John 12: 3 “Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
What is “Nard?” Spikenard, also called nard, nardin, and muskroot?
The amber colored essential oil was known in ancient times and was part of the Ayurvedic herbal tradition of India. It grew in the Himalayas. It was obtained as a luxury in ancient Egypt, the Near East. In Rome, it was the main ingredient of the perfume nardinum (O.L. náladam), derived from the Hebrew שבלת נֵרד (shebolet nerd, head of nard bunch), which was part of the Ketoret (Incense offering), used when referring to the consecrated incense described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. It was very expensive. One pound in today’s American currency would be the equivalent of roughly $20,000.
In addition to what Mary of Bethany did in anointing Jesus with a very potent perfume, when His body was taken down from the cross, Nicodemus put 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes ($200,000 in today’s money) His body (the amount that was used for kings). Thus when Jesus rose again from the dead, He was fragrant. Paul makes mention of the fragrance of the resurrected Christ in 2 Corinthians. The Psalms also allude to it prophetically. The fragrance of resurrection has spiritual implications…
In other words, Mary was preparing Jesus to be the Incense Offering, before his Father. He was offered as the perfect sacrifice on behalf and in fulfillment of the prayers of the Jewish people, who cry out in verse 13: “Hosanna (Save Us)! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”