Nard sometimes called "spikenard" comes from the spikenard plant Nardostachys jatamansi , native to India's eastern Himalayas, growing from 10, to 16, feet elevation 3, to 5, meters.
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The rhizomes or roots are crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic, amber-colored essential oil that was a favorite perfume in antiquity. The best spikenard was imported from India in sealed alabaster containers. In verse 5, Judas calculates its value as denarii, which, at the wage of about a denarius per day, was nearly one year's wages -- a very expensive perfume indeed! John includes a distinctive detail -- also mentioned in -- that marked this event as quite intimate, indeed, shocking. Respectable women didn't go out in public with their hair down -- that was the mark of a loose woman.
But Mary had let down her hair and was drying excess perfume from Jesus' feet with her hair! There is a lot of confusion about which Mary anointed Jesus' feet. There are some similarities between this anointing in Bethany and an unnamed sinful woman anointing Jesus' feet in a separate instance in Luke , which took place earlier in Jesus' ministry. Mary Magdalene, a wealthy and devoted disciple from Magdala, on the west coast of the Sea of Galilee, was said to have been delivered from seven demons Luke ; Mark Much later Mary Magdalene was thought to be a sinful woman, since the demonic involvement was assumed to be sexual thus making her a "sinful woman" , and since her name was Mary thus confused with Mary of Bethany.
We must be clear.
Mary of Bethany is a devout and upright disciple, not to be confused with the "sinful woman" of Luke , nor with Mary from Magdala. You can imagine the sudden, overpowering fragrance of the perfume filling the room, as Mary broke the seal on the alabaster flask and poured it over Jesus' feet. The whole room was charged with the beautiful aroma. Paul uses this image to elucidate the power of a Christian presence:.
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. Mary had performed a beautiful, startling, and extravagant act of worship that was destined to be remembered long after her time Mark The Wise Men believed in extravagant worship, as well:.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. David was a strong believer in worship that was not cheap. Araunah the Jebusite was willing to give for free his threshing floor to David for a place to offer a sacrifice later the site of the temple , but David refused. It was worth a year's wages.
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Why do some people feel they have to exalt themselves by putting someone else down? Judas objects to the extreme extravagance of Mary's gesture -- and you might too. Judas Iscariot's heart isn't pure. John, who knew Judas well, tells us two facts that help us understand him: 1 He is the treasurer for Jesus' mission -- he kept the money box.
And 2 he makes it a practice to steal  from the common fund. We would call that "embezzlement. Mary's worship tells us a lot about her -- and ourselves! So does Judas' heart. It's difficult to know exactly how to render verse 7b. Mark's Gospel gives the same idea:.
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She poured perfume on my body beforehand  to prepare for my burial. Jesus is not opposed to alms for the poor -- and says that there will always be poor they can give alms to in times to come. But this is a special occasion. If Mary doesn't do this now, the opportunity will be lost forever. Jesus approves! Just as the fragrance of her act immediately filled the room, so it will eventually fill the world. In Mark's Gospel we read:. John Why did Judas object to Mary's extravagant act of devotion?
Why did Jesus defend her? Why did Mary do this?
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What does this teach us about worship? Does your worship tend to be cheap or extravagant? For you, what would be extravagant worship? Both verbs in verse 11 are in the imperfect tense, continuing action in the past, indicating and ongoing and growing movement of people in Jerusalem to faith in Jesus. Both Jesus and Lazarus are attracting crowds and inspiring faith.
As a result, Lazarus is put on the chief priests' "hit list. This is evidence of the evil blindness of Jesus' enemies. Paul characterizes this kind of aggressive persecution in his Letter to the Romans:. They have seen truth staring them in the face, but they cannot endure it because it threatens their lifestyle. Such has been the basis of persecution of faithful Christians ever since. The Synoptic Gospels describe the Triumphal Entry in greater detail, explaining how Jesus directed disciples to the young donkey that he would ride into Jerusalem, but John focuses on the procession itself, and what it tells us about who Jesus is.
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The procession begins in Bethany, the town where Lazarus, Martha, and Mary live, which is located about 2 miles east of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. Only after Jesus was glorified  did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. Look how the whole world has gone after him! In Jerusalem, stories of Jesus' raising of Lazarus have spread from person to person among the pilgrims who have come to the city for Passover.
So when word comes that Jesus is coming into the Holy City, crowds go out to meet him John says that "they took palm branches  and went out to meet him. Though palms grew especially along the Jordan River, they were also found in the hill country Judges ; Nehemiah , and were commonly used during the Feast of Booths Leviticus , and in other celebrations of praise 1 Maccabees ; 2 Maccabees In Revelation a great multitude stands before the Lamb with palm branches in their hands.
The palms are also seen in Psalm that the people were referring to in their shouts:. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel! The procession grows and people continue to shout  -- the imperfect tense of the verb indicates continued action in the past. John records three shouts in particular:. Teri Cernoch Tomahawk Wi. We spoke 13 times and were on 3 TV shows and also did 3 radio shows. Praise God!!! The Lord confirmed His Word with signs following at each place. There were people who had visions of Jesus and people who saw angels as well as other signs and wonders including demons being cast out and off of people, and many physical healings as well.
Jesus is still in the miracle business and still comes to save, heal, and deliver people because of His great love for us!
She started by listing off a huge amount of illnesses and said she was in pain and sick a lot. I placed my hands on her and prayed over her for a few minutes and sensed that there was nothing happening at all in response to my prayers. I stopped praying and asked the Lord what was going on and He told me that the woman had unforgiveness for her ex-husband and 2 other people from her past. I told her what I felt the Holy spirit had told me, and asked her if she agreed. I asked her to go stand off to the side for a while and pray about it.
God speaks clearly about unforgiveness in the Bible and we need to heed His words for our own well being, spirtitually and physically. I did say that and I had prayed for her a few times already, with no change in her condition. She had been born with some type of intestinal problem and it had caused her a lot of grief already in life. My eyes began to tear up as I felt compassion for this child and pain in my heart as I contemplated what she was saying. I asked her if I could pray again.
So I told her to shut her eyes and think about how much Jesus loved her.
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