Matthew 26

Having finished His work as a Prophet, Christ entered upon His work as Priest to make the great sacrifice for the remission of sin. Although wicked hearts laid the plot and put it into execution, they were but fulfilling the Scriptures and unknowingly carrying out the program for which Christ came into the world. The spotless Passover Lamb who ALONE must settle the sin question was prepared for the slaughter, not as a martyr, but as a ransom for all.

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.

34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

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 further, 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.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

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.

51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.

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?

69 ¶ Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

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.

Matthew 26:1-13 – Love’s Fragrant Ministry

   How great the contrast between the plotting in the court of Caiaphas and the love-ministry of Bethany! Yet even there, a strain of needless sorrow was added to the cup of our Lord. While His foes were plotting His destruction, it became necessary for Him to speak on behalf of the devoted woman who was suffering criticism for His Name. It is probable that, of all people then living, Mary was the only one who had really entered into the meaning of the Lord’s words and had realized the scenes of suffering that lay before Him. Through the succeeding hours the aroma of that ointment, lingering still on His person, must have sweetly reminded Jesus how dearly He was loved.
   Mary is not named in this Gospel, perhaps because it was written during her lifetime and such a reference might have exposed her to suffering. But in the fourth Gospel she is named, because by that time the whole family had gone into the presence of Him whom they so devotedly loved. Do not be deterred by utilitarian calculations from the spontaneous expression of love to Jesus. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 26:14-25 – ​A False Friend Exposed

   While Mary sacrificed a large sum of money to show her love to Jesus, Judas sold Him for the hire of a slave. See Zechariah 11:12.
   The Lord had a great desire to eat this last meal with His own; and it was a proof of His loving anticipation of the strain to which they were to be exposed in soul and body, that He had made arrangements for it with some secret disciple. How glad this loving soul must have been to make the loan of that guest chamber!—but have you placed your heart at His disposal? See I Corinthians 5:7.
   It was a time of testing as well as of fellowship. None of us should sit at the table of the Lord without careful self-examination and confession. We all need to say, Lord, is it I? and to ask that we may be clad in the white robes through His precious blood. Remember, also, that they who in all humility and self-distrust fear lest they should commit the deed of treachery, are always the ones to whom it will be impossible. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 26:26-35 – ​A Self-confident Disciple Warned

   The Passover looked back to the dread hour of the Exodus; the Supper links Calvary with the Second Advent. In partaking of it we should not confine ourselves to either retrospect or anticipation, but should endeavor to feed our souls with the very spirit and heart of our dear Lord, so as to absorb His divine strength, sweetness and love. We need to feed on His flesh and drink of His blood after a mystical fashion, so that He may become the Life of our life. The word new is not the same as in Matthew 9:17, but contrasts, with the present order of things, something entirely different. The former things will have passed away—such was our Lord’s anticipation!
   The new covenant is further explained in Hebrews 8. It is good to recite its provisions when we sit at the Table. It is as though God and the believer drink of the cup in pledge of that blessed understanding between them. See how our Shepherd eagerly warns one of the sheep that was dear to Him and for which He had pleaded often, Luke 22:31. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 26:28—My blood of the new testament.

   The first covenant was not ratified without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses, he took the blood of the calves and goats, sprinkled the people, and said, This is the blood of the covenant (Hebrew 9:19-20). So the second covenant must be refilled by blood; not by that of calves and goats, but by the precious blood of Jesus Himself. He who made the covenant sealed it with his blood, that we might have strong assurance.
   But Christ has put the cup which holds the emblem of his blood into our hands, and bids us drink it. What, then, do we mean when at the Supper we lift that sacred cup to our lips? Are we not saying by that significant act, Remember thy covenant! Are we not reminding Jesus that we are relying upon Him to do his part? Are we not pledging ourselves to Him as his own, bound to Him by indissoluble ties, and satisfied with his most blessed service?
   Among the most precious promises of the new covenant is that in which God promises to remember our sins no more. Here is the ground which enables God to forgive so freely. The blood has been shed for many unto the remission of sins; the claims of infinite justice have been met; the righteous demands of a broken law satisfied; the barriers have been removed that might have restrained the manifestation of Divine love, though they could not obstruct the love. And now we may sit with Christ at his table in his kingdom, not rebels, but welcome guests.
   Also among the promises of the new covenant is that in which God promises that we shall be his people, and He our God. This item also is presented by us in humble expectancy, in expectant faith, we say, Do as Thou hast said. —Our Daily Homily

Matthew 26:36-46 – ​The Hour When the Flesh Was Weak

   In human life there is a close connection between our hymns and our olive-presses. We pass from the supper to the garden, from the emblems to the reality. But not all can enter into the fellowship of our Lord’s unknown sufferings. Paul longed to do this that he might realize also the power of His resurrection, Philippians 3:10. Our Lord longs for the sympathy which will keep awake for love of Him, though it may not understand all that is in His heart!
   Notice that though the cup seemed to be mixed and presented by human hands, our Lord refused to see in it these alone, but went behind them to the permissive will of God the Father. It is this thought that extracts bitterness from the bitterest cup. In the same sentence Jesus bade the disciples sleep on and arise. It was as though He knew and felt that though the past had gone beyond recall, yet further opportunities and testings were awaiting them and Him. These they would encounter and share in company. He is always saying to us, however unworthy–Let us be going. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 26:39 – ​A man’s will should be an echo, not a voice; the echo of God, not the voice of self. (McLaren)

Matthew 26:42 – ​”Thy will be done” is the keynote to which every prayer must be tuned. (A.J. Gordon)

Matthew 26:47-56 – ​Betrayed and Forsaken

   We cannot fathom the secret thoughts of the traitor. Did he hope that his act would compel Christ to take the course of self-vindication, which His mighty acts appeared to make possible? It seems unthinkable that there was not some explanation other than mere greed! Yet, when we look into our own hearts, can we be altogether surprised? How often have we betrayed the Lord by our reticence, when we should have spoken; by the kiss of the lip, when we were selfishly exploiting our association with Him to our own advantage!
   Our Lord did not die a martyr’s death. The martyr is led to the scaffold or stake because he is overpowered by superior force. But our Lord knew that the invisible world was full of help if only He had expressed the slightest wish. Others die because they are born; He was born that He might die. “I lay down my life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17). He would not receive help from the Father, or the angels, or Peter’s sword, but poured out His soul unto death, because of a love that was stronger than death. See I Peter 2:21, etc. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 26:57-66 – ​The True Answer to False Witness

   This meeting of the Jewish leaders had been hastily summoned; but their difficulty was to substantiate a charge that would warrant the death sentence. They had to go back to the beginning of Christ’s ministry for the one charge that seemed sufficient for their purpose. But see John 2:19; Mark 14:58. In the meanwhile our Lord opened not His mouth. He left His reputation in the care of the Father, to whom He also committed His soul. It is a good example to follow. Do what is right and let God vindicate you! 
   It was only when Jesus was directly challenged as to His unique relationship to God, that He opened His lips. There is an evident reference in His words to Daniel 7:13-14. The court instantly recognized that in His reply He claimed to be equal with God. To be the Son of God was to be God. See also John 5:18. Note that word henceforth, which suggests that though it is hidden from us, the Kingdom is already set up, as was David’s even when Saul was still on the throne. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 26:67-75 – ​Ashamed of Jesus!

   What a shameful travesty of justice! When men yield themselves to violence like this, their passion condemns them as perpetrating the devil’s work. But in the whirlwind of abuse and horror, the one thing that hurt our Lord was the defection of Peter, Luke 22:61.
   It was love that led him to dare to follow to the court. John contrived to get him in, John 18:16. But he stood too near the fire amid that motley group, who were discussing their night adventure. He had been too self-confident, John 13:36; he had not watched unto prayer, Matthew 26:40. The more he cursed and swore, the more he betrayed his Galilean brogue. Ah, the agony that ensued! Did he rush off to Gethsemane, and throw himself on the bent grass, where the form of the Master had so recently lain prostrate? Did his tears mingle with the sweat of blood? But Jesus loved him still, and was preparing a propitiation that would cleanse his sin, as He had already secured that his faith should not fail, Luke 22:32. —Through the Bible Day by Day