Prologue - The Plot to Destroy Jesus

.... God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Through His ministry the eyes of the blind were opened, the ears of the deaf were unstopped, the lame would leap as a deer and the tongue of the mute would sing. For the kingdom of God was preached in the wilderness, and the gospel was proclaimed to the poor: 1 .

.... "He shall say, 'Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength’. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him."

(Isaiah 45:24)

But through religious envy, unrighteousness grew and His enemies became strong. For the priests loved the honor of men more than the honor of God, and turned away justice from their hearts. The law was hidden, and the truth failed them. Enmity was found in the house of God as their eyes fell upon Jesus as a prey. 2

..... "LORD, how they have increased who trouble Me! Many are they who rise up against Me. Many are they who say of Me, ‘There is no help for Him in God’. Selah."

(Psalm 3:1-2)

....Night after night their conspiracy grew, as His enemies increased continually. In the darkness they hid their counsel saying, "Who sees us?" and, "Who knows us?" For they spoke their deceitfulness in shadows. 3

.... "All day they twist my words; all their thoughts are against Me for evil. They gather together, they hide, they mark My steps, when they lie in wait for My life."
(Psalm 50:5-6)

. .. But their plotting must wait until after the Passover. And somehow, they must seize Him in the absence of the multitudes. 4

....In Bethany, in the house of Simon, their chance was about to come. For Jesus sat at a great feast, His disciples being with Him – including Judas Iscariot, who would betray Him. The plan had fully formed in Judas’ mind as he ate bread in the Lord’s presence. Arising from this table, he would go to Jesus’ enemies to bargain against Him for His life. 5
....Jesus knew from the beginning who did not believe, and the one who would betray Him. Alas for Judas, who even now avoided His gaze! Unspoken words lie between them. And in the quiet conflict of that moment came a woman, bearing a flask of oil to anoint Him in their midst: 6
.... "You prepare a table before Me in the presence of My enemies: You anoint My head with oil; My cup runs over."
(Psalm 23:5)
.... Immediately Judas arose and departed to the chief priests, to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. When they heard him, they were glad and promises were made. They waited for a convenient time to carry out their plan. 7
.... The week drew to an end and the sun fully set on Jesus’ final day of freedom, giving advent to the Passover feast. Jesus knew the hour had come when He should depart from this world to the Father, and for the joy set before Him He endured the pain this would mean; yet He greatly desired to share this feast with His disciples before His suffering. For having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 8
.... As they ate the last supper together, Jesus became deeply troubled in spirit, and testified that one of His disciples would betray Him: for the hour of darkness had come, and it’s power, and He would be delivered into the hands of men. "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe." 9
.... Judas suddenly realized that his plans were known. He withdrew into the night, to find Jesus’ enemies and to bring this ruin upon Him. The staff was sundered, and the covenant of old was broken; yet a new covenant would arise in its place: "For this is My blood of the new covenant," said Jesus, "which is shed for many for the remission of sins." 10
(see the Scriptural references by clicking on the associated hyperlinks)