What does Mark 14:7 mean?
ESV: For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.
NIV: The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.
NASB: For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.
CSB: You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have me.
NLT: You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.
KJV: For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
NKJV: For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is partially quoting the section of the Mosaic law about the sabbatical year. The Israelites were called to be generous to their poor countrymen, whether the needy could repay or not. God tells them, "For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land'" (Deuteronomy 15:11).

The Passover has become a popular time to give to the poor. Spring in Israel brings the harvest of beans, barley, and wheat. But the offering of firstfruits occurs on the day after the Sabbath after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it is against the law to eat from the spring harvest until after the firstfruits offering has been given (Leviticus 23:9–14). That means that the landowners are still living on the previous fall's produce. The poor need charity to keep them until the landowners harvest their crops and open their fields (Leviticus 23:22).

The church, likewise, is to take care of its poor. The believers in Jerusalem realized what an important mission they had as the first church, and shared all their resources so no one was in need (Acts 4:32–37). Older widows with good character but no family or wealth should be able to trust the church for their wellbeing (1 Timothy 5:3–16). Churches that Paul planted supported the large number of believers in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 16:1–4; Galatians 2:10). Meeting the needs of the poor is among the indicators of faithful obedience to Jesus (James 2:14–17), and Jesus equates serving the needy with serving Himself (Matthew 25:34–40).

Jesus is clear that giving to the poor is vital, but it mustn't take the place of the gospel. There will always be a time to give to the poor, but there are also times for Jesus. Just as giving is only one of the spiritual gifts, so giving is just one part of the Christian life. Spending all our time and resources feeding and caring for the poor without teaching them about Jesus may just result in warm, well-fed people going to hell.
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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