Wednesday of Holy Week finds Jesus having a meal with Simon the Leper. There are three main characters in this story: Jesus, Judas, and a woman. The woman, according to Matthew and Mark, opens a container of very expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus’ head. Even though it does not say it I can image Judas starting the complaining about the cost of perfume and getting really mad when Jesus puts a stop to the chatter ( that is in John 12). This anointing may have been the key to Judas betraying Jesus.
Jesus’ reaction is amazing, not only does He let the woman pour oil on His head/body but also defends the action. He allowed her to minister to Him in this rather extraordinary way. He knew that she had received a revelation that He was about to die and that He needed to be anointed. Notice there was no reaction about His statement that He was about to die. Jesus put this act of obedience in a very important position so it will be told when the Gospel is preached. She did three notable things: she got a revelation, acted on it, and she gave a tremendously valuable monetary gift.
There are two other references to Jesus being anointed: Luke 7:36 – 39 and John 12:1- 8. John’s telling is still probably this story even though chapter 12 starts with “six days before Passover.” I would tend to blame modern man’s need to put punctuation into Greek text; if this is not an oversight maybe Jesus was anointed twice during the week, once before the ride into Jerusalem and then before His trials, both would have been fitting. Luke has a different story about Jesus being anointed and given that he did a lot of research before writing his gospel I would tend to think that there was at least two different occasions that Jesus is anointed. The main similarity is the name Simon but that was a common name, plus would a Pharisee risked having Him to dinner while everyone was looking for a way to kill Jesus?
Imagine now that Jesus and His clothes have been anointed on Wednesday what Thursday and Friday must have been like. Judas sitting next to Jesus at the Passover meal still smelling the perfume and being angry, the mob and the chief priest had to smell Him while they are going through the arrest and trial, Pilate smelling the perfume while he is questioning Jesus, and the soldiers trying to beat the fragrance off Him so they can crucify Him.
Matthew 26:3-16, Mark 14:1-11, Luke 22:1-6
See Holy Week 2013 – Wednesday