Mary of Bethany Anoints Jesus
26 total verses: Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11
Brief description of action taking place or point being made
234. Jesus in Bethany in John 12:1
235. Mary anoints Jesus in Simon’s house in John 12:2-8
236. Mary’s deed recounted in Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9
237. Crowds come to see Jesus and Lazarus in John 12:9
238. Chief priests conspire to kill Lazarus in John 12:10-11
1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?
Specific questions on this passage
After Completing the Bible Reading
Broader outline of each section of passage
John 12:2-8. Lazarus’ family throws a special dinner for Jesus while he is in Bethany. During the dinner, Mary anoints Jesus with pure nard. Judas Iscariot complains about the waste of the expensive ointment. But Jesus defended her, saying it was to prepare him for burial.
Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9. These verses tell the same story as the previous section. One of the added things in this account is Jesus saying that Mary’s story would be told wherever the Gospel is preached.
John 12:9-11. Lazarus was pretty famous because Jesus raised him from the dead, so people came to see Lazarus. This upset the chief priests, so they decided to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus.
My favorite passage and other random thoughts
I think my favorite verse from this chapter is from John 12:3 “Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair” (NIV). There is so much I could say about this — in fact, I have written a several page article about it, if you have the time and endurance to read. You read it at http://www.wowgod.org/extravagant-love-a-reflection-on-mary-of-bethany/ if you are interested.
But to spare you reading this, in brief, what I like is that this is an incredible demonstration of extravagant love — sacrificial love. This cost Mary in so many ways, and yet it was given from a pure heart, and Jesus received it as such. It challenges me to love Jesus way more than I do now, and it challenges me to face my own fears of ridicule and my desire to look good, especially in front of people I like and respect. Mary took a lot of criticism for this, because most people seemed to either not understand what she was doing, or were embarrassed by it.