1 ¶ After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.
They plan on doing this in secret by deceit and treachery. This is the definition of “craft” in this context as in Daniel 8:25. In other contexts it is a working skill or occupation as in Acts 18:3; 19:25, 27; Revelation 18:22.
3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus live in Bethany also (John 11:1). This is very expensive ointment, by the way. Christ’s body had to be broken in order for the precious ointment of salvation to be poured over us.
4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
The complaint was made by Judas, the betrayer.
John 12:4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
Stay away from complainers lest you become one. Leave your church before you become a complainer if there is great controversy there. Either don’t listen or leave. But don’t be a griper.
5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
Now, to understand how much this was worth, with penny being the singular of pence. Matthew 20 shows that a penny was a day’s wages so that this ointment was nearly a year’s pay! That might be $25,000.00 to $50,000 to some of us. Whatever the case, it’s a lot of money.
6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
No matter what programs you have for the poor, you’ll always have them. But don’t try to apply this to now by saying you don’t have to give to the poor because Jesus Christ is not walking the earth now in his physical, visible, earthly ministry. You’ll be going against a lot more doctrine for you that requires you to have a merciful and giving heart for the poor.
Mercy toward the poor is required of God’s people before the Law given to Moses, as evidenced in Job, during the Law as shown in Psalms and the Proverbs, during the Church Age as seen in Romans and Galatians, and in the Tribulation as revealed in James. But, here, in that unique and brief period of time when the God that created the universe walked the earth as a man He counters a flimsy concern from a thief and a traitor who wanted the money so he could steal some.
John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
“She hath done what she could…” Have you and I?
9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Here is a very clear reason why this scene is in the gospel. Jesus commanded it to be so.
10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.
Judas is one of the original twelve disciples. The prophecy is there in the Old Testament, but in the New, his name is provided. Judas decides to betray Christ. Here is one example;
Psalm 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Alluded to in;
John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.
1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.