In this chapter, John concludes his record of Jesus’ public ministry. Note the information that is recorded in John 12:1-8.
(a) The account of Mary’s anointing of Jesus (which sets the stage for His coming sacrifice
(b) His triumphal entry
(c) The prediction of His death
The time schedule is more definite and critical to Jesus’ coming crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus’ ministry is ending. The following chapters bear this out. In the coming chapters, they will reveal His discourse with His disciples, which are filled with final instructions.
It was six days before the Passover. Jesus goes back from Ephraim (John 11:54) to Bethany. This is where Lazarus lives. Jesus goes to a dinner in Lazarus’ honor. Mark writes that the place where the dinner is held is Simon the Leper’s home. (Mark 14:1-11). The relationship to Lazarus’ family to Simon is unknown. It has to be close because Mary is serving.
The pure nard is fragrant oil, which is prepared from the roots and stems of an aromatic herb. It is found in India. It is an expensive perfume, which is imported in a sealed alabaster box or flask. It is opened on special occasions only. It is Mary’s lavish gift, which expresses her love and thanks to Jesus for Him and for restoring Lazarus. The releasing of the perfume fills the entire house. John’s gospel is filled with eyewitness accounts. From this fact, it can be understood that he is the eyewitness.
One disciple saw this as a waste. His name is Judas Iscariot. What was his objection? He said that such perfume could have been sold and given to the poor. This was not an honest statement (v. 6) Looking at Mark 14:4-5, the other disciples picked up his viewpoint. She is rebuked for doing this. A wrong attitude can spread like wildfire. Even Jesus’ disciples undergo a change of heart when the tools of the enemy are present. Judas knew the value of such item. The value of the perfume is a year’s wages. It is about 300 denarii, which amounts to about a lifetime of savings.