It was now two days before the Passover celebration and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and put him to death.
"But not during the Passover," they agreed, "or there will be a riot."
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume. She broke the seal and poured the perfume over his head.
Some of those at the table were indignant. "Why was this expensive perfume wasted?" they asked.
"She could have sold it for a small fortune and given the money to the poor!" And they scolded her harshly.
But Jesus replied, "Leave her alone. Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me?
You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But I will not be here with you much longer.
She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.
I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be talked about in her memory."
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them.
The leading priests were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised him a reward. So he began looking for the right time and place to betray Jesus.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread (the day the Passover lambs were sacrificed), Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover supper?"
So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem to make the arrangements. "As you go into the city," he told them, "a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him.
At the house he enters, say to the owner, 'The Teacher asks, Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?'
He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is the place; go ahead and prepare our supper there."
So the two disciples went on ahead into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover supper there.
In the evening Jesus arrived with the twelve disciples.
As they were sitting around the table eating, Jesus said, "The truth is, one of you will betray me, one of you who is here eating with me."
Greatly distressed, one by one they began to ask him, "I'm not the one, am I?"
He replied, "It is one of you twelve, one who is eating with me now.
References for Mark 14:20
For I, the Son of Man, must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for my betrayer. Far better for him if he had never been born!"
As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God's blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take it, for this is my body."
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
And he said to them, "This is my blood, poured out for many, sealing the covenant between God and his people.
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I solemnly declare that I will not drink wine again until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God."
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
"All of you will desert me," Jesus told them. "For the Scriptures say, 'God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'
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But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there."
Peter said to him, "Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will."
"Peter," Jesus replied, "the truth is, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times."
"No!" Peter insisted. "Not even if I have to die with you! I will never deny you!" And all the others vowed the same.
And they came to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, "Sit here while I go and pray."
He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be filled with horror and deep distress.
He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me."
He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by.
"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."
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Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. "Simon!" he said to Peter. "Are you asleep? Couldn't you stay awake and watch with me even one hour?
Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak."
Then Jesus left them again and prayed, repeating his pleadings.
Again he returned to them and found them sleeping, for they just couldn't keep their eyes open. And they didn't know what to say.
When he returned to them the third time, he said, "Still sleeping? Still resting? Enough! The time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners.
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Up, let's be going. See, my betrayer is here!"
And immediately, as he said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a mob that was armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent out by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders.
Judas had given them a prearranged signal: "You will know which one to arrest when I go over and give him the kiss of greeting. Then you can take him away under guard."
As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. "Teacher!" he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.
Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
But someone pulled out a sword and slashed off an ear of the high priest's servant.
Jesus asked them, "Am I some dangerous criminal, that you come armed with swords and clubs to arrest me?
Why didn't you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me."
Meanwhile, all his disciples deserted him and ran away.
There was a young man following along behind, clothed only in a linen nightshirt. When the mob tried to grab him,
they tore off his clothes, but he escaped and ran away naked.
Jesus was led to the high priest's home where the leading priests, other leaders, and teachers of religious law had gathered.
Meanwhile, Peter followed far behind and then slipped inside the gates of the high priest's courtyard. For a while he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.
Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would testify against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But their efforts were in vain.
References for Mark 14:55
Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other.
Finally, some men stood up to testify against him with this lie:
"We heard him say, 'I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.'"
But even then they didn't get their stories straight!
Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, "Well, aren't you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?"
Jesus made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God?"
Jesus said, "I am, and you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God's right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven."
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Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, "Why do we need other witnesses?
You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?" And they all condemned him to death.
Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and hit his face with their fists. "Who hit you that time, you prophet?" they jeered. And even the guards were hitting him as they led him away.
Meanwhile, Peter was below in the courtyard. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest
noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and then said, "You were one of those with Jesus, the Nazarene."
Peter denied it. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.
References for Mark 14:68
The servant girl saw him standing there and began telling the others, "That man is definitely one of them!"
Peter denied it again.A little later some other bystanders began saying to Peter, "You must be one of them because you are from Galilee."
Peter said, "I swear by God, I don't know this man you're talking about."
And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and cried.