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Matthew 26

The Plan to Kill Jesus
1When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2“As you know, the Passover Feast is two days away. The Son of Man is going to be handed over to his enemies, and they will nail him to a cross.”
3Then the chief priests and elders of the people met in the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest. 4They made plans to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5“But we can’t do it during the feast,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
A Woman Pours Perfume on Jesus
6While Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with a special sealed jar of very expensive perfume. She poured the perfume on his head while he was at the table.
8When the disciples saw this, they got angry. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9“This perfume could have been sold for a lot of money, and it could have been given to the poor.”
10Jesus knew they were saying this and asked them, “Why are you criticizing this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me. 11You’ll always have the poor with you. But you won’t always have me. 12She poured the perfume on my body to prepare me for my burial. 13Truly I tell you, what she has done will be told wherever this good news is preached all over the world, and she will be remembered.”
Judas Agrees to Hand Jesus Over
14Then one of the 12 disciples, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests. 15He asked, “What will you give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” They counted out 30 silver coins for him, 16and from then on, Judas watched for the right opportunity to hand Jesus over.
The Lord’s Supper
17On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to go and prepare the Passover meal for you?”
18He answered, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near. I’d like to celebrate the Passover at your house with my disciples.” ’ ” 19So the disciples did what Jesus told them to do, and they prepared the Passover meal.
20When evening came, Jesus was at the table with his 12 disciples. 21While they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you is going to hand me over to my enemies.”
22This made the disciples very sad. They began to say to him, one after the other, “You don’t mean me, do you, Lord?”
23Jesus replied, “Someone who has dipped his hand into the same bowl with me is going to hand me over. 24The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to the one who hands him over! It would have been better for him if he he’d never been born.”
25Judas, the one who was going to hand him over, said, “You don’t mean me, do you, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
26While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and handed it to his disciples. He said, “Take this and eat it. This is my body.”
27Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he handed it to them. He said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out so that the sins of many people will be forgiven. 29I tell you that I won’t drink wine with you again from now until the day when I drink it with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30Then they sang a hymn, and they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus Says That the Disciples Will Turn Away
31Jesus told them, “You’re all going to abandon me this very night. It’s written that the Lord said,
“ ‘I will strike the shepherd down,
and then the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32But after I rise from the dead, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33Peter replied, “Even if all the others abandon you, I never will.”
34“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you’ll claim three times that you don’t know me.”
35But Peter insisted, “Even if I have to die with you, I’ll never say that I don’t know you.” And all the other disciples said the same thing.
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to feel sad and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is very sad, and I feel close to death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39He went off a little distance and got down on the ground face first. He prayed, “My Father, if possible, please take this cup of suffering away from me. But let your will be done, not mine.”
40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t any of you keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41“Watch and pray so that you won’t fall into sin when you’re tempted. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
42Jesus went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it isn’t possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, then may your will be done.”
43Then he came back and found the three of them sleeping again. They couldn’t keep their eyes open, 44so he left them and went off once more. He prayed the same thing a third time.
45Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look! The time has come. The Son of Man is about to be handed over to sinners. 46Get up! Let’s go! Here comes the one who’s handing me over to them!”
Jesus Is Arrested
47While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, who was one of the 12 disciples, arrived. He had a group of men with him who were carrying swords and clubs. The chief priests and elders of the people had sent them. 48Judas had arranged to hand Jesus over by giving them a signal. “The one I kiss will be the man,” he’d told them—“arrest him!” 49Judas went right over to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” Then he kissed him.
50Jesus responded, “Do what you came to do, friend.”
Then some of the men moved forward to grab Jesus and arrest him. 51As they did, one of those who was with Jesus reached for his sword. He pulled it out and slashed at the high priest’s slave with it, cutting off his ear.
52“Put your sword back!” Jesus told him. “Everyone who relies on the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I can’t ask my Father for help? If I did, he’d send an army of more than 70,000 angels right away. 54But then how would the Scriptures come true? They say it has to happen in this way.”
55Then Jesus asked the crowd, “Why did you come here with swords and clubs to capture me, as if I’d been leading a rebellion? I was in the temple courtyard every day teaching, but you didn’t try to arrest me. 56But of all this has happened to make the words of the prophets come true.” Then all his disciples abandoned him and ran away.
Jesus Is Taken to the Sanhedrin
57Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest. The teachers of the law and the elders had already gathered in his palace. 58Peter had followed Jesus from a distance, and now he came as close as the courtyard. He went in and sat down with the guards to see what would happen.
59The chief priests and the whole council of elders, called the Sanhedrin, were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60But they couldn’t find anything to use, even though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally, two witnesses came forward and testified, 61“This man said, ‘I’m able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”
62Then the high priest stood up to question Jesus. “Aren’t you going to answer?” he asked. “What have you got to say to the charges these men are bringing against you?” 63But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “Tell us, under oath to the living God, whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you that after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One, coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65Then the high priest ripped his clothes and said, “This man has claimed to be God! Why do we need any more witnesses? You’ve heard what he said. 66What do you think?”
“He must die!” they answered.
67Then they spit in his face and hit him with their fists. Others slapped him 68and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah! Who hit you?”
Peter Says He Doesn’t Know Jesus
69Meanwhile, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. A female servant came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
70But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he insisted.
71Then he moved out to the gate that led into the courtyard. There another servant saw him and said to the people, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72Again he denied it and said, “I swear I don’t know the man!”
73After a little while, the people standing there came up to Peter and said, “You must be one of them. Your accent gives you away.”
74“I swear that I don’t know the man!” Peter said again. “May I be cursed if I’m not telling the truth!”
Just then a rooster crowed. 75Peter remembered that Jesus had said, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter went outside and wept bitterly.
Chapter 26
Those who are against Jesus want to take hold of him
1When Jesus finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2‘You know that after two days it will be the time of the Passover festival. Then those people who are against me will put me into the power of the rulers. They will fix me, the Son of Man to a cross to kill me.’ #26:2 We can read about the first Passover meal in Exodus 12.
3Then the leaders of the priests and the important Jews met together in the house of the most important priest. His name was Caiaphas. 4They wanted to kill Jesus. But they wanted to take hold of him secretly. So they tried to decide how they could do that. 5They said to each other, ‘We do not want to take hold of him during the Passover festival. If we do that, the people will be angry and they may fight against us.’
A woman pours beautiful oil on Jesus' head
6Then Jesus went to Bethany and he visited Simon at his house. At one time, Simon had had a bad illness of the skin. #26:6 We believe that Jesus had caused Simon to become well again. Now Simon could live in his home in Bethany again.
7While Jesus was eating a meal there, a woman came into the house. She brought a small stone jar with her. The jar contained expensive oil with a very nice smell. #26:7 The oil was called nard and people made it from a plant. The plant grows in the country called India. People kept the oil in a special stone jar. The woman had to break the jar to pour out the oil. She poured the oil over Jesus' head while he sat there.
8Jesus' disciples saw what the woman had done. They became angry and they said, ‘This woman should not have wasted the oil. 9She could have sold it for a lot of money. Then she could have given the money to poor people.’
10Jesus knew what his disciples were saying. So he said to them, ‘Do not cause trouble for her. She has done a good thing to me. 11You will always have poor people with you. But you will not always have me with you. 12She has poured oil over my body. So now I will be ready for people to bury me. 13I tell you this: Everywhere in the world people will speak about this good news. At the same time, they will also tell people about the good thing that this woman has done. And so people will remember her.’
Judas Iscariot promises to sell Jesus for money
14Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus' 12 apostles. He went to see the leaders of the priests 15and he asked them, ‘How much money will you give me if I help you to take hold of Jesus?’ The priests gave Judas 30 silver coins. 16Judas then waited for the right moment to help them to take hold of Jesus.
Jesus eats his last meal with his 12 disciples
17The first day of the festival when the Jews eat flat bread arrived. #26:17 Flat bread is bread that has no yeast in it. Jesus' disciples came to him and they asked him, ‘Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you to eat?’
18Jesus replied, ‘Go to a certain man in the city and say to him, “The teacher says: This is the moment that God has prepared for me. I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples in your house.” ’ 19So Jesus' disciples did what he had told them to do. They went and they prepared the Passover meal.
20When it was evening, Jesus and the 12 apostles sat down to eat the Passover meal together. 21While they were eating, Jesus said, ‘I tell you this. One of you will help the Jewish leaders to take hold of me.’
22They were very sad about what Jesus had said. Each one of them said to Jesus, ‘Lord, surely you do not mean me, do you?’
23Jesus said to them ‘The man who will give me to the rulers is eating from the same dish as I am. #26:23 There was a dish on the table with wet food in it. They all put the end of their bread into this dish and they ate the wet food with the bread. Sometimes a person ate out of the same dish as someone else. This meant that they were good friends. 24The Son of Man must die in the way that the Bible says. But it will be very bad for the man who gives me to my enemies. It would be better for that man if he had not been born.’
25Judas was the one who would give Jesus to the Jewish leaders. But he said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, surely you do not mean me, do you?’ Jesus replied to him, ‘Yes, you have said it.’
26While Jesus and his disciples were eating, he took a loaf of bread. He thanked God for it and then he broke the bread into pieces. He gave some of it to each of them. He said, ‘Take this bread and eat it. This is my body.’
27Then Jesus took a cup. He thanked God for the wine in the cup. Then he gave it to them and he said, ‘All of you should drink some of this wine. 28This is my blood that shows God's promise. When I die, my blood will pour out of my body. In that way God will forgive many people for the wrong things that they have done. That is the promise that God makes because of my death. 29I tell you this. I will not drink wine again until I drink it with you in my Father's kingdom. Then it will be new wine.’ #26:29 Most Christians still meet for special meals to remember what Jesus did for them. They obey Jesus. They eat bread and drink wine together. And they think about when Jesus died for them.
30Then Jesus and his disciples sang a song to praise God. #26:30 People sang a special song about God at the end of a Passover meal. It helped them to remember all that God had done for them. Then they went out to the hill that is called the Mount of Olives.
Jesus tells Peter what will happen
31Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Tonight, all of you will go away from me. It will happen in the way that the Bible says:
God says, “I will kill the shepherd who leads the sheep.
Then all the sheep will run away in different directions.” ’ #26:31 See Zechariah 13:7
32Jesus went on to say, ‘But after that happens, I will become alive again. Then I will go to Galilee before you meet me there.’
33Peter said to Jesus, ‘Even if everyone else runs away, I will not leave you.’
34Jesus replied to Peter, ‘I tell you this. Even tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me. This will happen before the cockerel sings early tomorrow morning.’
35But Peter said to Jesus, ‘I will die with you if I need to. But I will never say that I do not know you.’ All the other disciples said the same thing.
Jesus prays in a garden on the Mount of Olives
36Then Jesus and his disciples arrived at a large garden called Gethsemane. Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there to pray.’ 37Then Jesus took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, with him. He became very sad and upset. 38He said to them, ‘I am very sad. I feel as if I could die because I feel so sad. Wait here with me and stay awake.’
39Jesus went a short way beyond them. He went down with his face on the ground. He prayed, ‘Father, if it is possible, please save me from this time of great pain. But Father, I do not ask you to do what I want. Do what you want for me.’
40Jesus returned to the three disciples. Now they were sleeping. He said to Peter, ‘You men could not stay awake with me for even one hour! 41You must stay awake and pray. God can help you, so that you will not do something wrong. You really want to do the right thing, but your bodies are weak.’
42Jesus went away a second time and he prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible to save me from this time of great pain, then I want to obey you. Do what you want for me.’
43Then Jesus returned again to Peter, James and John. He saw that they were sleeping. They could not keep their eyes open. 44So Jesus went away from them again and he prayed a third time. He said the same words to God.
45When he returned to the disciples, he said, ‘You should not still be sleeping and resting. Look! The moment has arrived! Someone will now give me, the Son of Man, to my enemies. 46Stand up, we will go now. Look! The man who will give me to my enemies is here.’
The soldiers take hold of Jesus
47While Jesus was still speaking, Judas arrived. He was one of Jesus' 12 disciples. A crowd also came with him. They were carrying long sharp knives and heavy sticks. The leaders of the priests and the important Jews had sent these people with Judas. 48Judas was ready to help the Jewish leaders to take hold of Jesus. Before this, he had told them, ‘I will kiss one of the men. You must take hold of that man.’
49Now Judas went immediately to Jesus. He said, ‘Hello, Teacher.’ Then he kissed Jesus in a friendly way. #26:49 We think that Judas kissed Jesus on the side of his face.
50Jesus said to Judas, ‘My friend, now do what you have come here to do.’
Then the crowd of men came up to Jesus. They took hold of him to lead him away. 51Then one of Jesus' disciples took hold of his sword. He hit the servant of the leader of the priests with it and he cut off the servant's ear.
52Then Jesus said to the disciple, ‘Put your sword back in its place. People who use a sword to kill others will themselves die in the same way. Someone will kill them with a sword. 53You should know that I could ask my Father God to help me. He would immediately send more than 12 large groups of angels to fight for me. 54They would save me. But then the things that God has said in the Bible about this would not happen. So, it must happen in this way.’
55At that time, Jesus said to the crowd, ‘You have come out here with long sharp knives and heavy sticks to take hold of me. Do you really believe that I am leading people to fight against our country's rulers? No! I was teaching people every day in the yard of God's Great House. But you did not try to take hold of me then. 56The prophets wrote long ago that all this would happen to me. Now it has become true.’
Then all of Jesus' disciples ran away and left him.
Jesus stands in front of all the important rulers
57Then those men who had taken hold of Jesus took him to Caiaphas's house. Caiaphas was the most important priest. The teachers of God's Law and the important Jews were meeting there together with Caiaphas. #26:57 Caiaphas was the leader of the important Jewish rulers. There were 71 of them. They met together to decide about how to rule the people. They also decided how to punish a bad person. They had a lot of power, but they could not kill a bad person. Only the Roman rulers could do that.
58Peter followed Jesus into the yard of Caiaphas' house. But he did not go near Jesus. He sat down in the yard with the police who worked in God's Great House. He wanted to see what would happen.
59The leaders of the priests and all the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to die. So they tried to find people to say things against Jesus that were not true. 60Many people did come. And they said things against Jesus that were not true. But still the Jewish leaders could not find a reason to kill Jesus. #26:60 The Jewish leaders wanted a reason to give Jesus over to the Roman rulers. But Jesus had never said anything wrong.
Then two men stood up and they said, 61‘We heard this man say, “I can destroy God's Great House and in three days I can build it again.” ’
62Then Caiaphas stood up and he said to Jesus, ‘You must reply now to what these men have said against you. Are the things that they say true?’ 63But Jesus did not say anything.
So Caiaphas said to him, ‘I use the authority of the God who lives. You must promise to tell us what is true. Are you the Messiah? Are you the Son of God?’
64‘You have said it,’ Jesus replied. ‘And I tell all of you, soon you will see the Son of Man. He will be sitting in the most important place at the right side of the Most Powerful God. You will also see him coming to earth. He will be riding on the clouds in the sky.’
65Then Caiaphas, tore his clothes to show that he was angry. #26:65 Caiaphas tore his coat to show other people that he was very angry. He said, ‘Jesus has spoken bad words against God. We do not need anyone else to speak against him. You have heard him speak bad words against God. 66What do you decide that we must do with him?’
They replied, ‘What Jesus has said shows that he must die.’
67Then some of them spat into Jesus' face. They also hit him with their fists. 68When they hit him, they said, ‘Messiah! Show us that you are a prophet. Tell us who hit you!’
Peter says three times that he does not know Jesus
69While all these things were happening, Peter was sitting outside in the yard. One of the girls who worked there went to him and she said, ‘You were also a friend of Jesus, the man from Galilee.’
70Peter said in front of everyone who was there, ‘That is not true. I do not know what you are talking about.’
71Peter then went out to the gate, and another servant girl saw him. This girl said to the people who were standing there, ‘This man was a friend of Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’
72Peter answered again very strongly. He said, ‘I promise you, I really do not know that man!’
73After a little time, other people who were standing at the gate spoke to Peter. They said, ‘We are sure that you too are one of that man's friends. We know this because you speak like people who live in Galilee.’
74Peter said to them very strongly, ‘I tell you that I do not know that man. God will surely punish me if this is not true!’
Immediately after Peter said this, the cockerel sang. 75Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Tonight you will say three times that you do not know me. You will do it before the cockerel sings.’ So Peter went out of the yard. He began to weep a lot because he was very upset.