|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 8. - When his disciples saw it. St. John states that the objection came originally from Judas. Doubtless, when it was once made, many concurred in it, not, indeed, from Judas's selfish motive (John 12:6), but because they did not clearly apprehend the Divinity of Christ, nor the unspeakable sacredness of that body which was about to be the instrument of man's redemption. To what purpose is this waste (a)pw/leia)? Wordsworth notes that Judas is called υἱὸς ἀπωλείας (John 17:12). A fitting question truly for him to ask! The objectors saw no practical usefulness in the expenditure of this costly substance. If it was thought proper to show respect to their Master, a much inferior oil would have equally effected this purpose, or a few drops of the more precious unguent would have sufficed. So nowadays one hears complaints of money being expended in the rich decoration of churches, etc., when there are starving multitudes whom it would have relieved. But God himself has sanctioned the use of precious materials and of exquisite workmanship in temples built in his honour, and in the accessories of his public worship; the interests of the poor are not overlooked in such expenditure; they who give of their substance for such purposes are just those who feel all their responsibilities, and know that they serve Christ in ministering to his needy members.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But when his disciples saw it,.... What the woman did, what a costly box of ointment it was, and with what profusion she used it,
they had indignation: Mark says, "within themselves", Mark 14:4; either among themselves, or their indignation was secret in their breasts; their resentment was private, though it might be betrayed by their looks, and afterwards showed itself in words. This indignation was either at the woman, for the Evangelist Mark observes, that "they murmured against her", Mark 14:5, that she should act such an imprudent part, and be guilty of such extravagance; or at Christ himself, for suffering such an action to be done unto him; for so the Syriac version reads the above clause in Mark, and "they murmured against him"; so De Dieu observes it should be rendered; though Tremellius, Boderianus, and others, translate it, "against her": or else their indignation was neither at Christ, whom they dearly loved; nor at the woman, they being taught to love their enemies, and much more the friends of Christ; but at the action, which they looked upon as an ill judged thing, that sprung from misguided zeal, and which they thought could never be acceptable to their master, who was not used to encourage such profuseness and extravagance.
Saying, to what purpose is this waste, or "loss?" They call that waste, or loss, which was spent on Christ himself; whereas, whatever is laid out for the honour of Christ, or the good of his interest, ought not to be reckoned loss, for it will be returned with great increase and advantage; but they could not see what end was to be answered by this expense. It is easy to observe the variableness and inconstancy of the disciples: one time, because the inhabitants of a certain village did not receive Christ, they were for calling for fire from heaven to destroy them; and here is a poor woman that exceeds, as they thought, in her respects to him, and they are filled with indignation.
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