1 Now the Passover Festival and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were held two days later. [Note: This was the annual Jewish Festival week commemorating Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage under Moses' leadership. The unleavened bread was specially baked bread containing no yeast, which was eaten for seven days as part of the celebration]. And the leading priests and experts in the law of Moses were looking for a way to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.
2 But they reasoned, "We will not [take him] during the Festival, because it might start a riot among the people."
3 And while Jesus was in Bethany [Note: This was a small village fewer than two miles east of Jerusalem], sitting at the dinner table in the house of Simon, the man with an infectious skin disease [Note: This man had probably been healed by now], a woman with an alabaster [i.e., stone] jar of very expensive perfume came to Him, broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.
4 But some [of the disciples. See Matt. 26:8] were upset among themselves, saying, "What is the reason for wasting this perfume?
5 It might have been sold for a large sum of money and the money given to poor people. [Note: The amount indicated here was equivalent to days of a farm laborer's pay, or over $20,000 in 1994]. And they complained about her [doing this].
6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why are you bothering this woman? For she has done a kind deed to me.
7 You will always have poor people with you, and you can do something good for them whenever you want to, but you will not always have me with you.
8 She has done what she could. She has applied this aromatic oil to my body in anticipation of my burial.
9 For truly I tell you, wherever the Gospel message will be preached throughout the whole world, what this woman has done [for me] will [also] be told about as a memorial of her [kindness to me]."
10 Now Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve apostles, left and went to the leading priests in order to make arrangements for turning Jesus over to them.
11 And when they [i.e., the leading priests] realized this, they were very pleased and promised to give him money. So, Judas began looking for a convenient way to turn Jesus over to these Jewish leaders.
12 Now on the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread [i.e., the beginning of the Passover Festival week], when they sacrificed the Passover [lamb], Jesus' disciples said to Him, "Where do you want us to go to make preparations for you to eat the Passover meal?"
13 So, He sent two of His disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city [of Jerusalem] and there a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you; follow him.
14 And wherever he enters a house [follow him inside and] say to the owner, 'The Teacher says, where is my guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?'
15 And the owner himself will show you a large upstairs room all furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there [i.e., to observe the Passover meal]."
16 So, the disciples left and entered the city [of Jerusalem]. They found everything just as Jesus told them [it would be], and they made preparations for the Passover meal.
18 As they reclined at the table to eat, [Note: See Matt. 23:6] Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will turn me over [i.e., to the Jewish leaders]; [it is the one] who is eating with me."
20 And He answered them, "It is one of you twelve, [the one] who is dipping [his bread] with me in the sauce bowl.
21 For the Son of man is going [to die], but it is too bad for that person who will turn me over to the Jewish leaders It would be better for that man if he had not been born."
22 And as they were eating He took a [small] loaf of bread, and when He had asked God's blessing on it, He broke it and gave [pieces] to His disciples and said, "Take this, it is [i.e., represents] my [physical] body."
23 Then He took a cup [i.e., probably wine made from fresh or possibly preserved grape juice], and when He had given thanks to God, He passed it to them and they all drank from it.
24 And He said to them, "This is [i.e., represents] my blood of the Agreement [i.e., between God and mankind] which is [to be] poured out for many people.
25 Truly I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine [i.e., grape juice] any more until that day when I will drink it again [i.e., figuratively] in the kingdom of God."
27 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "All of you will have doubts about me, for it is written [Zech. 13:7], 'I will strike down the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered everywhere.'
29 But Peter said to Him, "Although everyone else will have doubts [about you], I never will."
30 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I tell you, today, in fact this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny [knowing] me three times."
31 But Peter kept insisting emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, still I will not deny [knowing] you." And all the rest of the disciples spoke the same way.
32 Jesus and His disciples came to a place called Gethsemene [Note: This was an olive orchard on a hillside just east of Jerusalem]. He said to His disciples, "You sit here while I [go away and] pray."
34 He said to them, "My soul is extremely grieved, even to the point where I could die. Stay here and be alert [i.e., in prayer]."
35 And He went on ahead a short distance and fell to the ground and prayed for that hour [i.e., that time of terrible grief] to pass away from Him, if it were at all possible.
36 So, He said, "Abba, [which means] Father, everything is possible with you. Take this cup [i.e., of suffering] away from me; however, let it not be what I want but what you want for me."
37 And when He came back and found His disciples sleeping He said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not stay alert [in prayer] for one hour?
38 Be alert and pray, so that you do not give in to temptation. The spirit of a person is truly willing [i.e., to do a certain thing], but his physical nature is [often] too weak [to carry it out]."
40 Then He came back again and found His disciples still asleep, because they had not been able to keep their eyes open at all.
41 And He came back a third time and said to them, "Go ahead and sleep now and get your rest. That is enough; the time has come. See, the Son of man is about to be turned over into the hands of sinners.
42 Get up, let us be going. Look, the one who will turn me over [i.e., to the Jewish leaders] is nearby."
43 And immediately, as Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve apostles came with a crowd who were carrying swords and clubs. [They had come] from the leading priests, the experts in the law of Moses and the [Jewish] elders.
44 Now the one who turned Him over to the Jewish leaders [i.e., Judas] had given them a signal, saying, "Whoever I give a kiss [of greeting] to, he is the one; arrest him and lead him away under guard."
45 And when Judas came, immediately he went to Jesus and said, "Rabbi," and then kissed Him [enthusiastically].
47 But a certain disciple that was standing nearby [i.e., Peter. See John 18:10] drew his sword and struck the head priest's servant [i.e., Malchus. See John 18:10], shearing off his ear.
48 Then Jesus said to them, "Have you come out to arrest me with swords and clubs like you would a thief?
49 I was with you every day, teaching in the Temple, and you did not [come to] take me. But this has happened so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled."
51 And a certain young man [Note: Some think this is a reference to Mark himself], who had a linen outer garment thrown over his scantily clad body, was following Jesus until they [i.e., the soldiers and officers] took hold of him. [Note: The wording here does not indicate total nakedness, but rather the wearing of underclothing only]
53 Then they led Jesus away to the head priest, and all the leading priests, [Jewish] elders and experts in the law of Moses came together with Him.
54 But Peter had followed Him from a distance, right into the courtyard of the head priest. He was sitting there with the [Jewish] officers, warming himself by the light of the fire.
55 Now the leading priests and the entire Council [called the "Sanhedrin"] were looking for [false] witnesses to testify against Jesus in order to put Him to death, but did not find any.
58 "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this Temple, which was constructed by hand, and in three days I will build another one, not made by hand.'"
60 The head priest stood up in front of them and asked Jesus, "Do you not have anything to answer? What about this charge being made against you by these people?"
61 But Jesus kept quiet and did not give them any answer. Again the head priest asked Him, "Are you the Christ [i.e., God's specially chosen one]?"
62 And Jesus answered, "Yes, I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right side of Power [i.e., God, Himself], and coming on the clouds of the sky."
63 And the head priest tore at his clothing [i.e., as an expression of frustration] and said, "What additional need do we have for witnesses?
64 You [yourselves] have heard him speaking against God. What do you people think [i.e., about such statements]?" And they all condemned Him as deserving the death penalty.
65 And some of them began to spit on Him, then to cover His face [with a blindfold] and hit Him [with their fists], saying, "Prophesy [i.e., tell who hit you]." And the officers in charge of Him also struck Him with their hands.
66 Now when Peter was in the courtyard downstairs [i.e., from where the Sanhedrin was having its meeting. See verse 55], one of the head priest's servant girls came in,
67 and seeing Peter warming himself by the fire, she looked at him and said, "You were with Jesus from Nazareth, too."
68 But he denied it, saying, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." Then he went out onto the porch and the rooster crowed.
69 When the servant girl saw him [there], she again began saying to those nearby, "This man is one of them [i.e., a disciple of Jesus]."
70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while those standing nearby said to Peter again, "We know for sure that you are one of them because you are from Galilee." [Note: Peter's accent gave him away. See Matt. 26:73].
71 Then Peter began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know this man you are talking about."