Q. Mary anointed Jesus at Bethany in preparation for His burial (Mt 26:7,12; Mk 14:3,8; Jn 12:3,7). Surely Jesus anticipated His imminent crucifixion. However Jesus didn’t mention His betrayal and death until 6 days later at the Passover supper (Mt 26:21-24; Mk 14:18-21; Lk 22:21-22; Jn 12:23-24). So how did Mary know ahead of time?
A. Actually Jesus predicted His death at least three times prior to the Passover supper:
1. Peter’s confession of Christ
• Mt 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
• Mk 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
• Lk 9:22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”
2. After the Transfiguration and the healing of a boy with a demon
• Mt 17:22-23 And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” And they were deeply grieved.
• Mk 9:31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”
• Lk 9:44 “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”
3. After the rich young ruler, before the request of James and John
• Mt 20:18-19 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”
• Mk 10:33-34 saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.”
• Lk 18:32-33 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.”
The Bible did not say whether Mary understood Jesus’ words (the disciples didn’t), but she must have heard from them and anointed Jesus because she was so devoted to Him.