1 It was now two days before Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the religious leaders were trying to find a surreptitious way to arrest Jesus and have him killed. 2 “But not during Passover,” they said to themselves, “otherwise the people may riot.”
Meanwhile Jesus was in Bethany, eating a meal at Simon the leper's home. A woman came in with an alabaster jar of very expensive pure nard perfume.*
She broke the jar open and poured the perfume on Jesus' head.
Some of those who were there became annoyed and said, “Why waste this perfume? 5
It could've been sold for a year's wages†
and the money given to the poor.” They were angry with her.
But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone! Why are you criticizing her for doing something beautiful to me? 7
You'll always have the poor with you,‡
and you can help them whenever you want. But you won't always have me with you. 8
She did what she could: she anointed my body in anticipation of my burial. 9
I tell you the truth: wherever the good news is spread in the world, people will remember what she did.”
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the chief priests and arranged to betray Jesus to them. 11 When they heard this, they were delighted, and promised to pay him. So Judas began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the time when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus' disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare the Passover meal for you?”
13 He sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city and there you'll meet a man carrying a water pot. Follow him, 14 and when he goes into a house, ask the owner where I and my disciples can celebrate the Passover. 15 He will take you to a large upstairs room that is furnished and ready. You can make preparations for us there.”
16 The disciples went into the city, and found things just as he'd described them. They prepared the Passover meal. 17 In the evening Jesus went there with the twelve disciples.
18 While they were sitting eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: one of you is going to betray me; one who is eating with me now.”
19 They were shocked, and they each asked, “It's not me, is it?”
20 “It's one of the Twelve, one of you sharing this food with me,” he replied. 21 “The Son of man will die, just as the Scriptures predicted. But how terrible it will be for the man who betrays the Son of man! It would be better for that man if he'd never been born.” 22 As they were eating, Jesus picked up some bread. He blessed it, and gave it to them. “Take it. This is my body,” he told them.
Then he picked up the cup. He blessed it, and gave it to them. They all drank from it. 24
“This is my blood,” he told them, “the agreement§
that's being poured out for many. 25
I tell you the truth, I won't drink of the fruit of the vine until the day I drink it fresh in God's kingdom.”
26 After they had sung a psalm, they left for the Mount of Olives.
“All of you will abandon me,” Jesus told them. “For as the Scriptures say, ‘I will attack the shepherd, and the sheep will be completely scattered.’* 28
But after I have risen from the dead, I will go before you to Galilee.”
29 “I won't abandon you even if everyone else does,” Peter replied.
30 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth that today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny that you even know me three times.”
31 But Peter was totally adamant, saying, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” All of them said the same.
They arrived at a place called Gethsemane,†
where Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33
He took Peter, James, and John with him. He began to be very disturbed and troubled.
Jesus told them, “My agony is so painful it feels like I'm dying. Please, remain here and stay awake.” 35
He went a little farther on and then fell to the ground. He prayed, asking to be spared the time‡
that was coming, if it were possible.
36 “Abba, Father! You can do everything,” he said. “Please, take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet it's not what I want, but what you want.”
37 Then Jesus returned and found the disciples asleep. “Simon, are you sleeping?” he asked Peter. “Couldn't you stay awake for just an hour? 38 Stay awake, and pray so you won't fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
He left them once more, and prayed, saying the same things. 40
Then he returned, and again he found them sleeping because they couldn't keep their eyes open.§
They didn't know what to say! 41
He returned a third time, and asked them, “Are you still asleep? Are you still resting? Well that's enough,*
because the time has come! Look, the Son of man is about to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42
Get up! Let's go! See, here comes my betrayer.”
43 Just as he was saying this, Judas—one of the twelve disciples—arrived with a mob carrying swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests, religious leaders, and elders. 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a sign with them: “He's the one that I kiss. Arrest him, and take him away under guard.”
45 Judas went right up to Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, and kissed him affectionately. 46 So they grabbed hold of Jesus and arrested him. 47 But one of those standing there pulled out his sword and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his ear.
48 “Am I some kind of rebel that you have come to arrest me with swords and clubs?” Jesus asked them. 49 “I was there with you, teaching in the Temple every day. Why didn't you arrest me then? But this is happening to fulfill the Scriptures.”
50 Then all Jesus' disciples deserted him and ran away. 51 (One of his followers was a young man who was wearing only a linen garment. 52 They seized hold of him, but he ran off naked, leaving the garment behind.)
53 They took Jesus to the high priest's house where all the chief priests, elders, and religious teachers had gathered. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, and went into the courtyard of the high priest's house. He sat down with the guards and warmed himself by the fire.
Inside the chief priests and the whole governing council†
were trying to find some evidence to have Jesus put to death, but they couldn't find anything. 56
Many were giving false testimony against him, but their statements didn't agree.
57 Some of them got up to speak falsely against Jesus. 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple that human hands built, and in three days I will build another without hands.’ ” 59 But even so their testimony didn't agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up in front of the council, and asked Jesus, “Have you nothing to say in response to these charges made against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and didn't answer. So the high priest asked again, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” Jesus replied, “and you will see the Son of man sitting on the right of the Mighty One, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”‡
The high priest tore his clothes§
and asked, “Why do we need any more witnesses? 64
You have heard the blasphemy! What's your reaction?”
They all found him guilty and condemned him to death. 65 Then some of them began to spit on him. They blindfolded him, hit him with their fists, and said, “Why don't you prophesy then, you ‘Prophet’!” The guards took him away and beat him up.
66 Meanwhile Peter was down below in the courtyard. One of the high priest's servant-girls passed by, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, looked straight at him and said, “You were with Jesus of Nazareth too!”
But he denied it. “I don't know what you're talking about or what you mean,” he replied. Then he went out to the forecourt, and a rooster crowed.*
69 Seeing him there, the servant girl repeated to those standing around, “This man is one of them!” 70 Once more Peter denied it. A little while later they said to Peter again, “You're definitely one of them because you're a Galilean too!”
71 Peter began calling down curses on himself and he swore, “I don't know this man who you're talking about.” 72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” When he realized what he'd done, he burst into tears.