The Reverend Elizabeth Bowyer

Composed by Mike Flynn, lay reader

“The events in today’s reading occur just six days before Passover and the completion of Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus is having dinner in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

When Mary anoints Jesus with perfume, she demonstrates a profound witness to the truth of who Jesus was, in contrast to a few days later, when he will be utterly rejected by the world.

In this short passage, we also find references to what will happen to Jesus in the imminent future. Judas Iscariot is identified as betrayer.

Jesus refers directly to his own death and burial and Lazarus’s presence foreshadows Jesu overcoming death and the promise of everlasting life.”

From the Harper Collins Study Bible, New Standard Revised Version, 1989, p. 2037,

the gospel according to John, Chapter 12, verses 1-8 “Mary Anoints Jesus”.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him.

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,

“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)

Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church.

Thanks be to God.