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Question

 

Gramps,

I enjoy reading your posts. I have been curious about this passage of scripture for awhile: Matthew 26:13. In what ways do we preach this in all the world as a memorial to her? Is it something passively taught? Or was it meant to be more strictly taught? Did it only apply to ancient preaching? Thanks for your posts.

Jay

 

Answer

 

Hello Jay,

The scriptural accounts of Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus (who was raised from the grave), anointing Jesus’s head and feet with Spikenard ointment are recorded in Matthew 26:13, John 12:1-8, and Mark 14:3-9. In these records we are given the following details regarding this event:

1) In Bethany, Jesus introduced the sacrament at Simon the Leper’s home
2) Mary brought an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard which was very precious (a pound)
3) Mary then pours the ointment not only on Jesus head, but on his feet also. Mary uses her hair to  anoint Jesus’s feet with the ointment
4) Mary’s decision enticed some to indignation, within their hearts, for using such expensive ointment
5) Jesus’s again recognizing the thoughts within their hearts saying her actions were good and Jesus’s words you have mentioned, “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.”

This statement is to be taken literally and as this event is recorded (within scripture), every individual who has walked the earth and has read the Bible will come to know Mary’s love for her Savior. Not only is this to be taken literally we have the following statements from leaders of the Church regarding her service to the Lord before his death:

Words Spoken by Elder James E. Talmage:

“Elder James E. Talmage stated: “To anoint the head of a guest with ordinary oil was to do him honor; to anoint his feet also was to show unusual and signal regard; but the anointing of head and feet with spikenard, and in such abundance, was an act of reverential homage rarely rendered even to kings. Mary’s act was an expression of adoration; it was the fragrant outwelling of a heart overflowing with worship and affection” (Jesus the Christ, 512).

The Savior stated that the woman’s actions would be “spoken of for a memorial of her” throughout the world (Mark 14:9). What was it about this incident that made it worthy of such lasting remembrance? In addition to her overflowing gratitude, the woman of Bethany stands out as the first disciple in the Gospel of Mark to understand and openly accept the Savior’s teaching that He must suffer and die. Elder Talmage suggested that Mary “may have gathered from the remarks of Christ to the apostles that the sacrifice of His life was impending,” noting that the accounts in both Mark and John are “suggestive of definite and solemn purpose on Mary’s part” (Jesus the Christ, 513). For additional information on the account of Mary anointing the Lord, see the commentary for John 12:1–8.”

Words Spoken by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“On the evening before Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He ate supper in Bethany, and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were there. Mary’s actions on this occasion demonstrated her deep love for the Savior, as explained by Elder Bruce R. McConkie: “Here sat the Lord of Heaven, in the house of his friends, as the hour of his greatest trials approached, with those who loved him knowing he was soon to face betrayal and crucifixion. What act of love, of devotion, of adoration, of worship, could a mere mortal perform for him who is eternal? Could a loved one do more than David had said the Good Shepherd himself would do in conferring honor and blessing upon another, that is: ‘Thou anointest my head with oil’? (Ps. 23:5.)” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:700).

Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with costly ointment (300 pence was most of an average year’s wages) and then wiped His feet with her hair, underscoring the gratitude she felt for Him. Judas Iscariot, who would soon sell his soul to Lucifer, protested but only to try to cover up his own thievery. Jesus responded to Judas, “Let her alone; for she hath preserved this ointment until now, that she might anoint me in token of my burial” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 12:7 [in John 12:7, footnote a]). The spiritually attuned Mary had prepared for this hour.”

Not only is this experience written within scripture it should also be written within the tablets of our own hearts and proclaimed with a loud voice in our latter-day.

 

Gramps

 

 

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