Q. Is the story told in John 12:1-8 the same as the one in Matthew 26:6-13? I read a study that says so, but the account in Matthew says that the people were at the home of Simon the leper and that Mary anointed Jesus’ head. The story told in John 12 seems to have occurred in the house of Lazarus, since Martha was serving and Mary anointed the feet of Jesus. If this is the same Mary in both passages, how can one reconcile these differences? Also, the Matthew passage says that Mary anointed Jesus’ head, while the John passage says she anointed His feet.

A. The two passages present the same event. It took place at the home of Simon the leper; and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were guests, along with Jesus and the disciples. Martha served the meal (John 12:2). Remember that she loved to serve, as we saw in the well-known story of Jesus’ visit at Mary and Martha’s home when Martha was encumbered with much serving (Luke 10:38-42). In the passages you cited, Martha probably did the serving as a gesture of friendship to Simon, who had been healed by Jesus, as well as service to the Lord. Concerning Mary and the anointing, Mary must have done both Jesus’ feet and hair. John mentioned the one, and Matthew mentioned the other. Mention of certain details on the part of one or more writers while another writer omitted those details (while perhaps mentioning different details) is fairly common in the Gospels.

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