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John 12:7

ESV Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.
NIV Leave her alone,' Jesus replied. 'It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
NASB Therefore Jesus said, 'Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
CSB Jesus answered, "Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial.
NLT Jesus replied, 'Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.
KJV Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

What does John 12:7 mean?

Mary has just anointed Jesus with a tremendously expensive gift of oil, during a dinner celebrating His resurrection of her brother, Lazarus (John 12:1–3). Judas criticized this as a waste, noting that the value of the used oil could have fed many poor people (John 12:4–5). This is a smokescreen for his real angst: knowing that this is money he now can't steal from the disciples' common money bag (John 12:6).

Jesus now defends Mary's actions, looking ahead to His impending sacrificial death. Whether Mary fully understands what is about to happen, what she has done carries a prophetic element. This Mary is described elsewhere as an avid student of Jesus (Luke 10:38–42). Her motivations are sincere—unlike the criticism of Judas, which is deceptive. This was a chance for Mary to express her worship and appreciation for Christ. As it turns out, she will not be among the women who approach Jesus' tomb after His crucifixion, intent on anointing His body (Mark 16:1). Regardless of her own awareness, Mary is performing this very task, in advance.

Jesus will also point out that this is a rare opportunity (John 12:8). While there is some truth to the idea that the oil's cost could have been used in other ways, those opportunities will continue. The chance to honor Christ, as Mary did, was something that would never come again. Her decision resulted in an example that's been preserved in the very Word of God, for all time (Mark 14:6–11)
What is the Gospel?
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