The Anointing of Jesus--A Harmony of Luke 7:36-50; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-9

The Anointing of Jesus–A Harmony

Introduction

Jesus smelled great when He rode into Jerusalem, because He was anointed with perfume the day before. In this study, we will focus upon the different times Jesus was anointed. Although some people claim Jesus was only anointed once, the evidence points to more than one anointing. I know some people see contradictions in the Bible and so conclude that the Bible does not contain the truth. Before anyone concludes the Bible contains many errors when it comes to the anointing of Jesus, we must examine that evidence carefully. Therefore, I have constructed a chart of events for comparison across the four Gospel accounts.

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The Anointing of Jesus–A Harmony of Luke 7:36-50; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-9

A Chart of Factors with the Anointings of Jesus

Factor Luke 7  Matthew 26  Mark 14 John 12
Chronology Luke Chronological

(Luke 1:3)

 No Claim of Chronological Order  No Claim of Chronological Order  No Claim of Chronological Order
Time of Anointing No Mention, Except After City of Nain Restoration to Life and After Visit of Disciples of John the Baptist (Luke 7:11-35); Right before Jesus began Going from One City (“πόλει“) and Village (“κώμην”) to Another (Luke 8:1)  No Specified Date; (Notice after Two Days the Passover is Coming and the Son of Man Is To Be Handed over for Crucifixion  (Matthew 26:2);Also the Chief Priests and Elders of the People Gathered in the Court of Caiaphas and Plotted the to Seize Jesus by Stealth and Kill Him (Matthew 26:3-4); Notice No time Mentioned When Jesus in Bethany (Matthew 26:6); Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-10)  No Specified Time (Notice the Time of Passover and Unleavened Bread Two Days Away Refers to Time the Chief Priests and the Scribes Were Seeking How To Seize Him by stealth and Kill Jesus, but They were Saying, Not During the Festival, for Fear of a Riot among the People) (Mark 14:1-2); Anointing takes Place “While in Bethany” (Mark 14:3); Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-11)  Jesus Came to Bethany Six Days Before the Passover (John 12:1); So They Made Him a Supper There (John 12:2); Jesus Entered Jerusalem (Triumphal Entry) the Next Day after Anointing (John 12:12).
Location Unknown City (“πόλει“); Last Known Location: City of Nain (Luke 7:11);  News of Jesus Went Out all over Judea in all the Surrounding District (Luke 7:17); Compare Village of Bethany (“κώμην”) (Luke 10:38)  Now When Jesus was in Bethany, at Home of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:6)  While Jesus in Bethany, at Home of Simon the Leper (Mark 14:3)  No Mention of Location; Jesus Came to Bethany Where Lazarus Was; They Made Jesus a Supper (John 12:1-2)
City or Village Jesus went from One City (“πόλιν“) and Village (“κώμην”) to Another (Luke 8:1); Notice Luke Differentiated a Village (“κώμην”)  like Bethany from a City (“πόλιν“) where Simon the Pharisee Lived  When Jesus Was in Bethany

(Matthew 26:6)

While Jesus Was in Bethany

(Mark 14:3)

 Jesus Came to Bethany (John 12:1); They Made Him a Supper (John 12:2)
Current Relationship of Opponents with Jesus  Pharisees Enraged with Jesus after He Healed Withered Hand Man (Luke 6:11)  Elders and Chief Priests Plotting To Seize Jesus by Stealth and Kill Him, But They Were Afraid of the People Rioting During the Festival (Matthew 26:4-5)  Chief Priests and the Scribes Were Seeking How To Seize Him by Stealth and Kill Jesus, But They Were Saying, Not During the Festival, for Fear of a Riot among the People) (Mark 14:1-2)  Chief Priests and the Pharisees Convened a Council, Caiaphas Prophesied and They Planned To Kill Jesus (John 11:47-53); Jesus No Longer Walked Publicly among the Jews (John 11:54); the Chief Priests and Pharisees Had Given Orders To Report Jesus’ Location So They Might Seize Him (John 11:57)
Request Pharisee Requested Jesus to Dine with Him; ; Seems Pharisee Did Not Invite Woman into His House (Luke 7:36-37)  No Mention of How Jesus Came To Be in House of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:6)  No Mention of How Jesus Came To be in House of Simon the Leper (Mark 14:3)  No Mention of How Jesus Came To Be in the House (John 12:102)
 Martha No Mention No Mention No Mention Martha Was Serving (John 12:2)

 

Introduction to Woman with Ointment Woman Learned that Jesus There and Came To See Jesus (Luke Woman of the City Was a Sinner; Later, Luke Introduces Martha and Mary as New People, Who Live in Village of Bethany (Luke 10:38). Woman Came to Him (Matthew 26:7)  Woman Came (Mark 14:3)  Mary Took Pound of Perfume (John 12:3)
Character of the Woman Sinner (Luke 7:37 and 7:39); Many Sins (Luke 7:47); Forgiven Much (Luke 7:47); In Contrast, Mary Chose the Good Part with Jesus (Luke 11:42):  No Mention of Character of Woman  No Mention of Character of Woman  Mary Mentioned as Believing that Lazarus Would Not Have Died If Jesus Had Been Present Earlier (John 12:32); Already Well Known to Jesus from John 11 Resurrection of Lazarus, Her Brother
Action of Woman Began Kissing the Feet of Jesus as Soon as Jesus Entered ( Luke 7:45)  Poured Vial on His Head (Matthew 26:6) Broke Vial over His Head (Mark 14:3)  Mary Anointed Feet and Wiped Feet of Jesus

(John 12:3)

Position of Woman Standing Behind Jesus, at His Feet (Luke 7:38)  No Mention  No Mention  No Mention
Tears Wet Jesus’ Feet with Her Tears (Luke 7:38);  No Mention  No Mention No Mention
Water Pharisee Gave Jesus No Water for His Feet (Luke 7:44)  No Mention  No Mention  No Mention
Hair Woman Wiped Feet of Jesus with Her Hair (Luke 7:38: Luke 7:44)  No Mention  No Mention  Mary Wiped His Feet with Her Hair (John 12:3)
Kissing Pharisee No Kiss for Jesus; Woman Kissed His Feet without Ceasing from Time Jesus Entered the House (Luke 7:38; Luke 7: 45)  No Mention  No Mention No Mention
Feet Wet Jesus’ Feet with Her Tears (Luke 7:38); Anointed His Feet with Perfume (“μύρῳ”).  No Mention  No Mention  Mary Anointed Feet of Jesus (John 12:3)
Head Pharisee Did Not Anoint Head of Jesus (Luke 7:46); No Mention of Woman Anointing Head of Jesus Woman Anointed Head of Jesus (Matthew 26:7)  Poured Perfume over Head of Jesus (Mark 14:3)  No Mention
Body No Mention of Perfume on Body of Jesus Poured Perfume on Body (“σώματός“) of Jesus; Prepared Body of Burual (Matthew 26:12)  Prepared Body for Burial (Mark 14:8)  No Mention; She May Keep It for the Day of My Burial (John 12:7)
 Mary Named  None Mentioned  None Mentioned  None Mentioned Mary, Sister of Martha; High Reputation from John 11 Passage
Action of Pharisee Simon Reproved Jesus for Not Knowing Woman Was a Sinner (Luke 7:38) and Allowing the Woman to Touch Him (Luke 7:39); Simon Talked to Himself about Jesus (Luke 7:39)

 

 No Pharisee Mentioned  No Pharisee Mentioned  No Pharisee Mentioned
Failures of Pharisee Simmon Failed To Identify Jesus (Luke 7:39); Simon Reproved Jesus (Luke 7:39); Simon Denied Jesus Was a Prophet (Luke 7:39); Pharisee Would Not Let Sinner Touch Pharisee (Luke 7:39); Simon Gave No Water for the Feet of Jesus (Luke 7:44); Simon Gave No Kiss When Jesus Entered Simon’s House (Luke 7:45); Simon Did Not Anoint Jesus’ Head with Oil (Luke 7:46);  No Pharisee Mentioned  No Pharisee Mentioned  No Pharisee Mentioned
Parable of the Debtor Jesus Taught and Applied to Simon the Parable of the Debtor (Luke 7:40-50)  No Parable Mentioned  No Parable Mentioned No Parable Mentioned
Teaching of Jesus Gracious Forgiveness of God and Love Dominate Account in Luke (Luke 7:42); Sinner Forgiven Much and Loved Much (Luke 7:47); Sinner Anointed Jesus; Sinner Forgiven by Jesus (Luke 7:50); Jesus Indicates Woman Now Has Saving Faith (Luke 7:50); Pharisee Unrepentant  Good Deed of Preparing Body of Jesus for Burial (Matthew 26:13) Good Deed of Preparing Body of Jesus for Burial (Mark 14:9)  Keep Burial Custom (“it’) and It is Good: Good To Prepare Jesus for Burial (John 12:7)
Simon Common Name: Peter (Mathew 4:18); Simon the Zealot (Matthew 10:4); Simon, Brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:66); Simon the Leper (Mathew 26:6; Mark 14:3); Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32); Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:40); Simon Iscariot (John 6:71);  Simon the Magician (Acts 8:9); Simon the Tanner (Acts 9:43);  Simon the Leper

(Matthew 26:6)

 Simon the Leper

(Mark 14:3)

 No Simon Mentioned
Alabaster Vial Alabaster Vial (“κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον“) (Luke 7:38) Alabastar Vial (“ἀλάβαστρον“)

(Matthew 26:7)

Alabastar Vial (“ἀλάβαστρον”)

(Mark 14:3)

 No Alabastar Vial
Anointing Perfume (μύρου“) (Luke 7:37; Luke 7:46)  Perfume (“μύρου”) (Matthew 26:7)  Perfume (“μύρου“); Pure Nard (“νάρδου πιστικῆς“)

(Mark 14:3)

 Perfume(“μύρου”) of Pure Nard (“νάρδου πιστικῆς“) (John 12:2); House Filled with Fragrance of Perfume (John 12:3)
Position of Jesus  Reclining at Table (Luke 7:37) Reclining at Table (Matthew 26:7)  Reclining at Table (Mark 14:3)  Reclining at Table (John 12:2)
Cost  No Mention of Cost  Very Costly (“βαρυτίμου”) (Matthew 26:7);

Sold for High Price (Matthew 26:9)

 Very Costly

(“πολυτελοῦς”)

(Mark 14:3); Three Hundred Denarii (Mark 14:5)

 Very Costly (“πολυτίμου”) (John 12:2); Three Hundred Denarii (John 12:5)
Weight  None Mentioned  None Mentioned None Mentioned  One Pound (“λίτραν”) (John 12:3)
Broke Vial None Mentioned None Mentioned Broke the Vial (Mark 14:3)  None Mentioned
 Judas Iscariot  Selected as Disciple (Luke 6:16); No Disciple Mentioned  Disciples Present; Judas Not Mentioned by Name Disciples Present, Judas Not Mentioned by Name  Judas Iscariot Intending To Betray Jesus (John 12:4)
Betrayal of Jesus No Mention No Mention No Mention Judas Intended to Betray Jesus (John 12:4)
Judas the Thief No Mention No Mention No Mention Judas Pilfered Money from the Money Box (John 12:6)
 Mary Magdalene Mary Magdalene Introduced as Woman From Whom Seven Demons Went Out (Luke 8:2); Unrelated to Anointing  No Mention Not Mention  No Mention
 Forgiveness of Sins Woman Forgiven for Her Many Sins (Luke 7:49)  No Mention Not Mention  No Mention
 Other Dinner Guests Other Dinner Guests at the Table with Jesus Question How Jesus Could Forgive Sins (Luke 7:49); M Disciples only (Matthew 26:8) Uncertain: “Some Were Indignant” Probably Referring to Dinner Guests 

(Mark 14:4)

 Lazarus (John 12:2); Judas Iscariot (John 12:4); No Other Disciples Mentioned
Presence of Disciples No Disciples Mentioned Disciples Mentioned

(Matthew 26:8)

Uncertain: “Some Were Indignant” Probably Referring to Dinner Guests 

(Mark 14:4)

 Judas Only Disciple Mentioned as Present: Notice They Made “Him” Jeus (Singular) Supper, But Lazarus and Judas Iscariot Present Also, Perhaps Others
Reaction of Disciples No Mention of Disciples Disciples Indignant (“ἠγανάκτησαν”) with Waste (“ἀπώλεια”)(Matthew 26:8)  Some Indignant (“ἀγανακτοῦντες”) with Waste (“ἀπώλεια“)

(Mark 14:4)

 Only Judas Mentioned as Disciple (John 12:4); No Indignation Explicitly Mentioned: Judas Objected (John 12:4-6)
Advice of Disciples No Mention of Disciples Sell Perfume for High Price and Give to the Poor (Matthew 26:9)  Sell Perfume and Give to Poor (Mark 14:5)  Judas Complained that Money Could Be Used for Poor (John 12:4-6)
Disciples Criticize Jesus No Mention of Disciples Disciples Called the Anointing a Waste of Money (Matthew 26:9) Some Called the Anointing a Waste of Money 

(Mark 14:4)

Judas Criticized Jesus for Anointing; He Wanted the Perfume Sold and Given to the Poor, and that Judas Might Pilfer Some of the Money (John 12:5-6)
Disciples Criticize Woman No Mention of Disciples Disciples Called the Anointing a Waste of Money (Matthew 26:9); Why Do You Bother the Woman (Matthew 26:10)  Disciples Were Scolding (“ἐνεβριμῶντο”) the woman (Mark 14:5) Judas Criticized Mary for Anointing; He Wanted the Perfume Sold and Given to the Poor, and that Judas Might Pilfer Some of the Money (John 12:5-6)
Reaction of Jesus to the Disciples No Mention of Disciples Why do You Bother (“κόπους παρέχετε“) the Woman (Matthew 26:10)

 

Let Her Alone (“Ἄφετε αὐτήν”) (Mark 14:6); Why Do You Bother Her (“κόπους παρέχετε“) ? (Mark 14:6)  Jesus Confronted Judas: Let Her Alone (“Ἄφες αὐτήν“) (John 12:7)
Good Deed No Expression of Good Deed Jesus Said Woman Had Done a Good Deed (“ἔργον καλὸν“) to Jesus (Matthew 26:10)  She Has Done a Good Deed (“καλὸν ἔργον“) to Jesus (Mark 14:6)  No Good Deed Explicitly Mentioned: Implied that Good Deed Was Prepared Jesus for the Day of His Burial (John 12:7)
Jesus Praises the Woman You Love Much, Having Been Forgiven Much; Your Faith Has Saved You (Luke 7:47-50) Good Deed: Prepared Body for Burial (Matthew 26:12) Good Deed: Prepared Body for Burial (Mark 14:8)  Praise for Preparation of Jesus for the Day of Burial (John 12:7)
The Poor No Mention of the Poor Disciples Wanted Money for the Poor; Jesus Said Poor Always with Them (Matthew 26:8-11)  Disciples Wanted Money for the Poor; Jesus said You Can Do Good to the Poor Always(Mark 14:4-7) Judas Had No Concern for the Poor (John 12:6): Jesus Said Poor Always with You (John 12:4-8)
Presence of Jesus No Promise of Presence You Do Not Always Have Me (“ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε“) (Matthew 26:11)  You Do Not Always Have Me (“ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε“) (Mark 14:7)  You Do Not Always Have Me (“ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε“) (John 12:8)
Preparation for Burial No Mention of Burial  She Prepared Jesus for Burial (Matthew 26:12)  She Anointed Body beforehand for Burial (Mark 14:8)  She Prepared for the Day of the Burial of Jesus (John 12:7)
Last Words to Woman from Jesus “Your Faith Has Saved You; Go in Peace”  Wherever Gospel Preached, Deeds of Woman Spoken in Memory of Her (Matthew 26:13)  Wherever Gospel Preached, Deeds of this Woman Spoken in Memory of Her (Mark 14:9)  “You Do Not Always Have Me” (John 12:8)

 

The Anointing of Jesus–A Harmony of Luke 7:36-50; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-9

The First Anointing

House of Simon the Pharisee

Luke 7:36-50

In Luke 7, an unnamed woman appeared at the house of Simon the Pharisee. You can review the chart above to see all the differences between this account of anointing, but I will highlight a few strong reasons to believe this anointing stands separately.

1.1 Different Location. In Luke 7, the anointing occurred in an unnamed city (“πόλει“), apparently in Galilee. In Luke 10:38, Luke identified the village of Bethany (“κώμην”). He used different words to distinguish a “village” from a “city.” Therefore, the Luke considered Bethany a village, but the anointing Luke described occurred in an unnamed city. Therefore, the location does not point to the village of Bethany as the place of anointing, but rather to an unnamed city. 

1.2 Different Time. In Luke 7, the anointing takes place long before the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28). Please recall that Luke indicated that his gospel followed a chronological pattern (Luke 1:3), so the later chapters are later events. In Luke, after the anointing in chapter 7, the itinerary of Jesus included a long schedule of events before the Triumphal Entry. Therefore, the anointing in Luke 7 occurred long before the other accounts of the anointing of Jesus. 

1.3. Different Substance. Luke 7 concerns a notorious sinner and a self-righteous Pharisee. Jesus told Simon the Pharisee a parable about love and forgiveness. All the other anointing accounts concern a woman preparing Jesus for burial and her praise. None of them concern a parable of forgiveness and words to a Pharisee about forgiveness.

1.4. Mary. In Luke 7, the notorious sinner is never named. Furthermore, Luke mentions Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Luke 10:38 and introduces them as if for the first time. Only in John 12:3 does the Bible record that a Mary anointed Jesus. All the other accounts do not name the woman anointing Jesus.

1.5. Simon. In Luke 7, Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner. Simon was a common name in the New Testament: Peter (Mathew 4:18); Simon the Zealot (Matthew 10:4); Simon, Brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:66); Simon the Leper (Mathew 26:6; Mark 14:3); Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32); Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:40); Simon Iscariot (John 6:71);  Simon the Magician (Acts 8:9); Simon the Tanner (Acts 9:43). Therefore, any claim that the Simon in the other accounts was the same Simon must overcome the simple probability that it was not the same Simon, because of the number of other Simons mentioned in the New Testament. The Gospel writers specifically identified two Simons associated with the accounts of the anointing of Jesus, one a Pharisee and the other a leper.

Based upon all the factors above, and the details in the chart above, the anointing of Luke 7 was different from the anointing accounts described in the other Gospels.

The Anointing of Jesus–A Harmony of Luke 7:36-50; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-9

The Second Anointing

Mary Anoints Jesus

Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-8

2.1 Different Location.  In John 12, the location of the anointing is undisclosed. Martha served dinner to Jesus, but the location of the dinner was not specified. In Matthew and Mark, the dinner took place at the home of Simon the Leper. Martha may have served dinner for Jesus and His disciples at the home of Simon the Leper.

2.2 Different TimeTime becomes a bigger issue with the accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Some people have noticed that the dating of Matthew (two days before Passover–Matthew 26:1-5) and Mark (two days before the Passover and the Unleavened Bread–Mark 14:1) pertains to the time of the plot to kill Jesus, and not the time of the anointing. The anointing appears in Matthew and Mark as a parenthesis, inserted at the place in their narratives that fits the best. While the Gospel of John does not claim to be chronological, John does use some time markers. John places the time of the anointing apparently six days before the Passover (John 12:1). Therefore, this timing would permit all three Gospel accounts to harmonize on time. Therefore, possibly all the accounts in John, Matthew and Mark all happened at the same time, and in the same place, at the home of Simon the Leper on the day before the Triumphal entry. Please recall that only Luke claimed a chronological sequence to his Gospel.

2.3 Different SubstanceIn Matthew, Mark, and John, the anointing concerns preparation for burial. In Matthew, the disciples objected to the anointing of Jesus. In Mark, some people objected to the anointing of Jesus. In John, Judas Iscariot objected to the anointing of Jesus. In Matthew, Mark and John, the text speaks about the woman anointing Jesus for burial, and the good work of Mary in performing the anointing. Therefore, the substance seems very similar in the accounts of Matthew, Mark and John.

2.4 Judas the Betrayer. Two events present timing issues related to the anointing of Jesus: (1) the agreement among the religious leaders to find a time to seize and kill Jesus, but not during the Passover festival for fear of the crowds of Jews (Matthew 26:3-4 and Mark 14:1-2) (the Council Agreement); and (2) the agreement of Judas with those religious leaders for Judas to betray Jesus into their hands (Matthew 26:14-16 and Mark 14:10-11) (the Judas Agreement). In both Matthew and Mark, the account of the anointing of Jesus takes is placed between the Council Agreement and the Judas Agreement. Therefore, Matthew and Mark obviously placed the anointing account there to bring context to the two agreements (please remember that only Luke claimed his sequence of events was chronological and he placed the two agreement back to back) (Luke 22:1-6). Many salient questions arise related to these timing issues of the two agreements and the anointing of Jesus.

2.4 The Chronology of the Council Agreement and the Judas Agreement. In Luke 22:1-2, the religious leaders were seeking together how to put Jesus to death, but they feared the crowds of people. In Luke 22:3-6, we see that the Judas Agreement took place after the Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-44). Notice that Luke does not place any anointing in between the Council Agreement and the Judas Agreement. Because Luke employed a consecutive chronology, we must examine the order of events to determine the timeline of the Triumphal Entry, the Council Agreement and Judas Agreement. Therefore, we must also reexamine the chronology of the anointing in Matthew and Mark to harmonize the Triumphal Entry, the Council Agreement, and the Judas Agreement. 

2.4.1 The Matthew Chronology of Betrayal. The timing issue of the anointing turns upon the how the Council Agreement relates to accounts of the anointing of Jesus.  Did Matthew place the anointing, which may have happened earlier, in the middle of the two agreements? The time words in Matthew 26:1 (“When had finished”–“Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν“) and Matthew 26:3 (“Then”–“Τότε“) pertain to the agreement of the religious leaders to put Jesus to death, and not necessarily to the anointing time. Therefore, nothing in the timing words of Matthew 26:1-3 necessarily pertains to the time of the anointing, but appear rather to be connected to the timing of the Council Agreement. After Matthew’s account of the anointing of Jesus, we see another timing word in Matthew 26:14. There, the term “Then” (“Τότε”) begins the account the Judas Agreement. The original language in Matthew 26:14 for “Then” (“Τότε”) marks an event as at the same time.  But the question remains, what time is linked here? Is the Judas Agreement linked in time with the anointing? Or, is the Judas Agreement linked with the Council Agreement? Luke placed the Judas Agreement (Luke 22:3-6) immediately following the Council Agreement (Luke 22:1-2) and after the Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-44) and before the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Luke 22:1), which is called the Passover (Luke 22:1-2). Therefore, to simplify, we know the general chronology: (1) Triumphal Entry; (2) Council Agreement; (3) Judas Agreement; (4) Passover. Therefore, if we take the Matthew account of the anointing as parenthetical (inserted out of time, meaning it was inserted in the text between the Council Agreement and the Judas Agreement, but the anointing actually occurred at a different time), then we have resolved all time issues. But we will have to see if the other Gospel accounts of the anointing permit this parenthesis. 

2.4.2 The Mark Chronology of Betrayal. In Mark 14:1, Mark began with “Now was” (“ην δὲ“). He referred to the Passover being two days away. At that time, the Council Agreement took place. In Mark 14:3, Mark began the account of the anointing with “While He was in Bethany” (“Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ“). This timing phrase does not necessarily mean consecutive time or contemporaneous time. In Mark 14:66, “As Peter was below” (“Καὶ ὄντος τοῦ Πέτρου κάτω”–the only other use of “Καὶ ὄντος” in the Gospel of Mark), Peter was probably below when one of the servant girls appeared, and not necessarily related to the time of the preceding verses. The force of the participle “being” (“ὄντος”) certainly and primarily relates to the time of the action of the main verb in both Mark 14:3 and Mark 14:66. The context both immediate and wider must determine this timing issue. So, the phrase “While He was in Bethany” probably relates to the main verb of Mark 14:3 (“came”) describing the woman who came while Jesus was reclining in Bethany. Therefore, nothing in the Greek text compels a time connection to the Council Agreement or the Judas Agreement which follows. Likewise, in Mark 14:10, “Then Judas Iscariot . . .” marks the time Judas made his agreement. The original language for “Then” (“Καὶ“) does not necessarily mean consecutive time in Mark, but may mean merely “and” another event happened. Even if the term “Then” marks consecutive time, the link could be to the Council Agreement, consistent with Luke, so that the Judas Agreement follows the Council Agreement. Therefore, the anointing account in Mark harmonizes with the other accounts if Mark inserted the anointing account as a parenthesis between the Council Agreement and Judas Agreement.  

2.4 The John Chronology of Betrayal. In John 12:1, Jesus came to Bethany six days before the Passover. In John 12:12, we read that John placed the Triumphal Entry on the next day following the anointing. Unlike the accounts in Matthew and Mark, no mention in the immediate context is made of the Council Agreement. In John 11:47-54, John described a council of the Jews deciding what to do about Jesus, because He performed many miracles and would take away both the place of the religious rulers on the Council and the nation itself (John 11:46). Caiaphas prophesied that it would be better for Jesus to die than the Council and the nation to be lost (John 11:49-52). From that day forward, the Council planned together to kill Him. (John 11:53). Notice the words “From that day on” (“ἀπ’ ἐκείνης οὖν τῆς ἡμέρας“) they planned together (“ἐβουλεύσαντο“) to kill Jesus, indicating that the planning continued after that day. Furthermore, after this meeting of the Council, Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but withdrew to Ephraim, a city near the wilderness, and stayed there with His disciples. The Council agreement in John took place sometime before the Triumphal Entry and appears to be the first date that the Council formally decided to put Jesus to death. The Council Agreement in Matthew and Mark built upon the prior Council meeting in John 12, but Matthew and Mark highlight the determination to seize Jesus; the Council, however, had concerns about a riot during the Passover festival if they seized Jesus during that time. The Judas Agreement ultimately provided a simple way to seize Jesus out of the public’s view. Therefore, the John discussion of the meeting of the Council does not conflict with the accounts in Matthew and Mark concerning the Council Agreement and the Judas Agreement. Therefore, the parenthesis of inserting the anointing account between the Council Agreement and the Judas Agreement seems consistent with the evidence.

2.5 Same Words. The original language has striking similarities in the original text between the various accounts. In Mark and John, Jesus replied to people criticizing the person anointing: “Let her alone” (“Ἄφες αὐτήν“). Note that the same exact words appear in the original texts of Mark and John, lending strong support to those accounts being the same. Likewise the phrase, “You do not always have me” (“ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε“) appears with identical words in Matthew, Mark and John. Therefore, because of the exact overlap in the wording, it seems likely that the anointing of John 12 is the same anointing as referenced in Matthew and Mark.

2.6 Judas and Mary NamedJohn named Mary as the person anointing Jesus and he also named Judas as the person objecting to the anointing. Even so, the accounts in Matthew and Mark harmonize well regarding the cost of the ointment, and the tribute to Mary by the Lord Jesus. 

The second anointing clearly differs from Luke’s account of an anointing, but some differences appear between the accounts of Matthew, Mark and John. Yet, all three accounts may be harmonized as shown above. Therefore, it appears that Jesus was anointed only twice in the Biblical record, and the second time happened just before the Triumphal Entry. Jesus really smelled like a king as He rode on the donkey that day.

HALLELUJAH !

The Anointing of Jesus–A Harmony of Luke 7:36-50; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-9