Summary of passages: Matthew 26:1-16: Jesus tells the disciples that the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified. The chief priests and elders assembled in the palace of the high priest of Caiaphas and plotted to arrest him and kill him. But not during the Passover Feast or the people may riot.
That night while Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper a woman came to him and anointed him with expensive perfume. The disciples were indignant, saying she could have sold that perfume and give the money to the poor. Jesus chastised them, saying she was doing a beautiful thing for him who will not always be with them. She was preparing him for burial.
Judas went to the chief priests and offered to hand Jesus over to them. They offered him 20 silver coins and Judas agreed.
Mark 14:3-9: Mark adds the details that the perfume could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and some present rebuked her. She did what she could.
John 12:1-11: John says this happens 6 days before the Passover while Matthew says it was only 2 days. He says it happened at a dinner given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served and Lazarus was present. Mary was the one who took the bottle of perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. It says Judas was the one to object and his motives were selfish: he wanted the money for himself and since he was apparently in charge of the disciples’ money, he would take some for himself.
A large crowd came to the house to see Jesus and Lazarus. Hence, the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well since many were being converted to Christ because of the testimony of Lazarus.
3) Personal Question. My answer: It challenges me to give the most precious possessions I own to Jesus as Mary did and to humble myself before him with no regard to how it may be perceived by others or what repercussions might come about.
4a) Personal Question. My answer: Apparently, Judas was a greedy man and probably jealous of Jesus. Jealousy and greed lead to even greater sins of betrayal and even selling your soul. Lesson is to be on guard against such sins.
b) He was paid 30 pieces of silver. In Exodus we learn 30 pieces of silver was the penalty to be paid to a master if a man’s bull gores a slave. The bull must also be stoned. In Zechariah the shepherd was paid 30 pieces of silver for his work, which the Lord said to throw back to the potter so the shepherd did. The shepherd here is Jesus. Read more of Zechariah for context here.
The point here is that 30 pieces of silver (about $25 today) was a small amount–the amount a slave was worth and a slave’s life was worth. Christ was valued as nothing when in reality his gift to us is priceless.
5a) According to Jesus and recorded in all 3 gospels here, the perfume was serving as an anointment for burial. Here, the heart gift is important. Mary was giving Jesus all her heart and all her worship. She was giving him all she had–all his due–all that is his. She (a woman) understood the coming days.
When you do, when you give, and when you live all for him, you do no wrong.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Well, “good things” is subjective. I don’t think any time spent in prayer, reading the Bible, or worship is a waste. Could I be doing other things and do others things call my attention? Yes. Time is a precious commodity and it is always a trade-off when we decide how to spend our time. But I don’t “consider” any time I do spend a waste. I am called to spend time with the Lord and I consider it a privilege every time I do.
I’m not tapping my foot during worship, impatient if that’s what this is about. I think it’s all a priority. You spend time with God first, others second, your stuff last. Whether you always do this or not is a different question. But no time is a waste when spent on God. No matter how little or how much you do do.
Conclusions: Lots of reading for this day and in the coming days of parallel passages. It was interesting just how much different John is from Matthew and Mark. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is a contradiction. Since Matthew and Mark doesn’t give dates, it could be a flashback for Matthew and Mark as they record events out of order. They really don’t say specifically like John does. Jesus was at Bethany for a whole week before Passover so this could have taken place any time during that week.
I wonder why Mary wasn’t mentioned by name in Matthew and Mark and neither was Lazarus. Fascinating.
End Notes: Jesus is now done with his teachings. The rest is preparing for his crucifixion.
Matthew’s use of the words “assembled” and “plotted” is deliberate. It is supposed to remind the readers of Psalm 31:13.
Simon the Leper is unknown in Scripture outside of this verse. We can presume he was one Jesus cured but his distinction still stuck.
Caiaphas was high priest from 15 AD-36 AD. This was an extraordinarily long time for a high priest. This shows just how skilled Caiaphas was in keeping the Jews and the Romans happy.
Two years after the crucifixion of Christ, both Caiaphas and Pilate were out of power, replaced by the future Roman Emperor Vitellius. Caiaphas killed himself after this, some say out of guilt of the crucifixion of Christ.
Amazing how the high priests thought they were in control. They did not want to kill Christ during Passover; but as we’ve seen, Christ is in control and his plan was different.
Scholars believe the Mary in John is the sister of Lazarus and Martha.
Why is this story not recorded in Luke? There is in Luke 7:36-50. Scholars believe Luke’s a separate anointing that took place in Galilee. Still, some of the details in Luke’s account mirrors John’s account such as the anointing of the feet and the wiping of the hair.
This is one of those things we’ll have to ask John and Luke about when we get to heaven!
Was this waste? If everything is from Jesus, then it’s all for Jesus as well. This was an intense act of love, giving Jesus all his due. Hence the chastisement of Judas and others.
Judas, having been rebuked publicly by Jesus here, probably took this as the last straw. Hence, his desire to turn Jesus over for profit. His jealousy probably raged here and he desired revenge.
Many scholars have speculated as to Judas’ motivations. Some point out he may have been from Judea, making him the only disciple from that area. Hence, he might resent the prominence of the others. Some say he wanted Jesus to reveal himself so he thought his actions would hurry this up. Some even say he didn’t believe Jesus to be the Messiah and he decided to cut his losses.
Whatever Judas’ motivations, we only know the outcome: Judas sold Jesus for greed. He profited. That’s all the Bible says and that is sufficient for us believers. All of God’s word is sufficient.