Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany

John 12:1-8 (ESV)

(1) Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. (2) So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. (3) Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (4) But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, (5) “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (6) He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. (7) Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. (8) For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”


I must have read the Gospel of John thousands of times. As usual, you notice something new every time. I just started to read the English Standard Version (ESV), a gift for Father’s Day. BTW – it is excellent. They bought me the study version

You will also find similar passages in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9.

Matthew and Mark identify the house as Simon the Leper. In John, I always thought it was at the house of Lazarus, (Mary and Martha lived there too). It never says that. Martha serves. Lazarus reclines at table, and Mary anoints Jesus’ feet. 

Matthew and Mark do not identify the woman as Mary.

Mary in John 12:3 anoints Jesus’ feet. Matthew and Mark indicate His head. Scholars believe both (head and feet) were anointed, assuming the large quantity, e.g., a pound, alabaster flask.

Footnotes highlight attending to feet is the work of servants, (see John 1:27 and John 13:5). It shows humility and devotion.

One of my favorite ladies in the Bible. Her devotion to Jesus is amazing.