Tuesday Lenten Bible Discussion Series – “Mary and the Anointment of Jesus”

with Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

wp-image-1166965051jpg.jpg

at

Plymouth United Church of Christ – 600 E. Warren Ave. / Detroit, Michigan 48201

Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 6 PM EST

Note: You can watch this Bible Discussion live on Facebook at Nicholas Hood III / Email your comments at nhoo996937@aol.com or text a question/ comment or listen on a free conference call number 605-4754000 pin number 851320#

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155424035100208&id=627995207

  1. Format: We will read the Bible passages slowly. After reading each section of this story, I will ask a series of questions of those who are gathered together.

(Mt 26:6–13; Mk 14:3–9)

12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” [1]

  1. Together, let us read verse one:
  • 12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are the similarities and differences between the Matthew and Mark versions of this first verse?
  2. Although Lazarus and Simon the Leper are two different persons, what do they have in common?
  3. How does the difference in location of the incident impact your faith in the Bible?
  4. Other questions or thoughts arising from verse one?

Together, let us read the following verse: John 12: 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.[2]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why did Martha, Mary and Lazarus give a dinner for Jesus?
  2. Why is it significant that John says, “Martha served”?
  3. What is the significance of Lazarus seated at the table with Jesus?

Let us read together the following passage of scripture: John 12: 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.[3]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Who anoints Jesus in the Matthew and Mark version of the story?
  2. How is the anointment of Jesus different in the Matthew, Mark, and John version of the story?-Matthew: “Ointment”
  3. -John: “costly perfume made of pure nard”
  4. -Mark: “Nard”
  5. How does this difference impact your faith?

Let us read the following passage of scripture: John 12: 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.[4]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. In the Gospel of John, Judas Iscariot questions for anointment of Jesus as wasteful. How is the John version different from the Matthew and Mark version of complaint of wasted oil?
  2. What does the John version tell us about Judas?
  3. What is the role of Judas with the disciples?
  4. How are the words of Judas regarding the oil similar to group and individual dynamics in our world?

Let us read together the response of Jesus to Mary and Judas: John 12: 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” [5]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why does Jesus say, “Leave her alone”?
  2. If Mary has bought the oil for the “Day of my burial”, why is she anointing Jesus while he is still alive?
  3. What does verse 8 inform us about Jesus attitude towards giving and receiving gifts?

Bonus Bible Passage: Luke 7: 36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” [6]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Where is the location of this Bible Story?
  2. Whose home is Jesus visiting?
  3. Is this Mary, Mary Magdalene or an unnamed woman who anoints Jesus?
  4. What are the similarities and differences between this story of anointment?
  5. Other observations from this passage of scripture to the John, Matthew and Mark version of the anointment of Jesus?

Thank you for joining me for this Bible Discussion regarding the “Anointment of Jesus. Next Tuesday, we will review the Passover Meal before the Crucifixion of Jesus. (John 13)

Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 12:1–8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 12:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 12:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 12:4–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 12:7–8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 7:36–50). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.