After this many of the Jews who had accompanied Mary and observed what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went off to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Consequently, the Pharisees and chief priests summoned the council and said, “What can we do? This man obviously shows many remarkable signs. If we let him go on doing this sort of thing we shall have everybody believing in him. Then we shall have the Romans coming and that will be the end of our holy place and our very existence as a nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, addressed the meeting: “You plainly don’t understand what is involved here. You do not realize that it would be a good thing for us if one man should die for the sake of the people — instead of the whole nation being destroyed.” (He did not make this remark on his own initiative but, since he was High Priest that year, he was in fact inspired to say that Jesus was going to die for the nation’s sake — and in fact not for that nation only, but to bring together into one family all the children of God scattered throughout the world.) From that day then, they planned to kill him. As a consequence Jesus made no further public appearance among the Jews but went away to the countryside on the edge of the desert, and stayed with his disciples in a town called Ephraim. The Jewish Passover was approaching and many people went up from the country to Jerusalem before the actual Passover, to go through a ceremonial cleansing. They were looking for Jesus there and kept saying to one another as they stood in the Temple, “What do you think? Surely he won’t come to the festival?”
It should be understood that the chief priests and the Pharisees had issued an order that anyone who knew of Jesus’ whereabouts should tell them, so they could arrest him.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, the village of Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a supper for him there, and Martha waited on the party while Lazarus took his place at table with Jesus. Then Mary took a whole pound of very expensive perfume and anointed Jesus’ feet and then wiped them with her hair. The entire house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (the man who was going to betray Jesus), burst out, “Why on earth wasn’t this perfume sold? It’s worth thirty pounds, which could have been given to the poor!”
He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was dishonest, and when he was in charge of the purse used to help himself to the contents.
But Jesus replied to this outburst, “Let her alone, let her keep this for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always — you will not always have me!”
The large crowd of Jews discovered that he was there and came to the scene—not only because of Jesus but to catch sight of Lazarus, the man whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus as well, because he was the reason for many of the Jews’ going away and putting their faith in Jesus.