3 While He was in Bethany [as a guest] at the home of [a]Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, a [b]woman came with an alabaster vial of very costly and precious perfume of pure [c]nard; and she broke the vial and poured the perfume over His head. 4 But there were [d]some who were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 For this perfume might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii [a laborer’s wages for almost a year], and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why are you bothering her and causing trouble? She has done a good and beautiful thing to Me.7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do something good to them; but you will not always have Me.8 She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.9 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, wherever the good news [regarding salvation] is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Mark 14:3John the Apostle identifies this woman as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus (Matt 26:7; John 12:3). Jesus was anointed in a similar way by an unnamed woman when he was in Galilee dining at the home of a Pharisee (Luke 7:36-39).
12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom He had raised from the dead.2 So they gave a supper for Him there. Martha was serving, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Then [a]Mary took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure [b]nard, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, the one who was going to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for [c]three hundred denarii and [the money] given to the poor?” 6 Now he said this, not because he cared about the poor [for he had never cared about them], but because he was a thief; and since he had the money box [serving as treasurer for the twelve disciples], he used to pilfer what was put into it. 7 So Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep [the rest of] it for the day of My burial.8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”
John 12:3There were two anointings of Jesus. This one in Bethany by Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Matt 26:7; Mark 14:3), and the other in the area of Galilee by an unnamed woman (Luke 7:37, 38).
John 12:3This was a thick, scented oil obtained from the root of a flowering plant grown in the Himalayas of Tibet and in the northern regions of India and Nepal.
John 12:5I.e. about a year’s wages for an ordinary workman.
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