Monday, May 2, 2022
“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7 KJV).
“For the poor always ye have with you?”
Whether Mary’s anointing of Jesus in John, or the anonymous woman’s anointing of Him in Matthew and Mark a few days later, there was that asinine complaint of “wasting” costly ointment.
In Matthew and Mark, it was the disciples in general. “But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor” (Matthew 26:8,9). “And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her” (Mark 14:4,5—the context of today’s Scripture). Regarding John’s Gospel Record, it was Judas Iscariot whining. “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence [300 days’ wages, or about 10 months’ salary], and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (John 12:5,6).
The Lord defends both women, replying with, “For the poor always ye have with you” (John 12:8); “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always” (Matthew 26:11); “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7; today’s Scripture). Jesus’ words here are frequently misunderstood. They have often been taken to mean, “There will always be poor people, so it is futile to try to reduce poverty in society.” On the contrary, but He was actually making an unfortunate contrast between Himself and poor people. Indeed, the expensive perfume could have been sold to benefiting the poor (that He did not deny or discourage), for there is always someone less fortunate, but He Himself had less than a week to live, so honoring Him was more important….