What does Mark 14:4 mean?
ESV: There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?
NIV: Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, 'Why this waste of perfume?
NASB: But there were some indignantly remarking to one another, 'Why has this perfume been wasted?
CSB: But some were expressing indignation to one another: "Why has this perfume been wasted?
NLT: Some of those at the table were indignant. 'Why waste such expensive perfume?' they asked.
KJV: And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
NKJV: But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted?
Verse Commentary:
This is the second time in a week that a woman has anointed Jesus with extremely valuable ointment, and the second time the disciples have grumbled about the waste (John 12:1–8). It's also the second time Jesus has reprimanded them for criticizing a woman who uses her resources to worship Him (Mark 14:6–9). While many scholars believe the two accounts are the same event, the disciples have more than proved their ability to miss Jesus' teaching and make the same mistake twice in a week.

In the earlier event, Judas is particularly loud in grumbling about the waste; now other disciples have joined in (Matthew 26:8). John reveals that while Judas claims to be concerned about the poor, he's more concerned about pocketing the money, himself (John 12:4–6).

The disciples consider the use of an expensive luxury item bad stewardship. We sometimes face the same issue. We can't physically give something to Jesus, but many people have given lavish gifts to churches and ministries. Should offerings and donations be restricted to helping the poor and directly meeting ministry needs? Is there a difference between a ministry accepting a mansion to house their offices versus a pastor using church offering money to buy a private plane?

To a large extent, it depends on how the gift is treated. God laid out extravagant plans for first the tabernacle (Exodus 26) and then the temple (1 Kings 6; 7:13–51). He provided materials for the tabernacle from the Israelites' Egyptian neighbors (Exodus 11:2; 35:22) and much, but not all, of the materials for the temple were provided by foreigners (1 Kings 5:1–12). Those are parallel to being given some lavish gift, not part of the "regular" offerings. By the time of Jesus, however, the temple has become an idol. Instead of representing the dwelling place of God, it represents the Jewish people.

It isn't wealth that God despises, it's idolatry. Money was the rich young ruler's barrier to following Jesus (Mark 10:17–31), but with her wealth, Lydia served the church (Acts 16:13–15). Christ-followers should feel free to give to churches and ministries as God leads them. Churches and ministries should be grateful for the gifts, and use them wisely in the freedom of Christ.
Verse Context:
Mark 14:3–9 creates another narrative ''sandwich'' in this Gospel. Between the Sanhedrin's machinations to kill Him and Judas' offer to betray Him, a woman honors Jesus. The Passover lamb was chosen six days before the sacrifice. On the first day, its feet and ankles were anointed with oil, as Jesus' were in John 12:1–8. For five days, it would be inspected for flaws, as Jesus was when He taught and debated in the temple (Mark 11:15–12:40). Two days before the Passover, the lamb's head would be anointed, as Jesus' head is, here. This account is also recorded in Matthew 26:6–13.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is anointed in a symbolic anticipation of His death. Judas decides to secretly cooperate with local religious leaders to arrest Jesus in secret. During the Passover meal, Jesus predicts His betrayal by Judas, and Peter's denial. He also institutes the Lord's Supper, also known as communion. After praying on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is captured when Judas identifies Him to a hostile mob sent by Jewish authorities. He endures a corrupt, prejudiced trial, ending in a conviction for blasphemy. Peter, fearing for his life, lies about knowing Jesus, before remembering Jesus' prediction and breaking down in sobs.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has finished His public teaching ministry and now prepares for the crucifixion. His sacrificial loyalty will provide the means by which the disciples' abandonment will be forgiven. Next, the Romans, as representatives of Gentiles throughout history, will join the Jews and kill Jesus. Jesus will be buried, but He will rise again with the promise that His sacrifice will redeem the world. Matthew 26 and Luke 22 follow Mark 14 more closely while John 13:1—18:27 records more of Jesus' teaching in the upper room.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/29/2024 9:18:44 PM
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