Discover more from The Bereans
The Chief Priests and Scribes Plot to Kill Jesus
1 Now after two days it was the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread, and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how, after arresting him by stealth, they could kill him. 2 For they said, “Not at the feast, lest there be an uproar by the people.”
The religious leaders have been hoping to kill Jesus since almost the beginning of his public ministry [3:6].
Jesus was very aware and avoided arrest etc. so that he would die at the time decided by his Father. Jesus has now been very outspoken against the leaders in the temple itself. The appointed time has come. He will now be arrested and executed at Passover. He will become THE pascal lamb.
In what ways is Jesus similar to and different to lamb that was sacrificed?
Jesus will be utterly betrayed by “the chief priests and the scribes” as Jesus foretold days before in the parable of the tenant farmers in the vineyard [12:1-12]. The farmers will kill the son [12:6-8] but the owner will destroy the farmers and give the vineyard to others [12:9]. Jesus had clarified this teaching just before leaving the temple. God will hold back for the sake of the elect, the Jews, and the nations [13:20].
Jesus’ Anointing at Bethany
3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
Jesus and the disciples are back in Bethany, just outside Jerusalem. This is where he raised Lazarus from the dead before the triumphal entry into Jerusalem [John 11:38-42] and as a result the Jewish leaders had already determined to kill him [John 11:45-57].
as he was reclining for a meal, a woman came holding an alabaster flask of very costly perfumed oil of genuine nard.
The woman is Mary [John 12:3]. Nard was imported from India. It was extremely expensive and potent and “was probably noticeable throughout the subsequent proceedings of his arrest, trial, and death.”
After breaking the alabaster flask, she poured it out on his head. 4 But some were expressing indignation to one another: “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? 5 For this perfumed oil could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor!” And they began to scold her.
The objectors were the disciples [Matthew 26:8]. One denarius was about a day’s wage! John identifies the instigator as Judas Iscariot who would have preferred an offering he could steal from [John 12:6]. See vv10-11 below.
Have you faced a situation where a church was, in your view, wasting money? How did you deal with the situation?
Are there teachings or things you struggle wit to understand about God’s ways? Be honest!
6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you cause trouble [κόπους] for her? She has done a good deed to me. 7 For the poor you always have with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed [μυρίσαι] my body beforehand [προέλαβεν] for burial. 9 And truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.
This is not a χρῖσμα with olive oil for a prophet, priest or king but a μυρισμός for burial. Προέλαβεν indicates that this was done in a mindful, purposeful way by Mary.
What does this indicate about Mary’s understanding compared to the male disciples? How does she understand so much?Link your answer to 3. above!
Once again, Jesus elevates the lowly, the woman, to the protagonist of the story. As we read, we do so in memory of her!
Who are some of the the unsung heroes of the Christian faith today?
Judas Arranges to Betray Jesus
10 And Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And when they heard this, they were delighted, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how he could betray him conveniently.
Many have sought to explain Judas’ behaviour. Was he a Zealot trying to force Jesus’ hand to call down angels to destroy the Romans?
What might be the line Judas crossed that his heart became hardened? Is there a warning for us?
It is not clear who “Simon the leper”. Some identify him as “Simon the Pharisee” [Luke 7:36-50]. From John [12:1-8] we know that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were at the meal. Lazarus is reclining with Jesus.
"[T]he head or spike of a fragrant East Indian plant belonging to the genus Valeriana, which yields a juice of delicious odor which the ancients used (either pure or mixed) in the preparation of a most precious ointment" Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm’s Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti (New York: Harper & Brothers., 1889), 423.
Douglas Mangum, ed., Lexham Context Commentary: New Testament, Lexham Context Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), Mk 14:3–9.
"κόπος. (a) trouble; κόποις (κόπον) τινι παρέχειν to give trouble to one, to annoy one; (b) toil, labour, laborious toil, involving weariness and fatigue." Alexander Souter, A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), 137–138.
"προλαμβάνω, (a) I take before another (perhaps); I am in a hurry to take, I take eagerly, I seize, 1 Cor. 11:21; (b) προέλαβεν μυρίσαι, has by anticipation anointed (perhaps an Aramaism), Mk. 14:8; (c) (deprehendo) I catch, capture, overtake (before he can escape)." Alexander Souter, A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), 217.
Mary had been a good disciple of her rabbi [Luke 10:39] in contrast to, say, the male disciples who do not seem to understand what is happening most of the time. She chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen rather than server her guests. This was VERY counter cultural.