The wind was picking up now, blowing clouds across the moon, shrouding the garden in darkness.

“Stay up with me?”  Jesus asked his friends.  They said yes and waited under the olive trees, but they were tired and soon feel asleep.

Jesus walked ahead alone, into the dark.  He needed to talk to his heavenly Father.

He knew it was time for him to die.  They had planned it long ago, he and his Father.  Jesus was going to take the punishment for all the wrong things anybody had ever done, or ever would do.

“Papa! Father!” Jesus cried.   And he fell to the ground.  “Is there any other way to get your children back?  To heal their hears?  To get rid of the poison?”

But Jesus knew—there was no other way.  All the poison of sin was going to have to go into his own heart.

God was going to pour into Jesus’ heart all the sadness and brokenness in people’s hearts.  He was going to pour into Jesus’ body all the sickness in people’s bodies.  God was going to have to blame his son for everything that had gone wrong.  It would crush Jesus.

Violent sobs shook Jesus’ whole body.  Then Jesus was quiet.  Like a lamb.  “I trust you, Papa,” he said.  “Whatever you say, I will do.”

Suddenly, through the trees, a glitter of starlight flashed off steel.  Into the quiet garden came whispers, muffled voices, clanking metal—and the sound of boots marching.

Jesus stood up.

He woke his friends.  “Now is the time,” he said gently.  “Everything that was written about me—what God has been telling his people all through the long years—it’s all coming true.”

And into the night, with burning torches and lanterns, with swords and clubs and armor, they came—an army of soldiers.  Judas led them straight to Jesus so they could arrest him.

Jesus was waiting for them.

–from the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to The Last Supper in John 13–17. Although this is the same event as we focused on last week, this week we are emphasizing Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Our story starts when Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, had approached the religious leaders. (Matt. 26:14-16) For 30 pieces of silver, Judas agreed to betray Jesus. Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, David prophesied the Messiah would be betrayed by a close friend—one who broke bread with Him. (Ps. 41:9) Jesus knew Judas Iscariot’s true motivations from the moment Jesus called him to be a disciple. (John 6:70-71; 13:18-19; 17:12.) Jesus’ death and resurrection was God’s plan from the very beginning. (Acts 2:23)

During the Passover meal on the night He was betrayed, Jesus did something very unusual. Knowing that His death was near, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet—even the feet of Judas. (See John 13:2-11.) Jesus set forth an example of love and humility for His disciples to mirror in their own actions towards each other. (John 13:14-16)

After Judas left to betray Jesus, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him” (John 13:31). He told His disciples He would prepare a place for them (John 14:1-4), promised that the Holy Spirit would come to them (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-14), warned them about the trials they would face as His followers (John 16:1-4,33), and encouraged them through prayer (John 17:9-19). Jesus also prayed for all who would believe the gospel from their testimony. (John 17:20-26) Then Jesus led them to the garden where He was betrayed and arrested.

In the Old Testament, God made a covenant—or promise—with His people. He gave them commandments to follow so they could live in right relationship with Him. God’s people broke the covenant. They didn’t obey God, and they didn’t love Him. Jesus made a new covenant by dying on the cross. He brought forgiveness and made the way for people to know and love God again.

When believers participate in the Lord’s Supper, they remember the last night of Jesus’ life, when He prepared to take God’s wrath upon His sinless shoulders. Believers also proclaim His death and resurrection until He returns for His church, like He promised. (John 17:24; 1 Cor. 11:26)

Begin your time with prayer. Review John 13–17. Using a pitcher of water, a bucket, and a towel, wash your family members’ feet. Remind kids that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet at the last supper. There were no paved roads in Jerusalem, and everyone walked everywhere they went. Feet were probably stinky! Normally, the least powerful person in a household would wash feet, but in this story, Jesus, who has the power of God, humbly washed His disciples’ feet.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week, we talked about preparing for Passover and read from Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; and Luke 22:7-23. As the Passover celebration drew near, Jerusalem hummed with excitement. Everyone wondered if Jesus—teacher, miracle-worker, and prophet—would come for Passover. (John 11:56-57) The Passover meal was a permanent statute God intended for every Israelite family to observe each year. (See Ex. 12:1-28; Lev. 23:5-8.) But it was no secret the religious leaders were determined to kill Jesus. Jesus had warned His disciples what would happen this Passover. (Mark 10:33-34; Luke 18:31)

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, Jesus sent Peter and John to sacrifice the Passover lamb. He told them to look for a man carrying a water jug. The man with a water jug would lead them to a large upstairs room. Carrying the water from the well was a woman’s work in Jesus’ day. But Jesus already knew that Judas had agreed with the religious leaders to betray Him for money (Matt. 26:14-16), so He privately made the arrangements for Passover. Jesus wanted to share the Passover with His disciples before He suffered and died. (Luke 22:14-15)

Peter and John took the unblemished lamb to be sacrificed at the temple as required by the law of Moses, then brought the portion that was to be eaten to the upper room. They prepared the traditional Passover of roasted lamb, bitter herbs dipped in salt water, unleavened bread, and wine. Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples, “This is My body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). Then He passed the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). Jesus told His disciples to eat in remembrance of Him.

What was Jesus saying? What the sacrifice of the Passover lamb could not do—take away sins once and for all—the perfect Lamb of God was going to do. Jesus, the perfectly sinless Son of God, was going to take the punishment for sin upon Himself on the cross. (See Heb. 10:1-10.) Emphasize to kids that as Jesus’ disciples prepared for Passover, Jesus prepared to die. In His death on the cross, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to take the punishment for sin. Jesus protects from God’s wrath those who trust in Him.

Prepare a meal together. Guide each family member to take a part in choosing the menu, preparing the food, and setting the table. Over dinner, discuss the preparations that were made for the meal. Remind your family that Jesus gave instructions about preparing the Passover meal.  Read Matthew 26:17-30. Before, God’s people had eaten the meal as a reminder of God’s deliverance of His people out of Egypt (Exodus 12:43-49), but now the meal would be a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Talk about ways that your family can remember each day what Jesus has done.

Dear Parents,

This week’s Bible story comes from Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4, and it focuses on the widow’s gift. While Jesus was in Jerusalem in the days leading up to the Passover, He often taught in the temple complex. The scribes and Pharisees questioned Jesus in hopes of tricking Him into saying something that would provoke the Romans against Him (Luke 20:20) or would make Him seem like a blasphemer. But all their questions simply proved that Jesus, the Son of God, had a wisdom and authority that could only come from God. (Matthew 22:46; Mark 12:34)

After warning the people against the scribes, Jesus sat down where He could watch people give their offerings. The treasury of the temple was located in the women’s court. Thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles were set up to receive donations, purification offerings, and the half-shekel tax. Jesus watched as the wealthy put large sums of money in the offering boxes. Then a poor widow put in two small copper coins.

Jesus summoned His disciples and remarked, “I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury” (Mark 12:43). Undoubtedly the disciples were astonished. The widow had given the smallest amount of currency in Jesus’ time. Hadn’t Jesus noticed all the others giving more?

The widow was desperately poor. Jesus mentioned that she had given everything she had to live on. The woman, who should have been a recipient of charity, instead gave to God, trusting Him to take care of her needs. The wealthy people, however, had given out of their surplus. They gave a lot of money, but it did not really “cost” them much.

Jesus gave up everything He had in heaven to come to earth and save us from our sins. Jesus even gave up His own life, dying on the cross in our place. When Christians know and love Jesus, we can serve Him as the Lord of our lives. Out of love for Jesus, we offer everything we have. God takes care of His children and rewards those who seek Him. (Matt. 6:31-33; Mark 10:29-31; Heb. 11:6)

Ask each family member to go get the best gift she has been given recently. Guide each family member to show and tell about her gift, explaining why it is her favorite. Remind kids that everything we have is a gift from God. Read Mark 12:41-44. Discuss ways you can serve Jesus with what you have, no matter how much or little.