Mark 14:3-9

14:3 While he was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster jar of ointment of pure nard—very costly. She broke the jar, and poured it over his head. 14:4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, saying, “Why has this ointment been wasted? 14:5 For this might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” They grumbled against her.

14:6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me. 14:7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want to, you can do them good; but you will not always have me. 14:8 She has done what she could. She has anointed my body beforehand for the burying. 14:9 Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News may be preached throughout the whole world, that which this woman has done will also be spoken of for a memorial of her.”

(World English Bible)

A few points to get out of the way:

  • The version of this story in John (12:1-9) is very different. In fact, he makes it into a non-story. I assume he does this to focus on Judas. I don’t want to talk about Judas or John yet (I’ll talk about Judas when I do Matthew 26:50).
  • We recently looked at this story in class, where we focussed on the transgressive behaviour of the woman: women were not allowed at the table when visitors were present; the host should wash the guests feet, not his head; the fact that this story opens the passion, and it is a woman who anoints Jesus.

I like this little story and I can’t help giving it a naive reading: there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the finer things in life (especially perfume).

Discussing the story with my son, he offered a better reading: worshipping Jesus is more important than helping the poor.

1 Comment

  1. […] Oh, I see I’ve already written all this for Mark. […]

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