John 11 and Mark 14
Wednesday. Jesus had spent the day before preaching in the Temple. He prophesied its destruction, and He warned about the end times. When the chief priests and the scribes heard this, they sought how they might put Him to death, but they waited until it was politically expedient; until the feast day was over, so they wouldn't upset the people.
Jesus then went to the town of Bethany for the night, which is less than two miles outside of Jerusalem on the southeastern slope. In the house of Simon, the leper (who we can assume is a leper no more and that he was healed by the Master since Jesus, the 12 disciples, and others were eating in his house, which would be forbidden if he still had leprosy), a woman came with an alabaster box of ointment. In the book of John, we're told that Jesus was in the home of Lazarus. John names the woman as Mary, Lazarus' sister. We're told in other passages that Jesus, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were close friends and that Jesus loved them.
In John chapter 11, Lazarus was sick, and they sent word to Jesus to come quickly and heal him. Jesus waited and continued where He was so that "the Son of God might be gloried thereby." (John 11:4). When Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus died, Martha ran out to meet Jesus. When she returned to the house, she told her sister that the Master called for her. Mary when to Him and fell at His feet and said, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Jesus wept with her and then went to the tomb, and raised Lazarus from the dead. Mary knew who Jesus was, and now she knew He had power over death.
Many things have been written about the box and the ointment that Mary used to anoint Jesus. What we know for sure is that it was very expensive and very precious. Mary had a job to do. She broke the box and anointed our Savior. She anointed His feet and wiped them with her hair. Jesus said that she did this for His burial. If so, she was the only follower of Christ who physically demonstrated that she believed what Jesus had said about going to Jerusalem to die.
We're told that witnesses were disgusted by her act of devotion. The trader Judas lamented the waste, no doubt regretting that he would be able to personally profit from the gift. Or worse, they were indignant about the act. Outwardly at least, he said it could have been given to the poor. Jesus saw into all of their hearts, revealing the love and faith of Mary and the greed and selfishness of Judas. Jesus is the light of the World, and nothing is hidden from Him. Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart.
Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come forehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial for her.
It was then that Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus. He wouldn’t be able to hide his sin much longer. Mary had anointed her Savior. She anointed the High Priest. Maybe it was then that Judas realized Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. Maybe he was only interested In what he could gain in this life by following such a powerful leader, and bitter disappointment blinded him to eternal truth. In Matthew 27:3-5 we're told,
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
The anointer, by faith, gave her full devotion to the Son of God, who had earned her unreserved trust. Judas died in despair after looking out for himself and rejecting the way, the truth, and the life. Do you know Him? Do you trust His word?