Mk. 14:1-2-The Passover (commemorating the deliverance of the Hebrew people from Egypt was celebrated on the 14th of Nissan. Nissan covered the time span of our modern months of March-April) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were two days away (it immediately followed Passover and continued from the 15th-21st, cf. Exod. 12). The religious leaders were actively seeking a way to kill Jesus.
Jewish annual calendar with Feasts:
Mk. 14:3-9-Jesus is in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper. A woman (Mary of Bethany, John 12:3) with an alabaster vial of perfume (“pure nard”…a costly oil used for anointing that was the extract of a plant from East India…three hundred denarii was equivalent to about 300 days wages for a rural worker-Ryrie) came and poured it over His head. Jesus said that she had anointed Him for burial and that her good deed would always be remembered. The disciples (instigated by Judas, cf. John 12:4-6) had said that the money could be used for the poor…and “were scolding her”. But Jesus told them that they would always have the poor to help (cf. Deut. 15:11), but He would not always be with them.
Mk. 14:10-11-Judas left and made arrangements to betray Jesus.
Mk. 14:12-16-It was now the first day of Unleavened Bread. Preparations for Passover were being made. Jesus sent two of His disciples into Jerusalem to secure a room for them to celebrate it.
Mk. 14:17-21-During the Passover meal Jesus reveals that He is about to be betrayed by one of the disciples.
Mk. 14:22-25-The institution of the Lord's Supper (Communion).
See February 11, Matthew 26:20-54 for the historical significance of the Passover for the Jews and its symbolism for Christians.
For additional information on the Passover and the point at which Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in the context of the Seder Feast see:
Prayer: Lord, there are some people who believe that Judas did not really intend for Jesus to die...but that he was merely trying to force Jesus into a position where He would have to exert His power and become a political leader, to restore Israel and throw off the Roman's control over them. Lord, sometimes it is not easy to discern between what we want and what You want. My desires seem pure and right...and I assume they are from You. But Lord, I never want to become guilty of this same sin that Judas committed. Please help me to know and understand clearly what Your desire is, what You would have me to do...and to not be confused by my own thinking.