It was now two days before the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the teachers of the Law were looking for a way to arrest Jesus secretly and put him to death.
"We must not do it during the festival," they said, "or the people might riot."
Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease. While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an alabaster jar full of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head.
Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, "What was the use of wasting the perfume?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!" And they criticized her harshly.
But Jesus said, "Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me.
You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me.
She did what she could; she poured perfume on my body to prepare it ahead of time for burial.
Now, I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Jesus to them.
They were pleased to hear what he had to say, and promised to give him money. So Judas started looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the day the lambs for the Passover meal were killed, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and get the Passover meal ready for you?"
Then Jesus sent two of them with these instructions: "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him
to the house he enters, and say to the owner of the house: "The Teacher says, Where is the room where my disciples and I will eat the Passover meal?'
Then he will show you a large upstairs room, fixed up and furnished, where you will get everything ready for us."
The disciples left, went to the city, and found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve disciples.
While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, "I tell you that one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me."
The disciples were upset and began to ask him, one after the other, "Surely you don't mean me, do you?"
Jesus answered, "It will be one of you twelve, one who dips his bread in the dish with me.
The Son of Man will die as the Scriptures say he will; but how terrible for that man who will betray the Son of Man! It would have been better for that man if he had never been born!"
While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. "Take it," he said, "this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and handed it to them; and they all drank from it.
Jesus said, "This is my blood which is poured out for many, my blood which seals God's covenant.
I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine in the Kingdom of God."
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.