The Plot to Kill Jesus
1Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the leading priests and religious scholars were committed to finding a way to secretly arrest Jesus and have him executed. 2But they all agreed that their plot could not succeed if they carried it out during the days of the feast, for they said, “There could be a riot among the people.”
Jesus Is Anointed for His Death and Burial
3Now Jesus was in Bethany, in the home of Simon, a man Jesus had healed of leprosy. And as he was reclining at the table, a woman came into the house, holding an alabaster flask. It was filled with the highest quality of fragrant and expensive oil. She walked right up to Jesus, and with a gesture of extreme devotion, she broke the flask and poured out the precious oil over his head. 4But some were highly indignant when they saw this, and they complained to one another, saying, “What a total waste! 5It could have been sold for a great sum, and the money could have benefited the poor.” So they scolded her harshly.
6Jesus said to them, “Leave her alone! Why are you so critical of this woman? She has honored me with this beautiful act of kindness. 7For you will always have the poor, whom you can help whenever you want, but you will not always have me. 8When she poured the fragrant oil over me, she was preparing my body in advance of my burial. She has done all that she could to honor me. 9I promise you that as this wonderful gospel spreads all over the world, the story of her lavish devotion to me will be mentioned in memory of her.”
Judas Schemes to Betray Jesus
10One of the twelve apostles, Judas Iscariot, went to the leading priests to inform them of his willingness to betray Jesus into their hands. 11They were delighted to hear this and agreed to pay him for it. So immediately Judas began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover Lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where would you like us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
13So he sent two of his disciples ahead into Jerusalem with these instructions: “Make your way into the city and watch for a man carrying an earthenware pitcher of water. Follow him, 14and say to the owner of whatever house he enters, ‘The Teacher wants to ask you: “Do you have my room ready where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?” ’ 15And he will show you a large upstairs room ready and with a table set. Make preparations for us there.”
16So they went into the city and found everything to be exactly like Jesus had prophesied, and they prepared for him the Passover meal. 17And when evening came, he entered the house and went upstairs with his twelve disciples. 18Over dinner, while they were reclining around the table, Jesus said, “Listen to the truth: One of you eating here with me is about to betray me.”
19Feeling deeply troubled by these words, one after another asked him, “You don’t mean me, do you?”
20He answered, “It is one of you twelve who has shared meals with me as an intimate friend. 21All that was prophesied of me, the Son of Man, is destined to soon take place, but it will be disastrous for the one who betrays the Son of Man. It would be far better for him if he had never been born!”
Jesus Shares Communion with His Twelve
22As they ate, Jesus took the bread and blessed it, tore it, and gave it to his disciples. He said to them, “Receive this; it is my body.” 23Then taking the cup of wine and giving praises to the Father, he declared the new covenant with them. And as each one drank from the cup, 24he said to them, “This is my blood, which seals the new covenant poured out for many. 25I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the day comes when we drink it together in the kingdom realm of my Father.” 26Then they sang a psalm and afterwards left for the Mount of Olives.
Jesus Prophesies Peter’s Denial
27Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away and desert me. This will fulfill the prophecy of the Scripture that says:
I will strike down the shepherd
and all the sheep will scatter far and wide.
28“But after I am risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
29Then Peter spoke up and said, “Even if all the rest lose their faith and fall away, I will still be beside you, Jesus!”
30Jesus said, “Mark my words, Peter. This very night, before the rooster crows twice a few hours from now, you will utterly deny that you know me three times.”
31But Peter was insistent and replied emphatically, “I will absolutely not! Under no circumstances will I ever deny you—even if I have to die with you!” And all the others repeated the same thing.
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32Then Jesus led his disciples to an orchard called “The Oil Press.” He told them, “Sit here while I pray awhile.” 33He took Peter, Jacob, and John with him. An intense feeling of great horror plunged his soul into deep sorrow and agony. 34And he said to them, “My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. It feels as though I’m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
35He walked a short distance away, and being overcome with grief, he threw himself facedown on the ground. He prayed that if it were possible, he would not have to experience this hour of suffering. 36He prayed, “Abba, my Father, all things are possible for you. Please—don’t allow me to drink this cup of suffering! Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.”
37Then he came back to his three disciples and found them all sound asleep. He awakened Peter and said to him, “Simon, are you asleep? Do you lack the strength to stay awake with me for even just an hour? 38Keep alert and pray that you’ll be spared from this time of testing. For your spirit is eager enough, but your humanity is feeble.”
39Then he left them a second time and went to pray the same thing. 40Afterward, he came back to the disciples and found them sound asleep, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open and they didn’t know what to say to him.
41After praying for the third time, he returned to his disciples and awoke them again, saying, “Do you plan on sleeping and resting indefinitely? That’s enough sleep! The end has come and the hour has arrived for the Son of Man to be handed over to the authority of sinful men. 42Get up and let’s go. Don’t you see? My betrayer draws near.”
Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest
43At that moment Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, along with a large crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent to arrest Jesus by order of the ruling priests, the religious scholars, and the Jewish leaders. 44Now, Judas, the traitor, had arranged to give them a signal that would identify Jesus, for he had told them, “Jesus is the man I will kiss. So grab him and take him safely away.” 45Judas quickly stepped up to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, my Teacher!” and he kissed him affectionately on both cheeks.
46Then the armed men seized Jesus to arrest him. 47One of the disciples pulled out a sword and swung it at the servant of Caiaphas, the high priest, slashing off his ear.
48Jesus said to the mob, “Why would you arrest me with swords and clubs as though I were an outlaw? 49Day after day I sat with you in the temple courts, teaching the people, yet you didn’t arrest me then. But all of this fulfills the prophecies of the Scriptures.” 50At that point all of his disciples ran away and abandoned him.
51There was a young man there following Jesus, wearing only a linen sheet wrapped around him. 52They tried to arrest him also, but he slipped from their grasp and ran off naked, leaving his linen cloth in their hands.
Jesus Condemned by the Religious Leaders
53Those who arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, to a meeting where the religious scholars and Jewish leaders were assembled. 54Now, Peter had followed him from a distance all the way to the chief priest’s courtyard. He sat with the guards and was warming himself by the fire.
55The chief priests and the entire supreme Jewish council of leaders were doing their best to find false charges that they could bring against Jesus and condemn him to death, but they could not find any. 56Many false witnesses came forward, but the evidence could not be corroborated. 57Some came forward and testified against him, saying, 58“We heard him say, ‘I can destroy this temple made with hands and then build another one again in three days not made with hands!’ ” 59Yet even on this point the witnesses did not agree.
60Finally, the chief priest stood up in the middle of them and said to Jesus, “Have you nothing to say about these allegations? Is what they’re saying about you true?”
61But Jesus remained silent before them and did not answer. So the chief priest said to him, “Are you the anointed Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?”
62Jesus answered him, “I am. And more than that, you are about to see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty and coming in the heavenly clouds!”
63Then, as an act of outrage, the high priest tore his robe and shouted, “No more witnesses are needed, 64for you’ve heard this grievous blasphemy.” Turning to the council he said, “Now, what is your verdict?”
“He’s guilty and deserves the death penalty!” they all answered.
65Then they spat on his face and blindfolded him. Others struck him over and over with their fists and taunted him by saying, “Prophesy to us! Tell us which one of us is about to hit you next?” And the guards took him and beat him.
66Meanwhile, Peter was sitting below in the courtyard when a girl, a servant of the high priest, came near the fire. 67When she saw Peter there warming himself, she said to him, “I recognize you. You were with that Nazarene, Jesus.”
68But Peter denied it, saying, “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.” Then he went out to the gateway of the courtyard and the rooster crowed.
69When the servant girl noticed him, she said to all the bystanders, “I know this man is one of his followers!”
70Once again, Peter denied it. A short time later, the bystanders said to him, “You must be one of them. You’re a Galilean, like he is, for your accent proves it!”
71Peter cursed and said, “I tell you, I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”
72At the same moment Peter spoke those words, the sound of a rooster crowing pierced the night for the second time. And Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken to him earlier: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” With his heart shattered, Peter broke down and sobbed with bitter tears.