A glance will tell you there are some differences in the story of Mary’s anointing Jesus when we compare the gospel accounts
1) The timing – 2 days or 6 days before Passover (we looked at this yesterday).
2) The house where it took place – Simon’s or “the house” - we make the assumption its Mary and Martha’s but John doesn’t actually say that.
3) Who did the anointing – Mary or “a woman”. – some the think Matt and Mark don’t mention her name to protect her.
4) What was anointed – head or feet or both? Anointing the feet focuses the attention on burial.
5) The focus on being anointed for burial in Matt 26:12, Mark 14:8 and John 12:7.
6) John knows about but omits “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
John’s order has the Anointing directly following Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead. Imagine the feelings in Mary. There is nothing she would not do for this One who gave her brother back to her. Hence her sacrifice of 0.45 kg of spikenard oil for anointing the dead was huge. The cost was a year’s wages for a labourer. Wow what a sacrifice. But what is in focus is not the gratitude for giving Lazarus back to her but her insight in seeing that Jesus is destined for death. No one else has seen it. John’s collation of the material is heavy with it but only Mary has seen it first hand.
John’s sacrifice theme has been building, taken of course from Jesus mouth but then note the change in source when the words appear in Caiaphas’ mouth.
Joh 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep.
Joh 10:15 just as My Father knows Me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice My life for the sheep.
Joh 10:17 "The Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again.
Joh 10:18 No one can take My life from Me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what My Father has commanded."
And the very ironic:
Joh 11:50 [Caiaphas] You don't realize that it's better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed."
Joh 11:51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation.
Joh 11:52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.
Then Mary anoints Jesus for burial! Yes the public ministry has ended; now there is a global ministry “to unite all the children of God scattered around the world”. And who are these children of God? More coming on that theme. I have told you that John has themes running every which way. He is the most thematic writer in the Bible. John’s themes are still building; keep tracking them. They get more intense.
One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego. The self is more distant than any star. G. K. Chesterton
I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn't have any patience.