John 12:2 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentIn these verses, an account is given of our Saviour's entertainment at Bethany after he had raised Lazarus. A supper is made for him, at which Martha served, and Lazarus sat with him, but Mary anoints Christ with precious ointment.
Where note, 1. The action which this holy woman performed, she pours a box of precious ointment upon our Saviour's head, as he sat at meat, according the the custom of the eastern countries at their feasts. I do not find that any of the apostles were at thus much charge and cost to put honour upon our Saviour as this poor woman was.
From whence learn, 1. That where strong love prevails in the heart, nothing is adjudged too dear for Christ, neither will it suffer itself to be out-shined by any examples. The weakest woman that strongly loves her Saviour will vie with the greatest apostle, and piously strive to express the fervour of her affection towards him.
Observe, 2. How this action was resented and reflected upon by murmuring Judas, who valued this ointment at three hundred pence, and grudged the bestowing of it upon Christ. He accused this holy woman of needless prodigality.
Lord! how doth a covetous heart think every thing too good for thee? He that sees a pious action performed, and seeks to lessen or undervalue it, shews himself possessed with a spirit of envy. Judas, his invidious spirit makes him censure an action, which Christ highly approved.
Hence learn, That men, who know not our hearts, may through ignorance or prejudice, censure and condemn those actions which God doth commend, and will graciously reward. Happy was it for this poor woman, that she had a more righteous judge to pass sentence upon her action than wicked Judas.
Observe, 3. How readily our holy Lord vindicates this poor woman: she says nothing for herself, nor needs she, having such an advocate who gives the reason for her action; she did it for my burial. As kings and great persons were in wont in those eastern countries, at their funerals, to be embalmed with odours and sweet perfumes, so, saith our Saviour, this woman, to declare her faith in me, as her King and Lord, doth with this box of ointment, as it were beforehand, embalm my body for its burial. True faith will put honour upon a crucified, as a glorified Saviour. This holy woman accounts Christ worthy of all honour in his death, believing it would be a sweet smelling sacrifice unto God, and savour of life unto his people.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.