This very night

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where would you like us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

“Go into the city,” he said, “and there you’ll see a certain man. Tell him: ‘The Teacher says: my appointed time is near. I’m going to celebrate the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had told them and made the preparations for the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus reclined at the table with the Twelve and while they were eating, he said, “I’m telling you the truth – one of you will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked him in turn, “Is it me, Lord?”

“The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go as it was written about him, but what grief will that man suffer who betrays him! It would have been much better for him if he’d never been born!”

Then Judas, the man who would betray him, said, “Is it me, Rabbi?”

“You’ve said it,” replied Jesus.

While they were eating, Jesus took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”

Then he took the cup of wine, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink this, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I’m telling you – I won’t drink this fruit of the vine again until I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you’ll all desert me, because it’s written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I’ll go ahead of you into Galilee.”

“Even if everyone else deserts you,” protested Peter, “I never will!”

“I can assure you,” said Jesus, “that this very night, before the cock crows, you’ll have denied me three times.”

“Even if I have to die with you,” said Peter, “I’ll never deny you!”

And all the other disciples said the same.

Matthew

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