See this passage explained in the notes at Mark 14:1
And of unleavened bread - So called because at that feast no other bread was used but that which had been made without leaven or yeast.
By craft - By subtlety (Matthew); that is, by some secret plan that would secure possession of him without exciting the opposition of the people.
Ointment - This word does not convey quite the proper meaning. This was a perfume. It was used only to give a pleasant odor, and was liquid.
Of spikenard - The “nard,” from which this perfume was made, is a plant of the East Indies, with a small, slender stalk, and a heavy, thick root. The best perfume is obtained from the root, though the stalk and fruit are used for that purpose.
And she brake the box - This may mean no more than that she broke the “seal” of the box, so that it could be poured out. Boxes of perfumes are often sealed or made fast with wax, to prevent the perfume from escaping. It was not likely that she would break the box itself when it was unnecessary, and when the unguent, being liquid, would have been wasted; nor from a broken box or vial could she easily have “poured it” on his head.
Three hundred pence - About forty dollars (or 9 British pounds). See the notes at Matthew 26:7.
She hath done what she could - She has showed the highest attachment in her power; and it was, as it is now, a sufficient argument against there being any “real” waste, that it was done for the honor of Christ. See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 26:1-16.
The slightest departure from rectitude breaks down the barriers and prepares the heart to do greater injustice. Just to that extent that a man would gain advantage for himself at the disadvantage of another, will his soul become insensible to the influence of the Spirit of God. Gain obtained at such a cost is a fearful loss. PK 652.1
We were all debtors to divine justice, but we had nothing with which to pay the debt. Then the Son of God, who pitied us, paid the price of our redemption. He became poor that through His poverty we might be rich. By deeds of liberality toward His poor we may prove the sincerity of our gratitude for the mercy extended to us. “Let us do good unto all men,” the apostle Paul enjoins, “especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10. And his words accord with those of the Saviour: “Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good.” “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Mark 14:7; Matthew 7:12. PK 652.2Read in context »
The Lord saw that it was essential for us to be surrounded with the poor, who in their helplessness and need would lay claim to our ministration. They would be an aid to us in perfecting Christian character; for in providing food for their tables and clothing for their bodies, we would cultivate the attributes of the character of Christ. If we had not the poor among us, we would lose much; for in order to perfect Christian character, we must deny self. OHC 198.4Read in context »
“Ye have the poor with you always,” Christ said, “and whensoever ye will ye may do them good.” “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Mark 14:7; James 1:27. MH 205.1
In placing among them the helpless and the poor, to be dependent upon their care, Christ tests His professed followers. By our love and service for His needy children we prove the genuineness of our love for Him. To neglect them is to declare ourselves false disciples, strangers to Christ and His love. MH 205.2Read in context »
When all has been done that can be done in helping the poor to help themselves, there still remain the widow and the fatherless, the aged, the helpless, and the sick, that claim sympathy and care. Never should these be neglected. They are committed by God Himself to the mercy, the love, and the tender care of all whom He has made His stewards. MH 201.1Read in context »
All the favors and blessings we enjoy are alone from Him; we are stewards of His grace and of His temporal gifts; the smallest talent and the humblest service may be offered to Jesus as a consecrated gift, and with the fragrance of His own merits He will present it to the Father. If the best we have is presented with a sincere heart, in love to God, from a longing desire to do service to Jesus, the gift is wholly acceptable. Everyone can lay up a treasure in the heavens. All can be “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” CS 161.1
It is God's purpose that the rich and the poor shall be closely bound together by the ties of sympathy and helpfulness. He has a plan for us individually. To all who shall serve Him He has appointed a work. He bids us to interest ourselves in every case of suffering or need that shall come to our knowledge. CS 161.2Read in context »
In the providence of God events have been so ordered that the poor are always with us, in order that there may be a constant exercise in the human heart of the attributes of mercy and love. Man is to cultivate the tenderness and compassion of Christ; he is not to separate himself from the sorrowing, the afflicted, the needy, and the distressed.—The Signs of the Times, June 13, 1892. RC 227.4Read in context »