Mark 14:1-11 Priests and Perfume

Mark 14:1-11 Priests and Perfume

     These stories occur on Wednesday, the day before the crucifixion.


One is about wanting to sacrifice Jesus and the other is a sacrifice to Jesus.

One is about betrayal of Jesus and the other is about honor and worship to Jesus.

One shows a group of seeming importance and the other is a woman of seemingly no social significance.

One is about deception and the other is about devotion. v. 2 “some sly way” gr. means “make a decoy or trick”

The events took place in the home of Simon the leper who was apparently healed by Jesus. Lepers were separated from the population. Simon’s reputation was well known. Also, Bethany is the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead. Jesus was well received there. Note v. 2 “not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people will riot.” While the men were eating, women were not to join them. There were more than Judas that were offended by this. Firstly, by her interruption, and secondly, by her actions. v. 4, 5b “rebuked her harshly” – gr. snort with anger, blamed her.


Chief priest and teachers-the Feast of the Passover was their big event of the year. They wanted to look good. Look at Mark 15:10 to see the real reason behind their actions.“knowing it was out of envy that the chief priest…” During the Passover time, the numbers arriving at Jerusalem and surrounding villages were about 200,000 people. The woman (not named) had an alabaster jar (nard from an Indian plant-a jar costs more than 1 year’s salary). Jesus answers them by saying, in essence, in gr. “the trouble she has done in labor to do this is a good thing.” We are not told where she obtained this. She may have sold herself in labor until it was paid off. She breaks the seal and pours it on the head of Jesus.

1. The principle here is not the amount. The principle is that she gave all that she had.

2. The principle is not the perfume. The principle is her experience with Jesus caused this outpouring of love.

It is not the amount that God sees but the sacrifice. Remember the widow in 12:41-44 who had only a fraction of a penny. Verse 44-“They gave out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty, put in everything in all she had to live on.” If this was Mary, the sister of Martha, then her brother was just raised from the dead a few days ago.


The chief priest and teachers wanted to kill. Ironic in that this is the Passover time when God saved the killing of people. It was a time of victory and not a time to kill. The woman had one thing in mind-the anointing of Jesus for burial. How did she know this and nobody else did? Because she listened to Jesus. If this was Mary, then she was the one who listened to Jesus while Martha served. She probably prepared her brother, Lazarus, when he died so Jesus now, without family, needed to be honored. In this story, she is the true disciple that emerges when the rest of the disciples are worried about the future.


a. the chief priests and teachers were glad for the betrayal-v. 11.

b. the memory of her sacrifice continues even today-v.9.

Discipleship lessons

  1. Being a true disciple means that your sacrifice in serving Jesus is never wasted when given for the Lord.
  2. Being a true disciple means that your sacrifice for Jesus is never forgotten by God.
  3. Being a true disciple means that your sacrifice for Jesus is never to be done for self importance.

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