|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:6-13 The pouring ointment upon the head of Christ was a token of the highest respect. Where there is true love in the heart to Jesus Christ, nothing will be thought too good to bestow upon him. The more Christ's servants and their services are cavilled at, the more he manifests his acceptance. This act of faith and love was so remarkable, that it would be reported, as a memorial of Mary's faith and love, to all future ages, and in all places where the gospel should be preached. This prophecy is fulfilled.
Verse 11. - Ye have the poor always with you. St. Mark adds, "and whensoever ye will ye may do them good." This was in strict accordance with the old Law: "The poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy in thy land" (Deuteronomy 15:11). The existence of poor gives scope for the exercise of the graces of charity, benevolence, and self-denial; and such opportunities will never be wanting while the world lasts. Me ye have not always; i.e. in bodily presence. When he speaks of being with his Church always to the end, he is speaking of his Divine presence. His human body, his body of humiliation, was removed from the sight and touch of men, and he could no longer be received and welcomed and succoured as heretofore. In a different and far more effectual mode he would visit his faithful servants by a spiritual presence which should never fail or be withdrawn. To the objectors he would say, "You will no longer have opportunity of honouring me in my human form; why, then, do you grudge the homage now paid me for the last time?"
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For ye have the poor always with you,.... This is said in answer to the objection of the disciples, that the ointment might have been sold, and the money given to the poor. Christ seems to have respect to Deuteronomy 15:11, and which, agreeably to the sense of the Jews, refers to the times of the Messiah: for they say (h),
"there is no difference between this world (this present time) and the times of the Messiah, but the subduing of kingdoms only; as it is said, Deuteronomy 15:11, "for the poor shall never cease out of the land": the gloss on it is, from hence it may be concluded, that therefore, "for ever there will be poverty, and riches".''
Our Lord's words also show, that there will be always poor persons in the world; that there will be always such with his people, and in his churches; for God has chosen, and he calls such by his grace; so that men may always have opportunities of showing kindness and respect to such objects: in Mark it is added, "and whensoever ye will ye may do them good", Mark 14:7; by relieving their wants, and distributing to their necessities:
but me ye have not always; referring not to his divine and spiritual presence, which he has promised to his people, churches, and ministers, to the end of the world, but to his corporeal presence; for he was to be but a little while with them, and then go to the Father; be taken up to heaven, where he now is, and will be until the restitution of all things; so that the time was very short in which any outward respect could be shown to him in person, as man.
(h) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 63. 1.
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