowth of our relationship
reference to feeding the poor might well be in reference to Deuteronomy
15:4 and 11.
verse 9 we note that a large crowd came to not only see Jesus but also
Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
We must remember, this was just days before Passover.
All Jews, if at all possible, were to visit
verses 10 and 11 we see that the
kill Lazarus because on account of
said this before, but I will say it again.
Jesus raising Lazarus has great significance to Jesus' death.
For one thing I think it is a prophetic illustration that there
would be another resurrection, not too many days in the future.
Another significance is the raising of Lazarus from the dead was
the final straw that made the Jews kill Jesus.
In other words, life for Lazarus meant death for Jesus.