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. "
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.' 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.
Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.
There he told them, "Pray that you will not be overcome by temptation."41
He walked away, about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed,
42"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine." 43
Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.
He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief.
46"Why are you sleeping?" he asked. "Get up and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you."47
But even as he said this, a mob approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss.
But Jesus said, "Judas, how can you betray me, the Son of Man, with a kiss?"49
When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, "Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!"
And one of them slashed at the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus said, "Don't resist anymore." And he touched the place where the man's ear had been and healed him.
Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard and the other leaders who headed the mob. "Am I some dangerous criminal," he asked, "that you have come armed with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53Why didn't you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns."54
So they arrested him and led him to the high priest's residence, and Peter was following far behind.
The guards lit a fire in the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.
A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, "This man was one of Jesus' followers!"
Peter denied it. "Woman," he said, "I don't even know the man!"
After a while someone else looked at him and said, "You must be one of them!" "No, man, I'm not!" Peter replied.
About an hour later someone else insisted, "This must be one of Jesus' disciples because he is a Galilean, too."
But Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you are talking about." And as soon as he said these words, the rooster crowed.
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, "Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny me three times." 62
And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly.
Now the guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him.
They blindfolded him; then they hit him and asked, "Who hit you that time, you prophet?"
And they threw all sorts of terrible insults at him.
At daybreak all the leaders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council,
and they said, "Tell us if you are the Messiah." But he replied, "If I tell you, you won't believe me.68And if I ask you a question, you won't answer. 69But the time is soon coming when I, the Son of Man, will be sitting at God's right hand in the place of power." 70
They all shouted, "Then you claim you are the Son of God?" And he replied, "You are right in saying that I am."71
"What need do we have for other witnesses?" they shouted. "We ourselves heard him say it."
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love.
It was time for supper, and the Devil had already enticed Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to carry out his plan to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.
So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist,
and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him.
When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, "Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus replied, "You don't understand now why I am doing it; someday you will."8
"No," Peter protested, "you will never wash my feet!" Jesus replied, "But if I don't wash you, you won't belong to me."9
Simon Peter exclaimed, "Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!"
Jesus replied, "A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn't true of everyone here." 11
For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, "Not all of you are clean."
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, "Do you understand what I was doing? 13You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because it is true. 14And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. 15I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. 17You know these things -- now do them! That is the path of blessing."
18"I am not saying these things to all of you; I know so well each one of you I chose. The Scriptures declare, 'The one who shares my food has turned against me,' and this will soon come true. 19I tell you this now, so that when it happens you will believe I am the Messiah. 20Truly, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me."21
Now Jesus was in great anguish of spirit, and he exclaimed, "The truth is, one of you will betray me!"22
The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean.
One of Jesus' disciples, the one Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus at the table.
Simon Peter motioned to him to ask who would do this terrible thing.
Leaning toward Jesus, he asked, "Lord, who is it?"
Jesus said, "It is the one to whom I give the bread dipped in the sauce." And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.
As soon as Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, "Hurry. Do it now." 28
None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant.
Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor.
So Judas left at once, going out into the night.
As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, "The time has come for me, the Son of Man, to enter into my glory, and God will receive glory because of all that happens to me. 32And God will bring me into my glory very soon. 33Dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you! Then, though you search for me, you cannot come to me -- just as I told the Jewish leaders. 34So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."36
Simon Peter said, "Lord, where are you going?" And Jesus replied, "You can't go with me now, but you will follow me later."37
"But why can't I come now, Lord?" he asked. "I am ready to die for you."
Jesus answered, "Die for me? No, before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me."
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)