(1) THE STORY OF JESUS
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John rearranged by Subject & in Date order
Parts 20-24 bring together all the relevant verses from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - in that order.
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THE MOVEMENTS OF JESUS AT THIS TIME Spring c AD30
Key: 1 - Approximate sequence of events, used in the list following
THE SUNDAY BEFORE EASTER
 From the area of the two villages of Bethphage and Bethany, Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1; Mk 11:1; Lk 19:29; Jn 12:12). Each night he returns to Bethany (Mt 21:17-18; Mk 11:11-12;19; Lk 21:37)
MONDAY TO THURSDAY
 Jesus concludes his confrontations with the religious establishment, often in Jerusalem and the Temple area.
The plots to arrest and have him killed progress (Part 21). He describes the end-times and his return (Part 22); is possibly anointed at this time at Bethany (Part 23); and Judas Iscariot decides to betray him (Part 24)
THURSDAY EVENING AND NIGHT
 In the "Upper Room" (Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12; Lk 22:7) Jesus holds the Last Supper (Mt 26:20; Mk 14:17; Lk 22:14) and the apostles receive the bread and wine as his body and blood (Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19)
 After the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples cross the Kidron (or Cedron) Valley just outside Jerusalem, to the western edge of the Mount of Olives (Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26; Lk 22:39; Jn 18:1). There in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prays, the disciples fall asleep (Mt 26:36; Mk 14:32; Lk 22:40)
 Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:47; Mk 14:43; Lk 22:47; Jn 18:3) and taken to the High Priest's Palace (not the Temple) for questioning (Mt 26:57; Mk 14:53; Lk 22:54; Jn 18:13). He then appears before members of the Council or Sanhedrin (Mt 26:59; Mk 14:55; Lk 22:66)
 The members of the Sanhedrin escort Jesus to the Judgement Hall or Praetorium (the Roman governor's residence, probably in the Antonia Fortress) for interrogation and sentence by Pontius Pilate (Mt 27:2,11; Mk 15:1; Lk 23:1; Jn 18:28)
 Pontius Pilate sends Jesus to Herod's Palace, the Jerusalem residence of the Jewish tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, Herod Antipas, for further questioning (Lk 23:6)
 On being taken back to Pontius Pilate (Luke 22:11) in the Antonia Fortress, Jesus is sentenced to death (Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Lk 23:24; Jn 19:16). He is also flogged and tortured
 - Jesus is taken from the Judgement Hall to Golgotha or Calvary - the Place of the Skull (Mt 27:31; Mk 15:20; Lk 23:26; Jn 19:16) where he is crucified (Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:18)
Place of the Skull - "Golgotha" in Aramaic and Hebrew. "Calvary" = Calvaria, or "skull" in Latin
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Part 20 - THE FINAL ENTRY OF JESUS INTO JERUSALEM
(Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19)
Matthew 21:1-11 - As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and the Mount of Olives (or Olivet), Jesus sent two disciples ahead telling them, "Go into the village in front of you and you will at once find there an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. Should anyone say anything to you, you are to say, 'The Lord needs them', and he will send them immediately."
All this happened to fulfil the prophet's saying - 'Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold your king is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey'.
So the disciples went off and followed Jesus' instructions. They brought the ass and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and Jesus took his seat. Then most of the crowd spread their own cloaks on the road, while others cut down branches from the trees and spread them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and the crowds who followed him all shouted, "God save the Son of David! 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' God save him from on high!"
And as he entered Jerusalem a shock ran through the whole city. "Who is this?" men cried. "This is Jesus the prophet," replied the crowd, "the man from Nazareth in Galilee!"
Mark 11:1-11 - When they were approaching Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage and Bethany on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, he sent off two of his disciples with these instructions, "Go into the village just ahead of you and as soon as you enter it you will find a tethered colt on which no one has yet ridden. Untie it, and bring it here. If anybody asks you, 'Why are you doing this?', just say, 'The Lord needs it, and will send it back immediately.'"
So they went off and found the colt tethered by a doorway outside in the open street, and they untied it. Some of the bystanders did say, "What are you doing, untying this colt?", but they made the reply Jesus told them to make, and the men raised no objection. So they brought the colt to Jesus, threw their coats on its back, and he took his seat upon it.
Many of the people spread out their coats in his path as he rode along, and others put down straw which they had cut from the fields. The whole crowd, both those who were in front and those who were behind Jesus, shouted, "God save him! - 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'
God bless the coming kingdom of our father David! God save him from on high!"
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple and looked round on all that was going on. And then, since it was already late in the day, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Luke 19:28-44 - After these words (the parable of the ten minas or pounds), Jesus walked on ahead of them on his way to Jerusalem.
Then as he was approaching Bethphage and Bethany, near the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent off two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the village just ahead of you, and there you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet ridden. Untie it and bring it here. And if anybody asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' just say, 'the Lord needs it.'"
So the messengers went off and found things just as he had told them. In fact, as they were untying the colt, the owners did say, "Why are you untying it?" and they replied, "The Lord needs it." So they brought it to Jesus and, throwing their cloaks upon it, mounted Jesus on its back. Then as he rode along, people spread out their coats on the roadway. And as he approached the city, where the road slopes down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples shouted praises to God for all the marvellous things that they had seen him do. "'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!'" they cried. "There is peace in Heaven and glory on high!"
here were some Pharisees in the crowd who said to Jesus, "Master, restrain your disciples!"
To which he replied, "I tell you that if they kept quite, the very stones in the road would burst out cheering!"
The sight of the city moves him to tears
And as he came still nearer to the city, he caught sight of it and wept over it, saying, "Ah, if you only knew, even at this eleventh hour, on what your peace depends - but you cannot see it. The time is coming when your enemies will encircle you with ramparts, surrounding you and hemming you in on every side. And they will hurl you and all your children to the ground - yes, they will not leave you one stone standing upon another - all because you did not know when God Himself was visiting you!"
John 12:12-19 - The next day (after Jesus had been anointed at Bethany in John's account), the great crowd who had come to the festival (the Passover) heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, and went to meet him with palm branches in their hands, shouting, "God save him! 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord', God bless the king of Israel!" For Jesus had found a young ass and was seated upon it, just as the scripture foretold - 'Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt'.
(The disciples did not realise the significance of what was happening at the time, but when Jesus was glorified, then they recollected that these things had been written about him and that they had carried them out for him.)
The people who had been with him, when he had summoned Lazarus from the grave and raised him from the dead, were continually talking about him. This accounts for the crowd who went out to meet him, for they had heard that he had given this sign. Seeing all this, the Pharisees remarked to one another, "You see? - There's nothing one can do! The whole world is running after him."
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Sections 1-11 of Part 21 bring together all the relevant verses from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - in that order.
The Last Week in Jerusalem - Spring c AD30
21.1 JESUS DRIVES THE BUYERS AND SELLERS FROM THE TEMPLE
(Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48)
- This is the second recorded incident of this nature. The first came in John 2:12-25 at the start of Jesus' three year ministry:
Matthew 21:12-17 - Then (after his final entry into Jerusalem) Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all the buyers and sellers there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those who sold doves, crying - "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'. But you have turned it into a 'den of thieves!'"
And there in the Temple the blind and the lame came to him and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things he had done, and that children were shouting in the Temple the words, "God save the Son of David", they were highly indignant. "Can't you hear what these children are saying?" they asked Jesus.
"Yes," he replied, "and haven't you ever read the words, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise'?"
And he turned on his heel and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Mark 11:15-19 - Then (after cursing the fig-tree on the short journey from Bethany) they came into Jerusalem and Jesus went into the Temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of the dove-sellers, and he would not allow people to carry their water-pots through the Temple. And he taught them and said, "Doesn't the scripture say, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?'. But you have turned it into a 'den of thieves!'"
The chief priests and scribes heard him say this and tried to find a way of getting rid of him. But they were in fact afraid of him, for his teaching had captured the imagination of the people. And every evening he left the city.
Luke 19:45-48 - Then (after Jesus had wept over the city of Jerusalem) he went into the Temple, and proceeded to throw out the traders there.
"It is written," he told them, "'My house is a house of prayer', but you have turned it into a 'den of thieves!'"
Jesus teaches daily in the Temple
Then day after day he was teaching inside the Temple. The chief priests, the scribes and the national leaders were all the time trying to get rid of him, but they could not find any way to do it since all the people hung upon his words.
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21.2 THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS IS QUESTIONED
(Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8)
Matthew 21:23-27 - Then when he had entered the Temple (after cursing the fig-tree) and was in the act of teaching, the chief priests and Jewish elders came up to him and said, "What authority have you for what you're doing, and who gave you that authority?"
"I am also going to ask you one question," Jesus replied to them, "and if you answer it I will tell you what authority I have for what I do. John (the Baptist)'s baptism, now, did it come from Heaven or was it purely human?"
At this they began arguing among themselves, "If we say, 'it came from Heaven', he will say to us, 'Then why didn't you believe in him?' If on the other hand we should say, 'It was purely human' - well, frankly, we are afraid of the people - for all of them consider John was a prophet."
So they answered Jesus, "We do not know."
"Then I will not tell you by what authority I do these things!" returned Jesus.
Mark 11:27-33 - So they came once more to Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the Temple (after teaching about the cursed fig-tree that had withered away), the chief priests, elders and scribes approached him, and asked, "What authority have you for what you're doing? And who gave you permission to do these things?"
"I am going to ask you a question," replied Jesus, "and if you answer me, I will tell you what authority I have for what I do. The baptism of John, now - did it come from Heaven or was it purely human? Tell me that."
At this they argued with each other, "If we say from Heaven, he will say, 'then why didn't you believe in him?' but if we say it was purely human, well ..." For they were frightened of the people, since all of them believed that John was a real prophet.
So they answered Jesus, "We do not know."
"Then I cannot tell you by what authority I do these things," returned Jesus.
Luke 20:1-8 - Then one day (after arriving in Jerusalem) as he was teaching the people in the Temple, and preaching the Gospel to them, the chief priests, the scribes and elders confronted him in a body and asked him this direct question, "Tell us by whose authority you act as you do - who gave you such authority?"
"I have a question for you, too," replied Jesus. "John's baptism, now - tell me, did it come from Heaven or was it purely human?"
At this they began arguing with each other, saying, "If we say, 'from Heaven,' he will say to us, 'Then why didn't you believe in him?' but if we say it was purely human, this mob will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet." So they replied that they did not know where it came from.
"Then," returned Jesus, "neither will I tell you by what authority I do what I am doing."
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21.3 THE PHARISEES AND HERODIANS QUESTION HIM - PAYING TAXES
(Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26)
Matthew 22:15-22 - Then (after Jesus had told the parable of the banquet for the king's son) the Pharisees went off and discussed how they could trap him in argument. Eventually they sent their disciples with some of the Herod-party to say this, "Master, we know that you are an honest man who teaches the way of God faithfully and that you don't care for human approval. Now tell us - 'is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not'?"
But Jesus knowing their evil intention said, "Why try this trick on me, you frauds? Show me the money you pay the tax with." They handed him a coin, and he said to them, "Whose face is this and whose name is in the inscription?"
"Caesar's," they said.
"Then give to Caesar," he replied, "what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God!"
This reply staggered them and they went away and let him alone.
Mark 12:13-17 - Later (after Jesus had finished the parable of the wicked tenants of the vineyard) they sent some of the Pharisees and some of the Herod-party to trap him in an argument. They came up and said to him, "Master, we know that you are an honest man and that you are not swayed by men's opinion of you. Obviously you don't care for human approval but teach the way of God with the strictest regard for truth - is it right to pay tribute to Caesar or not: are we to pay or not to pay?"
But Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, "Why try this trick on me? Bring me a coin and let me look at it."
So they brought one to him.
"Whose face is this?" asked Jesus, "and whose name is in the inscription?"
"Caesar's," they replied. And Jesus said, "Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God!" - a reply which staggered them.
Luke 20:20-26 - They (the scribes and chief priests) watched him, however, and sent some spies into the crowd, pretending that they were honest men, to fasten on something that he might say which could be used to hand him over to the authority and power of the governor.
These men asked him, "Master, we know that what you say and teach is right, and that you teach the way of God truly without fear or favour. Now, is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
But Jesus saw through their cunning and said to them, "Show me one of the coins. Whose face is this, and whose name is in the inscription?"
"Caesar's," they said.
"Then give to Caesar," he replied, "what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God."
So his reply gave them no sort of handle that they could use against him publicly. And in fact they were so taken aback by his answer that they had nothing more to say.
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21.4 THE SADDUCEES QUESTION HIM - RISING FROM DEATH
(Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40)
Matthew 22:23-33 - On the same day (the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with a question about paying taxes) some Sadducees (who deny that there is any resurrection) approached Jesus with this question: "Master, Moses said if a man should die without any children, his brother should marry his widow and raise up a family for him. Now, we have a case of seven brothers. The first one married and died, and since he had no family he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened with the second and the third, right up to the seventh. Last of all the woman herself died. Now in this 'resurrection', whose wife will she be of these seven men - for she belonged to all of them?"
"You are very wide of the mark," relied Jesus to them, "for you are ignorant of both the scriptures and the power of God. For in the resurrection there is no such thing as marrying or being given in marriage - men live like the angels in Heaven. And as for the matter of the resurrection of the dead, haven't you ever read what was once said to you by God himself, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob'?
God is not God of the dead but of living men!" When the crowds heard this they were astounded at his teaching.
Mark 12:18-27 - Then (after the Pharisees' question on taxes) some of the Sadducees (a party which maintains that there is no resurrection) approached him, and put this question to him, "Master, Moses instructed us that if a man's brother dies leaving a widow but no child, then the man should marry the woman and raise children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers, and the first one married and died without leaving issue. Then the second one married the widow and died leaving no issue behind him. The same thing happened with the third, and indeed the whole seven died without leaving any child behind them. Finally the woman died. Now in this 'resurrection', when men will rise up again, whose wife is she going to be - for she was the wife of all seven of them?"
Jesus replied, "Does not this show where you go wrong - and how you fail to understand both the scriptures and the power of God? When people rise from the dead they neither marry nor are they given in marriage; they live like the angels in Heaven. But as for this matter of the dead being raised, have you never read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him in these words, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
God is not God of the dead but of living men! That is where you make your great mistake!"
Luke 20:27-40 - Then (again after the question on taxes) up came some of the Sadducees (who deny that there is any resurrection) and they asked him, "Master, Moses told us in the scripture, 'If a man's brother should die without any children, he should marry the widow and raise up a family for his brother.' Now, there were once seven brothers. The first got married and died childless, and the second and the third married the woman, and in fact all the seven married her and died without leaving any children. Lastly, the woman herself died. Now in the 'resurrection' whose wife is she of these seven men, for she belonged to all of them?"
"People in this world," Jesus replied, "marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of reaching that world, which means rising from the dead, neither marry nor are they given in marriage. They cannot die any more but live like the angels; for being children of the resurrection, they are the sons of God. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed to be true in the story of the bush, when he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'.
For God is not God of the dead, but of the living. For all men are alive to him."
To this some of the scribe replied, "Master, that was a good answer."
And indeed nobody had the courage to ask him any more questions.
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21.5 A TEACHER OF THE LAW (OR SCRIBE) QUESTIONS HIM - THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
(Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34)
Matthew 22:34-40 - When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees (who had questioned Jesus about resurrection) they came up to him in a body, and one of them, an expert in the Law, put this test-question: "Master, what are we to consider the Law's greatest commandment?"
Jesus answered him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind'. This is the first and great commandment. And there is a second like it: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'. The whole of the Law and the Prophets depends on these two commandments."
Mark 12:28-34 - Then one of the scribes approached him. He had been listening to the discussion (between the Sadducees and Jesus about resurrection from the dead), and noticing how well Jesus had answered them, he put this question to him, "What are we to consider the greatest commandment of all?"
"The first and most important one is this," Jesus replied - 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength'. The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'. No other commandment is greater than these."
"I am well answered," replied the scribe. "You are absolutely right when you say that there is one God and no other God exists but him; and to love him with the whole of our hearts, the whole of our intelligence and the whole of our energy, and to love our neighbours as ourselves is infinitely more important than all these burnt-offerings and sacrifices."
The Jesus, noting the thoughtfulness of his reply, said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God!"
After this nobody felt like asking him any more questions.
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21.6 JESUS IN RETURN, ASKS A QUESTION - ABOUT THE EXPECTED MESSIAH
(Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44)
Matthew 22:41-46 - Then (having answered their questions) Jesus asked the assembled Pharisees this question: "What is your opinion about Christ? Whose son is he?
"The Son of David," they answered.
"How then," returned Jesus, "does David when inspired by the Spirit call him Lord? He says - 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool?' If David then calls him Lord, how can he be his son?"
Nobody was able to answer this and from that day on no one dared to ask him any further questions.
Mark 12:35-37 - Later (after the debate on the greatest commandment), while Jesus was teaching in the Temple he remarked, "How can the scribes make out the Christ is David's son, for David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said, 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool'. David is himself calling Christ 'Lord' - where do they get the idea that he is his son?"
The vast crowd heard this with great delight ....
Luke 20:41-44 - But Jesus (having answered the Sadducees' question about resurrection) went on to say, "How can they say that Christ is David's son? For David himself said in the book of psalms - 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.' David is plainly calling him 'Lord'. How then can he be his son?"
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21.7 JESUS CRITICISES THE TEACHERS OF THE LAW (OR SCRIBES) AND THE PHARISEES
(Matthew 23:1-39; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47)
Matthew 23:1-39 - Then (after his debates with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes) Jesus addressed the crowds and his disciples. "The scribes and the Pharisees speak with the authority of Moses," he told them, "so you must do what they tell you and follow their instructions. But you must not imitate their lives! For they preach but do not practise. They pile up back-breaking burdens and lay them on other men's shoulders - yet they themselves will not raise a finger to move them. Their whole lives are planned with an eye to effect. They increase the size of their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their robes; they love seats of honour at dinner parties and front places in the synagogues. They love to be greeted with respect in public places and to have men call them 'rabbi!' Don't you ever be called 'rabbi' - you have only one teacher, and all of you are brothers. And don't call any human being 'father' - for you have one Father and he is in Heaven. And you must not let people call you 'leaders' - you have only one leader, Christ! The only 'superior' among you is the one who serves the others. For every man who promotes himself will be humbled, and every man who learns to be humble will find promotion. (Here follow seven "woes":)
(1) "But alas for you, you scribes and Pharisees, play-actors that you are! You lock the door of the kingdom of Heaven in men's faces; you will not go in yourselves neither will you allow those at the door to go inside.
(2) "Alas for you, you scribes and Pharisees, play-actors! You scour sea and land to make a single convert, and then you make him twice as ripe for destruction as you are yourselves.
(3) "Alas for you, you blind leaders! You say, 'if anyone swears by the Temple it amounts to nothing, but if he swears by the gold of the Temple he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools, which is the more important, the gold or the Temple which sanctifies the gold? And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar it doesn't matter, but if he swears by the gift placed on the altar he is bound by his oath.' Have you no eyes - which is more important, the gift, or the altar which sanctifies the gift? Any man who swears by the altar is swearing by the altar and whatever is offered upon it; and anyone who swears by the Temple is swearing by the Temple and by him who dwells in it; and anyone who swears by Heaven is swearing by the throne of God and by the one who sits upon that throne.
(4) "Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you utter frauds! For you pay your tithe on mint and aniseed and cummin, and neglect the things which carry far more weight in the Law - justice, mercy and good faith. These are the things you should have observed - without neglecting the others. You call yourselves leaders, and yet you can't see an inch before your noses, for you filter out the mosquito and swallow the camel.
(5) "What miserable frauds you are, you scribes and Pharisees! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, while the inside is full of greed and self-indulgence. Can't you see, Pharisee? First wash the inside of a cup, and then you can clean the outside.
(6) "Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees! You are like white-washed tombs, which look fine on the outside but inside are full of dead men's bones and all kinds of rottenness. For you appear like good men on the outside - but inside you are a mass of pretence and wickedness.
(7) "What miserable frauds you are, you scribes and Pharisees! You build tombs for the prophets, and decorate monuments for good men of the past, and then say, 'If we had lived in the times of our ancestors we should never have joined in the killing of the prophets.' Yes, 'your ancestors' - that shows you to be sons indeed of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead then, and finish off what your ancestors tried to do! You serpents, you viper's brood, how do you think you are going to avoid being condemned to the rubbish-heap? Listen to this: I am sending you prophets and wise and learned men; and some of these you will kill and crucify, other you will flog in your synagogues and hunt from town to town. So that on your hands is all the innocent blood spilt on this earth, from the blood of Abel the good to the blood of Zachariah, Barachiah's son, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Yes, I tell you that all this will be laid at the doors of this generation.
Jesus mourns over Jerusalem, and foretells its destruction
"Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You murder the prophets and stone the messengers that are sent to you. How often have I longed to gather your children round me like a bird gathering her brood together under her wing - and you would never have it. Now all you have left is your house. I tell you that you will never see me again till the day when you cry, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
Mark 12:38-40 - .... and (at the end of his debate with the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees) Jesus continued in his teaching, "Be on your guard against these scribes who love to walk about in long robes and to be greeted respectfully in public and to have the front seats in the synagogue and the best places at dinner-parties! These are the men who grow fat on widow's property and cover up what they are doing by making lengthy prayers. They are only adding to their own punishment!"
Luke 20:45-47 - Then while everybody was listening (to the debate), Jesus remarked to his disciples, "Be on your guard against the scribes, who enjoy walking round in long robes and love having men bow to them in public, getting front seats in the synagogue, and the best places at dinner parties - while all the time they are battening on widow's property and covering it up with long prayers. These men are only heading for deeper damnation."
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21.8 JESUS COMPARES THE RICH MAN'S GIVING WITH THE WIDOW'S OFFERING!
(Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)
Mark 12:41-44 - Then (after warning the people to be on their guard against the scribes) Jesus sat down opposite the Temple almsbox and watched the people putting their money into it. A great many rich people put in large sums. Then a poor widow came up and dropped in two little coins, worth together about a halfpenny. Jesus called his disciples to his side and said to them, "Believe me, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. For they have all put in what they can easily afford, but she in her poverty who needs so much, has given away everything, her whole living!"
Luke 21:1-4 - Then (again after warning his disciples about the scribe's hypocrisy) he looked up and saw the rich people dropping their gifts into the treasury, and he noticed a poor widow drop in two coppers, and he commented, "I assure you that this poor widow put in more than all of them, for they have all put in what they can easily spare, but she in her poverty has given away her whole living."
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21.9 THE PLOT TO KILL JESUS
(Matthew 26:3-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2; John 11:45-57)
Matthew 26:3-5 - At that very time (as Jesus was describing the end-times and again predicting his death) the chief priests and elders of the people had assembled in the court of Caiaphas, the High Priest, and were discussing together how they might get hold of Jesus by some trick and kill him. But they kept saying, "It must not be during the (Passover) festival or there might be a riot."
Mark 14:1-2 - In two days' time (after Jesus had spoken of the end-times and his second coming) the festival of the Passover and of unleavened bread was due. Consequently, the chief priests and the scribes were trying to think of some trick by which they could get Jesus into their power and have him executed. "But it must not be during the festival," they said, "or there will be a riot."
Luke 22:1-2 - Now (after speaking about the end-times, teaching the people in the Temple each day, and ....) as the feast of unleavened bread, called the Passover, was approaching, fear of the people made the chief priests and scribes try desperately to find a way of getting rid of Jesus.
John 11:45-57 - In John's Gospel, the plot to kill Jesus is recorded before he makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem:
After this (raising Lazarus from the dead) many of the Jews who had accompanied Mary (the sister of Lazarus) and observed what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went off to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Consequently, the Pharisees and chief priests summoned the council and said, "What can we do? This man obviously shows many remarkable signs. If we let him go on doing this sort of thing we shall have everybody believing in him. Then we shall have the Romans coming and that will be the end of our holy place and our very existence as a nation."
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, addressed the meeting: "You plainly don't understand what is involved her. You do not realise that it would be a good thing for us if one man should die for the sake of the people - instead of the whole nation being destroyed." (He did not make this remark on his own initiative but, since he was High Priest that year, he was in fact inspired to say that Jesus was going to die for the nation's sake - and in fact not for that nation only, but to bring together into one family all the children of God scattered throughout the world.) From that day then, they planned to kill him. As a consequence Jesus made no further public appearance among the Jews but went away to the countryside on the edge of the desert, and stayed with his disciples in a town called Ephraim. The Jewish Passover was approaching and many people went up from the country to Jerusalem before the actual Passover, to go through a ceremonial cleansing. They were looking for Jesus there and kept saying to one another as they stood in the Temple, "What do you think? Surely he won't come to the festival?"
It should be understood that the chief priests and the Pharisees had issued an order that anyone who knew of Jesus' whereabouts should tell them, so that they could arrest him.
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21.10 THE PLOT TO KILL LAZARUS AS WELL
John 12:9-11 - The large crowd of Jews discovered that he (Jesus) was there (in Bethany where he was anointed with perfume) and came to the scene - not only because of Jesus but to catch sight of Lazarus, the man whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus as well, because he was the reason for many of the Jews' going away and putting their faith in Jesus.
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21.11 AS MANY JEWS REJECT JESUS, SO OTHERS REACH OUT TO HIM
John 12:20-50 - (In John's account, Jesus has just made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem ....) Among those who had come up to worship at the (Passover) festival were some Greeks. They approached Philip with the request, "Sir, we want to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew, and Andrew went with Philip and told Jesus.
Jesus told them, "The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest. The man who loves his own life will destroy it, and the man who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. If a man wants to enter my service, he must follow my way; and where I am, my servant will also be. And my Father will honour every man who enters my service.
"Now comes my hour of heart-break, and what can I say, 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very purpose that I came to this hour. 'Father, honour your own name!'"
At this there came a voice from Heaven, "I have honoured it and I will honour it again!"
When the crowd of bystanders heard this, they said it thundered, but some of them said, "An angel spoke to him."
Then Jesus said, "That voice came for your sake, not for mine. Now is the time for the judgment of this world to begin, and now will the spirit that rules this world be driven out. As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself." (He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.)
Then the crowd said, "We have heard from the Law that Christ lives for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be 'lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"
At this, Jesus said to them, "You have the light with you only a little while longer. Go on while the light is good, before the darkness come down upon you. For the man who walks in the dark has no idea where he is going. You must believe in the light while you have the light, that you may become the sons of light."
Jesus said all these things, and then went away, out of their sight. But though he had given so many signs, yet they did not believe in him, so that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled, when he said, 'Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' Thus, they could not believe, and he hardened their heart: 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and understand with their heart, lest they should turn, so that I should heal them'.
Isaiah said these things because he saw the glory of Christ, and spoke about him. Nevertheless, many even of the (Jewish religious) authorities did believe in him. But they would not admit it for fear of the Pharisees, in case they should be excommunicated. They were more concerned to have the approval of men than to have the approval of God.
But later, Jesus cried aloud, "Every man who believes in me, is believing in the one who sent me; and every man who sees me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me need remain in the dark. Yet, if anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him - for I did not come to judge the world but to save it. Every man who rejects me and will not accept my sayings has a judge - at the last day, the very words that I have spoken will be his judge. For I have not spoken on my own authority: the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and what to speak. And I know that what he commands means eternal life. All that I say I speak only in accordance with what the Father has told me."
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end of Part 21
Part 22 - JESUS DESCRIBES THE END-TIMES AND HIS RETURN
(Luke 17:20-37; Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-38)
Luke 17:20-37 - Luke's first account of the end-times and the second coming of Jesus is reported some time before the Last Week in Jerusalem:
Later (after Jesus had healed the ten lepers on his way through Samaria towards Jerusalem), he was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he gave then this reply: "The kingdom of God never comes by watching for it. Men cannot say, 'Look, here it is', or 'there it is', for the kingdom of God is inside you."
Jesus tell his disciples about the future
Then he said to the disciples, "The time will come when you will long to see again a single day of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. People will say to you, 'Look, there he is', or 'Look, here he is.' Stay where you are and don't go off looking for him! For the day of the Son of Man will be like lightning flashing from one end of the sky to the other. But before that happens, he must go through much suffering and be utterly rejected by this generation. In the time of the coming of the Son of Man, life will be as it was in the days of Noah. People ate and drank, married and were given in marriage, right up to the day when Noah entered the ark - and then came the flood and destroyed them all. It will be just the same as it was in the days of Lot. People ate and drank, bought and sold, planted and built, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. That is how it will be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. When that day comes, the man who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside it, must not come down to get them. And the man out in the fields must not turn back for anything. Remember what happened to Lot's wife. Whoever tries to preserve his life will lose it, and the man who is prepared to lose his life will preserve it. I tell you, that night there will be two men in one bed, one man will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be turning the grinding-mill together; one will be taken and the other left."
"But where, Lord?" they asked him.
"Wherever there is a dead body, there the vultures will flock," he replied.
- Now follow the three accounts of the end-times recorded during Jesus' last week in Jerusalem:
Matthew 24:1-51 - The start of Matthew's Fifth and final Discourse, "The End-times and the Second Coming" concluding at verse 26:1 with "When Jesus had finished ...":
Then (after warning the people about the scribes and Pharisees) Jesus went out of the Temple, and was walking away when his disciples came up and drew his attention to its buildings. "You see all these?" replied Jesus. "I tell you every stone will be thrown down till there is not a single one left standing upon another."
And as he was sitting on the slope of the Mount of Olives his disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when will this happen? What will be the signal for your coming and the end of this world?"
"Be careful that no one misleads you," returned Jesus, "for many men will come in my name saying 'I am christ', and they will mislead many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars - but don't be alarmed. Such things must indeed happen, but that is not the end. For one nation will rise in arms against another, and one kingdom against another, and there will be famines and earthquakes in different parts of the world. But all that is only the beginning of the birth-pangs. For then comes the time when men will hand you over to persecution, and kill you. And all nations will hate you because you bear my name. Then comes the time when many will lose their faith, and will betray and hate each other. Yes, and many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many people. Because of the spread of wickedness the love of most men will grow cold, though the man who holds out to the end will be saved. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed to men all over the world as a witness to all the nations, and the end will come.
Jesus prophesies a future of suffering
"When the time comes, then, that you see the 'abomination of desolation' prophesied by Daniel 'standing in the sacred place' - the reader should note this - then is the time for those in Judea to escape to the hills. A man on his house-top must not waste time going into his house to collect anything; a man at work in the fields must not go back home to fetch his clothes. Alas for the pregnant, alas for those with tiny babies at that time! Pray God that you may not have to make your escape in the winter or on the Sabbath day, for then there will be great misery, such as has never happened from the beginning of the world until now, and will never happen again! Yes, if those days had not been cut short no human being would survive. But for the sake of God's people those days are to be shortened.
"If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is Christ!' or 'There he is!' don't believe it. False christs and false prophets are going to appear and will produce great signs and wonders to mislead, if it were possible, even God's own people. Listen, I am warning you. So that if people say to you, 'There he is, in the desert!' you are not to go out there. If they say, 'Here he is, in this inner room!' don't believe it. For as lightning flashes across from east to west so will the Son of Man's coming be. 'Wherever there is a dead body, there the vultures will flock.'
At the end of time the Son of Man will return
"Immediately after the misery of those days 'the sun will be darkened, the moon will fail to give her light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken'.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will wring their hands as they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky in power and great splendour. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet-call and they will gather his chosen from the four winds - from one end of the heavens to the other.
"Learn what the fig-tree can teach you. As soon as its branches grow full of sap and produce leaves you know that summer is near. So when you see all these things happening you may know that he is near, at your very door! Believe me, this generation will not disappear till all this has taken place. Earth and sky will pass away, but my words will never pass away! But about that actual day and time no one knows - not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, only the Father. For just as life went on in the days of Noah so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood people were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage until the very day that Noah went into the ark, and knew nothing about the flood until it came and destroyed them all. So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two man will be in the field; one is taken and one is left behind. Two women will be grinding at the hand-mill; one is taken and one is left behind. You must be on the alert then, for you do not know when your master is coming. You can be sure of this, however, that if the householder had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been ready for him and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. That is why you must always be ready, for you do not know what time the Son of Man will arrive."
Vigilance is essential
"Who then is the faithful and sensible servant. whom his master put in charge of his household to give others their food at the proper time? Well, he is fortunate if his master finds him doing that duty on his return! Believe me, he will promote him to look after all his property. But if he should be a bad servant who says to himself, 'My master takes his time about returning', and should begin to beat his fellow-servants and eat and drink with drunkards, that servant's master will return suddenly and unexpectedly, and will punish him severely and send him off to share the penalty of the unfaithful - to his bitter sorrow and regret!
- In Matthew's Gospel' the related parables of "The Ten Bridesmaids", "The Talents of Money" and "The Sheep and the Goats" follow in chapter 25.
Mark 13:1-37 - Then as Jesus was leaving the Temple (after his debates with the Pharisees and Sadducees), one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Master, what wonderful stonework, what a size these building are!"
Jesus replied, "You see these great buildings? Not a single stone will be left standing on another; every one will be thrown down!"
Then while he was sitting on the slope of the Mount of Olives facing the Temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew said to him privately, "Tell us, when will these things happen? What sign will there be that all these things are going to be accomplished?"
So Jesus began to tell them: "Be very careful that no one deceives you. Many are going to come in my name and say, 'I am he', and will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, don't be alarmed. such things are bound to happen, but the end is not yet. Nation will take up arms against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in different places and terrible famines. But this is only the beginnings of 'the pains'. You yourselves must keep your wits about you, for men will hand you over to their councils, and will beat you in their synagogues. You will have to stand in front of rulers and kings for my sake to bear your witness to them - for before the end comes the Gospel must be proclaimed to all nations. But when they are taking you off to trial, do not worry beforehand about what you are going to say - simply say the words you are given when the time comes. For it not really you who will speak, but the Holy Spirit.
Jesus foretells utter misery
"A brother is going to betray his own brother to death, and a father his own child. Children will stand up against their parents and condemn them to death. There will come a time when the whole world will hate you because you are known as my followers. Yet the man who holds out to the end will be saved.
"But when you see 'the abomination of desolation' standing where it ought not - (let the reader take note of this) - then those who are in Judea must fly to the hills! The man on his house-top must not go down nor go into his house to fetch anything out of it, and the man in the field must not turn back to fetch his coat. Alas for the women who are pregnant at that time, and alas for those with babies at their breasts! Pray God that it may not be winter when that time comes, for there will be such utter misery in those days as had never been from the creation until now - and never will be again. Indeed, if the Lord did not shorten those days, no human beings could survive. But for the sake of the people whom he has chosen he has shortened those days.
He warns against false christs, and commands vigilance
"If anyone tells you at that time, 'Look, here is Christ', or 'Look, there he is', don't believe it! For false christs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders, to deceive, if it be possible, even the men of God's choice. You must keep your eyes open! I am giving you this warning before it happens.
"But when that misery is past, 'the light of the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give her light; stars will be falling from the sky and the powers of heaven will rock on their foundations'.
Then men shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send out his angels to summon his chosen together from every quarter, from furthest earth to highest heaven. Let the fig-tree illustrate this for you: when its branches grow tender and produce leaves, you know that summer is near, at your very doors! I tell you that this generation will not have passed until all these things have come true. Earth and sky will pass away, but what I have told you will never pass away! But no one knows the day or the hour of this happening, not even the angels in Heaven, no, not even the Son - only the Father. Keep your eyes open, keep on the alert, for you do not know when the time will be. It is as if a man who is travelling abroad had left his house and handed it over to be managed by his servants. He has given each one his work to do and has ordered the doorkeeper to be on the look-out for his return. Just so must you keep a look-out, for you do not know when the master of the house will come - it might be late evening, or midnight, or cock-crow, or early morning - otherwise he might come unexpectedly and find you sound asleep. What I am saying to you I am saying to all; keep on the alert!"
Luke 21:5-38 - Then (after the debate with the Pharisees and Sadducees ....) when some of them (the disciples) were talking about the Temple and pointing out the beauty of its lovely stonework and the various ornaments that people had given, he said, "Yes, you can gaze on all this today, but the time is coming when not a single stone will be left upon another, without being thrown down."
So they asked him, "Master, when will this happen, and what sign will there be that these things are going to take place?"
"Be careful that you are not deceived," he replied. "There will be many coming in my name, saying 'I am he' and 'The time is very near now.' Never follow men like that. And when you hear about wars and disturbances, don't be alarmed. These things must indeed happen first, but the end will not come immediately.
And prophesies world-wide suffering
Then he continued, "Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes and famines and plagues in this place or that. There will be dreadful sights, and great signs from heaven. But before all this happens, men will arrest you and persecute you, handing you over to synagogue or prison, or bringing you before kings and governors, for my name's sake. This will be your chance to witness for me. So make up your minds not to think out your defence beforehand. I will give you such eloquence and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict it. But you will be betrayed, even by parents and brothers and kinsfolk and friends. and there will be some of you who will be killed and you will be hated everywhere for my name's sake. Yet, not a hair of your head will perish. Hold on, and you will win your souls!
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armed forces, than you will know that the time of her devastation has arrived. Then is the time for those who are in Judea to fly to the hills. And those who are in the city itself must get out of it, and those who are already in the country must not try to get into the city. For these are the days of vengeance, when all that the scriptures have said will come true. Alas for those who are pregnant and those who have tiny babies in those days! For there will be bitter misery in the land and great anger against this people. They will die by the sword. They will be taken off as prisoners into all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the heathen until the heathen's day is over. There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth there will be dismay among the nations and bewilderment at the roar of the surging sea. Men's courage will fail completely as they realise what is threatening the world, for the very powers of heaven will be shaken. Then men will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and splendour! But when these things begin to happen, look up, hold your heads high, for you will soon be free."
Vigilance is essential
Then he gave them a parable.
"Look at a fig-tree, or indeed any tree, when it begins to burst its buds, and you realise without anybody telling you that summer is nearly here. So, when you see these things happening, you can be equally sure that the kingdom of God has nearly come. Believe me, this generation will not disappear until all this has taken place. Earth and heaven will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
"Be on your guard - see to it that your minds are never clouded by dissipation or drunkenness or the worries of this life, or else that day may catch you like the springing of a trap - for it will come upon every inhabitant of the whole earth.
"You must be vigilant at all times, praying that you may be strong enough to come safely through all that is going to happen, and stand in the presence of the Son of Man."
And every day he went on teaching in the Temple, and every evening he went off and spent the night on the hill which is called the Mount of Olives. And the people used to come early in the morning to listen to him in the Temple.
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Part 23 - THE ANOINTING OF JESUS AT BETHANY
(Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8)
- In this account, Mary the sister of Martha anoints Jesus. An earlier story in Luke 7:36-50 (included in the parable of "The Two Debtors") is generally considered a different incident perhaps involving Mary of Magdala, otherwise known as Mary Magdalene:
Matthew 26:6-13 - Back in Bethany (after Jesus had finished teaching about the end-times and as the chief priests and elders plot to kill him ....), while Jesus was in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster flask of most expensive perfume, and poured it on his head as he was at table. The disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, "What is the point of such wicked waste? Couldn't this perfume have been sold for a lot of money which could be given to the poor?" Jesus knew what they were saying and spoke to them, "Why must you make this woman feel uncomfortable? She has done a beautiful thing for me. You have the poor with you always, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she was preparing it for burial. I assure you that wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the whole world, this deed of hers will also be recounted, as her memorial to me."
Mark 14:3-9 - Jesus himself (again after teaching about the end-times) was now in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper. As he was sitting at table, a woman approached him with an alabaster flask of very costly spikenard perfume. She broke the neck of the flask and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. Some of those present were highly indignant and muttered, "What is the point of such wicked waste of perfume? It could have been sold for over thirty pounds (traditionally a year's wages) and the money could have been given to the poor." And there was a murmur of resentment against her. But Jesus said, "Let her alone, why must you make her feel uncomfortable? She has done a beautiful thing for me. You have the poor with you always and you can do good to them whenever you like, but you will not always have me. She has done all she could - for she has anointed my body in preparation for burial. I assure you that wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the whole world, this deed of hers will also be recounted, as her memorial to me."
John 12:1-8 - Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, the village of Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead (in John's account, the anointing takes place before Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem). They gave a supper for him there, and Martha (sister of Mary and Lazarus) waited on the party while Lazarus took his place at table with Jesus. Then Mary took a whole pound of very expensive perfume and anointed Jesus' feet and then wiped them with her hair. The entire house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (the man who was going to betray Jesus), burst out, "Why on earth wasn't this perfume sold? It's worth thirty pounds, which could have been given to the poor!"
He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was dishonest, and when he was in charge of the purse used to help himself to the contents.
But Jesus replied to this outburst, "Let her alone, let her keep this for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always - you will not always have me!"
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Part 24 - JUDAS ISCARIOT DECIDES TO BETRAY HIM
(Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
Matthew 26:14-16 - After this (the anointing of Jesus at Bethany), one of the twelve, Judas Iscariot by name, approached the chief priests. "What will you give me," he said to them, "if I hand him over to you?" They settled with him for thirty silver coins (traditionally the price of a slave), and from then on he looked for a convenient opportunity to betray Jesus.
Mark 14:10-11 - Then (after the anointing of Jesus) Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. And when they heard what he had to say, they were delighted and undertook to pay him for it. So he looked out for a convenient opportunity to betray him.
Luke 22:3-6 - Then (following Jesus' teaching about the end-times, and as the chief priests and scribes plan to get rid of him) a diabolical plan came into the mind of Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. He went and discussed with the chief priests and officers a method of getting Jesus into their hands. They were delighted and arranged to pay him for it. He agreed, and began to look for a suitable opportunity for betrayal when there was no crowd present.
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J.B.Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition, published by HarperCollins, is presented here with the kind permission of Mrs Vera Phillips and the J.B.Phillips estate