The Plot to Kill Jesus
1When Jesus had finished this [a]discourse, He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that the Passover is coming in two days, and the Son of Man is to be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the courtyard of the [elegant home of the Jewish] high priest, whose name was [b]Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill Him. 5 But they said, “It must not be during the festival (Passover), otherwise there might be a riot among the people.”
The Anointing in Bethany
6 Now when Jesus was [back] in Bethany, at the home of [c]Simon the leper, 7 a [d]woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very expensive [e]perfume and she poured it on Jesus’ head as He reclined at the table. 8 But when the [f]disciples saw it they were indignant and angry, saying, “Why all this waste [of money]? 9 For this perfume might have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware [of the malice] of this [remark], said to them, “Why are you bothering the woman? She has done a good thing to Me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you will not always have Me. 12 When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, wherever this gospel [of salvation] is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her [for her act of love and devotion].”
14 Then one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” And they weighed out [g]thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment Judas began looking for an opportune time to betray Jesus.
17 Now on the first day of [h]Unleavened Bread (Passover Week) the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to [i]a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time [to suffer and atone for sin] is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’” 19 [Accordingly] the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
The Last Passover
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 And as they were eating, He said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you that one of you will betray Me.” 22 Being deeply grieved and extremely distressed, each one of them began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 Jesus answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the bowl with Me [as a [j]pretense of friendship] will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man is to go [to the cross], just as it is written [in Scripture] of Him; but woe (judgment is coming) to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” 25 And Judas, the betrayer, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “[k]You have said it yourself.”
The Lord’s Supper Instituted
26 Now as they were eating Jesus took bread, and after [l]blessing it, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and [m]given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the [new and better] covenant, which [ratifies the agreement and] is being poured out for many [as a [n]substitutionary atonement] for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
30 After singing a [o]hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night [disillusioned about Me, confused, and some even ashamed of Me], for it is written [in the Scriptures], ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised [to life], I will go ahead of you [leading the way] to Galilee.” 33 Peter replied to Him, “Though they all fall away because of You [and doubt and disown You], I will never fall away!” 34 Jesus said to him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this night, before a rooster crows, you will [completely] deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing.
The Garden of Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called [p]Gethsemane (olive-press), and He told His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee [James and John], He began to be grieved and greatly distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and stay awake and keep watch with Me.”
39 And after going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible [that is, consistent with Your will], let this cup [q]pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not stay awake and keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep actively watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the [r]body is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words once more. 45 Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Listen, [s]the hour [of My sacrifice] is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners [whose way and nature is to oppose God]. 46 Get up, let us go. Look, My betrayer is near!”
Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest
47 As Jesus was still speaking, Judas [Iscariot], one of the twelve [disciples], came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, [who came as representatives] from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” 49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Greetings (rejoice), Rabbi!” And he [t]kissed Him [in a deliberate act of betrayal]. 50 Jesus said to Judas, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then they came and seized Jesus and arrested Him.
51 And [u]one of those who were with Jesus reached out and drew his sword, and struck [Malchus] the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place; for all those who habitually draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will immediately provide Me with more than twelve [v]legions of angels? 54 How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?”
55 At that moment Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Day after day I used to sit in the porches and courts of the temple teaching, and you did not arrest Me. 56 But all this has taken place so that the Scriptures of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.
Jesus before Caiaphas
57 Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to [w]Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) had gathered [[x]illegally] together. 58 But Peter followed Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the [elegant home of the Jewish] high priest, and went inside, and sat with the [y]guards to see the outcome.
59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) tried to get false witnesses to testify against Jesus, so that they might [have a reason to] put Him to death. 60 They found none, even though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward, 61 and testified, “This man said, ‘[z]I am able to [aa]tear down the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” 62 The high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Have You no answer to give? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I call on You to swear a binding oath by the living God, that you tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have [in fact] said it; but more than that I tell you [regardless of what you do with Me now], in the future you will see [Me revealed as] the Son of Man seated at the [ab]right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his [ac]robes [in mock horror] and exclaimed, “He has blasphemed [by making Himself God’s equal]! What further need have we of witnesses or evidence? See, you have now heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” They answered, “[ad]He deserves to be put to death.”
67 Then they spat in His face and struck Him with their fists; and some slapped Him, 68 saying, “[ae]Prophesy to us, You Christ (Messiah, Anointed); who was it that struck You?”
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came up to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” 71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them too; for even your [Galilean] accent gives you away.” 74 Then he began to curse [that is, to invoke God’s judgment on himself] and swear [an oath], “I do not know the man!” And at that moment a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the [prophetic] words of Jesus, when He had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly [in repentance].
- Matthew 26:1 I.e. a formal, extended teaching about important matters.
- Matthew 26:3 Caiaphas served as high priest a.d. 18 to 36. His father-in-law, Annas, served as high priest a.d. 6-15. Annas was removed from the position by Rome, but continued to be extremely influential and was regarded by the Jews as de facto high priest even though others (his sons and son-in-law) officially held the office. In about 1990, in an ancient burial cave outside Jerusalem, Israeli archeologists found twelve limestone ossuaries (bone boxes). One of them was uniquely elaborate and decorated with a rare and intricate pattern of rosettes. According to its inscription, this ossuary contained the bones of Caiaphas.
- Matthew 26:6 Most likely a man previously healed by Jesus. Otherwise he would not be able to have a home among others in the city.
- Matthew 26:7 John the Apostle identifies this woman as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus (Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). Jesus was anointed in a similar way by an unnamed woman when He was in Galilee dining at the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-40).
- Matthew 26:7 This was a thick, scented oil (nard) obtained from the root of a flowering plant grown in the Himalayas of Tibet.
- Matthew 26:8 Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, spoke first denouncing this act of devotion (John 12:4, 5).
- Matthew 26:15 Probably about a month’s wages for a laborer.
- Matthew 26:17 This remembrance lasted eight days. The Passover lambs were selected on the tenth of Nisan (March/April) and sacrificed on the fourteenth of Nisan (the first day of the feast). The Passover meal was eaten that same night (15 Nisan). This was immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread (15-21 Nisan). The terms “Passover” and “The Feast of Unleavened Bread” were used interchangeably.
- Matthew 26:18 Tradition identifies this man as Mark’s father.
- Matthew 26:23 In the ancient culture sharing a meal in this way was a confirmation of friendship and goodwill.
- Matthew 26:25 “You” is emphatic in the Greek text.
- Matthew 26:26 The customary blessing spoken over the bread in the Passover meal was, “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
- Matthew 26:27 Giving thanks consisted of two benedictions, one over the wine (“Blessed are You, Lord our God, who has created the fruit of the vine!”) and one for the return of the Feast Day with all it implied, as well as being allowed once more to witness it.
- Matthew 26:28 By laying his hands on the head of the sacrifice the one offering the sacrifice identified himself with it and through its death it became an atonement or covering for his sin. Because the unblemished sacrifice “covered” his sin, it placed the one offering the sacrifice in a right relationship with God, just as later under the new covenant the perfection and sacrifice of Christ would cover (atone for) the imperfection and sin of those who identified with Him and accepted Him as Savior.
- Matthew 26:30 The Hallel psalms (113-118) were sung at Passover.
- Matthew 26:36 This beautiful garden filled with now ancient olive trees still exists.
- Matthew 26:39 Jesus’ request was heard (Heb 5:7), and it is unlikely that He asked to avoid the cross. The object of His request cannot be known with certainty, but some think that He was asking for resurrection following His death. In that case, the “cup” would represent His body’s remaining in the grave, which would be contrary to the plan of salvation and prophecy regarding His resurrection (Ps 16:10; cf Acts 2:24-27). Others think that the request related to the time of separation from the Father, which He would have to endure in death (see 27:46). However, the sense of Heb 5:7 could be that the Father listened to Him intently and comforted Him, while not sparing His Son the suffering which He had destined for Him.
- Matthew 26:41 Lit flesh.
- Matthew 26:45 The time had come for Jesus’ atoning sacrificial death which would provide the way of salvation for believers.
- Matthew 26:49 A kiss on either the hand or cheek was usually an act of homage and a common gesture of greeting and reverence given to a rabbi by his disciples, but done here to identify Jesus.
- Matthew 26:51 John identified this “one” as Peter.
- Matthew 26:53 A legion equaled 6,000 troops.
- Matthew 26:57 See note 26:3.
- Matthew 26:57 It was unlawful for a criminal court proceeding to be held at night. Further, although the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) was granted substantial power to act by the Roman government, the Sanhedrin could not impose the death penalty on a criminal. Court cases requesting a death penalty to be imposed by the Roman government were to be held publicly in the temple. The officials of the Sanhedrin waited until morning to announce their verdict, perhaps in a token attempt to legalize their unlawful gathering.
- Matthew 26:58 Or servants.
- Matthew 26:61 This was a distortion of Jesus’ comment (John 2:19-21).
- Matthew 26:61 This would amount to a capital offense.
- Matthew 26:64 The place of preeminence and authority.
- Matthew 26:65 Or outer garments. This was a response required by Jewish law for judges who had heard blasphemy. However, OT law forbade the high priest to tear his clothing (Lev 10:6; 21:10).
- Matthew 26:66 A statement expressing complete rejection of and contempt for the Messiah.
- Matthew 26:68 Jesus was blindfolded according to Mark 14:65.