It was now only two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and teachers of the law were trying to find a trick to arrest Jesus and kill him.
But they said, "We must not do it during the feast, because the people might cause a riot."
Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, who had a skin disease. While Jesus was eating there, a woman approached him with an alabaster jar filled with very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She opened the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head.
Some who were there became upset and said to each other, "Why waste that perfume?
It was worth a full year's work. It could have been sold and the money given to the poor." And they got very angry with the woman.
Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why are you troubling her? She did an excellent thing for me.
You will always have the poor with you, and you can help them anytime you want. But you will not always have me.
This woman did the only thing she could do for me; she poured perfume on my body to prepare me for burial.
I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached in all the world, what this woman has done will be told, and people will remember her."
One of the twelve apostles, Judas Iscariot, went to talk to the leading priests to offer to hand Jesus over to them.
These priests were pleased about this and promised to pay Judas money. So he watched for the best time to turn Jesus in.
It was now the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when the Passover lamb was sacrificed. Jesus' followers said to him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?"
Jesus sent two of his followers and said to them, "Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.
When he goes into a house, tell the owner of the house, 'The Teacher says: Where is my guest room in which I can eat the Passover meal with my followers?'
The owner will show you a large room upstairs that is furnished and ready. Prepare the food for us there."
So the followers left and went into the city. Everything happened as Jesus had said, so they prepared the Passover meal.
In the evening, Jesus went to that house with the twelve.
While they were all eating, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will turn against me -- one of you eating with me now."
The followers were very sad to hear this. Each one began to say to Jesus, "I am not the one, am I?"
Jesus answered, "It is one of the twelve -- the one who dips his bread into the bowl with me.
The Son of Man will die, just as the Scriptures say. But how terrible it will be for the person who hands the Son of Man over to be killed. It would be better for him if he had never been born."
While they were eating, Jesus took some bread and thanked God for it and broke it. Then he gave it to his followers and said, "Take it; this is my body."
Then Jesus took a cup and thanked God for it and gave it to the followers, and they all drank from the cup.
Then Jesus said, "This is my blood which is the new agreement that God makes with his people. This blood is poured out for many.
I tell you the truth, I will not drink of this fruit of the vinen again until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus told the followers, "You will all stumble in your faith, because it is written in the Scriptures: 'I will kill the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter.'
But after I rise from the dead, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."
Peter said, "Everyone else may stumble in their faith, but I will not."
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, tonight before the rooster crows twice you will say three times you don't know me."
But Peter insisted, "I will never say that I don't know you! I will even die with you!" And all the other followers said the same thing.
Jesus and his followers went to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, "Sit here while I pray."
Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be very sad and troubled.
He said to them, "My heart is full of sorrow, to the point of death. Stay here and watch."
After walking a little farther away from them, Jesus fell to the ground and prayed that, if possible, he would not have this time of suffering.
He prayed, "Abba, Father! You can do all things. Take away this cupn of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want."
Then Jesus went back to his followers and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn't you stay awake with me for one hour?
Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. The spirit wants to do what is right, but the body is weak."
Again Jesus went away and prayed the same thing.
Then he went back to his followers, and again he found them asleep, because their eyes were very heavy. And they did not know what to say to him.
After Jesus prayed a third time, he went back to his followers and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? That's enough. The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinful people.
Get up, we must go. Look, here comes the man who has turned against me."
At once, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve apostles, came up. With him were many people carrying swords and clubs who had been sent from the leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the older Jewish leaders.
Judas had planned a signal for them, saying, "The man I kiss is Jesus. Arrest him and guard him while you lead him away."
So Judas went straight to Jesus and said, "Teacher!" and kissed him.
Then the people grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
One of his followers standing nearby pulled out his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
Then Jesus said, "You came to get me with swords and clubs as if I were a criminal.
Every day I was with you teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest me there. But all these things have happened to make the Scriptures come true."
Then all of Jesus' followers left him and ran away.
A young man, wearing only a linen cloth, was following Jesus, and the people also grabbed him.
But the cloth he was wearing came off, and he ran away naked.
The people who arrested Jesus led him to the house of the high priest, where all the leading priests, the older Jewish leaders, and the teachers of the law were gathered.
Peter followed far behind and entered the courtyard of the high priest's house. There he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.
The leading priests and the whole Jewish council tried to find something that Jesus had done wrong so they could kill him. But the council could find no proof of anything.
Many people came and told false things about him, but all said different things -- none of them agreed.
Then some people stood up and lied about Jesus, saying,
"We heard this man say, 'I will destroy this Temple that people made. And three days later, I will build another Temple not made by people.'"
But even the things these people said did not agree.
Then the high priest stood before them and asked Jesus, "Aren't you going to answer? Don't you have something to say about their charges against you?"
But Jesus said nothing; he did not answer. The high priest asked Jesus another question: "Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed God?"
Jesus answered, "I am. And in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the Powerful One, and coming on clouds in the sky."
When the high priest heard this, he tore his clothes and said, "We don't need any more witnesses!
You all heard him say these things against God. What do you think?" They all said that Jesus was guilty and should die.
Some of the people there began to spit at Jesus. They blindfolded him and beat him with their fists and said, "Prove you are a prophet!" Then the guards led Jesus away and beat him.
While Peter was in the courtyard, a servant girl of the high priest came there.
She saw Peter warming himself at the fire and looked closely at him. Then she said, "You also were with Jesus, that man from Nazareth."
But Peter said that he was never with Jesus. He said, "I don't know or understand what you are talking about." Then Peter left and went toward the entrance of the courtyard. And the rooster crowed.
The servant girl saw Peter there, and again she said to the people who were standing nearby, "This man is one of those who followed Jesus."
Again Peter said that it was not true. A short time later, some people were standing near Peter saying, "Surely you are one of those who followed Jesus, because you are from Galilee, too."
Then Peter began to place a curse on himself and swear, "I don't know this man you're talking about!"
At once, the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: "Before the rooster crows twice, you will say three times that you don't know me." Then Peter lost control of himself and began to cry.