In only two days the eight-day Festival of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread would begin. The high priests and religion scholars were looking for a way they could seize Jesus by stealth and kill him.
They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. "We don't want the crowds up in arms," they said.
Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper. While he was eating dinner, a woman came up carrying a bottle of very expensive perfume. Opening the bottle, she poured it on his head.
Some of the guests became furious among themselves. "That's criminal! A sheer waste!
This perfume could have been sold for well over a year's wages and handed out to the poor." They swelled up in anger, nearly bursting with indignation over her.
But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why are you giving her a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me.
You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives. Whenever you feel like it, you can do something for them. Not so with me.
She did what she could when she could - she pre-anointed my body for burial.
And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly."
Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the cabal of high priests, determined to betray him.
They couldn't believe their ears, and promised to pay him well. He started looking for just the right moment to hand him over.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)