Humble Hero


Mary Anoints Jesus

This chapter is based on Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-11; Luke 7:36-50; John 11:55-57; 12:1-11.

Simon of Bethany was one of the few Pharisees who had openly joined Christ’s followers. He hoped that Jesus might be the Messiah, but had not accepted Him as a Savior. His character was not transformed. His principles were unchanged. HH 257.1

Jesus had healed Simon of leprosy, and Simon wanted to show his gratitude. At the time of Christ’s last visit to Bethany, he made a feast for the Savior and His disciples. This feast brought together many of the Jews, who watched His movements closely, some with unfriendly eyes. HH 257.2

As He usually did, the Savior had sought rest at the home of Lazarus. Many of the people flocked to Bethany, some out of sympathy with Jesus, and others from curiosity to see Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. With assurance and power, Lazarus declared that Jesus was the Son of God. HH 257.3

The people were eager to see whether Lazarus would go with Jesus to Jerusalem and whether the Prophet would be crowned king at the Passover. The priests and rulers could hardly wait for the opportunity to remove Him forever from their way. They remembered how often He had evaded their murderous plots, and they were afraid that He would remain away. They questioned among themselves, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” HH 257.4

They called a council. Since the raising of Lazarus the people were so favorable to Christ that it would be dangerous to arrest Him openly. So the authorities decided to take Him secretly and carry out the trial as quietly as possible. They hoped that when people heard about His condemnation, the fickle tide of public opinion would turn in their favor. HH 257.5

But as long as Lazarus lived, the priests and rabbis knew they were not secure. The existence of a man who had been in the grave four days and had been restored by a word from Jesus would cause a reaction. The people would avenge themselves on their leaders for taking the life of One who could perform such a miracle. The Sanhedrin therefore decided that Lazarus also must die. HH 257.6

While this plotting was going on at Jerusalem, Jesus and His friends were invited to Simon’s feast. At the table, Simon sat on one side of the Savior and Lazarus on the other. Martha served, but Mary was earnestly listening to every word from the lips of Jesus. In His mercy, Jesus had pardoned her sins and called her brother from the grave, and gratitude filled Mary’s heart. She had heard Jesus speak of His approaching death, and she had longed to honor Him in some special way. HH 257.7

At great personal sacrifice she had purchased an alabaster box of “ointment of spikenard, very costly,” with which to anoint His body. But now many were declaring that He was about to be crowned king. Her grief was turned to joy, and she was eager to be the first to honor her Lord. Breaking her box of ointment, she poured its contents on the head and feet of Jesus. Then, as she knelt weeping, moistening them with her tears, she wiped His feet with her long, flowing hair. Her movements might have gone unnoticed, but the ointment filled the room with its fragrance and announced her act to everyone there. HH 258.1