Study Guide

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 26

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Chapter 26

The Last Supper and the Great Betrayal

  • It's two days before Passover, and Jesus announces that he will be handed over and crucified.
  • And he means soon.
  • At the same time, the chief priests and elders are conspiring about how they will arrest Jesus.
  • They know they can't do it in the light of day because people will riot. So they plan to arrest him at night instead.
  • While visiting Simon the leper, an unnamed woman anoints Jesus with perfumes and oils. The disciples aren't happy about it. After all, the oil could have been sold for money to help the poor.
  • Not this time. Jesus says, "you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial" (26:11). So there.
  • Meanwhile, the chief priests find their inside man in Judas, and he is paid 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus.
  • Cheap date.
  • Jesus and his disciples gather to celebrate Passover, and he drops the bomb that someone at the table is going to betray him.
  • Of course, everyone starts denying it and asking everyone else what's going on—even Judas.
  • Eventually they start eating. Jesus gives bread and wine to his disciples saying it's his body and blood. (Not sure how appetizing that sounded at the time.)
  • After dinner, they all head up the Mount of Olives. Jesus quotes scripture and says that Peter will deny him three times before the cock crows. Peter's like, "yeah right, that'll never happen".
  • They go to the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him to pray. But it's late and they're tired, so the three disciples decide to take a little nap. Jesus comes back and can't believe they're sleeping.
  • And as if doing it once weren't bad enough, they do the same thing two more times (some people never learn).
  • Finally Judas comes and kisses Jesus. And you know what that means. It's is the signal to the chief priests and elders—time to arrest Jesus.
  • Out of protection, one of the disciples draws a sword and cuts the ear of a servant. Jesus tells him to the put the sword away because "all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (26:52).
  • Jesus is taken to be seen before Caiaphas, the high priest. Like a good little stalker, Peter follows at a distance.
  • The chief priests try to find people to testify against Jesus, but they can't round anyone up.
  • But then two people come forward saying that Jesus claimed he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in the three days. 
  • Yeah, that's good enough testimony.
  • When asked (under oath) if he is the Son of God, Jesus replies that they have said so. Then, for good measure, he quotes scripture.
  • The high priests accuse him of blasphemy and they begin to strike and taunt him
  • Meanwhile, in the courtyard: Peter gets recognized as being friends with Jesus. He denies it not once, not twice, but three times. And what do you know—right after that third denial, the cock crows. 
  • Guess who just remembered Jesus's prediction? Peter.

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