Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred deanery and the money given to the poor?" (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) (John 12:1-6, NRSV).
The Passover was just six days away,
when Jesus came to Bethany to stay
with Lazarus, whom he’d raised from the dead.
There Martha and her sister Mary spread
a feast in Jesus’ honor. Martha served,
while Mary took some perfume she’d conserved,
anointed Jesus’ feet, and with her hair
then wiped them. The aroma filled the air.
When Judas saw her do that, he was bold
in asking why the perfume was not sold
for three hundred dinarii or more,
and then the money given to the poor.
He said this caring not for their relief,
but just because he was, John writes, a thief.
He kept the common purse and used to steal
from it, and so he said this to conceal
his true motives, as people often do.
They feign some noble purpose, so that you
won’t know their real intention, if and when
they raise objections or complain. This then
explains what Judas had in mind, when he
said what he said that day in Bethany.