Matthew 26:1-75 - Outline of Matthew (Book Notes menu page)
26:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings,
he said unto his disciples,
26:2 Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover,
and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Jesus has been speaking to the disciples of future things (in ch. 24, 25).
Now, He brings them back to that present time.
For the sixth time, He foretells His death.
26:3 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,
26:4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill [him].
26:5 But they said, Not on the feast [day], lest there be an uproar among the people.
The religious leaders plot to kill Him. cp. Mark 14:1,2; Luk 22:1,2
Nearly a week has passed since Jesus entered Jerusalem in the 'Triumphal Entry' (ch. 21).
To some readers, it might seem that Jesus is about to be swept along by circumstances beyond His control. But in fact, Jesus is in total control.
  1. He predicted the events leading to His death, in detail. cp. Mat 20:17-19
  2. He set the time ('Passover', v.2), overruling the intentions of the rulers (v.5).
26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
26:7 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].
26:8 But when his disciples saw [it], they had indignation
{ie., were indignant}, saying,
To what purpose [is] this waste?
26:9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
26:10 When Jesus understood [it], he said unto them,
Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did [it] for my burial.
26:13 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.
Bethany- meaning: 'house of dates.' cf. the barren fig tree (Mat 21:17-19).
Jesus had found some fruit in this place (in contrast to Israel at large).-
  • Simon the leper- It is likely that Jesus had healed this man (perhaps in Mat 8:2-4).
    A leper, whose disease was active, would not be allowed to live within the town.
  • Mary, Martha, and Lazarus- whom He had raised. cp. Joh 11:1,2; 12:1
    The woman who anointed Jesus was this Mary. cp. v.7; Mark 14:3-9; Joh 12:1-8
to what purpose is this waste?- This complaint was voiced by the disciples as a group (v.8).
However, Judas was behind it, not due to concern for the poor, but for his own pocket (Joh 12:4-6).
she did it for my burial...- Mary alone understood the Lord's repeated predictions of His death.
She poured this ointment (ie., burial spices) upon His body before His death, as a token of her understanding, love, and sorrow. Her action was an encouragement to Him.
    If any ointment was wasted, it was that which was brought on the first day of the week, when other women came to anoint His dead body, but found that He was risen (Mark 16:1; Luk 24:1). They were too late, because they had not understood or believed His words.
    [Also see the Notes on John 12:1-8.]
Does what I do pass His scrutiny?
Is it done out of love for Christ, and to glorify Him?
Is it done according to His Word and His will, in His time, and for His purpose?
26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
26:15 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.
26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
then Judas...
  1. who said he would have sold the ointment, to benefit the poor (v.8,9; Joh 12:5),
  2. sold Jesus to His enemies for 30 pieces of silver.- v.15; cp. Mark 14:10-11; Luk 22:3-6)
26:17 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?
{cp. Ex 12:5-11,18-20; 13:6}
26:18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him,
The Master saith, My time is at hand;
{cp. Joh 12:23,24; 13:1; 17:1}
I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
26:19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them;
and they made ready the passover.
26:20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
26:21 And as they did eat, he said,
Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
26:22 And they were exceeding sorrowful,
and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
26:23 And he answered and said,
He that dippeth [his] hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
{Psa 41:9}
26:24 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.
{cp. Joh 13:21}
26:25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I?
He said unto him, Thou hast said.
The last Passover before the Cross -
The part of the evening, while Judas was present, is narrated in the passage above (v.17-25), and also in Mark 14:12-21; Luk 22:7-16,24-30; Joh 13:1-30.
The four Gospel accounts differ somewhat in detail and timing, but when placed together...
The order of events on this Passover evening appears to be:
  1. Jesus and the disciples are seated at the Passover table (v.20; Luk 22:14-16).
  2. During the meal, the disciples argue about their greatness (Luk 22:24-30).
  3. Jesus washes the disciples' feet (Joh 13:1-20).
  4. Jesus identifies Judas as the one who would betray Him (v.21-25; Joh 13:21-30).
  5. Judas departs, the others declare their loyalty. (Joh 13:30-38; cp. v.31-35)
  6. Jesus establishes the Lord's Supper (v.26-29; Luk 22:17-20)
  7. Jesus speaks to the eleven disciples in the upper room (Joh 14).
  8. Jesus speaks to the eleven disciples enroute to Gethsemane (v.30; Joh 14:31 - 16:33).
  9. Jesus prays for His own (Joh ch.17).
  10. Jesus, in Gethsemane, agonizes in prayer, and is arrested (v30,36-50).
    [The above order was adapted from ScofRB.]
one of you shall betray me.-
  • Lord {GK=kurios, lord, Lord}, is it I? (v.22)-
    'Every one of them' asked this question.
    Do I grieve, as they, recognizing that I, also, am capable of turning against Him?
  • Master {rabbi, teacher}, is it I? (v.25)- Judas addressed Jesus with a lesser title.
    Jesus had been his teacher, but Judas did not regard Him as his Lord.
Thou hast said.- ie., 'It is as you have said.'
At this point, Judas departed. cp. Joh 13:25-30
26:26 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.
26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks,
and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament,
which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
26:29 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.
The Lord's Supper (Judas having departed). cp. Mark 14:22-25; Luk 22:17-20; 1Cor 11:23-34
this is my body... this is my blood... (v.26-28) - Jesus is speaking figuratively, not literally.
He did not mean that the bread and wine would literally become His body and blood.
The physical act of eating these elements cannot impart merit to the participant.
True participation is by faith, and is a matter of spiritual identification with Christ and His sacrifice.
[See the Notes at Joh 6:63, and the Book Notes at 1Cor 11:23-32.]
my blood of the new testament {or, new covenant}...-
  1. The Old Testament Passover...
    1. first, anticipated and, then, remembered the Redemption...
      1. through the blood of the lamb. Ex 12:3-14; Lev 17:11
      2. from bondage to Egypt, and from the fear of the death angel.
      3. which led to the establishment of the Covenant of the Law (Ex 24:7,8)
        by which: men are condemned under sin, excluded from the kingdom of God,
        and demonstrated to be in need of further Redemption. Rom 3:19,20
    2. was repeated annually, in remembrance, but could not bring final redemption.
  2. The New Testamanet Passover (the Lord's Supper)...
    1. remembers (and anticipates, eg. 1Joh 3:2) the Redemption...
      1. through the blood of the Lamb. cp. Joh 1:29; Heb 9:14,15,22; 10:4-14; 1Cor 5:7
      2. from the bondage to sin and the fear of death. cp. Heb 2:14,15; Col 1:12-14
      3. which established the New Covenant
        by which: men are made righteous, granted citizenship in the Kingdom of God,
        and made beneficiaries of His fully accomplished work of Redemption.
        Jer 31:31-34; Heb 8:8-12; 10:14-18
    2. was initiated, by the Lord, as a symbolic reminder of His finished work of redemption.
      Jesus did not partake of the symbolic elements,
      because He was about to take upon Himself the realities of these things.
      The cup we drink declares the price (to Him) and the benefits (to us) of His one sacrifice for sins for ever, on our behalf (Heb 10:11,12).
      The cup He drank paid the price, of our redemption, completely. v.39,42; Psa 116:13
  3. The 'new' Passover (ie., the Marriage Supper of the Lamb) in the future Kingdom...
    1. will remember and rest in the Redemption...
      1. through the blood of the Lamb. cp. Isa 25:6-9; Rev 5:9,10
      2. by which sin and death will have been completely eradicated.
      3. by which the New Covenant will have come to complete realization.
    2. In that day, Jesus will drink of the 'fruit of the vine,' in celebration of the completion of all aspects of Redemption. cp. Luk 22:16,18; Heb 12:2; Isa 61:1-11; Rev 21:3-6; Psa 116:16-19
this is my blood... shed for many (v.28) -
At the first Passover, the way of escape from judgment was available for all, but only those who applied the blood to the doorposts benefited.
So it is with the Passover in Christ's blood.-
26:30 And when they had sung an hymn,
they went out into the mount of Olives.
26:31 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
{ie., dispersed}.
26:32 But after I am risen again,
I will go before you into Galilee.
{cp. Mat 28:6,7}
26:33 Peter answered and said unto him,
Though all [men] shall be offended because of thee, [yet] will I never be offended.
26:34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee,
That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
26:35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.
Likewise also said all the disciples.
when they had sung an hymn...-
Psalms 111 through 118 are traditionally sung during the Passover celebration.
  • Psa 111 - 115 offer praise to God: ''He has commanded His covenant forever'' (Psa 111:9),
    and point Israel to ''trust in the LORD: He is their help and their shield'' (Psa 115:9).
  • It is likely that their closing hymn was Psa 116 or Psa 118.
    Both Psalms are written in the first person.
    As they left the upper room, only Jesus comprehended the weight of the words on their lips.
    Here, the heart of the Savior was prayerfully poured out in perfect harmony with His Father.
    The sound of His voice, as He moved toward the cross, still moves the listening heart.
    [See the Book Notes studies on the Psalms of Messiah for Psalm 116 and Psalm 118.]
all ye shall be offended {GK=skandalizo, caused to stumble}.-
This word occurs three times, in v.31, 33; cp. Mat 11:6
as it is written... smite the shepherd...- cp. Zech 13:7
The word 'smite' infers a deadly blow. Again, He predicts His death and resurrection.
but after I am risen, I will go before you...- The sheep would be scattered by His death.
But He would again gather them to Himself, and lead them.
Like Peter, all of the disciples would be ashamed that they forsook Him.
His word would give them hope, when they became overwhelmed with their failure. cp. Luk 22:31,32
Peter...- was sincere in his protest (v.33). He thought Jesus could depend on him.
He would soon learn the truth that Jesus already knew about him (v.34 with v.75).
cp. Mark 14:26-31; Luk 22:31-34; Joh 13:31-38
26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane,
and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee
{ie., James and John},
and began to be sorrowful and very heavy
{ie., under great distress and anguish}.
26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death:
tarry ye here, and watch with me.
26:39 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].
26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep,
and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:
the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.
{cp. v.33,34}
26:42 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.
26:43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
26:44 And he left them, and went away again,
and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them,
Sleep on now, and take [your] rest:
Gethsemanee - meaning: ''the olive press,'' where olives were crushed to produce oil.
Jesus would be crushed so that God's Spirit might flow in the hearts of believers.
cp. Mark 14:32-42; Luk 22:39-46; Joh 18:1; cp. also Joh 12:27
Peter, James and John - were previously given a preview of His glory (Mat 17:1-8).
Now, they are asked to witness: the weight of His woe, the pain of the price He would pay.
My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death...- cp. Psa 116:3; Isa 53:3
He confided in the disciples, but they could neither comprehend nor enter into His sorrows.
O my Father... if it be possible... let this cup pass from me.- Psa 116:4
What was this cup that He so dreaded? The horror of the death He was about to die. -
  • He would be crushed under the weight of my sins. Isa 53:10-12 (where ''bruise'' is lit., ''crush'')
  • He who delighted to do God's will, would be overtaken by my sins. Psa 40:6-12
  • He who knew no sin would become sin, for me. 2Cor 5:21
  • He who had always been one with the Father, would take my cup of God's wrath. Psa 11:4-7
nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.-
  • There was but one thing more unthinkable to Him than the horrors of this cup --
    -- disobedience to the Father. cp. Joh 5:30; 6:38; 14:31; Php 2:8
  • His prayer is both a statement of submission to the Father's will (v.39),
    and also a petition for completion of the Father's will (v.42).
  • The stress upon Him was beyond His human strength to bear (v.38).
    But He, being in prayer, was strengthened for the task before Him. cp. Luk 22:43,44
    (Contrast the prayerless weakness of the disciples. v.41; Luk 22:45,46 )
O my Father... if this cup may not pass... except I drink it... thy will be done.-
cp. Psa 116:13-15; Heb 5:7-9
''And none of the ransomed ever knew
how deep were the waters crossed,
or, how dark was the night that the Lord passed through,
'er He found His sheep that was lost.'' [hymn, The Ninety and Nine ]
Sadly, those, for whom He bore this weight, slept through it.
How aware am I of His agony, for me? (v.43-45)
behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
26:46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
26:47 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.
26:48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying,
Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus,
and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
{cp. Prov 27:6}
26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?
Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
The betrayal and arrest of Jesus. cp. Mark 14:43-50; Luk 22:47-53; Joh 18:3-11
Friend, {for what purpose have you} come?-
Judas had fulfilled prophecy in betraying Him (Psa 55:12-14).
Yet, Jesus extended to him another opportunity to repent and
to change his kiss of betrayal into a kiss of worship and acceptance. cp. Psa 2:12
26:51 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.
26:52 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.
{cp. Gen 9:6; Rev 13:10}
26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father,
and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
{a Roman legion consisted of 3000 to 6000 soldiers}
26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? {eg., Isa 50:6; 53:2-11}
26:55 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.
26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.
Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
{cp. v.31}
Jesus rebuked Peter for taking matters into his own hands. cp. Joh 18:10,11; Luke 22:50,51
The King was in control. Everything was moving according to His Father's prophetic Word.
Jesus rebuked the multitudes for their inconsistency, and cowardice. cp. Luk 22:52,53
26:57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led [him] away to Caiaphas the high priest,
where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
26:58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace,
and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council,
sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
26:60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, [yet] found they none.
At the last came two false witnesses,
26:61 And said, This [fellow] said,
I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
26:62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing?
what [is it which] these witness against thee?
26:63 But Jesus held his peace.
A composite of the gospel accounts gives the following order of legal proceedings:
  1. The Jewish trial, in three stages:
    1. preliminary hearing before Annas. Joh 18:12-14,19-23
    2. informal trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, before dawn. v.57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luk 22:54,63-65; Joh 18:24
    3. formal trial before the Sanhedrin. Mat 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luk 22:66-71
  2. The Gentile trial, in three stages:
    1. prelimary questioning by Pilate. Mat 27:2,11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luk 23:1-5; Joh 18:28-38
    2. before Herod. Luk 23:6-12
    3. before Pilate. Mat 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luk 23:13-25; Joh 18:39-40
      [This order of events was adapted from NewScofRB.]
{they} sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death.-
The proceedings against Jesus were full of irregularities, according to Jewish law. Examples:
  • The judges were not impartial.
  • The trial was at night.
  • The judges sought damaging testimony.
  • The judges sought to force the defendant into self-incrimination.
  • The sentence was rendered and executed in less than 24 hours.
{they} found none (v.59,60).- ie., none that could be admitted as evidence:
They found false witnesses, but not two who agreed with each other. cp. Deu 17:6
Eventually, two agreed (v.60b,61), but they took Jesus' words out of context. cp. Joh 2:18-22
What is it which these witness against thee? (v.62)
Jesus remained silent. The proceedings were illegal. The charges were obviously false.
The appropriate answer to the high priest's question was: "Nothing."
However, when commanded to answer in the name of God, Jesus answered clearly:
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.
26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said:
{ie., It is as you have 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.
{see Dan 7:13,14}
26:65 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.
26:66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
26:67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him;
and others smote [him] with the palms of their hands,
26:68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
Hereafter, thou shalt see the Son of Man...-
  • The term 'Son of Man' does not imply a lack of deity.
    Rather, as used by the prophets, this was a title of the Messiah. Jesus was claiming to be the One identified, in Dan 7:13,14 (cp. Mark 14:61-65).
    Caiaphas clearly understood Jesus' answer, but called it blasphemy. cp. Joh 10:33
  • In November 1990, an ornately decorated burial chamber (apparently belonging to a prominent family, prior to 70 AD) was unearthed in southern Jerusalem. The chamber contained twelve ossuaries (bone boxes). Some of these had been broken and emptied. One ossuary, containing a full set of human bones, was engraved with the name 'Joseph, son of Caiaphas' (who was the Caiaphas which presided over Jesus' trial). Perhaps, his bones have been brought to light to give him a better view, as the time for the Lord's return is drawing near.
Then the high priest rent {ie. tore} his clothes...
  • By this action, the high priest was expressing extreme anger.
  • By this action, the high priest forfeited his priesthood, because the high priest was forbidden to tear his priestly robes, ever, for any reason (see Lev 10:6; 21:10).
    • This presented a problem: The day for Israel's annual Passover sacrifice was dawning, but now there was no high priest. There was no time to appoint or consecrate a replacement. How could the sacrifice proceed? (Regardless, the ritual would proceed. But, with the now disqualified Aaronic priesthood, it would not be acceptable before the Lord God of Israel.)
    • The Lord had already provided the answer: The man, rejected by men, stood before them. Jesus was the High Priest, anointed, appointed and consecrated by God as a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (see Psa 110:1-4; Hebrews ch.7). This day, He would offer Himself as the Lamb of God, the one sufficient sacrifice for sins forever (Joh 1:29; Heb 10:1-18). What He would do, He would do alone, for even His closest associates did not understand.
26:69 Now Peter sat without in the palace:
and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
26:70 But he denied before [them] all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
26:71 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.
26:72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
26:73 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
{ie., betrays} thee. {Mark 14:70}
26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, [saying], I know not the man.
And immediately the cock crew.
26:75 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.
Peter's denials - cp. Mark 14:66-72; Luk 22:55-62; Joh 18:15-18,25-27
Was Peter's failure any less severe than that of Judas?
At the heart of his failure was his deceitful, wicked heart. Jer 17:9,10
The flesh serves its self interests (eg., to save itself, cp. v.74).
It has no power to serve the Lord. cp. Rom 7:18,19
Peter's bitter weeping - was evidence of conviction and repentance of sin.
  • Conviction comes as a man sees himself in the light of God's Word.
    cp. Mark 14:72, ''when he 'thought thereon' {lit., 'had cast himself upon this' (ie., upon Jesus' words)}, he wept.''
  • Repentance comes as a man turns from confidence in himself
    to place his hope and trust in the Person who has intervened in his behalf. cp. Luk 22:31-34

Click here to continue the study in Matthew 27:1-
Return to Matthew - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.