"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Triumphal Entry (or Anointing at Bethany)
Lord's Supper, Prayer in Gethsemane
Mark 11:1-11 [14:3-9] Commentary
by Elisabeth Johnson
Each of the four Gospels tells a story of a woman anointing Jesus with costly perfume, but the details in each of the stories are different.
In Mark’s version of the anointing, it is the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, “two days before the Passover” (14:1), and we find Jesus in Bethany having dinner in the home of Simon the leper (14:3). We are not told much about Simon, but most likely he is someone whom Jesus had healed of leprosy. Still, he is known as “the leper.” To the very end of his life, Jesus is crossing boundaries, sharing dinner and fellowship with those from whom most respectable religious leaders would keep their distance.
But then another boundary is crossed. A woman shows up unannounced, breaks open a jar of expensive, fragrant ointment, and pours it over Jesus’ head. We don’t know whether this woman was a member of the household or whether she was crashing the party. We don’t know what exactly moves her to perform such an extravagant act of devotion. We do know that she gives Jesus a very costly gift.
Some of Jesus’ dinner companions are offended ...
| Bible Text
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 404: Triumphal Entry (or Anointing at Bethany)
April 05, 2020
Podcast on the Narrative Lectionary readings for Apr. 5, 2020, (Triumphal Entry) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded on Feb. 6, 2020, at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.