(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
(2). Jesus Predicts His Death Two Days Hence (Tuesday Evening of Passion Week)
“…Jesus….. said to his disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away– and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’”
(3). The Jewish Rulers Postpone The Plot To Kill Jesus
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled….. and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. ‘But not during the Feast,’ they said….”
The Jewish Passover Feast was two days away, and the crowds were gathering in Jerusalem to celebrate as stated in the Law of Moses . The three accounts of Mark, Matthew, and Luke are worded differently to the extent that some confusion may arise: “…the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread….” ;“…the Passover is two days away…” ;“..the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover…” . It would appear that both Mark and Luke are referring to two separate feasts as one, while Matthew speaks only of one – the Passover.
Of all the feasts of Israel, the Passover was the first and most important. The Passover was a celebration in memory of the angel of death passing over the Hebrew dwellings in Egypt on the night of their freedom from Egyptian slavery, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorated the first seven days of that freedom or Exodus . Both celebrations were closely intertwined as leaven had to be removed from their homes before the slaying of the Passover lamb and during the weeklong celebration of Unleavened Bread that immediately followed, therefore, making the Passover meal itself one of unleavened bread . Both feasts were eventually merged into one, and so it was during the New Testament period .
It is interesting to note that although the Jewish Rulers agreed to postpone the arrest and murder of our Lord Jesus until after the feast, the scriptures had to be fulfilled as our Lord Jesus – God’s Passover Lamb – had to be sacrificed on the day that the Passover was to be celebrated .
(4). The Anointing Of Jesus By Mary At Bethany
Both Mark and Matthew record this event as if it occurred during the Passion Week, but John records that it was “Six days before the Passover….” . Although there seems to be some discrepancy, the significant part of the event is the action of Mary. While the disciples were slow to accept the predictions of His death, Mary seemed to have had a better comprehension of what was about to occur, possibly because she chose to sit at His feet and learn from His teachings while they were distracted by other things .
Thus we can learn from this account:
It was an act of devotion to her Lord in appreciation of what He had done and would do for her. It is not clear if this was “Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out…” but she displayed much devotion to Him.
It was an act of worship to her Lord that cost her: she came with “an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume”. This reminds us that our worship to God should be costly, “made of pure nard” .
It was an act that displayed her humility. Both Mark and Matthew record that Mary anointed His head, but John adds that she also anointed His feet and wiped His feet with her hair. Attending to the feet of a guest was the work of the servant or slave of the household, thus Mary took the place of the servant. Our worship should be pleasing to God, to others, and to ourselves, “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” .
Mary’s act of worship caused the disciples (John singles out Judas) to be become incensed, saying that the expensive perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor, but our Lord Jesus rebukes them by saying, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”, “She did what she could…” . Our worship should be of deep gratitude to God for all that He has done for us in giving His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and as we worship, whether privately or publicly, the result should be the same, God should be pleased and others refreshed, “…he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” .