Mark 14: 1,2;10, 11: The great divide.
14 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 ‘But not during the festival,’ they said, ‘or the people may riot.’
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.NIV
‘Mary’s act of worship brought joy to the heart of Jesus and malice to the heart of Judas…’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.684.
What a contrast we find here between those who hated Jesus and wanted Him out of the way (1,2; 10,11), and one who loved Him dearly. We are going to spend a few days savouring the aroma of Mary’s ‘worship’. We will linger in this perfumed room. But note that this dividing line runs through the human race. On one side are those who are for Jesus, and on the other side those who are against. On which side of the line are you?
During Passover/Unleavened Bread, Jerusalem’s normal population of 50,000 could swell to 250,000, with pilgrims arriving from all over. The religious authorities knew there would be quite a few of Jesus’ supporters in that number, and they didn’t want a riot. Then the Romans would move in a heavy handed way and everyone (themselves included!!) would suffer the consequences. So they thought it best to bide their time.
On the day following Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began (Exodus 12:15-20; Deuteronomy 16:1-8). Tom Hale says that sometimes Passover was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (12), although it was, in fact, a separate day. At Passover, the Jews celebrated the deliverance of the people from slavery in Egypt, through shed blood. Through the hostility of Jesus’ enemies, all that the Passover stood for was about to come to complete fulfilment. They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.