It was six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead. A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among those at the table with Jesus.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.”
He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there, so they came. But they did not come only because of Jesus. They also came to see Lazarus. After all, Jesus had raised him from the dead.
So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus too. Because of Lazarus, many of the Jews were starting to follow Jesus. They were putting their faith in him. – John 12:1-11
I personally think we do the Bible a great disservice when we act like it just fell out of the sky one day (bounded in beautiful leather, no doubt) with a note that said, “- From God”.
The Bible didn’t create Christianity. Jesus created Christianity. (It’s not called “Bibleianity”, after all). The people who witnessed the events of Jesus’ life cared enough to document it. They were real people with real emotions. And they had no New Testament to explain to them what was happening.
Take John, who wrote the above passage. He was a close friend and follower of Jesus. He remembered the scent of Mary’s perfume as she poured it on Jesus’ feet. He saw his fellow disciple, Judas, completely freak out over the perfume being “wasted”. He even knew Judas was a thief – he must’ve caught him more than once with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar!
He also saw Jesus raise a dead man back to life. And other people did too. And John began to see a sharp division happening. Many started to follow Jesus. But John also heard the angry murmurs of the religious elite. They were so angry they even wanted to kill a man who was already dead once! John had no idea that things were about to get even crazier!