The Anointing

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Mark 14:1-9

“What she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” (v. 9)

Jerusalem was packed. Pilgrims from everywhere had come for the most important festival of the year, Passover, when memories of liberation from Egypt were rekindled and hopes of freedom from Rome were stoked. The plot to kill Jesus was in full swing. He had to be done away with, concluded the Jewish leaders. The question was how, with so many people -including his ardent followers – in the city? If not done delicately, there could be a riot.

Meanwhile, Mark describes a meal. Jesus is eating at the home of a leper. And as he
eats a woman pours an expensive jar containing ointment of nard on his head. Worried about
how much this nard cost (a full year’s wages!), the bickering disciples fail to notice
that the unnamed woman was anointing Jesus. Jesus rebukes them and says that she has
“anointed my body beforehand for burial.” Jesus adds a most remarkable exclamation point
to this insightful and grace-filled act:

Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in all the world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.

Jesus the Messiah-King, anointed by a nameless woman, whose act is remembered


Free us to know you, O Lord, and serve you in ways great and small.