How much money did the perfume cost?

Did you know…


…that the perfume Mary poured on Jesus' feet was worth a full year's salary? In the gospel text it says that the pound of perfume was worth three hundred denarii, which would be worth about $100 dollars in today's currency. That might not seem like an exorbitant amount of money, but a denarius was the average daily wage for a laborer in Jesus' time. Which means that a laborer working 6 days a week for 50 weeks would make approximately 300 denarii in a year. So in this story, Mary is pouring a year's worth of wages on Jesus' feet. The average yearly salary in the US is $53,000, so in today's currency it would be like Mary pouring a $50,000 bottle of perfume on Jesus' feet. Does this incredible amount of money change anything about how you read or understand this story? Why do you think Jesus believed that this moment with Mary was worth more than a year's wages, and more important than giving that money to the poor?

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