Matthew 26 begins with Jesus telling His disciples He will be handed over to be crucified on the Passover, in two days’ time.
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The Pharisees’ Conspiracy Against Jesus
The chief priests and elders planned among themselves to have Jesus arrested and put to death while he is in Bethany. However, they decide not to seize him during the feast for fear of the repercussions of the people.
Meanwhile, Jesus and his disciples were preparing for the Passover. When they had sat at the table, a woman came to Jesus and anointed his head with expensive ointment. Indignant, the disciples protested that the ointment should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. Jesus rebukes them, saying they have him only for a short time and that her honoring of him in this way will be remembered.
After Jesus had been anointed, the disciple Judas Iscariot left and sought out the high priests. He bargained with them and asked what they would give him to betray Jesus. Both parties settled with thirty pieces of silver.
Jesus Instructs his Disciples
Jesus gives the disciples instructions for their Passover meal, telling them to approach a certain man in Jerusalem and have him prepare a room for them. His disciples do as he asked and Jesus celebrates the Passover with them. However, the twelve men became distressed and very sorrowful when Jesus confided that one of them was about to betray him. In response, each disciple asked him if he was the one who would betray him. When Judas asked in his turn, Jesus replied that it was as he said.
As they were eating, Jesus blessed and distributed the bread, telling them it was his body. Taking a cup of wine, he gave thanks to God and handed the cup around, telling them to drink it as it was his blood.
On the Mountain
After the meal, they left for the Mount of Olives. Jesus warned the disciples that they would fall away from him that evening. Peter protested, saying that he would never fall away from Jesus. Jesus responded that Peter would disown him three times before the night was over.
When they reached Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples to wait there while he prayed. Then, he took Peter and the sons of Zebedee with him a little further. He asked them to wait and watch as he prayed. After instructing the three, Jesus walked a little farther and prayed to God to spare him if He could. He returned three times to find the disciples asleep. On the third occasion, he woke them, telling them he was about to be betrayed.
As Jesus was returning from his prayers, Judas arrived with a number of armed men and kissed him, a prearranged sign. Jesus allowed himself to be seized and arrested. When one of the disciples tried to defend him with a sword, Jesus rebuked him, saying that those who use the sword shall die by it. Furthermore, he explained that he was allowing himself to be arrested so that scripture would be fulfilled. Upon hearing this, the disciples ran away.
Jesus was taken to the high priest’s palace, where the scribes and elders put him on trial. Eventually two witnesses testified that Jesus had said he would tear down the Temple and rebuild it in three days. When asked if he was the Son of God, Jesus told them they would see him seated at the right hand of God. The high priest protested that it was blasphemy and the assembled officials agreed that Jesus deserved to die.
When Jesus was taken, Peter followed at a distance, and sat in the courtyard, waiting to hear the result of the trial. A servant girl recognized him as a follower of Jesus, but Peter denied it. Another servant saw him and told the onlookers that Peter was with Jesus, but again he denied it. When another bystander accused him of being Jesus’ disciple, Peter denied it for a third time, cursing and swearing. Immediately after doing so, a rooster crowed and Peter remembered what Jesus had told him. Therefore he left the city and wept bitterly.
Matthew Chapter 26 (King James Version)
1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
63 But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.