Matthew 26:11

ESV For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.
NIV The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.
NASB For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.
CSB You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.
NLT You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
KJV For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

What does Matthew 26:11 mean?

John 12:1–11 seems to describe this same event. It is clear that Judas is one of the disciples who objected to this anointing of Jesus with expensive oil. His motive was selfish. He wanted some of the money that would have been gained from selling the oil for himself. He was a thief.

Other disciples, though, may have had more noble motives. They were deeply aware of the devastating poverty all around them in Israel. They were also aware of their responsibility to help care for their poor friends and neighbors. Maybe the perfumed oil that now filled their nostrils should have been sold to raise money for the poor and hurting. It's not unthinkable for them to wonder what other good might have been done with such a valuable resource.

In this case, Jesus even corrects those with good motives. His response is not harsh, but it is instructive. He tells them they will always have the poor with them—they will never lack opportunities to help those in need. This woman, though, has not wasted a bottle of expensive oil on just anyone. She has anointed the Messiah, the Son of God, the King, the one who will soon be crucified to pay for the sins of humanity. This is not merely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it's a once-in-history chance for this woman to honor God.

Jesus emphasizes that He will not be with them long. To worship the king in this way while the king is briefly present is a beautiful thing, Jesus has said. More than that, Jesus will show that this woman has contributed to what Jesus will experience in the coming week. She has begun to prepare Him for the burial to follow His death.
What is the Gospel?
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