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Matthew 26:7 a woman came to Him (Jesus) having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.
- Mary Magdalene. Magdalene is not a surname, but identified as the place Mary came from: Magdala, a city in Galilee.
- The basis for believing that this is Mary Magdalene is the following
- Jesus had compassion of the woman caught in adultery more than on the religious leaders.
- There was a repentant sinner, a woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears in the house of a Pharisee.
- She had a costly alabaster flask. It was her choice to use it. Was it obtained as a dowry or from prostitution?
- Jesus’ comment: “The one who sins much loves much.”
- “While the king sits at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance.” Song of Solomon 1:12 – A pattern of two lovers, one of which is the king (Jesus) and the other a Shulamite woman (Mary Magdalene) and the king’s new wife.
(This is not stating that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. It speaks figuratively.)
- John 12:3 Then Mary took a (Roman) pound (litra) (11.6 ounces) of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
- Jesus is the King of kings and this costly act is an act of love. The Shulamite woman represents the bride of Christ. Likewise, Mary Magdalene also represents the bride of Christ in the age of Grace (Mercy).
- As the Shulamite woman, so Mary Magdalene. As Mary Magdalene, also the Bride of Christ.
- Spikenard was used by a newlywed bride to anoint her husband.
- In ancient times, the oil of Spikenard was extremely costly. It was highly symbolic for a bride to anoint her husband’s feet in their marriage bed, signifying her sacred devotion to him.
- Spikenard grows at very high altitudes, ‘close to the Heavens’, Spikenard is a plant that grows only in the Himalaya mountains of India and Nepal. Mary Magdalene’s fragrant oil of spikenard was a rare, imported product in Israel.
- Its value was three hundred denarii (John 12:4-7)
- A denarii was one day’s wages: This would worth ten Jewish months of wages on the Hebrew calendar. (It was worth 300 hundred days’ wages, not quite a year’s wage).
- Reference: Matt 20:2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
- Speculation: Mary understood what Jesus spoke concerning His death, while the disciples did not get it. Her tears and spikenard give credence to this conclusion.