When Jesus had finished saying these things, he said to his disciples,
"As you know, the Passover celebration begins in two days, and I, the Son of Man, will be betrayed and crucified."
At that same time the leading priests and other leaders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest,
to discuss how to capture Jesus secretly and put him to death.
"But not during the Passover," they agreed, "or there will be a riot."
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy.
During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.
References for Matthew 26:7
The disciples were indignant when they saw this. "What a waste of money," they said.
"She could have sold it for a fortune and given the money to the poor."
But Jesus replied, "Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me?
You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer.
She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial.
I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be talked about in her memory."
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests
and asked, "How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?" And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.
From that time on, Judas began looking for the right time and place to betray Jesus.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to prepare the Passover supper?"
"As you go into the city," he told them, "you will see a certain man. Tell him, 'The Teacher says, My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.'"
So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover supper there.
When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples.
While they were eating, he said, "The truth is, one of you will betray me."
Greatly distressed, one by one they began to ask him, "I'm not the one, am I, Lord?"
He replied, "One of you who is eating with me now will betray me.
References for Matthew 26:23
For I, the Son of Man, must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for my betrayer. Far better for him if he had never been born!"
Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, "Teacher, I'm not the one, am I?"And Jesus told him, "You have said it yourself."
As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God's blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take it and eat it, for this is my body."
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, "Each of you drink from it,
for this is my blood, which seals the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.
References for Matthew 26:28
Mark my words -- I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom."
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
"Tonight all of you will desert me," Jesus told them. "For the Scriptures say, 'God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
References for Matthew 26:31
But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there."
Peter declared, "Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will."
"Peter," Jesus replied, "the truth is, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
"No!" Peter insisted. "Not even if I have to die with you! I will never deny you!" And all the other disciples vowed the same.
Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, "Sit here while I go on ahead to pray."
He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress.
He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me."
He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."
Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Couldn't you stay awake and watch with me even one hour?
Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!"
Again he left them and prayed, "My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away until I drink it, your will be done."
He returned to them again and found them sleeping, for they just couldn't keep their eyes open.
So he went back to pray a third time, saying the same things again.
Then he came to the disciples and said, "Still sleeping? Still resting? Look, the time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners.
References for Matthew 26:45
Up, let's be going. See, my betrayer is here!"
And even as he said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a mob that was armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent out by the leading priests and other leaders of the people.
Judas had given them a prearranged signal: "You will know which one to arrest when I go over and give him the kiss of greeting."
So Judas came straight to Jesus. "Greetings, Teacher!" he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.
Jesus said, "My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for." Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
One of the men with Jesus pulled out a sword and slashed off an ear of the high priest's servant.
"Put away your sword," Jesus told him. "Those who use the sword will be killed by the sword.
Don't you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?
References for Matthew 26:53
But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?"
Then Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I some dangerous criminal, that you have come armed with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn't you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day.
But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures." At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and other leaders had gathered.
Meanwhile, Peter was following far behind and eventually came to the courtyard of the high priest's house. He went in, sat with the guards, and waited to see what was going to happen to Jesus.
Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death.
References for Matthew 26:59
But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, there was no testimony they could use. Finally, two men were found
who declared, "This man said, 'I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'"
Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Well, aren't you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?"
But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, "I demand in the name of the living God that you tell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God."
Jesus replied, "Yes, it is as you say. And in the future you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God's right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven."
References for Matthew 26:64
Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror, shouting, "Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy.
What is your verdict?" "Guilty!" they shouted. "He must die!"
Then they spit in Jesus' face and hit him with their fists. And some slapped him,
saying, "Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?"
Meanwhile, as Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, a servant girl came over and said to him, "You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean."
But Peter denied it in front of everyone. "I don't know what you are talking about," he said.
Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth."
Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. "I don't even know the man," he said.
A little later some other bystanders came over to him and said, "You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent."
Peter said, "I swear by God, I don't know the man." And immediately the rooster crowed.
Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." And he went away, crying bitterly.