1. By this time the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the religious leaders and teachers of the law were actively looking for some way to easily and justifiably arrest Jesus and kill him.
2. "It has to be done," they said, "but not during the Festival. If we make our move during an especially holy time like this the people may riot."
3. Meanwhile, in Bethany, Jesus was having dinner in the home of Simon the Leper. After the meal, while he was reclining at the table, a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure and rare spikenard. Without asking permission or explaining her actions, she walked up to Him, broke the jar, and poured the perfume on His head.
4. Some of the guests who witnessed this were indignant, and said to one another, "Why this extravagant display, and waste of such expensive perfume?
5. This rare and costly substance could have been sold for as much as (or more) than a whole year's wages, and the money be given to the poor!" And they railed on the woman without restraint.
6. Jesus lashed out at them immediately, saying sharply, "All of you...leave her alone! Why are you bothering her...rebuking her for doing such a beautiful thing to me?
7. The bottom line is this...if you're really that concerned with helping the poor, you can relax...this isolated event isn't going to keep you from trying to wipe out poverty, altogether! But the truth is, no matter how much you help the poor, you will always have the poor with you...and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me, at least not in this physical incarnation.
8. She did what she could...acting out of what she knew to do. You can't even grasp the symbolism of this, but she poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare me for My burial.
9. I don't want to overstate the importance of this gesture, but, truth be told, wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world in the future, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."
10. But that event was a turning point, especially for Judas Iscariot. As soon as this happened he went to the religious leaders to betray Jesus to them.
11. And this was the opportunity for which they had waited, so they were delighted to receive him. They also promised to give him a significant amount of money, so he began to watch for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them from that moment on.