When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Prediction and Fulfillment
Jesus was aware of what was going to happen to him and so he tells his disciples. Once more they show that they did not understand, but a lowly woman shows she understands more than they do. It is remarkable that a woman is commended by Jesus in this way as women had little status in society, but her sacrificial action would lead to her story being retold for two millennia. Jesus couples her action with an understanding that he was to be prepared for burial.
Judas loved money and would have particularly resented her sacrifice. In one account we are told that he was pilfering from the disciples and Jesus because he managed the accounts. Jesus knew he would be betrayed and denied but he went forward with his mission in Jerusalem anyway.
We follow one who knows what will happen in the future and who can be trusted to lead us. Also, Jesus is a model of ideal human life. His faithful following is a lesson to us. In this season of Christmas we remember how the Light (Jesus) came into the darkness. Once more the darkness of the world is painfully apparent, but following Jesus dispels the darkness and provides a way forward. In the midst of great suffering there can be acts of great kindness and there can be true beauty. May we be such people.
- What does Jesus predict?
- Who understands what he is saying?
- How is his prediction fulfilled?
- How does evil seem to prevail today?
- How can beauty, light, and courage be experienced despite the rise of evil?