Comparison of Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9 and John 12:1-8

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Comparison of Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9 and John 12:1-8
April 22, 2010
Robin Reid

These three excerpts of the Bible appear to be the same story. All occur in Bethany. They all take place in the home of Simon the leper. John indicates this took place six days before Passover and that Bethany was where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Though, from Matthew and Mark we can assume the incident occurred shortly before the Passover because Jesus indicates in all three accounts the deed was done in preparation for his burial. John also indicates that supper was being served to Jesus by Martha and that Lazarus was present. The other two books do not indicate who the other guests may be. They all indicate a woman entered with a vial of costly perfume. Matthew and Mark indicate the perfume is in a jar made from alabaster. Mark and John indicate the source of the perfume is “pure nard”. In John, the woman is identified as Mary. It is not clear whether this woman is Mary Magdalene or not. In Matthew and Mark, she pours the perfume over Jesus’ head (actually breaking the jar in Mark), but in John she anoints His feet with a pound of the perfume and then wipes with her hair. In all three stories, others in attendance saw this action as wasteful, saying the perfume could have been sold to feed the poor. In Mark and John, they even give the perfume’s value as three hundred denari, but in Matthew it is only valued at a “high price”. Only in John is the protester identified as Jesus’ disciple, Judas Iscariot. John also suggests a reason for Judas’ protest – that he was not concerned for the poor, but a thief who controlled the money box and pilfered from it. In Matthew, the protesters are identified as disciples, but in Mark they are not identified at all. Jesus response was the same in all three accounts. He states in all three books that they will always have the poor, but will not always have Him. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus states that the woman has...
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