|Martha Served ...
|(John 12:1-11) Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus
was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat
at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of
Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why
was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said,
not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what
was put therein.
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the
poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus'
sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by
reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.
(KJV – see also Matthew 26:1-151 & Mark 14:3-102)
It is now six days from Passover. Jesus leaves Ephraim and comes to Bethany to the
house of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. This is the same Lazarus that Jesus brought
back from the dead.
Jesus is served supper, with Martha serving, and Lazarus at the table with Him.
Mary takes a pound of spikenard and pours it on Jesus’ feet, and wipes it off with her
hair. The fragrance of the spikenard filled the entire house.
Spikenard, from which the ointment was made, was an aromatic herb
of the valerian family (Nardostachys jatamansi). It was imported from
an early age from Arabia India and the Far East. The costliness of
Mary's offering (300 pence=$45) may beat be seen from the fact that a
penny (denarius, 15 to 17 cents) was in those days the day-wages of
In our day this would equal at least $300 or $400.-ED.)
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Judas, who would betray Jesus, objects to what he perceives as the wasting of the
expensive ointment. He feigns that it could have been sold, and the money given to
the poor. However, he was not concerned with the poor, he was concerned with his
own profit. He had control of the money bag, and was dipping his hand in the till.
Judas Iscariot … Clearly then both father and son were called "Iscariot" or man of
Kerioth in the tribe of Judah (Jos 15:25). Judas is the only one of the twelve not a
Galilean. One of his disciples (heis tôn mathêtôn autou). Likewise in Joh 6:71, only
there ek is used after heis as some MSS. have here. This is the shameful fact that
clung to the name of Judas. Which should betray him (ho mellôn auton paradidonai).
John does not say in Joh 6:71 (emellen paradidonai auton) or here that Judas "was
predestined to betray Jesus" as Bernard suggests. He had his own responsibility for
his guilt as Jesus said (Mt 26:24). Mellô here simply points to the act as future, not
as necessary. Note the contrast between Mary and Judas. "Mary in her devotion
unconsciously provides for the honour of the dead. Judas in his selfishness
unconsciously brings about the death itself" (Westcott).
Jesus tells Judas to be quiet. Mary has done what she has done in preparation for
His burial. … the poor you will always have with you; but I will not always be here.
Jesus knew that His time was short upon this earth. He knew that He was about to
die. He was ready.
The fact that Jesus was at the house of Lazarus was a well known fact. Many of the
Jews had come to Bethany, but not only to see Jesus, they came also to see
Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.
That is why the chief priests wanted to put Lazarus to death as well as Jesus,
because many of the Jews were believing on Jesus because of him.
Lessons to be Learned
1. This was a different time and situation from Luke 7.
2. Jesus knew the time of His departure was at hand, and was calm and
3. There was a difference between Martha and Mary. However, Jesus did not
perceive it to be a matter of significance.
4. Not all money needs to be spent on the poor. Yet, it is evident that even
during Jesus’ lifetime there was a collection used to help the poor that was carried
out by Jesus and his disciples.
5. All men, even those called by Jesus, have free-will, and can choose either the
good or the evil.
6. There can be danger in being associated with Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer