It was now two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread, and the High Priests and Scribes were bent on finding how to seize Him by stratagem and put Him to death.
But they said, 'Not on the Festival-day, for fear there should be a riot among the people.'
Now when He was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper, while He was at table, there came a woman with a jar of pure, sweet-scented ointment very costly: she broke the jar and poured the ointment over His head.
But there were some who said indignantly among themselves, 'Why has the ointment been thus wasted?
For that ointment might have been sold for fifteen pounds or more, and the money have been given to the poor.' And they were exceedingly angry with her.
But Jesus said, 'Leave her alone: why are you troubling her? She has done a most gracious act towards me.
For you always have the poor among you, and whenever you choose you can do acts of kindness to them; but me you have not always.
What she could she did: she has perfumed my body in preparation for my burial.
And I solemnly tell you that wherever in the whole world the Good News shall be proclaimed, this which she has done shall also be told in remembrance of her.'
But Judas Iscariot, already mentioned as one of the Twelve, went to the High Priests to betray Jesus to them.
They gladly listened to his proposal, and promised to give him a sum of money. So he looked out for an opportunity to betray Him.
On the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread--the day for killing the Passover lamb--His disciples asked Him, 'Where shall we go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?'
So He sent two of His disciples with instructions, saying, 'Go into the city, and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water: follow him,
and whatever house he enters, tell the master of the house, 'The Rabbi asks, Where is my room where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?'
Then he will himself show you a large room upstairs, ready furnished: there make preparation for us.'
So the disciples went out and came to the city, and found everything just as He had told them; and they got the Passover ready.
When it was evening, He came with the Twelve.
And while they were at table Jesus said, 'I solemnly tell you that one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me.'
They were filled with sorrow, and began asking Him, one by one, 'Not I, is it?'
'It is one of the Twelve,' He replied; 'he who is dipping his fingers in the dish with me.
For the Son of Man is going His way as it is written about Him; but alas for the man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It had been a happy thing for that man, had he never been born.'
Also during the meal He took a Passover biscuit, blessed it, and broke it. He then gave it to them, saying, 'Take this, it is my body.'
Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and handed it to them, and they all of them drank from it.
'This is my blood,' He said, 'which is to be poured out on behalf of many--the blood which makes the Covenant sure.
I solemnly tell you that never again will I taste the produce of the vine till I shall drink the new wine in the Kingdom of God.'
After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then said Jesus to them, 'All of you are about to stumble and fall, for it is written, 'I will strike down the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered in all directions.'
But after I have risen to life again I will go before you into Galilee.'
'All may stumble and fall,' said Peter, 'yet I never will.'
'I solemnly tell you,' replied Jesus, 'that to-day--this night--before the cock crows twice, you yourself will three times disown me.'
'Even if I must die with you,' declared Peter again and again, 'I will never disown you.' In like manner protested also all the disciples.
So they came to a place called Gethsemane. There He said to His disciples, 'Sit down here till I have prayed.'
Then He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be full of terror and distress,
and He said to them, 'My heart is oppressed with anguish to the very point of death: wait here and keep awake.'
Going forward a short distance He threw Himself upon His face and prayed repeatedly that, if it was possible, He might be spared that time of agony;
and He said, 'Abba! my Father! all things are possible for Thee: take this cup of suffering away from me: and yet not what I desire, but what Thou desirest.'
Then He came and found them asleep, and He said to Peter, 'Simon, are you asleep? Had you not strength to keep awake a single hour?
Be wakeful, all of you, and keep on praying, that you may not come into temptation: the spirit is right willing, but the body is frail.'
He again went away and prayed, using the very same words.
When He returned He again found them asleep, for they were very tired; and they knew not how to answer Him.
A third time He came, and then He said, 'Sleep on and rest. Enough! the hour has come. Even now they are betraying the Son of Man into the hands of sinful men.
Rouse yourselves, let us be going: my betrayer is close at hand.'
Immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came and with him a crowd of men armed with swords and cudgels, sent by the High Priests and Scribes and Elders.
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them. 'The one I kiss,' he said, 'is the man: lay hold of him, and take him safely away.'
So he came, and going straight to Jesus he said, 'Rabbi!' and kissed Him with seeming affection;
whereupon they laid hands on Him and held Him firmly.
But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck a blow at the High Priest's servant, cutting off his ear.
'Have you come out,' said Jesus, 'with swords and cudgels to arrest me, as if you had to fight with a robber?
Day after day I used to be among you in the Temple teaching, and you never seized me. But this is happening in order that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.'
Then His friends all forsook Him and fled.
One youth indeed did follow Him, wearing only a linen cloth round his bare body. Of him they laid hold,
but he left the linen cloth in their hands and fled without it.
So they led Jesus away to the High Priest, and with him there assembled all the High Priests, Elders, and Scribes.
Peter followed Jesus at a distance, as far as the outer court of the High Priest's palace. But there he remained sitting among the officers, and warming himself by the fire.
Meanwhile the High Priests and the entire Sanhedrin were endeavouring to get evidence against Jesus in order to put Him to death, but could find none;
for though many gave false testimony against Him, their statements did not tally.
Then some came forward as witnesses and falsely declared,
'We have heard him say, 'I will pull down this Sanctuary built by human hands, and three days afterwards I will erect another built without hands.''
But not even in this shape was their testimony consistent.
At last the High Priest stood up, and advancing into the midst of them all, asked Jesus, 'Have you no answer to make? What is the meaning of all this that these witnesses allege against you?'
But He remained silent, and gave no reply. A second time the High Priest questioned Him. 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?' he said.
'I am,' replied Jesus, 'and you and others will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the divine Power, and coming amid the clouds of the sky.'
Rending his garments the High Priest exclaimed, 'What need have we of witnesses after that?
You all heard his impious words. What is your judgement?' Then with one voice they condemned Him as deserving of death.
Thereupon some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, while striking Him with their fists and crying, 'Prove that you are a prophet.' The officers too struck Him with open hands as they took Him in charge.
Now while Peter was below in the quadrangle, one of the High Priest's maidservants came,
and seeing Peter warming himself she looked at him and said, 'You also were with Jesus, the Nazarene.'
But he denied it, and said, 'I don't know--I don't understand--What do you mean?' And then he went out into the outer court. Just then a cock crowed.
Again the maidservant saw him, and again began to say to the people standing by, 'He is one of them.'
A second time he repeatedly denied it. Soon afterwards the bystanders again accused Peter, saying, 'You are surely one of them, for you too are a Galilaean.'
But he broke out into curses and oaths, declaring, 'I know nothing of the man you are talking about.'
No sooner had he spoken than a cock crowed for the second time, and Peter recollected the words of Jesus, 'Before the cock crows twice, you will three times disown me.' And as he thought of it, he wept aloud.