John 12:1-11

John 12:1-11
Monday of Holy Week ABC


Six days before the PassoverA JesusB came to Bethany,C the home of Lazarus,D whom he had raisedE from the dead. 

Notes on verse 1

A “Passover” = pascha. From Aramaic corresponding to Hebrew pesach (Passover or the offering for Passover); from pasach (to stop, pass over, skit over, to spare). This is Passover – used for the feast, the lamb of sacrifice, the day, and the festival itself. This is where the term “paschal” comes from as in the “paschal lamb.”
B “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
C “Bethany” = bethania. 12x in NT. From Aramaic beth anya (house of affliction, misery, wretchedness). This is Bethany.
D “Lazarus” = lazaros. 15x in NT. From Hebrew Elazar (God has helped or God is helper); {from el (God, a god) + azar ((to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid)}. This is Lazarus or Eliezer.
E “raised” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.

There they gave a dinnerF for him. MarthaG served,H and Lazarus was one of those at the tableI with him. 

Notes on verse 2

F “dinner” = deipnon. 16x in NT. From the same as dapane (cost or expense); from dapto (to devour). This is a dinner or a feast – a meal in the afternoon or, more commonly, the evening.
G “Martha” = martha. 13x in NT. From Aramaic marta (mistress, lady); from mar (master). This is Martha. See also (
H “served” = diakoneo. From diakonos (servant, minister, waiter, or attendant; a person who performs a service, including religious service); {perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is to wait at table, to serve generally, to minister or administer, to be in the office of deacon. To wait on someone as a slave, friend, or host.
I “at the table” = anakeimai. 14x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, between, anew) + keimai (to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined; to lie down literally or figuratively). This is to recline, particularly as one does for dinner. It can also be reclining as a corpse.

MaryJ took a poundK of costlyL perfumeM made of pureN nard,O anointedP Jesus’ feet, and wipedQ them with her hair. The house was filledR with the fragrance of the perfume. 

Notes on verse 3

J “Mary” = maria. From Hebrew Miryam (Aaron and Moses’s sister); from marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam or Mary.
K “pound” = litra. 2x in NT. From Latin libra (a Roman weight – twelve ounces; also a level or set of scales); from Proto-Italic lithra (pound). This is a pound, which is about 327.5 grams. See
L “costly” = polutimos. 3x in NT – including the pearl of great price in Matthew 13:46. From polus (much, many, abundant) + time (worth or something’s perceived value; literally, price, but figuratively, the honor or value one sees in someone or something else; also esteem or dignity; also precious or valuables); {From tino (to pay, be punished, pay a penalty or fine because of a crime); from tio (to pay respect, value)}. This is very precious, valuable, or costly.
M “perfume” = muron. 14x in NT. This is ointment, perfume, or anointing oil. Probably olive oil mixed with spices and scents such as myrrh.
N “pure” = pistikos. 2x in NT – both in the anointing of Jesus. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is trustworthy – as in, it can be trusted to be genuine or unadulterated.
O “nard” = nardos. 2x in NT – both in the anointing of Jesus. From Akkadian ardu; from Arabic rand; perhaps from Sanskrit nalada (all referring to nard). This is a fragrant Indian plant that was used to make perfume. See
P “anointed” = aleipho. 9x in NT. From a (with) + root of liparos (oil, fatty; figuratively, something rich or luxurious). This is to anoint as an act of homage, for healing, to celebrate a festival, to honor a guest, as anointing the dead.
Q “wiped” = ekmasso. 5x in NT. From ek (from, from out) + from massaomai (to chew, gnaw); {from masso (to knead, squeeze)}. This is to knead. Used figuratively, it means wiping away thoroughly.
R “filled” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its individual capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.

But JudasS Iscariot,T one of his disciplesU (the one who was about to betrayV him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denariiW and the money givenX to the poor?”Y 

Notes on verses 4-5

S “Judas” = ioudas. From Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah or Judas, meaning praised.
T “Iscariot” = iskariotes. 11x in NT. From Hebrew probably ish (man, husband); {perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be frail, feeble)} + qirya (city); {Aramaic corresponding to qiryah (city, building); from qarah (to happen, meet, bring about)}. Iscariot means person from Kerioth.
U “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from mathnao (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
V “betray” = paradidomi. From para (from beside, by) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is literally to hand over – hence to deliver, abandon, or betray. It implies a personal involvement.
W “denarii” = denarion. 16x in NT. From Latin deni (ten each) + arius (belonging to). This is a silver Roman coin.
X “given” = didomi. Related to “betray” in v4. See note V above.
Y “poor” = ptochos. From ptosso (to crouch or cower as a beggar does). This is poor or destitute – someone who is extremely poor and bowed down because of a long struggle under poverty. Properly, it means bent over so figuratively it is someone who is deeply destitute and lacking tangible resources. This is a beggar – as extremely opposite a wealthy person as possible.

6 (He said this not because he caredZ about the poor, but because he was a thief;AA he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 

7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone.BB She bought it so that she might keepCC it for the day of my burial.DD You alwaysEE have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

Notes on verses 6-8

Z “cared” = melo. 10x in NT. This is to think about something, take an interest, to pay attention. It is to care or worry about something
AA “thief” = kleptes. 16x in NT. From klepto (to steal secretively). This is a thief that steals using stealth rather than violence. It is a thief in a literal or figurative sense.
BB “leave…alone” = aphiemi. From apo (from, away from) + hiemi (to send). This is send away, release, permit, forgive, allow to depart, discharge, or send forth.
CC “keep” = tereo. From teros (a guard or a watch that guards keep); perhaps related to theoreo (gazing, beholding, experiencing, discerning; looking at something to analyze it and concentrate on what it means; the root of the word “theatre” in that people concentrate on the action of the play to understand its meaning); from theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance); from theoros (a spectator or envoy). This is to guard, observe, keep, maintain, or preserve. It can also be used figuratively for spiritual watchfulness. It is guarding something from being lost or harmed – keeping an eye on it. Contrast the Greek phulasso, which is to guard something so that it doesn’t escape. Also contrast koustodia, which generally denotes a fortress or military presence. This word can mean fulfilling commands, keeping in custody, or maintaining. It can also figuratively mean to remain unmarried.
DD “burial” = entaphiasmos. 2x in NT. From entapiazo (to prepare to be buried, to embalm); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + taphos (burial, brave, tomb); {from thapto (to bury or conduct a funeral)}}. This is to embalm, prepare to bury, or burial.
EE “always” = pantote. From pas (all, every, each) + tote (then, whether past or future); {from hote (when); from ho (the)}. This is literally every when. It is always, at all times.

9 When the great crowd of the JewsFF learnedGG that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to seeHH Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests plannedII to put Lazarus to deathJJ as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were desertingKK and were believingLL in Jesus.

Notes on verses 9-11

FF “Jews” = ioudaios. Relate to “Judas” in v4. From ioudas (see note S above). This is Jew, Jewish, or Judea.
GG “learned” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience
HH “see” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
II “planned” = bouleuo. 6x in NT. From boule (counsel, plan, purpose, decision; wisdom that comes from deliberation); from boulomai (to wish, desire, intend; to plan with great determination). This is to deliberate, consider, plan together, advise, or resolve to do something.
JJ “put…to death” = apokteino. From apo (from, away from) + kteino (to kill). To put to death, kill, slay. Figuratively, this word can mean abolish, destroy, or extinguish.
KK “deserting” = hupago. From hupo (by, under, under the authority of) + ago (lead, bring, guide, spend, drive, carry). This is to lead under so to depart, go away, or die. It is to lead away under the command of someone else, being given a mission or objective to carry out.
LL “believing” = pisteuo. Related to “pure” in v3. From pistis (see note N above). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.

Image Credit: Stain glass window from Saint Stephen Parish church in Sierning, Austria depicting Mary anointing Jesus, 1906.

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