Mark 14:3-9 – Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Jesus is at his refuge in Bethany on the Wednesday night of the Passion Week. Mary anoints Jesus with some very expensive perfume in a beautiful act of worship. Some people rebuke her for spending so much on perfume to anoint Jesus and not taking care of the poor. At face value this seems like a reasonable thought but Jesus defends her actions. Jesus’ time on earth is very limited at this point, just a couple of days. Mary did know it at the time but she was preparing Jesus’ body for burial.
Foreshadowing is a literary device in which a writer gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story. Jesus states that they will always have the poor to take care of but they will not always have him. Jesus is subtly hinting at his imminent death. It was the custom of the day to anoint the dead bodies with perfume before burial because they did not embalm the bodies like we do today. While Jesus is not dead yet the act of anointing him with oil in the context of his previous statement about not always being around serves as very strong foreshadowing of the cross.