John 12:1 indicates that this episode is “six days before the Passover,” which is four days prior to Mark 14:1, which takes place two days before the Passover. Mark 14:1–2 takes place on Wednesday of the Passion Week, and the next chronological event in Scripture is Judas’ conspiracy in Mark 14:10–11.
Mark gives no indication that his Gospel is always intended to be chronologically accurate from one story to the next. His purposes are sometimes theological in how He presents the life of Christ. In this instance, Mark intends to give a building sense of the certainty that Jesus will die at the hands of the Jews. The Jewish leaders conspire to kill Jesus (Mark 14:1–2), and the anticipation of Jesus’ death builds by recounting an earlier event, the woman’s anointing of Jesus with perfume (Mark 14:3–9). She prepares Him, as He says, for His burial (Mark 14:8).
Jumping back to the next event that chronologically follows Mark 14:1–2, the anticipation of Jesus’ death builds further in the record of Judas’s conspiracy to betray Jesus (Mark 14:10–11).
Also, Mark gives another one of his “sandwiches,” to make a subtle, unspoken point.
The subtle, unspoken point is that a woman without a name was willing to do more for Christ than those who should have recognized Him best (the leaders) and one who knew Him more than others at this time (Judas Iscariot). Conversely, the treachery of the Jewish leaders and the betrayal of Judas are all highlighted all the more for the horrific sins that they are.
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.