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John 12:2

ESV So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.
NIV Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
NASB So they made Him a dinner there, and Martha was serving; and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
CSB So they gave a dinner for him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him.
NLT A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.
KJV There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

What does John 12:2 mean?

This event is a festive dinner given in the home of a man named Simon (Mark 14:3–11). This is in Bethany, the hometown of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, three siblings who are close with Jesus (Luke 10:38–39). The reason for the celebration is the recent miracle where Jesus raised Lazarus from death (John 11:38–44).

Verses 2 and 3 echo the various ways Christians can apply their loving faith in Christ, through the actions of the three siblings. All three are a kind of "service," in different forms. Martha's contribution is the most literal kind of service, as she works to provide food and hospitality. Lazarus' service is in personal testimony: a living representation of the power of Christ in someone's life.

Mary's service, shown in the next verse, is in worshipful sacrifice. That act will be met with an indignant response by Judas, among others. His motivations are far from pure, making his presence a symbol of those who put down the efforts of others.
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