I almost gave up trying to resolve this supposed “contradiction” between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Was Jesus anointed with oil/perfume once, twice, or three times? Is there error in the Gospels about this? This is a rather complicated set of problems that will take time to unpack.
In my study this week, I searched and searched and could not find a satisfactory answer; and I’m not really ok with half-answers, so I was about to give up on the issue when I set aside all my resources and just worked with the texts themselves. Now I think I understand a very plausible explanation for the differences and similarities in the four Gospels on this issue.
Today is all about apologetics! I’ll be answering a lot of the following questions:
If Luke is a separate account that happened at a different time and place, how do we explain the similarities between his account and those in Mt., Mk., and John? Like the other Gospels, Luke records a woman anointing Jesus using fragrance from an alabaster flask, and the name of the home owner being “Simon.” Even if Luke is a separate account, we have questions about how John can be harmonized with Matt. and Mark. Critics claim that John has this event happening 6 days before Passover while Mark and Matt. have it happening 2 days before Passover. They say that John has this happening at the home of Lazarus, while Mark and Matt. have it happening at the home of Simon the Leper.
Yet these three accounts seem too similar to say it happened twice in such a short period of time. This puzzle had me confused for a time, and when I looked up resources from other people who tried to figure out a good solution, I found myself bothered even more. The solutions often disregarded obvious challenges! In the end, I think I’ve figured it out and decided to do a whole video on it to make sure a good resource was out there for those looking to answer the question.
I also think we should talk a bit about the anxiety Christians often feel when trying to resolve a supposed contradiction. How do we process that, especially if we simply don’t know the answer yet?
This is part 57 of the Mark Series, going verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Mark. Today we are in chapter 14:1-12. Feel free to use my videos in your own gatherings as an aid to studying Scripture.
See the WHOLE Gospel of Mark playlist by clicking here.