What does Mark 14:6 mean?
ESV: But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
NIV: Leave her alone,' said Jesus. 'Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
NASB: But Jesus said, 'Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a good deed for Me.
CSB: Jesus replied, "Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for me.
NLT: But Jesus replied, 'Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?
KJV: And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
NKJV: But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.
Verse Commentary:
The twelve disciples have followed Jesus for three years. Two days before the crucifixion, they still believe He is the Jewish Messiah (Mark 8:27–30), the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13–14), come to free Israel from Roman rule. When He establishes His kingdom, they will assume positions of power (Mark 10:35–37). By scolding the woman who anoints Jesus, they prove they are still assuming too much.

When John proudly explained how he had tried to shut down a stranger casting out demons in Jesus' name, Jesus reprimanded him for discouraging someone obviously empowered by God (Mark 9:38–41). When the disciples rebuked a group of children come to see Jesus, Jesus became indignant with them for "protecting" Him from those who belonged to Him (Mark 10:13–16).

Now the disciples have arrogantly berated a woman whose every intention is to worship Jesus. Four days earlier, they did the same to Mary of Bethany (John 12:1–8), a woman who ignored social convention to sit at Jesus' feet and learn from Him (Luke 10:38–42). On the day families were putting oil on the feet of the lambs they'd chosen for the Passover sacrifice, Mary anointed Jesus' feet. Now another woman is anointing Jesus' head on the night families are anointing the heads of their lambs. It may be that only the women really understand that Jesus is going to die (Mark 14:8).

After Jesus ascends into heaven and the disciples receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4), then they will have the wisdom to know God's heart toward people. Peter will rightfully confront Ananias and Sapphira about their lying (Acts 5:1–11). Peter and John will understand how the power and grace of God are far more important than money (Acts 3:1–10). At this point, however, the disciples are still thinking grand thoughts about their positions as Jesus' close followers and their coming authority (Matthew 19:28). They have not yet learned that worshiping Jesus takes many different forms (Romans 14:4).
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.
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