What does Mark 14:5 mean?
ESV: For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her.
NIV: It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor.' And they rebuked her harshly.
NASB: For this perfume could have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.' And they were scolding her.
CSB: For this perfume might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they began to scold her.
NLT: It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!' So they scolded her harshly.
KJV: For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
NKJV: For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
Verse Commentary:
John 12:2–8 mentions a very similar account from four days earlier. John identified the grumbler as Judas Iscariot who was less concerned with feeding the poor and more concerned with having the opportunity to steal the money. A denarius is a day's wage for a laborer. Taking away the Sabbaths and other special feast days, 300 denarii would be about a year's income. Mark 6:37 says that two hundred denarii is enough to feed at least 5,000 people, so three hundred denarii could presumably feed at least 7,500 people.

We're never told why the woman owns such expensive perfume. In many cultures throughout history women have been restricted from owning land, businesses, and other property. They could, however, own clothing and jewelry. It could be that this perfume is the woman's nest egg—her life savings or even her dowry.

Jesus' relationship with money easily confuses those with more worldly practicalities. Jesus describes His lack of possessions as a simple fact, not as something to change (Matthew 8:19–20). He approves of the rich young man for his faithful adherence to the Commandments regarding godly treatment of others, but challenges his dependence on his money (Mark 10:17–22). Jesus doesn't tell him to give away his riches because that will save him, but so that nothing will come between him and God. In the temple, Jesus explains that giving a lot, even to God's purposes, is a worldly standard, while giving with a loving, sacrificial heart honors God, no matter what the amount (Mark 12:41–44).

Although this woman's offering is extravagant, the way in which she gives it is a better indication of her intent than the value of the perfume. Jesus is reclining at a table when she boldly approaches (Hebrews 4:16) and pours the perfume on His head. Conversely, the disciples' contempt reveals their misguided priorities more than their generosity-by-proxy. They have a tendency to disregard anyone they do not find worthy of their Master's presence, including strangers (Mark 9:38–41) and children (Mark 10:13–16). Every cultural tradition tells them that Jesus will rescue Israel from Roman rule and they will receive thrones to judge at His side (Matthew 19:28). The truth of Jesus' sacrifice for the redemption of the world is hidden from them (Luke 18:31–34). The church will be built not by earthly ambition but by men whose hearts of stone die in humiliation at the cross and who receive hearts of flesh by the work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4).
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 5/21/2024 1:48:59 PM
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