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12. Triumphal Entry
1Jesus therefore six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. 2So they made him a supper there: and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him. 3Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, that should betray him, saith, 5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred shillings, and given to the poor? 6Now this he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the bag took away what was put therein. 7Jesus therefore said, Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. 8For the poor ye have always with you; but me ye have not always. 9The common people therefore of the Jews learned that he was there: and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. 12On the morrow a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13took the branches of the palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. 14And Jesus, having found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, 15Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. 16These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. 17The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, bare witness. 18For this cause also the multitude went and met him, for that they heard that he had done this sign. 19The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Behold how ye prevail nothing: lo, the world is gone after him. 20Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast: 21these therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: Andrew cometh, and Philip, and they tell Jesus. 23And Jesus answereth them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor. 27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause came I unto this hour. 28Father, glorify thy name. There came therefore a voice out of heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29The multitude therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it had thundered: others said, An angel hath spoken to him. 30Jesus answered and said, This voice hath not come for my sake, but for your sakes. 31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself. 33But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he should die. 34The multitude therefore answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? 35Jesus therefore said unto them, Yet a little while is the light among you. Walk while ye have the light, that darkness overtake you not: and he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36While ye have the light, believe on the light, that ye may become sons of light. These things spake Jesus, and he departed and hid himself from them. 37But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not on him: 38that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake,
Lord, who hath believed our report?
And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again,
40He hath blinded their eyes, and he hardened their heart;
Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart,
And should turn,
And I should heal them.
41These things said Isaiah, because he saw his glory; and he spake of him. 42Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43for they loved the glory that is of men more than the glory that is of God. 44And Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45And he that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me. 46I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness. 47And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50And I know that his commandment is life eternal: the things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath said unto me, so I speak.
7. Let her alone. When Christ bids them let Mary alone, he shows that they act improperly and unjustly who disturb their neighbors without a good reason, and raise a disturbance about nothing. Christ’s reply, as given by the other Evangelists, is longer; but the meaning is the same. The anointing, which Judas finds fault with, is defended on this ground, that it will serve for his burial. Christ, therefore, does not approve of! it as an ordinary service, or one which ought to be commonly used in the Church; for if he had intended that an office of this sort should be performed daily, he could have said something else instead of speaking of it as connected with his burial. God certainly does not approve of outward display. Nay, more, perceiving that the mind of man is too prone to carnal observances, He frequently enjoins us to be sober and moderate in the use of them. Those persons, therefore, are absurd interpreters, who infer from Christ’s reply, that costly and magnificent worship is pleasing to God; for he rather excuses Mary on the ground of her having rendered to him an extraordinary service, which ought not to be regarded as a perpetual rule for the worship of God.
For the day of my burial she hath kept it. When he says, that the ointment was kept, he means that it was not poured unseasonably, but with a due regard to the time when it occurred; for a thing is said to be kept, which is reserved in store to be brought cut at a fit time and place. It is certain that, if any person, at a former period, had burdened him with costly delicacies, he would not have endured it. But he affirms that Mary did not do this as a customary matter, but in order to discharge her last duty towards him. Besides, the anointing of bodies was not at that time a useless ceremony, but rather a spiritual symbol, to place before their eyes the hope of a resurrection. The promises were still obscure; Christ had not risen, who is justly designated the first-fruits of them that rise, (1 Corinthians 15:20.) Believers, therefore, needed such aids to direct them to Christ, who was still absent; and, accordingly, the anointing of Christ was not at that time superfluous, for he was soon to be buried, and he was anointed as if he were to be laid in the tomb. The disciples were not yet aware of this, and Mary unquestionably was suddenly moved to do, under the direction of the Spirit of God, what she had not previously intended. But Christ applies to the hope of his resurrection what they so greatly disapproved, in order that the usefulness, which he pointed out to them in this action, 44 “A fin que l’utilite laquelle il leur monstre en ce faict les retire du jugement chagrin et pervers qu’ils en faisoyent.” might lead them to renounce the fretful and wicked opinion which they had formed respecting it. As it was the will of God that the childhood of his ancient people should be guided by such exercises, so, in the present day, it would be foolish to attempt the same thing; nor could it be done without offering an insult to Christ, who has driven away such shadows by the brightness of his coming. But as his resurrection had not yet brought the fulfillment of the shadows of the Law, it was proper that his burial should be adorned by an outward ceremony. The odor of his resurrection has now sufficient efficacy, without spikenard and costly ointments, to quicken the whole world. But let us remember that, in judging of the actions of men, we ought to abide by the decision of Christ alone, at whose tribunal we must one day stand.