Mark 14:1-11 The Passover Lamb Is Prepared.
The plotting of the assassination of the King of kings took place just before the Passover, and so it was predestined by the Father to focus on this seminal event. Jesus would be the fulfillment of the Passover lamb. Moses, like all the saints under the first covenant, “by faith…kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood” (Heb. 11:28a Cf. Ex. 12:1-27). Jesus was intent on keeping this Passover as well (Mt. 26:18). Paul would also go on to write that Jesus the Christ himself is “our Passover (who) was sacrificed for us” (I Cor. 5:7). With all of this scriptural witness it is all the more surprising that many miss this basic point – Jesus the Christ is The Passover Lamb. Jesus did not “institute” the so-called “Lord’s supper” – He celebrated the Passover with his disciples as the final Passover Lamb, bringing it to fulfillment in himself.
The Passover was also referred to as “the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” This was not a wafer or bit of leavened bread and sip of wine or grape juice, this was a feast! Part of what made this a feast was the fact that it was “unleavened,” where the participants would remove from their hearts and their houses all pretence and secret sins of thoughts and actions hiding out like leaven in a loaf of bread. How ironic then that as this feast approached the religious leadership were conspiring to assassinate the King of kings! “The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by trickery and put him to death” (v. 1). There is no more ample proof that God’s sovereign will uses the perversity of men for his own purposes, including their ultimate destruction.
These religious hypocrites were nothing more than political hacks engaging in the most gruesome example of kabuki theatre – impressive masks and maneuvers covering crypts of all manner of evil intent. What was their chief concern? Don’t assassinate the man “during the feast,” not because of the leaven of murderous conspiracy against an innocent man, but “lest there be an uproar of the people” (v. 2 Cf. Lk. 22:1-2). There was less leaven “in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper” (v. 3a). Here the final Passover lamb would be anointed, prepared as the perfect sacrificial offering, once for all (v. 3b). Yet, even here there was leaven deep in the hearts of some, for “there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted” (v. 4)?
For the indignant the oil was wasted – because unlike this woman, they did not look ahead in faith to what was her hope of forgiveness and eternal life. They feigned concern for the poor, and how this was a much greater concern than the eternal destining of the souls of humanity bought at the costly price of the Son’s sacrifice. As is so often the case, they dare not criticize Jesus directly, but instead they go after his followers. Such has always been the great battle of the seed of death waging war against the Seed of life (v. 5). However, Jesus came to her defence, and so he does with all his family (v. 6). He was certainly not against helping the poor, but as he said, they and we have the poor with us always, and so we shall till the end when he returns in judgment, in part for how the poor have been treated.
However, there is something more important than being poor, it is being forgiven! There would be but one burial of the King of kings, and this woman was exercising her faith, doing “what she could,” looking ahead in faith for what was to come about shortly, that which she had always been looking forward to (vv. 7-8). What is more, “wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (v. 9). This woman is rich indeed! Contrasted with this woman is the infamous Judas, whose leaven of evil intent and acts were used of the sovereign Lord of history to aid in the accomplishment of this great event. Just like those who feigned concern for the poor, money is what drove Judas and his co-conspirators in this murderous intent and betrayal (vv. 10-11).