Jesus anointed with perfume

W. A. Criswell tells of an ambitious young man who told his pastor he’d promised God a tithe of his income. They prayed for God to bless his career. At that time he was making $40.00 per week and tithing $4.00. In a few years his income increased and he was tithing $500 … More

Giving

Two days before the Feast of the Passover, which was about the 14th of April, the Sanhedrin was gathered at the house of Caiaphas to discuss when and how they might put Jesus to death (v. 1). This last act of Jesus’ life was to take place in a city crammed with Jews who had come from the ends of the earth. It was compulsory for every male Jew who lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem to come to the Passover, but it was the ambition of every Jew to eat at least one Passover in Jerusalem before he died. It is estimated that there was close to 3,000,000 people there. Since Jesus was surrounded by many who liked Him the religious leaders were afraid to kill Him during the Feast (v. 2).

 

During this time Jesus was staying at the home of Simon the Leper in the village of Bethany (vv. 3-9). It was the custom to pour a few drops of perfume on a guest when he sat down at a meal. A woman with a flask of perfume, made in India, broke it and anointed Him with the contents. Her action brought criticism from some of the bystanders (John specifically says this was Judas - John 12:1-5) who said that it could have been sold and the money given to the poor. This can be understood because its worth is estimated at almost one year’s pay and this would seem wasteful. However, Jesus said, “Ye have the poor with you always....but me ye have not always.”

Application

When it comes to giving money, which of the following factors do you consider?

___ IRS deduction.

___ how great is the need?

___ how will it be used?

___ what will others think?

___ do I believe in the cause?

Mark 14:1-9 (English Standard Version)

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people." And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, "Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they scolded her. But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »