The Woman (Women?) Who Anointed Jesus

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: November 30, 2017

Category: Daily Devotional

Truly I tell you wherever this Good News is proclaimed in the whole world what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.
Matthew 26:13

As you read the scriptures for today you noticed the differences and similarities of this encounter which appears in all four gospels.

In Matthew, Mark and Luke, the woman is identified solely as a woman, but in the Gospel of John she is identified as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anoints Jesus.

In Matthew, Mark and John, the location is identified as Bethany, while the town or village is not mentioned in Luke.

While the site is Bethany in three of the gospels, in Matthew and Mark the action takes place in the home of Simon the leper and in the Gospel of John, the anointing occurs in the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.

In Matthew and Mark, the costly ointment/perfume is poured on Jesus’ head. In Luke and John, Jesus’ feet are anointed.

In Matthew, Mark and John, protests are made that the ointment or perfume could have been sold and the proceeds distributed to the poor.

In Matthew and Mark, Jesus affirms that the woman has performed a good service for Him, anointing Him in anticipation of His death and burial.

In Luke alone, the woman anoints Jesus with her tears, but in Luke and John the woman dries Jesus’ feet with her hair.

In Matthew and Mark, we are reminded that the poor are always with us,

I appreciate the anonymity of the woman in Matthew. Mark and Luke remind us to give without our generosity being acknowledged. I also appreciate that we are encouraged to minister to the poor as we have opportunity and the resources to do so


O Lord, help us to give generously to the poor among us, always remembering as we minister to them, so we are showing our love and care for You. Help us to have the correct priorities so that we choose well among the things competing for our attention. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.