Mary Annoints Jesus' Feet

Speaker: 
Will Robinson

Scripture Reference(s):

John 12:1 - 11 (NASB) 1Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus 
had raised from the dead. 
 Mark 14:3 While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came 
a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it 
over His head. 
 
 
2So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 
3Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her 
hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 
 Matthew/Mark: “A woman”. Mary = Sister of Martha and Lazarus. Not the former harlot of Luke 7:36-50 
 

 This ointment or perfume was made from an aromatic herb (also called spikenard) from the mountains of 
India, and it was imported in alabaster bottles. This expensive imported item carried such value that people 
used it for investment purposes, as gold is often used today. According to 12:5, this particular nard was 
worth 300 denarii (the equivalent of a year’s wages of a working man). 
 

 When supper was finished, Mary took this pure, expensive perfume and poured it on (literally, “anointed”) 
Jesus’ feet. Nard was used to anoint kings; Mary may have been anointing Jesus as her kingly Messiah. 
 
 
4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said*

5
“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” 
 Mark 14:4 (NASB) 4But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been 
wasted? 2 
 
6Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money 
box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. 
7Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 
8
“For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” 
 
 Matt. 26:10 
10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a 
good deed to Me. 
11“For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 
12“For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 
13“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will 
also be spoken of in memory of her.” 
 
 Mark 14:7 
8
“She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. 
 
9The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might 
also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 
10But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 
11because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus. 
 
When you combine all three accounts, you learn that Mary anointed both His head and His feet. It was an act of pure love 
on her part, for she knew her Lord was about to endure suffering and death. 
 Because she sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him speak, she knew what He was going to do. It is 
significant that Mary of Bethany was not one of the women who went to the tomb to anoint the body of 
Jesus (Mark 16:1). 
 In a sense, Mary was showing her devotion to Jesus before it was too late. She was “giving the roses” 
while He was yet alive, and not bringing them to the funeral! Her act of love and worship was public, 
spontaneous, sacrificial, lavish, personal, and unembarrassed. Jesus called it “a good work” (Matt. 
26:10; Mark 14:6) and both commended her and defended her. 
 It would have required a year’s wages from a common laborer to purchase that ointment. Like David, Mary 
would not give to the Lord that which cost her nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). Her beautiful act of worship brought 
a fragrance to the very house in which they were dining, and the blessing of her deed has spread around 
the world (Matt. 26:13; Mark 14:9). Little did Mary realize that night that her love for Christ would be a 
blessing to believers around the world for centuries to come! 
When she came to the feet of Jesus, Mary took the place of a slave. When she undid her hair (something Jewish women 
did not do in public), she humbled herself and laid her glory at His feet (see 1 Cor. 11:15). Of course, she was 
misunderstood and criticized; but that is what usually happens when somebody gives his or her best to the Lord. 
 
Matthew 26:6 - 13 (NASB) 
6Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, 
7a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the 
table. 
8But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? 
9
“For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” 
10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 
11“For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 
12“For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 
13“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of 
in memory of her.” 
 3 
 
Mark 14:3 - 9 (NASB) 
3While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster 
vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. 
4But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? 
5
“For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were 
scolding her. 
6But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. 
7
“For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have 
Me. 
8
“She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. 
9
“Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in 
memory of her.” 

 

 

Monday Morning Moment:

Mary gave her best in faith and love; 
Judas gave his worst in unbelief and hatred. 
 
 
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NASB) 
13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.