My head with oil thou didst not anoint - Anointing the head with oil was as common among the Jews as washing the face with water is among us. See Rth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Samuel 14:2; 2 Kings 4:2; and Psalm 23:5, where the author alludes to the Jewish manner of receiving and entertaining a guest. Thou preparest a table for me; anointest my head with oil; givest me an overflowing cup. See Matthew 5:17.
My head with oil - The custom of pouring oil upon the head was universal among the Jews. The oil used was sweet oil or oil of olives, prepared in such a way as to give an agreeable smell. It was also used to render the hair more smooth and elegant. See Rth 3:3 ; 2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Samuel 14:2; Psalm 23:5.
With ointment - This “ointment” was a mixture of various aromatics, and was therefore far more costly and precious than the “oil” commonly used for anointing the head. Her conduct, compared with that of Simon, was therefore more striking. “He” did not give even the common oil “for his head” used on such occasions. “She” had applied to “his feet” a far more precious and valuable “unguent.” “He” therefore, showed comparatively “little” love. “She” showed “much.”
Simon of Bethany was accounted a disciple of Jesus. He was one of the few Pharisees who had openly joined Christ's followers. He acknowledged Jesus as a teacher, and hoped that He might be the Messiah, but he had not accepted Him as a Saviour. His character was not transformed; his principles were unchanged. DA 557.1Read in context »
I was carried down to the time when Jesus ate the Passover supper with His disciples. Satan had deceived Judas and led him to think that he was one of Christ's true disciples; but his heart had ever been carnal. He had seen the mighty works of Jesus, he had been with Him through His ministry, and had yielded to the overpowering evidence that He was the Messiah; but Judas was close and covetous; he loved money. He complained in anger of the costly ointment poured upon Jesus. Mary loved her Lord. He had forgiven her sins, which were many, and had raised from the dead her much-loved brother, and she felt that nothing was too dear to bestow upon Jesus. The more precious the ointment, the better could she express her gratitude to her Saviour by devoting it to Him. Judas, as an excuse for his covetousness, urged that the ointment might have been sold and given to the poor. But it was not because he had any care for the poor; for he was selfish, and often appropriated to his own use that which was entrusted to his care to be given unto the poor. Judas had been inattentive to the comfort and even to the wants of Jesus, and to excuse his covetousness he often referred to the poor. This act of generosity on the part of Mary was a most cutting rebuke of his covetous disposition. The way was prepared for Satan's temptation to find a ready reception in the heart of Judas. EW 165.1
The priests and rulers of the Jews hated Jesus; but multitudes thronged to listen to His words of wisdom and to witness His mighty works. The people were stirred with the deepest interest and anxiously followed Jesus to hear the instructions of this wonderful teacher. Many of the rulers believed on Him, but dared not confess their faith lest they should be put out of the synagogue. The priests and elders decided that something must be done to draw the attention of the people from Jesus. They feared that all men would believe on Him. They could see no safety for themselves. They must lose their position or put Jesus to death. And after they should put Him to death, there would still be those who were living monuments of His power. Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, and they feared that if they should kill Jesus, Lazarus would testify of His mighty power. The people were flocking to see him who was raised from the dead, and the rulers determined to slay Lazarus also, and put down the excitement. Then they would turn the people to the traditions and doctrines of men, to tithe mint and rue, and again have influence over them. They agreed to take Jesus when He was alone; for if they should attempt to take Him in a crowd, when the minds of the people were all interested in Him, they would be stoned. EW 165.2Read in context »
Satan took advantage of the covetous, selfish disposition of Judas and led him to murmur when Mary poured the costly ointment upon Jesus. Judas looked upon this as a great waste, and declared that the ointment might have been sold and given to the poor. He cared not for the poor, but considered the liberal offering to Jesus extravagant. Judas prized his Lord just enough to sell Him for a few pieces of silver. And I saw that there were some like Judas among those who profess to be waiting for their Lord. Satan controls them, but they know it not. God cannot approve of the least degree of covetousness or selfishness, and He abhors the prayers and exhortations of those who indulge these evil traits. As Satan sees that his time is short, he leads men on to be more and more selfish and covetous, and then exults as he sees them wrapped up in themselves, close, penurious, and selfish. If the eyes of such could be opened, they would see Satan in hellish triumph, exulting over them and laughing at the folly of those who accept his suggestions and enter his snares. EW 268.1
Satan and his angels mark all the mean and covetous acts of these persons and present them to Jesus and His holy angels, saying reproachfully, “These are Christ's followers! They are preparing to be translated!” Satan compares their course with passages of Scripture in which it is plainly rebuked and then taunts the heavenly angels, saying, “These are following Christ and His Word! These are the fruit of Christ's sacrifice and redemption!” Angels turn in disgust from the scene. God requires a constant doing on the part of His people; and when they become weary of well-doing, He becomes weary of them. I saw that He is greatly displeased with the least manifestation of selfishness on the part of His professed people, for whom Jesus spared not His own precious life. Every selfish, covetous person will fall out by the way. Like Judas, who sold his Lord, they will sell good principles and a noble, generous disposition for a little of earth's gain. All such will be sifted out from God's people. Those who want heaven must, with all the energy which they possess, be encouraging the principles of heaven. Instead of withering up with selfishness, their souls should be expanding with benevolence. Every opportunity should be improved in doing good to one another and thus cherishing the principles of heaven. Jesus was presented to me as the perfect pattern. His life was without selfish interest, but ever marked with disinterested benevolence. EW 268.2Read in context »