Matthew 26:13
Truly I say to you, Wherever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman has done, be told for a memorial of her.
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(13) Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached.—The prediction tended, of course assuming the extension of the gospel, to bring about its own fulfilment, but the prevision at such a moment of that universal extension may well take its place among the proofs of a foreknowledge not less than divine. Others saw victory only, and that immediate; He saw condemnation and shame and death, yet not these only, but through them a victory and dominion over the souls of men beyond their wildest dreams.

26:6-13 The pouring ointment upon the head of Christ was a token of the highest respect. Where there is true love in the heart to Jesus Christ, nothing will be thought too good to bestow upon him. The more Christ's servants and their services are cavilled at, the more he manifests his acceptance. This act of faith and love was so remarkable, that it would be reported, as a memorial of Mary's faith and love, to all future ages, and in all places where the gospel should be preached. This prophecy is fulfilled.A memorial - Anything to produce "remembrance." This would be told to her honor and credit, as a memorial of her piety and self-denial; and it is right that the good deeds of the pious should be recorded and had in recollection.CHAPTER 26

Mt 26:1-16. Christ's Final Announcement of his Death, as Now within Two Days, and the Simultaneous Conspiracy of the Jewish Authorities to Compass It—The Anointing at Bethany—Judas Agrees with the Chief Priests to Betray His Lord. ( = Mr 14:1-11; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-11).

For the exposition, see on [1361]Mr 14:1-11.

Ver. 6-13. This piece of history (or one very like it) is recorded by the three other evangelists. Mark hath it with very little difference, Mark 14:3-9. Instead of for much, Mark 14:9, Mark hath a precise sum, three hundred pence, and adds, they murmured against her; and some other little differences he hath in words rather than in sense. In Luke, Luke 7:36-38, we read, One of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. This seemeth not to be the same history, though some think it is. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with ointment. It is plain this Pharisee’s name was Simon, by Luke 7:40. Luke further addeth a discourse between our Saviour and this Pharisee, Luke 7:39-50, which I shall in its order consider. John relates it, John 12:1,2, &c.: Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them which sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, 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. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. Whether all the evangelists relate one and the same or divers stories is the question. Luke’s relation seemeth the most different; he saith nothing of this Simon being a leper, and relates this history immediately after things done in Galilee. All the other three agree this passage to have fallen out at Bethany, within two miles of Jerusalem. It is very probable that Matthew, and Mark, and John recite the same story. They agree it to have happened in Bethany, at a supper in Simon’s house; they agree in the kind of the ointment, and in our Saviour’s discourse upon the thing. The difference in the time, John mentioning six days before the passover, and Matthew two days, will be cleared by considering, that St. John sets down the precise time when our Saviour came to Bethany, which was six days before the passover; St. Matthew sets down the time when the feast was made, which was two days before the passover; so that our Saviour had been four days in Bethany before he was entertained in the house of Simon, and anointed by Mary for his burial. When Christ came out of Galilee toward Jerusalem, he came (as we heard before) to Bethany, Mark 11:1. There he was entertained at a supper by one Simon, who had formerly been a leper, and probably had been cured by Christ, who therefore in gratitude entertained him, and made him a supper; where (saith John) Martha served, Lazarus sat at meat, whom he had newly raised from the dead, John 11:1-57. There comes a woman, John saith her name was Mary, and takes a pound of the ointment of spikenard; Matthew and Mark say it was in an alabaster box. John saith she did anoint his feet, and wiped them with her hair. Matthew and Mark say nothing of her anointing his feet, but of his head only. Though therefore opinions both of ancient and modern divines be very various, some thinking that the evangelists speak but of one anointing, others, that they speak of two, others, that they speak of three; yet it seems most probable that they speak of two, one of which is mentioned by Luke a year before this, the other is mentioned by Matthew, Mark, and John. Whoso deliberately reads over the history in Luke, and compares it with the record of it in the three others, will see reasons enough to conclude that Luke speaketh of another person, and another time, and another place; for certainly Simon the Pharisee and Simon the leper were not the same: besides, we read in Luke that Simon carped at our Saviour for letting such a sinful woman come near him; here is nothing like it in this story. I shall therefore here consider the history as reported by our evangelist, taking in what Mark and John have to make it complete. Matthew and Mark say it was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper. John mentions not the house, but adds that Lazarus was at the same time at supper with our Lord and that Martha waited. It will not from hence follow that our Saviour was at the house of Lazarus, (as some think), for as the other evangelists express another house, so John gives no suspicion of any such thing, but by mentioning the presence of Lazarus and his two sisters there, which might be and one of them wait, though they were at the house of a friend.

There came unto him a woman, ( so say Matthew and Mark; John saith it was Mary, one of the sisters of Lazarus), she having an alabaster box of ointment very precious, poured it on his head as he sat at meat. John saith the ointment was of spikenard, very costly; and that she anointed his feet, and wiped them with her hair; and that the quantity of it was a pound, so as the odour of it did fill the room. She did certainly anoint both his head and his feet. It is certain that in those Eastern countries this was a usual fashion, to entertain their guests at banquets by anointing them with oil, to which the psalmist alludes, Psalm 23:5. This woman seemeth to have exceeded the usual compliment of this nature, in the kind of oil she used, the quantity of it, and in her anointing his feet (which she possibly did instead of washing his feet, which was very usual with them); in these things she showed the greatness of her love to this guest.

When his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? Mark adds, they murmured at the woman. They said, This ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. Mark and John say, for three hundred pence. John saith it was Judas Iscariot that spake the words, and gives the reason for it, because he bare the bag, into which the price of the ointment (had it been sold) must have come; and he was a thief, he spake not this out of any regard to the poor, but to himself: it is likely other of the disciples might also think that it was too great a waste upon such a compliment. Our Lord understanding of it, vindicates the woman.

1. He tells them that she had done a good work. Actions not forbidden by the Divine law, nor commanded in it, take up their goodness or badness from their principles and ends; what she had done was done out of a principle of love to Christ, and for his honour and glory, so it was a good work.

2. He tells them that they had the poor with them always, but they should not have him always. A work may be good done at an extraordinary time, and upon an extraordinary occasion, which is not so if brought into ordinary practice. Christ here declares that he had no design to discourage the relief of the poor, but they would have daily occasions to do them good, but he was not long to be with them.

3. He tells them that she had poured this ointment upon him against his burial. That is, if this cost had been spent upon my dead body you would not have blamed her; for those kind of perfumes, both moist and dry, were much used in their embalming dead bodies. I am about to die, I have often told you so; you believe it not; she believeth it, and hath, out of her love to me, but bestowed such a cost upon my dying body, as you would not have blamed had it been bestowed upon my dead body: so she showed her faith in Christ’s words as well as his person.

Or, if this woman did not do it with any such intention, yet (saith our Saviour) she hath done the thing; I shall suddenly die, and she hath but anointed me aforehand, and is certainly as much excusable as those that spend more about bodies already dead. Finally, he tells them, that wheresoever this gospel should be preached, what she had done should be told to her honour and praise, for a memorial of her. Christ, seeing that her action proceeded from a hearty and burning love to him, accepteth her act as an extraordinary act of kindness to him, and proportions her a reward. Without love, if a man give all his goods to the poor, it signifieth nothing; but if there be love in the heart, it makes the gift acceptable. Love seldom underdoes in an act of kindness, and it cannot overdo where Christ is the true object of it. Men, who know not our hearts, may be ready to blame us for actions which God will highly commend and reward.

The evangelist having thus far digressed from his discourse, (probably to give us an account of the reason of Judas’s disgust to our Saviour), he now returneth to a discourse about what was done at the council he had told us of, Matthew 26:3-5. The fear of an uproar amongst the people seemed to be that alone which made them shy of apprehending him on the feast day. Verily I say unto you,.... The following words are prefaced in this manner, to excite attention, and command belief:

wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world. The Syriac version reads it, "my Gospel"; and so the Persic version; and has respect chiefly to the doctrine of his death, burial, and resurrection, which this action of the woman had relation to; for though the incarnation of Christ, and all the actions of his life, and whatsoever he did for the good, and in the room and stead of his people, are good news and glad tidings to the sons of men, and so the Gospel; yet his dying for sin, and making atonement for it, thereby satisfying justice, fulfilling the law, destroying death, and him that had the power of it, and his lying in the grave, and leaving the sins of his people behind him, and rising again for their justification, which were the ends of his coming into the world, make up the most glorious and principal part of the Gospel: and these words of Christ show that "this" Gospel should be preached; for which purpose he gave a commission and gifts to his disciples, and has done so, more or less, to men, ever since, for the conversion of sinners, and the edification of saints, and the glory of his name; and that this Gospel shall be preached all over the world, as it was by the apostles, agreeably to the commission; and will be again, towards the close of time, when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord and then

there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her; of her faith, love, and gratitude; for the memory of the just is blessed, and the righteous are had in everlasting remembrance. Christ suggests, that, though the disciples blamed this action, it should be spoken of by others to her praise and commendation, in all succeeding ages, throughout the world: "a good name", the wise man says, "is better than precious ointment", Ecclesiastes 7:1. This woman got a good name, and obtained a good report by her precious ointment; and if this woman's action was to be told for a memorial of her, much more what Christ has done and suffered should be told as a memorial of him.

Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
Matthew 26:13. Τὸ εὐαγγ. τοῦτο] comp. on Matthew 24:14. In this instance, however, the emphasis is not on τοῦτο (as in Matthew 24:14), but on τὸ εὐαγγέλιον: this message of redemption, where τοῦτο points to the subject of the message just hinted at, Matthew 26:11-12, viz. the death of Jesus; and although the allusion may be but slight, still it is an allusion in living connection with the thoughts of death that filled His soul, and one that naturally springs from the sorrowful emotion of His heart. The thing to which τοῦτο refers is, when put in explicit terms, identical with τὸ εὐαγγ. τῆς χάριτος τ. θεοῦ (Acts 20:24), τὸ εὐαγγ. τῆς σωτηρίας ὑμ. (Ephesians 1:13), τὸ εὐαγγ. τῆς εἰρήνης. (Ephesians 6:15), ὁ λόγος τοῦ σταυροῦ (1 Corinthians 1:18).

ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ] is not to be connected with λαληθ. (Fritzsche, Kuinoel), but with κηρυχθῇ. Comp. Mark 14:9; ὅπου denotes the locality in its special, ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ in its most comprehensive sense.

εἰς μνημος. αὐτ.] belongs to λαληθ. She has actually been remembered, and her memory is blessed.Matthew 26:13. τὸ εὐ. τοῦτο, this gospel, the gospel of my death of love.—ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ: after ὅπου ἐὰν might seem superfluous; not so, however: it serves to indicate the range of the “wheresoever”: wide as the world, universality predicted for Christianity, and also for the heroine of the anointing. Chrysostom, illustrating Christ’s words, remarks: Even those dwelling in the British Isles (Βρεττανικὰς νήσους) speak of the deed done in a house in Judaea by a harlot (Hom. lxxx.: Chrys. identifies the anointing here with that in Luke 7).Matthew 26:13. Τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦτο, this Gospel) i.e. which Christ preached.[1116]—λαληθήσεται, shall be spoken of) And so it is. This saving of our Lord was both heard and afterwards committed to writing by St Matthew. Its fulfilment furnishes a proof of the truth of Christianity. No earthly monarch can bestow immortality on any action, even though he employ all his wealth and power to do so.—μνημόσυνον, a memorial) The memory of the godly may flourish even though their names be unknown.[1117]

[1116] He speaks humbly and modestly.—V. g.

[1117] Comp., however, John 12:3 [from which it seems the name of the woman is known, viz. Mary], and footnote on Matthew 26:6 above, extracted from the Harm. Ev.: and again, the Gnomon on Luke 24:18.—E. B.Verse 13. - Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached. This weighty promise and prediction is introduced by the emphasizing formula, Verily I say unto you. The gospel is the story of the incarnation of Jesus - his life, teaching, death, resurrection, which implies written documents as well as oral exposition. Our Lord had already (Matthew 24:14) intimated that the gospel of the kingdom should be published throughout the world; he here affirms that Mary's deed shall be enshrined therein for all time. There shall also this, that this woman hath done (λαληθήσεται καὶ ο{ ἐποίησεν αὕτη, that also which this woman did) be told for a memorial of her. The history which records the grudging remonstrance of the disciples contains this remarkable approval of Mary's act, associating her forever with the Passion of the Lord. We may here quote the eloquent comment of Chrysostom, who, however, unreasonably identifies Mary with the sinner who previously anointed Jesus. "Who then proclaimed if, and caused it to be spread abroad? It was the power of him who is speaking these words. And while of countless kings and generals the noble exploits, even of those whose memorials remain, have sunk into silence; and having overthrown cities, and encompassed them with walls, and set up trophies, and enslaved many nations, they are not known so much as by hearsay, nor by name, though they have both set up statues, and established laws; yet that a woman who was a harlot poured out oil in the house of some leper, in the presence of ten men, - this all men celebrate throughout the world; and so great a time has passed, and yet the memory of that which was done hath not faded away, but alike Persians and Indians, Scythians and Thracians, and Sarmatians, and the race or the Moors, and they that inhabit the British Islands, spread abroad that which was done secretly in a house by a woman" ('Ham. 80. in Matthew').
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