The Plot Against Jesus
1When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2“As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
3Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. 5“But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
These religious leaders – who knew the law better than anyone – were willing to commit premeditated murder to save their positions.
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9“This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
As noted in the Gospel of John, the one who commented about giving the money to the poor was Judas Iscariot, who would betray Jesus. He was responsible for the group’s money.
Jesus wasn’t soft on poverty (“The poor you will always have with you . . .”). He was just stating a fact. It must be amazing for the people in the Bible (at least those who became believers) to know their stories have been told billions of times.
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
14Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
The leaders unwittingly fulfilled a prophecy written 500 years earlier in the book of Zechariah. Ironically, thirty silver coins was the price of a slave in the Old Testament.
The Lord’s Supper
17On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
18He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” 19So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
20When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
22They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”
23Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
25Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”
Presumably the exchange between Judas and Jesus was made quietly so that the others couldn’t hear it.
26While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
This was the first Lord’s supper, the sacrement of communion celebrated around the world.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
” ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
Jesus was very clear in his predictions of his death and resurrection, but the Disciples just weren’t equipped to fully understand this.
36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Verse 39 is packed with meaning. First of all, here is Jesus asking God the Father if there is another way for the salvation of humanity. What was the answer? No. There is no other way. Many Christians are quick to say that other religions offer a path to Heaven, but that is simply un-Biblical. Jesus is the only way. Really. There are at least 100 direct and indirect indications in the Bible that Jesus is the only way to forgiveness of sins, salvation and eternal life. It is the position that Christians, by definition, must hold. Preaching a different Gospel is a profoundly bad idea.
Next, consider the obedience. Do I submit to God’s will in such a devoted and humble way?
40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
42He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
I have read the Gospels many times but just noticed that He prayed about the cup to be taking away (i.e., the crucifixion) three times, not just one.
45Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Jesus was in complete control of the situation at all times. He could have stopped the proceedings whenever He wanted and disintegrated the universe that He created. He was God and He was going to be unfairly tried and horribly punished for trying to help these people. But He willingly suffered all these things for you and me.
Jesus was human, also, so it must have been very painful to have his friends desert him in his hour of need. Regardless of what has happened to you in life, know that Jesus suffered pain and rejection as well and can related to your suffering.
Before the Sanhedrin
57Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.
59The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward 61and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”
62Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
64“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
67Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”
Note how they accused him of blasphemy. Jesus claimed to be God and they realized it. They just didn’t believe He was right.
Peter Disowns Jesus
69Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.”
74Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Peter denied Jesus even after Jesus told him that is what he would do. How many times have I denied Jesus with my lifestyle or my words?
What passages stood out to you, and why?
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