Kids Talk About God
Cover art: Mary anointing Jesus' feet

Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet

John 12:1-11

12  Six days before the Passover festival, Jesus went to Bethany. That is where Lazarus lived, the man Jesus raised from death. There they had a dinner for Jesus. Martha served the food, and Lazarus was one of the people eating with Jesus. Mary brought in a pinta of expensive perfume made of pure nard. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume filled the whole house.

Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ followers, was there—the one who would later hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, “That perfume was worth a full year’s pay.b It should have been sold, and the money should have been given to the poor people.” But Judas did not really care about the poor. He said this because he was a thief. He was the one who kept the moneybag for the group of followers. And he often stole money from the bag.

Jesus answered, “Don’t stop her. It was right for her to save this perfume for today—the day for me to be prepared for burial. You will always have those who are poor with you.c But you will not always have me.”

Many of the Jews heard that Jesus was in Bethany, so they went there to see him. They also went there to see Lazarus, the one Jesus raised from death. 10 So the leading priests made plans to kill Lazarus too. 11 Because of him, many Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus. That is why they wanted to kill Lazarus too.

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a12:3 pint Literally, “ litra,” a Roman pound, equal to 327 grams (11.5 ounces).
b12:5 a full year’s pay Literally, “300 denarii.” One Roman denarius, a silver coin, was the average pay for one day’s work.
c 12:8 You will … with you See Deut. 15:11.
Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 55- Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet
Why did Mary put perfumed oil on Jesus’ feet and wipe them with her hair?
Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 55- Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet

“Because she loved him.” Calisha, 7

“The perfumed oil will be used for Jesus’ burial. I think the perfumed oil is special and she has to put it on his feet.” Daniel, 8

“She was saving the perfume for Jesus’ burial when he gets hung on the cross and rises from the dead.” Harmony, 8

“To make the room smell good. It was intended she would keep it for Jesus’ burial. Jesus said the poor you will have always, but me you will not have always.” Allison, 8

“Mary perfumed Jesus’ feet because that was all she had. She wanted to be kind and loving.” Hannah, 9

Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 55- Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet
Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 55- Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet
Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John – Chapter 55- Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet

Six days before the Passover festival, Jesus went to Bethany. That is where Lazarus lived, the man Jesus raised from death. There they had a dinner for Jesus. Martha served the food, and Lazarus was one of the people eating with Jesus. Mary brought in a pint of expensive perfume made of pure nard. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume filled the whole house.

John the Baptist said he was not worthy to untie the strap of Jesus’ sandals (Luke 3:16). Mary felt the same way when she poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.

Using her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet was more humiliating in the Jewish society in which Mary lived. It was considered improper for a woman to let her hair down in public. Mary laid her woman’s honor at the feet of Jesus. She used her hair as a towel to wipe Jesus’ feet. These were the same feet that carried Jesus to the tomb of her brother where Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.

Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ followers, was there—the one who would later hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, “That perfume was worth a full year’s pay. It should have been sold, and the money should have been given to the poor people.” But Judas did not really care about the poor. He said this because he was a thief. He was the one who kept the moneybag for the group of followers. And he often stole money from the bag. Jesus answered, “Don’t stop her. It was right for her to save this perfume for today—the day for me to be prepared for burial. You will always have those who are poor with you. But you will not always have me.”

This was very expensive perfume worth an entire year’s labor. Many times a perfume like this would be used on a dead body at burial so it would not stink. Perhaps Mary had been saving this perfume for her own burial. Mary gave it freely to anoint the Lord Jesus for his burial.

Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus, objected to Mary using this costly perfume on the Lord. Judas said the perfume could have been sold to help the poor, but he did not care about the poor. He cared about enriching himself. He stole money from the bag.

Jesus said the disciples would always have the poor with them, but they would not always have him. Jesus did care about helping the poor and we should as well. There is something deeper and more meaningful here.

This is a lesson on what is most important in life. Some things are more important than others. If you do not learn to focus on the most important things, you will live a wasted life. There comes a time when devotion to God and to the Son of God must come first before everything else. There are a lot of good things you can do in life, but if you fail to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will miss out.

Many of the Jews heard that Jesus was in Bethany, so they went there to see him. They also went there to see Lazarus, the one Jesus raised from death. So the leading priests made plans to kill Lazarus too. Because of him, many Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus. That is why they wanted to kill Lazarus too.

Many of the chief priests and religious leaders were Sadducees. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. The fact that Lazarus came back from the dead proved that they were wrong. They wanted to kill Jesus and Lazarus.

What crime did Jesus and Lazarus commit? None. Many of the religious ruling class in Jerusalem acted like criminals. However, there were exceptions.

Remember Nicodemus, the Jewish leader who came to Jesus at night? Here’s how he started the conversation with Jesus: “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs that you do unless they have God’s help” (John 3:2).

The humble Jews saw Jesus’ miracles and knew that only God could do them. Starting with the apostles, remember that all the first Christians were Jews. The Apostle Paul presents Abraham as the father of our faith (Romans 4:1-5).

History is filled with religious people who kill those who disagree with them. When Jesus hung on the cross, he prayed for those who crucified him: “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Whenever anyone creates a self-salvation project as many Jews did with the law, they got very angry when their religious system was challenged. Jesus is the only one who kept God’s law perfectly. Therefore, God the Father accepted his sacrifice on the cross as the payment for our sins.

Jesus’ offer of forever life in his kingdom as a free gift for all who believe in him destroys all religious, self-salvation systems. All the ladders to heaven that people try to build are nonsense. People love religion because they enjoy the sense of satisfaction they get from doing things that they believe will earn God’s favor.

If you want to make people mad, give them religious rules to keep. If you want to really make them mad, tell them there are no religious rules to keep. We cannot earn favor with God. There are no ladders to climb. God came down the ladder to rescue us in the person of Jesus Christ.

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Bible coloring page: Mary pours perfume on feet of Jesus