It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.
“But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked.
“It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?
You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.
She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.
I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them.
They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem with these instructions: “As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him.
At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’
He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.”