SIGNIFICANT ITEMS OF HOLY WEEK: THE ANOINTING
Mark 14:3 “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.”
Psalm 22:22 “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”
Progressing further into Holy Week brings a sense of reverence, and awe for what we know laid ahead for our Lord. With that said, it’s easy for anyone (me, in particular) to be fixated on events with Judas, and totally miss everything else.
Traditionally, Wednesday in the Holy Week has been thought on as simply a day of rest for the Lord. While keeping that in mind, today we’re looking at some of the items used in the rest of this week.
For a moment today, ponder upon the situation with Mary. She did what David wrote about in Psalm 22. She stood up in the midst of her congregation that day to praise Him by anointing Him with perfumed oil.
How did she know to anoint Jesus with the costly oil?
She was acknowledging Him as priest and king, and anointed Him in preparation for His burial. Her understanding of His person as the Christ overshadowed any inhibitions she may have carried in her heart. She ignored comments from the disciples to devote attention to God in the flesh. 2Tim. 3:12
In biblical times the status of women was lower than a child, and were to be seen, not heard. Yet Mary stood up, walked over to God Himself while He was eating, and poured oil over Him.
Let’s take a look at the significant items we found in the gospels to find out what more God might teach us!
Will you act on the promptings of God’s Holy Spirit, or stay seated if no one else moves? In the end, Jesus was Mary’s salvation, and she knew it.
Matthew 26:7 “There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.”
Facts on Alabaster
1.A soft stone material commonly found throughout Israel resembling marble. Colors range from white, to gray, and dark creamy orange. Different types yielded different levels of hardness. Some types can be scratched with a fingernail, others by a knife. Used many times for carving statues, and walls.
2.Referred to as precious stone in Solomon’s Temple 1 Chronicles 29:2.
3.Boxes were sealed with wax, preventing its contents fragrance from escaping.
4.Often processed for plaster powder which is then referred to as gypsum, or plaster of Paris.
5.Also known as onyx-marble, Egyptian alabaster, or Oriental alabaster.
John 12:1-3 “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.”
Facts on Spikenard
1.The transliteration for spikenard is ‘nardos’. It comes from the Greek word ‘pistos’, meaning pure, unadulterated.
2.Spikenard is a perfumed ointment made from roots of the aromatic plant, Nardostachys jatamansi, Israel imported from the Himalayan mountains.
3.Very expensive. John 12:5 states the entire bottle was worth 300 denari, an astounding equivalent of $30,000 – $40,000 today. In those days, a laborer earned just one denari each day.
4.You can read this account in Matthew, Mark and John. The other Mary who poured spikenard on Jesus is found in Luke, which took place a year previous to this.
5.A pound of spikenard is the equivalent of 12 ounces in American measurements.
6.King Solomon prophesied about this event 1,000 prior. See Song of Solomon 1:12.
7.Spikenard was used for a few things, albeit sparingly.
Priests used it to anoint items for use inside the temple, or to anoint people in a blessing.
It was also used as part of the embalming spices, which is probably why Mary had some so readily available when she and Martha needed to embalm their brother Lazarus.
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