Saturday 20 March 2010

Lent 5 2010 Mary annoints Jesus at Bethany

John 12v1-8 Mary anoints Jesus for his burial

Each of the gospels has an anointing story, Marks is (14:3-9) is the closest to John's account,
He is anointed as one would anoint a corpse. John presents Jesus as one who is about to die for the sins of all, an act of devotion with clear regal and messianic meaning, a symbolic anticipation of Jesus' burial and his departure, but threir are also links with the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus and the treachery of Judas.
Six days before Passover Jesus was at Lazarus house, being in Bethany where he had raised Lazarus to life. A dinner is given in his honour
With people reclining at the table on cushions around a low table.
Mariam or Mary of Bethany is mentioned in the gospels of Luke and John. In Luke she is described as the one who sat and listened to Jesus while Martha busied herself in the kitchen, Lk.10:38-42.
Mary poured a Roman pound (325 grams, roughly one pint or half a litre) of perfume on Jesus. It was myrrh, extracted from the Balsam plant, also a common term for aromatic oil in general. Nard is the aromatic oil from spikenard. Spikenard by itself is too strong to be applied to the skin so it would be diluted with a rubbing oil, like pistachio nut oil. For anointing the dead it would be highly concentrated, and therefore, very expensive, in which case the word pure may mean strong or concentrated.
The house was filled with the fragrance from the perfume.

Judas Iscariot who was later the one who betrayed him, (betray meaning- to deliver over) asked “Why was this aromatic oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor?”. One denarii was a day's wage at that time.
Judas had his failings recorded for eternity in the scriptures.
The writer adds that he said this not because the poor meant anything to him, but because he was a thief, as he was in charge of the money, and he stole from what was put in it.
“Leave her alone” said Jesus. As a follower of Jesus, she has kept this oil for his death and embalming, and out of devotion, sensing that his death is imminent, she symbolically performs the embalming at this moment.
“For the poor are always with you but you will not always have me”, a statement that reflects the Old Testament rabbinic theology that a work of mercy like preparing someone for burial exceeded a work of justice like almsgiving.



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