Matthew 26

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The Plot to Kill Jesus

1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,
2 1"You know that after two days 2the Passover is coming, and 3the Son of Man 4will be delivered up to be crucified."
3 5Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in 6the palace of the high priest, whose name was 7Caiaphas,
4 8and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
5 But they said, "Not during the feast, 9lest there be an uproar among the people."

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

6 10Now when Jesus was at 11Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[a]
7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.
8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste?
9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and 12given to the poor."
10 But 13Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.
11 For 14you always have the poor with you, but 15you will not always have me.
12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it 16to prepare me for burial.
13 Truly, I say to you, wherever 17this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told 18in memory of her."

Judas to Betray Jesus

14 19Then one of the twelve, whose name was 20Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15 and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?" And they 21paid him 22thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity 23to betray him.

The Passover with the Disciples

17 24Now on 25the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, 26'The Teacher says, 27My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'"
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
20 28When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.[b]
21 And as they were eating, 29he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?"
23 He answered, 30"He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me.
24 The Son of Man goes 31as it is written of him, but 32woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! 33It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, 34Rabbi?" He said to him, 35"You have said so."

Institution of the Lord's Supper

26 36Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and 37after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; 38this is my body."
27 And he took a cup, and when he 39had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you,
28 for 40this is my 41blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for 42many 43for the forgiveness of sins.
29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you 44in my Father's kingdom."

Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial

30 45And when they had sung a hymn, 46they went out to 47the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, 'I will 48strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
32 But after I am raised up, 49I will go before you to Galilee."
33 50Peter answered him, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away."
34 51Jesus said to him, "Truly, I tell you, this very night, 52before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
35 53Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!" And all the disciples said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 54Then Jesus went with them 55to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray."
37 And taking with him 56Peter and 57the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
38 Then he said to them, 58"My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and 59watch[d] with me."
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face 60and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let 61this cup pass from me; 62nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."
40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour?
41 63Watch and 64pray that you 65may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, 66your will be done."
43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for 67their eyes were heavy.
44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for 68the third time, saying the same words again.
45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Sleep and take your rest later on.[e] See, 69the hour is at hand, and 70the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand."

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 71While he was still speaking, 72Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man; seize him."
49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, "Greetings, 73Rabbi!" And he kissed him.
50 Jesus said to him, 74"Friend, 75do what you came to do."[f] Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his 76sword and struck the servant[g] of the high priest and cut off his ear.
52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For 77all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
53 78Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me 79more than twelve 80legions of angels?
54 81But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?"
55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day 82I sat in the temple 83teaching, and you did not seize me.
56 But 84all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." 85Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council

57 86Then 87those who had seized Jesus led him to 88Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered.
58 And 89Peter was following him at a distance, as far as 90the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with 91the guards to see the end.
59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council[h]92were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,
60 but they found none, 93though many false witnesses came forward. At last 94two came forward
61 and said, "This man said, 95'I am able to 96destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.'"
62 And the high priest stood up and said, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?"[i]
63 97But Jesus remained silent. 98And the high priest said to him, 99"I adjure you by 100the living God, 101tell us if you are 102the Christ, 103the Son of God."
64 Jesus said to him, 104"You have said so. But I tell you, from now on 105you will see the Son of Man 106seated at the right hand of Power and 107coming on the clouds of heaven."
65 Then the high priest 108tore his robes and said, 109"He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.
66 What is your judgment?" They answered, 110"He deserves death."
67 Then 111they spit in his face 112and 113struck him. And some slapped him,
68 saying, "Prophesy to us, you 114Christ! Who is it that struck you?"

Peter Denies Jesus

69 115Now Peter was sitting outside 116in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, "You also were with Jesus the Galilean."
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you mean."
71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, "This man was with Jesus 117of Nazareth."
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, "Certainly you too are one of them, for 118your accent betrays you."
74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, 119"Before the rooster crows, you will 120deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

Images for Matthew 26

Matthew 26 Commentary

Chapter 26

The rulers conspire against Christ. (1-5) Christ anointed at Bethany. (6-13) Judas bargains to betray Christ. (14-16) The Passover. (17-25) Christ institutes his holy supper. (26-30) He warns his disciples. (31-35) His agony in the garden. (36-46) He is betrayed. (47-56) Christ before Caiaphas. (57-68) Peter denies him. (69-75)

Verses 1-5 Our Lord had often told of his sufferings as at a distance, now he speaks of them as at hand. At the same time the Jewish council consulted how they might put him to death secretly. But it pleased God to defeat their intention. Jesus, the true paschal Lamb, was to be sacrificed for us at that very time, and his death and resurrection rendered public.

Verses 6-13 The pouring ointment upon the head of Christ was a token of the highest respect. Where there is true love in the heart to Jesus Christ, nothing will be thought too good to bestow upon him. The more Christ's servants and their services are cavilled at, the more he manifests his acceptance. This act of faith and love was so remarkable, that it would be reported, as a memorial of Mary's faith and love, to all future ages, and in all places where the gospel should be preached. This prophecy is fulfilled.

Verses 14-16 There were but twelve called apostles, and one of them was like a devil; surely we must never expect any society to be quite pure on this side heaven. The greater profession men make of religion, the greater opportunity they have of doing mischief, if their hearts be not right with God. Observe, that Christ's own disciple, who knew so well his doctrine and manner of his life, and was false to him, could not charge him with any thing criminal, though it would have served to justify his treachery. What did Judas want? Was not he welcome wherever his Master was? Did he not fare as Christ fared? It is not the lack, but the love of money, that is the root of all evil. After he had made that wicked bargain, Judas had time to repent, and to revoke it; but when lesser acts of dishonesty have hardened the conscience men do without hesitation that which is more shameful.

Verses 17-25 Observe, the place for their eating the passover was pointed out by Christ to the disciples. He knows those hidden ones who favour his cause, and will graciously visit all who are willing to receive him. The disciples did as Jesus had appointed. Those who would have Christ's presence in the gospel passover, must do what he says. It well becomes the disciples of Christ always to be jealous over themselves, especially in trying times. We know not how strongly we may be tempted, nor how far God may leave us to ourselves, therefore we have reason not to be high-minded, but to fear. Heart-searching examination and fervent prayer are especially proper before the Lord's supper, that, as Christ our Passover is now sacrificed for us, we may keep this feast, renewing our repentance, our faith in his blood, and surrendering ourselves to his service.

Verses 26-30 This ordinance of the Lord's supper is to us the passover supper, by which we commemorate a much greater deliverance than that of Israel out of Egypt. Take, eat; accept of Christ as he is offered to you; receive the atonement, approve of it, submit to his grace and his government. Meat looked upon, be the dish ever so well garnished, will not nourish; it must be fed upon: so must the doctrine of Christ. This is my body; that is, spiritually, it signifies and represents his body. We partake of the sun, not by having the sun put into our hands, but the beams of it darted down upon us; so we partake of Christ by partaking of his grace, and the blessed fruits of the breaking of his body. The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the wine. He gave thanks, to teach us to look to God in every part of the ordinance. This cup he gave to the disciples with a command, Drink ye all of it. The pardon of sin is that great blessing which is, in the Lord's supper, conferred on all true believers; it is the foundation of all other blessings. He takes leave of such communion; and assures them of a happy meeting again at last; "Until that day when I drink it new with you", may be understood of the joys and glories of the future state, which the saints shall partake with the Lord Jesus. That will be the kingdom of his Father; the wine of consolation will there be always new. While we look at the outward signs of Christ's body broken and his blood shed for the remission of our sins, let us recollect that the feast cost him as much as though he had literally given his flesh to be eaten and his blood for us to drink.

Verses 31-35 Improper self-confidence, like that of Peter, is the first step to a fall. There is a proneness in all of us to be over-confident. But those fall soonest and foulest, who are the most confident in themselves. Those are least safe, who think themselves most secure. Satan is active to lead such astray; they are most off their guard: God leaves them to themselves, to humble them.

Verses 36-46 He who made atonement for the sins of mankind, submitted himself in a garden of suffering, to the will of God, from which man had revolted in a garden of pleasure. Christ took with him into that part of the garden where he suffered his agony, only those who had witnessed his glory in his transfiguration. Those are best prepared to suffer with Christ, who have by faith beheld his glory. The words used denote the most entire dejection, amazement, anguish, and horror of mind; the state of one surrounded with sorrows, overwhelmed with miseries, and almost swallowed up with terror and dismay. He now began to be sorrowful, and never ceased to be so till he said, It is finished. He prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass from him. But he also showed his perfect readiness to bear the load of his sufferings; he was willing to submit to all for our redemption and salvation. According to this example of Christ, we must drink of the bitterest cup which God puts into our hands; though nature struggle, it must submit. It should be more our care to get troubles sanctified, and our hearts satisfied under them, than to get them taken away. It is well for us that our salvation is in the hand of One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. All are tempted, but we should be much afraid of entering into temptation. To be secured from this, we should watch and pray, and continually look unto the Lord to hold us up that we may be safe. Doubtless our Lord had a clear and full view of the sufferings he was to endure, yet he spoke with the greatest calmness till this time. Christ was a Surety, who undertook to be answerable for our sins. Accordingly he was made sin for us, and suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust; and Scripture ascribes his heaviest sufferings to the hand of God. He had full knowledge of the infinite evil of sin, and of the immense extent of that guilt for which he was to atone; with awful views of the Divine justice and holiness, and the punishment deserved by the sins of men, such as no tongue can express, or mind conceive. At the same time, Christ suffered being tempted; probably horrible thoughts were suggested by Satan that tended to gloom and every dreadful conclusion: these would be the more hard to bear from his perfect holiness. And did the load of imputed guilt so weigh down the soul of Him of whom it is said, He upholdeth all things by the word of his power? into what misery then must those sink whose sins are left upon their own heads! How will those escape who neglect so great salvation?

Verses 47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave him for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!

Verses 57-68 Jesus was hurried into Jerusalem. It looks ill, and bodes worse, when those who are willing to be Christ's disciples, are not willing to be known to be so. Here began Peter's denying him: for to follow Christ afar off, is to begin to go back from him. It is more our concern to prepare for the end, whatever it may be, than curiously to ask what the end will be. The event is God's, but the duty is ours. Now the Scriptures were fulfilled, which said, False witnesses are risen up against me. Christ was accused, that we might not be condemned; and if at any time we suffer thus, let us remember we cannot expect to fare better than our Master. When Christ was made sin for us, he was silent, and left it to his blood to speak. Hitherto Jesus had seldom professed expressly to be the Christ, the Son of God; the tenor of his doctrine spoke it, and his miracles proved it; but now he would not omit to make an open confession of it. It would have looked like declining his sufferings. He thus confessed, as an example and encouragement to his followers, to confess him before men, whatever hazard they ran. Disdain, cruel mocking, and abhorrence, are the sure portion of the disciple as they were of the Master, from such as would buffet and deride the Lord of glory. These things were exactly foretold in the fiftieth chapter of Isaiah. Let us confess Christ's name, and bear the reproach, and he will confess us before his Father's throne.

Verses 69-75 Peter's sin is truly related, for the Scriptures deal faithfully. Bad company leads to sin: those who needlessly thrust themselves into it, may expect to be tempted and insnared, as Peter. They scarcely can come out of such company without guilt or grief, or both. It is a great fault to be shy of Christ; and to dissemble our knowledge of him, when we are called to own him, is, in effect, to deny him. Peter's sin was aggravated; but he fell into the sin by surprise, not as Judas, with design. But conscience should be to us as the crowing of the cock, to put us in mind of the sins we had forgotten. Peter was thus left to fall, to abate his self-confidence, and render him more modest, humble, compassionate, and useful to others. The event has taught believers many things ever since, and if infidels, Pharisees, and hypocrites stumble at it or abuse it, it is at their peril. Little do we know how we should act in very difficult situations, if we were left to ourselves. Let him, therefore, that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall; let us all distrust our own hearts, and rely wholly on the Lord. Peter wept bitterly. Sorrow for sin must not be slight, but great and deep. Peter, who wept so bitterly for denying Christ, never denied him again, but confessed him often in the face of danger. True repentance for any sin will be shown by the contrary grace and duty; that is a sign of our sorrowing not only bitterly, but sincerely.

Cross References 120

  • 1. For ver. 2-5, see Mark 14:1, 2; Luke 22:1, 2
  • 2. See John 6:4
  • 3. ver. 24
  • 4. See Matthew 20:18, 19
  • 5. [Psalms 2:2; John 11:47; Acts 4:27]
  • 6. ver. 58, 69; Luke 11:21; John 18:15; [Revelation 11:2]
  • 7. ver. 57; Luke 3:2; John 11:49; John 18:13; Acts 4:6
  • 8. John 11:53; See Matthew 21:46
  • 9. Matthew 27:24
  • 10. For ver. 6-13, see Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8; [Luke 7:37-39]
  • 11. Matthew 21:17; John 11:18
  • 12. [John 13:29]
  • 13. Matthew 16:8
  • 14. Deuteronomy 15:11
  • 15. Matthew 9:15; See John 7:33
  • 16. John 19:40
  • 17. [Matthew 24:14]
  • 18. Acts 10:4
  • 19. For ver. 14-16, see Mark 14:10, 11; Luke 22:3-6; [John 13:2, 27, 30]
  • 20. Matthew 10:4; Matthew 27:3; Acts 1:16; [John 6:71; John 12:4]
  • 21. Zechariah 11:12; [Genesis 23:16; Jeremiah 32:9]
  • 22. Matthew 27:3, 9; Exodus 21:32
  • 23. See Matthew 20:18, 19
  • 24. For ver. 17-19, see Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13
  • 25. Exodus 12:18
  • 26. See John 11:28
  • 27. [ver. 45; John 7:6, 8, 30; John 8:20; John 13:1; John 17:1]
  • 28. For ver. 20-24, see Mark 14:17-21; [Luke 22:14, 21-23; John 13:21-26]
  • 29. [John 6:70, 71]
  • 30. [John 13:18]
  • 31. ver. 54, 56; Mark 9:12; Luke 18:31; Luke 24:25-27, 46; Acts 17:2, 3; Acts 26:22, 23; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 1:10, 11
  • 32. Matthew 18:7
  • 33. John 17:12
  • 34. ver. 49; See John 1:38
  • 35. ver. 64; See Luke 22:70
  • 36. For ver. 26-29, see Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25
  • 37. See Matthew 14:19
  • 38. 1 Corinthians 10:16; [John 6:53]
  • 39. See Matthew 15:36
  • 40. [See ver. 26 above]
  • 41. Exodus 24:8; [Zechariah 9:11; Hebrews 13:20]
  • 42. See Matthew 20:28
  • 43. Mark 1:4; [Luke 1:77]
  • 44. [Matthew 13:43]
  • 45. For ver. 30-35, see Mark 14:26-31
  • 46. Luke 22:39; John 18:1
  • 47. See Matthew 21:1
  • 48. Cited from Zechariah 13:7; [John 16:32]
  • 49. Matthew 28:7, 10, 16; Mark 16:7
  • 50. [Luke 22:31, 33]
  • 51. Luke 22:34; John 13:38
  • 52. ver. 75
  • 53. Luke 22:33; John 13:37
  • 54. For ver. 36-46, see Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46
  • 55. [See ver. 30 above]
  • 56. Matthew 17:1
  • 57. Matthew 4:21
  • 58. [Psalms 42:5, 6; John 12:27]
  • 59. See Matthew 24:42
  • 60. Hebrews 5:7
  • 61. See Matthew 20:22
  • 62. ver. 42; John 5:30; John 6:38; Philippians 2:8
  • 63. [See ver. 38 above]
  • 64. 1 Peter 4:7
  • 65. Matthew 6:13
  • 66. ver. 39; See Matthew 6:10
  • 67. Luke 9:32
  • 68. [2 Corinthians 12:8]
  • 69. John 12:23, 27; John 13:1; John 17:1; [ver. 18; Luke 22:53]
  • 70. Matthew 17:22; Matthew 20:18
  • 71. For ver. 47-56, see Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:3-11
  • 72. ver. 14; Acts 1:16
  • 73. ver. 25
  • 74. Matthew 20:13; Matthew 22:12
  • 75. [John 13:27]
  • 76. [Luke 22:38]
  • 77. Revelation 13:10; [Genesis 9:6; Ezekiel 35:6]
  • 78. [John 10:18]
  • 79. [Matthew 4:11; 2 Kings 6:17; Daniel 7:10; Luke 22:43; John 18:36]
  • 80. Luke 8:30
  • 81. See ver. 24; Matthew 1:22
  • 82. [John 8:2]; [Luke 2:46; John 18:20]
  • 83. Matthew 21:23; [Matthew 4:23]
  • 84. [See ver. 54]
  • 85. ver. 31; [Psalms 88:8, 18; John 16:32]
  • 86. Luke 22:54
  • 87. For ver. 57-68, see Mark 14:53-65; [John 18:12, 13, 19-24]
  • 88. ver. 3
  • 89. [John 18:15]
  • 90. [See ver. 57 above]
  • 91. John 7:32; John 18:3
  • 92. See Acts 6:11
  • 93. Psalms 27:12; Psalms 35:11
  • 94. Deuteronomy 19:15
  • 95. [Acts 6:14]; See John 2:19
  • 96. Matthew 27:40
  • 97. Matthew 27:12, 14; Isaiah 53:7; John 19:9
  • 98. For ver. 63-66, [Luke 22:67-71]
  • 99. [Leviticus 5:1; 1 Samuel 14:24, 26; Mark 5:7]
  • 100. See Matthew 16:16
  • 101. John 10:24
  • 102. [Matthew 22:42-45]; See Matthew 1:17
  • 103. See Matthew 14:33
  • 104. ver. 25
  • 105. See Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:30
  • 106. Psalms 110:1; Hebrews 1:3; [Mark 16:19]
  • 107. See Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:30
  • 108. Numbers 14:6; Acts 14:14
  • 109. Matthew 9:3; John 10:36
  • 110. See Leviticus 24:16
  • 111. Matthew 27:30; Isaiah 50:6; Mark 10:34
  • 112. [Luke 22:63-65; John 18:22]
  • 113. Matthew 5:39; Acts 23:2
  • 114. ver. 63
  • 115. For ver. 69-75, see Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:55-62; John 18:16-18, 25-27
  • 116. ver. 3
  • 117. Matthew 2:23
  • 118. [Judges 12:6]
  • 119. ver. 34
  • 120. [Acts 3:13, 14]

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13
  • [b]. Some manuscripts add disciples
  • [c]. Some manuscripts insert new
  • [d]. Or keep awake; also verses 40, 41
  • [e]. Or Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
  • [f]. Or Friend, why are you here?
  • [g]. Greek bondservant
  • [h]. Greek Sanhedrin
  • [i]. Or Have you no answer to what these men testify against you?

Matthew 26 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.