One last meal
Judas sets up Jesus1 It was almost time for the Jewish holiday called the Festival of Yeast-free Bread, also known as Passover. 2 Leading priests and the Jewish scholars called scribes were trying their hardest to figure out a way to execute Jesus. But they were afraid of what the crowd would do to them.
3 Satan got inside the head of Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. 4 Judas secretly met with the leading priests and the Temple security guards. They worked out a strategy for arresting Jesus.
5 The Jewish leaders were so delighted to get his help that they gave him a cash reward. 6 Judas agreed to the deal. He would alert them as soon as Jesus was alone, without the support of the crowd.
Last supper for Jesus and the dozen7 The day came when Jews had to sacrifice the Passover lamb. It was on the day of the Festival of Yeast-free Bread. 8 Jesus told Peter and John, “Go and get the Passover meal set up for us so we can eat it together.” 9 They asked, “Where do you want us to set this up?” 10 He told them, “Look, when you get into the city you’ll see a man carrying a jar of water. He’ll come to meet you. Follow him into a house. 11 Tell the man of the house, ‘The Teacher told me to ask you, “Where is the guestroom you would like me to use for the Passover meal I’ll be eating with my disciples?”’ 12 He’ll take you to the large room upstairs. It will have the furniture we need. You can set up everything there.”
13 So the two disciples went there and found everything just as Jesus described it. They set up the Passover meal. 14 When it came time to eat, Jesus and the disciples sat down together at the table.
15 He said, “With all of my heart I have been wanting to share this one last Passover meal with you before I have to suffer. 16 I’m telling you this, and I’m certain about it, I will not eat another Passover meal until the true meaning of this meal is revealed in God’s Kingdom.”
17 Then he lifted a cup of wine, said a prayer of thanks, and told the disciples, “Take this cup and pass it among yourselves, sharing it with each other. 18 I want you to know that this is the last time I will drink fruit of the vineyard. The next time I drink it, God’s Kingdom will have come.”
19 Then he took some bread and said a prayer of thanks. He broke the bread up and gave pieces to his disciples. He said, “This is my body. I’m giving it for you—for your sake. Do this to remember me.”
20 He did the same thing with the cup of wine. After they ate, he said, “This cup is God’s new agreement with people. It’s an agreement made by my blood, which is poured out for you—for your sake. 21 Look, the person who will betray me is in this room. His hand is beside mine on this very table. 22 The Son of Humans has to do what needs to be done—something that has been planned all along. But for the betrayer who sets that plan in motion, there’s tragedy ahead.” 23 The disciples started talking among themselves, trying to figure out which one of them would do such a thing.
How to spot a great soul24 They talked themselves into a debate over which one of them was the most important—Disciple Number One. 25 Jesus said, “Kings of other nations throw their weight around. They tell everybody else what to do. All the while, they call themselves the peoples’ best friend.
26 Don’t act like that. Instead, the most important person in your group should be the youngest—the one others would consider the least important. And the leader in your group should be the one who behaves most like a humble servant.
27 After all, who’s generally considered more important? Is it the person sitting at the table? Or is it the servant who brings the food? It’s the person sitting at the table, isn’t it? But take a good look at me. I’m the one who serves. 28 You are the followers who have stuck with me through the hard times. 29 My Father gave me all the authority that a king wields. I’m giving you the same authority. 30 In my kingdom, you will eat and drink at my table. You will sit on thrones and rule over the 12 tribes of Israel.
Prediction for Simon Peter31 Simon, Simon! Look at me. Satan wants you and the other disciples to himself. He has asked permission to test you—to shake you up and toss you around, the way a farmer sifts wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you. I’ve asked that your faith not fail. When the test is over, go back to your brothers and encourage and strengthen them.”
33 Peter told him, “Sir, I’m ready to go to prison with you—or to die with you.”
34 Jesus said, “I’ll tell you this, Peter. The rooster won’t crow in the morning until you—three times—publicly deny that you know me.”
Trouble is coming35 Then Jesus said to all of them, “When I sent you out on that mission trip without any money, blankets, or sandals, was there anything you needed that you didn’t get?” They said, “Not a thing.” 36 He said, “Well, that’s about to change. If you have money you better take it. Same for a blanket. And if you don’t have a sword, go buy one—sell your coat to get one if you have to.
37 I’m telling you, there’s a prophecy I need to fulfill: ‘They considered him a criminal.’ That’s talking about me, and that’s what’s going to happen.”
38 The disciples said “Sir, look at this. We’ve got two swords.” Jesus said, “That’s quite enough of this.”
Jesus talks to his Father39 Jesus got up and left the building. As usual, he walked over to the Mount of Olives. The disciples went with him. 40 When they arrived at the place they usually camped, Jesus told them, “Pray for yourself. Pray that you won’t be tempted to do something you know is wrong.”
41 Then he went off by himself, leaving his disciples a stone’s throw away. He knelt down and started to pray.
42 He said, “Father, if it’s okay with you, please don’t make me drink this cup of death. But I don’t want my way if it’s not your way.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength for what was coming. 44 Jesus started to pray with passion, agonizing over what was about to happen. His sweat fell to the ground like huge drops of blood.
45 When he finally got up from praying, he went back to the disciples. They were asleep. 46 He said, “Guys, why are you sleeping? Get up and pray for yourself. Pray that you won’t be tempted to do something you know is wrong.”
Jesus gets arrested47 He was still talking to them when the crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the 12 disciples. Judas walked up to Jesus and gave him the customary kiss people used when they greeted each another.
48 Jesus said, “Judas, you’ve decided to use a kiss to betray the Son of Humans?” 49 When the other disciples with Jesus saw what was about to happen they said, “Sir, should we take them on with the sword?”
50 One of the disciples didn’t wait for an answer. He pulled his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s slave. 51 Jesus said, “Stop! We’re not doing this.” Then he touched the slave’s ear and healed it.
52 Jesus turned to the crowd—an entourage of arresting officers that included top priests, Temple security guards, and Jewish elders. He asked them, “Why did you come with swords and clubs to arrest me like I’m some kind of dangerous robber? 53 I was with you out in the Temple courtyards every day this week. You didn’t try to arrest me then. On the other hand, this is the perfect time for you. It’s dark. And the power of darkness leads you."
Peter: “I don’t know that guy”54 They grabbed him and led him to the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
55 Some people had built a fire in the middle of the high priest’s courtyard. They were sitting there around the fire, waiting to see what would happen. Peter went over and sat down with them.
56 While he sat there, a young slave girl looked long and hard at him, and then she said to the others, “This man was with him.” 57 Peter denied it. “Lady, I don’t know that guy!”
58 A little while later a man spotted him and said, “You’re one of them.” Peter answered, “Fellow, no I’m not!”
59 About an hour later another man got into it with him, repeatedly insisting, “There is absolutely no doubt that this person was with him. They are both Galileans.” 60 Peter said, “Fellow, I have no idea what on earth you’re talking about.” Peter was still talking when a rooster crowed.
61 Jesus turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “The rooster won’t crow in the morning until you—three times—publicly deny that you know me.”
62 Peter left, sobbing. 63 The men who were holding Jesus under arrest started to make fun of him. Then they started beating him, too. 64 They put a blindfold on him, hit him, and said, “Okay, prophesy. Who hit you that time?” 65 They slandered him with insults like nobody’s business.
Son of God goes to court66 When daylight came, the top Jewish Council convened to hear the case against Jesus. These were the top priests, along with the scholars known as scribes. They had Jesus led into the Council chamber. 67 The Jewish leaders said to Jesus, “Tell us if you’re the Messiah.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you’re not going to believe it. 68 And if I try to defend myself by asking you questions about it, you won’t answer. 69 But I’ll tell you this, from now on the Son of Humans will have a seat at the right hand of God. There is no seat with greater power than the seat at God’s right hand.”
70 They asked him, “So then, are you the Son of God?” He said, “Well, you say I am.” 71 They said, “Why waste our time by calling witnesses? He has already said everything we need to hear.”
More literally: Festival of Unleavened Bread. This was flatbread made with no yeast. Yeast is what makes bread dough rise. Many Jews today celebrate the holiday by eating cracker-like matzo. Tortillas would also qualify. The festival is a seven-day celebration beginning on the 14th day of the first month in the Jewish new year: Nisan, usually sometime in March or April. It varies because the Jewish calendar is based on the cycles of the moon.
Jews call this holiday by its Hebrew name: Pesach (PAY sah).
More literally, “entered into Judas.”
A more literal translation of the closing phrase: “until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Bible experts debate what that means. Some say it could refer to the way the church celebrates the Last Supper in the ritual of communion, also known as Mass. Others say it refers to end times, when God’s people celebrate the feast with him.
Usually translated Son of Man. See note 5:24.
Jesus was referring to Isaiah 53:12. The Greek word for “criminal” is anomos. It’s a word used to describe people who break the law, including rebels and sinners.
A more literal translation: “It is enough.” That could seem to imply Jesus is saying that two swords would be enough for the group to defend itself. Most Bible experts argue that given the context, Jesus is saying he has had enough of this conversation and that he is tired of trying to convince the thick-headed disciples that they are about to face perhaps the worst day of their life.
The Mount of Olives was just a few minutes away. It’s a ridge of hills parallel to the ridge on which Jerusalem was built. The narrow Kidron Valley separated the two ridges.
The kiss was a signal to the arresting officers. Judas had set that up so they would know which man to arrest (Matthew 26:48).
Galileans had a northern accent (Matthew 26:73).
This council was known as the Sanhedrin. They were a group of 70 Jewish leaders led by the high priest. They functioned as the top legislative and judicial body among Jews. They were a bit like a combination Congress-Supreme Court. They made the laws and they punished the people who broke them. They did not, however, have the authority to execute anyone. The Roman occupiers kept that authority for themselves.
Luke says that “Satan got inside the head of Judas” (22:3). Other Bible versions translated “Satan entered into Judas” (New Living Translation). What do you think happened? Did Judas become demon possessed? Or did Satan simply plant an idea in the mind of Judas and Judas embraced it?
Let’s say Judas was not demon possessed, and that Satan merely tempted him to do something he had been thinking about. Do you think Judas hoped to force Jesus into a public confrontation with Jewish leaders who supported the Roman occupying army, so the Messiah could lead Jewish rebels to freedom? Or do you think he had some other motive?
When Jesus passed out pieces of bread to the disciples he said “this is my body. I’m giving it for you—for your sake. Do this to remember me” (22:19). Was he talking about what became the ritual of communion or Mass? Or was he talking about any time we eat a meal?
Jesus said the next time he drinks wine “God’s Kingdom will have come” (22:18). What do you think he was talking about? Could he have been talking about after his resurrection, since the Bible says he ate fish afterward and perhaps drank wine as well (Luke 24:41-43)? Or do you think he was talking about end times, after his Second Coming?
When Jesus gave his disciples the bread at the Last Supper, he said, “This is my body” (22:19). Really? His actual body? Many Christians argue that the wine and the bread served during Communion or Mass are miraculously transformed into the actual blood and body of Jesus. Other Christians say the wine and bread are only symbols. What do you think about that?
When the disciples said they had two swords to defend themselves, Jesus said, “That’s quite enough of this” (22:38). Many Bible experts say Jesus was expressing some frustration. If so, what do you think frustrated him?
What do you think this prayer Jesus prayed to his Father reveals about Jesus? “Father, if it’s okay with you, please don’t make me drink this cup of death. But I don’t want my way if it’s not your way” (22:42).
Twice, Jesus told the disciples to pray for themselves: “Pray that you won’t be tempted to do something you know is wrong” (22:46). What do you think Jesus was talking about? What might they have been tempted to do that was wrong?
Why do you think Judas chose a kiss as the signal to arresting officers that Jesus was the target (22:47-48)?
What do you think most people feel when they read the story of Peter telling people he didn’t know who Jesus was? Do they think less of him? Do they pity him? Do they relate to him?
Why do you think Jesus seemed evasive when the Jewish leaders asked him if he was the Messiah and then if he was the Son of God (22:67-70)? Jesus didn’t directly answer either one of those questions. Why not?
LIFE APPLICATION. When Judas betrayed Jesus, the Bible says he did it because Satan somehow got inside of him. Humans do evil things all the time. Do you think it’s because Satan is inside of us? Or is something else going on to make us do those terrible things?
LIFE APPLICATION. When the disciples of Jesus started arguing about who was the most important disciple, Jesus put a stop to it by assuring them that they were all important to him, but that they have to remember to think of themselves as a servant instead of as someone others should serve. Can you think of any people you know who have learned that lesson—to lead by serving others?
LIFE APPLICATION. Jesus told Peter that Satan “has asked permission to test you—to shake you up and toss you around, the way a farmer sifts wheat” (22:31). In what way do you think trials or temptations shake us up and toss us around?