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 the 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.” (John 12:1-8, NRSV)
Mary took a pound of perfume made from nard, or spikenard. This perfume costs about the same as a years worth of wages. So not a cheap item. This was an investment.
She poured it over His feet and then wiped them with her hair.
Judas said the poor could have had an impact from the money of the sale of this perfume. Judas wanted the money for himself, or that is what we get from the author of John. The author claims Judas was a thief, stealing from the common purse of the disciples.
But Jesus says, “Leave her alone. You will always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” So what are we to make of this?
Jesus knew what was coming, His death and this anointing or cleansing of the body would happen then. Jesus was anointed before His death. He was prepared for what was to come.
The poor are always with us, that doesn’t mean we do not care for them and give to them, but we also must take care of our relationship with Jesus. And that is what Mary was doing here.
When have you anointed Jesus?