Fifth Sunday of Lent

Mary Puts Lotion on Jesus' Feet

John 12: 1 - 8
Matthew 26: 6 - 12
Luke 7: 36 - 60
Mark 14: 3 - 9

This story is told several times by the Gospel writers, about different women in different locations.

John places the story clearly in the events of Holy Week, with Jesus' staying as a guest where he is most welcome and most familiar, the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. (See also Luke 10: 38 - 42).

John may have placed this version in Holy Week in order to give Judas Iscariot a reason to betray Jesus. Throughout the Passion story, Judas's motives never become completely clear. (See Palm Sunday.)

Nard or spikenard is a sweet-smelling ointment or salve (like body cream or body lotion) derived from plants. Alabaster is an easily carved and polished form of marble, so the jar looked like the jars we see in museums.

This story also reminds us to think about Lazarus, whose raising from the dead was one of Jesus' greatest miracles. (John 11: 1 - 44).

1. What was Martha doing?

[She was serving dinner, just as she had in Luke 10: 38 - 42.)

2. What did Mary do?

[She rubbed perfumed ointment on Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair.}

3. Jesus said Mary had a reason for buying the nard. What was it?

[Jesus said, "She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial."]

4. What hint did Jesus give the disciples that his death was coming soon?

[He said, "You will not always have me."]

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