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Chapter 14

The plot to kill Jesus 14:1-2
v1 It was two days before the *Passover and the *feast of *Unleavened Bread. The chief priests were looking for a way to arrest Jesus in secret. They wanted to kill him. v2 They said, ‘Not during the *feast. The people might cause trouble.’ Verse 1 The *Passover is a *feast. At that time, *Jews remember how God, by means of Moses, rescued the *Jewish people. He rescued them from Egypt, where they were slaves. It was on the 14th of the month of Nisan, which is about the middle of April. The *feast of *unleavened bread was once an agricultural *feast, when the barley harvest began. (Barley was a kind of corn.) But because it was from 15th-21st Nisan, the two *feasts joined to become one great *feast. *Jews came from all over the world to Jerusalem. The *Jewish writer Josephus estimated that as many as three million *Jews would be in the city for the *feast. Soldiers came from where they lived in Caesarea. They came in order to make sure that there was no trouble from an excited crowd. There were people who wanted freedom from Rome. It would be easy for them to begin to disturb the peace. Verse 2 If the priests arrested Jesus in public, the crowd would be on his side. There would be trouble, and the *Romans would punish them. They might take away the power of the *Jewish leaders.

A woman *anoints Jesus

14:3-9

v3 Jesus was in Bethany. He was at the table in the house of Simon. Simon had a skin disease. A woman came with a jar of very expensive *perfume. It was called nard and it was pure. She broke the jar and she poured the *perfume over Jesus’ head. v4 Some of the people there became angry. They said to each other, ‘The *perfume should not have been wasted like this. v5 She could have sold this *perfume for more than a man’s wages for one year. Poor people could have received the money.’ So they blamed her. v6 But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Stop worrying her! She has done a beautiful thing to me. v7 You always have poor people among you. You can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. v8 She has done what she could. She poured *perfume on my body in order to prepare me for *burial. v9 What I tell you is true. People will remember what she has done. They will remember it, wherever people *preach the *gospel in the whole world.’ Verse 3 Simon would probably not have shared a meal if he still had a skin disease. Maybe he had recovered. Or perhaps Mark knew that he became ill later. Or perhaps it was in Simon’s house but he was not there. Mark does not say who the woman was. John says that it was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 12:1-3). It was usual for a host to pour a few drops of *perfume on the head of his guests. This woman had a special jar that contained very expensive *perfume. This pure *perfume came from India. She broke the jar. She did so as a sign that she was using all the *perfume. She wanted to show her love by giving as much as possible. Also, people who *anointed the body of a dead person left the broken pieces of jar in the rock grave. Verses 4-5 The people who were there estimated the value of the *perfume as more than 300 denarii. A denarius was a coin that paid a man’s wages for a day. So, she was probably ‘wasting’ more than the wages for one year.

Verses 6-7 Jesus answered them with words from Deuteronomy (15:11). ‘You will always have poor people with you.’ They had plenty of opportunity to help poor people. But they did not have much more time to do anything for Jesus. Jesus did not mean that poor people must always be poor. Christians should work to remove the things that make people poor. And they should give generous help to those who are already poor. Jesus said that the woman had done a good thing. Verse 8 The *Jews *anointed kings. Samuel *anointed David (1 Samuel 16:13). Elisha sent a young man to *anoint Jehu (2 Kings 9:6). The word ‘*Messiah’ means ‘the *anointed man’. So the woman had shown by her action that Jesus was the *Messiah. He was the king that the *Jews had hoped for. Jesus said that she had *anointed him before his *burial. Some women came to his grave in order to *anoint his body. But they could not do so. He had already risen from death (Mark 16:16). Verse 9 Jesus knew that his *disciples would *preach the *gospel through the whole world. What the woman had done was good news in itself. She had shown that Jesus was king. He would be a king who would die. Her action also reminded Christians of the *resurrection that prevented the women from *anointing his body.