The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which begins with the Passover celebration, was drawing near.
The leading priests and teachers of religious law were actively plotting Jesus' murder. But they wanted to kill him without starting a riot, a possibility they greatly feared.
Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples,
and he went over to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.
They were delighted that he was ready to help them, and they promised him a reward.
So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him quietly when the crowds weren't around.
Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lambs were sacrificed.
Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, "Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together."9
"Where do you want us to go?" they asked him.
He replied, "As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, 11say to the owner, 'The Teacher asks, Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?' 12He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is the place. Go ahead and prepare our supper there." 13
They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover supper there.
Then at the proper time Jesus and the twelve apostles sat down together at the table.
Jesus said, "I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16For I tell you now that I won't eat it again until it comes to fulfillment in the Kingdom of God."17
Then he took a cup of wine, and when he had given thanks for it, he said, "Take this and share it among yourselves. 18For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come."19
Then he took a loaf of bread; and when he had thanked God for it, he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20
After supper he took another cup of wine and said, "This wine is the token of God's new covenant to save you -- an agreement sealed with the blood I will pour out for you. a"
21"But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. 22For I, the Son of Man, must die since it is part of God's plan. But how terrible it will be for my betrayer!" 23
Then the disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.
And they began to argue among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom.
Jesus told them, "In this world the kings and great men order their people around, and yet they are called 'friends of the people.' 26But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant. 28You have remained true to me in my time of trial. 29And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30to eat and drink at my table in that Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. 32But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers."33
Peter said, "Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you."
But Jesus said, "Peter, let me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know me."35
Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler's bag, or extra clothing, did you lack anything?" "No," they replied.
36"But now," he said, "take your money and a traveler's bag. And if you don't have a sword, sell your clothes and buy one! 37For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: 'He was counted among those who were rebels.' b Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true."38
"Lord," they replied, "we have two swords among us." "That's enough," he said.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)