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Matthew 26:1-75

Last Updated 2/27/01

CHAPTER 26:1-75 TEXT:

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. 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, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people. Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 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. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 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. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 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. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. 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? 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. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 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. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. 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. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 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. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 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. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 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. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 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. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 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. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. 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. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him. 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. 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. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 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. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 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. 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. 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. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee? Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 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. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 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. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 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.


NOTE: The final three chapters of Matthew, depicting the days just prior to Yeshua's death, as well as the account of His trial, death and resurrection, are replete with deep mystical meaning. For the purpose of this study, we will only touch on some of these themes. A more in-depth approach will be taken in our other enhanced studies.


2  Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Note that Yeshua speaks of a connection between Passover and His destiny. All of the feasts of the Lord have some bearing on His cosmic plan. They are a "shadow" of what is to come (Hebrews 8:5, 10:1; Colossians 2:17). The study and observance of these Feasts (and the rest of Torah - Romans 2:13; James 1:22), is fundamental to faith in God.

Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people

Although the leadership was clearly instigating matters against Yeshua, He does not miss the people as a whole, as we will see in the next chapter. This generation was given more blessing than any other as they had the Messiah in their midst (Hebrews 11:39-40). Some, like John the Baptist were fortunate in this respect (Luke 7:28), but the generation as a whole failed to respond to what God had given them (Matthew 25:15) and thus their punishment would be great (Luke 12:47).

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,

This is a mistranslation. Lepers were not permitted to live in the city (see Leviticus 13:46). Since ancient Hebrew and Aramaic were written without vowels, there was no distinction between the Aramaic words GAR'BA (leper) and GARABA (jar maker or jar merchant). Since in this story a woman pours oil from a jar it is apparent that Simon was a jar merchant or jar maker and not a leper.1

There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment,

This ointment is called "spikenard," as revealed in Mark 14:3. The Hebrew Zohar (a book of very deep and often mystical commentary), relates spikenard to the man who dies before his time because of the good deeds he has done:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 56b - While the king was still with his company at table, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance (Song of Solomon 1:12). ‘This verse’, he said, ‘can be expounded as referring to the ways of God. When God sees that a man who cleaves to Him and with whom He abides will one day degenerate, He takes him from the world prematurely, culling, as it were, the odour while it is still sweet; hence it is written, “while the King was with his company, my spikenard gave up its scent.” The King is God; the company is the good man who cleaves to Him and walks in His ways; the spikenard indicates the good deeds on account of which he is removed from the world before his time.

17  Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?"

Again, the Lord's Feasts play an important role and still should for anyone following Yeshua and the ways of God. The modern religious holidays of Christmas and Easter are pagan in origin and are alien and contrary to what God has established. (The King James version of the Bible even has the audacity to replace Passover with "Easter" in Acts 12:4 -- a clear case of tampering with the Word of God.)

God commanded His people to keep the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread in Exodus 12:14-20; 13:6-10; 23:15; 34:18, Leviticus 23:5-8; Numbers 28:17-18, Deuteronomy 16:8,16).

In addition, all males who were able, were required to appear at the Temple in Jerusalem for three feasts: Pesakh (Passover), Shavout (Pentecost), Succot (Tabernacles), as found in Deuteronomy16:16.

23  And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

This would indicate that Judas was sitting on one side of Yeshua (with John on the other). As dipping in the bowl (at Pesakh/Passover) is done to the left, this places Judas to His right, in the seat of honor at the seder table.

This alludes to one of the Psalms:

Psalm 41:9 - Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

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.

Another incorrect translation that has led to erroneous doctrine. Yeshua does not bless the bread. "Blessing things" as such is foreign to Judaiam. Rather, Yeshua blessed God, the maker of the bread, as is still done today at Passover seders.

This the blessing He would be reciting at this point of the meal:

Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu Melech haOlam, hamotzi lehem, min ha'aretz.

Blessed are you Lord God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Exodus 24:6-8 - And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient." And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."

This Exodus passage shows that Israel accepted the covenant that was being offered to them. They were to do this by faith in the same way we accept a relationship with Yeshua. Both require a committment, sprinkling of blood to institute, and faith.

The "imperfection" of the "old" covenant was that the promises were based on the obedience of the people as they said "all that the LORD said we will do." They failed due to a lack of faith on their part (Hebrews 4:2). The "new" covenant is different in that it is based upon Yeshua's obedience (Hebrews 8:6-8).

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.

Blood was sprinkled on the people at the initiation of the Covenant in Exodus 24.

"New Testament" is a term that takes away from a correct understanding. Yeshua is referring to what is also called the "New Covenant" in English, but according to the Tenakh, is more correctly considered a "renewed Covenant." This Covenant renewal is found in the book of Jeremiah and also referred to in other places in the Tenakh. Unfortunately, the English word "new" in either case, falsely implies that the "old" covenant, with Torah as its foundation, is done away with. We know from Yeshua's own words that this is not the case. See notes to Matthew chapter 5, and forward. None of God's covenants have been disposed of.

It would seem in verse 29, that Yeshua Himself does not drink of this cup. This is because the "New Covenant" is not fully established by Him at this time. The Hebraic understanding is that of a "Renewed Covenant" that God will make when Judah and Ephraim are reunited one day at the time of Messiah's coming -- hence He will drink of the cup only, "... in my Father's kingdom."

There are specific conditions for the New Covenant, and these were are not in place at the time of Yeshua, nor are they yet in place today. They will come to fruition only upon His return. For details on this subject, turn to the article: The New Covenant - Not for Today in the YashaNet library.

31  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.

Not long after this came a series of altercations between the Jews and Rome, including major wars around 70 and 132 AD. The result of these actions was not only the further dispersion of Jews across the empire, but also the suppression of the faith of the original Messianic (Nazarene) community. This led to the development of a "faith" that was decidedly "anti-Torah," and incorporated many pagan elements, that eventually organized itself into the Catholic/Christian religion and its "spinoff" Protestant children.

For more details of these historical developments, turn to the background articles in our Romans study.

35  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.

It is interesting to note the change in Peter before and after the giving of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit). He goes from being impetuous and rebuked by Yeshua (Matthew 16:23), even denying the Messiah to save his own skin (at the end of this chapter), to being a chief spokesperson for the Lord among his Jewish brethren (as seen in the book of Acts).

54  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

56  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.

See notes to Matthew 27:35 concerning "fulfillment of prophecy."

63  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.

The text implies that the high priest had an understanding of Scripture that correlated the Messiah to the "Son" of God. This is not easily found in Scripture when read at the literal level. Our Revelation study will reveal the deeper aspects ("sod" level) of Hebraic understanding of concepts such as "the living God," Messiah, and "Son of God."

64  Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Daniel 7:13 - I was seeing in the visions of the night, and lo, with the clouds of the heavens as a son of man was [one] coming, and unto the Ancient of Days he hath come, and before Him they have brought him near.

One of the "puzzles" that concerned the Jewish sages was that some parts of the Tenakh seemed to indicate that the Messiah would arrive triumphantly on the clouds, while others said he would come on a donkey. The conclusion they reached was that if Israel merited it, he would come on the clouds, but if they failed, he would come on a donkey:

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 98a - R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. it is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written, I [the Lord] will hasten it! — if they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee . . .] lowly, and riding upon an ass! — if they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven; if not, lowly and riding upon an ass.

Yeshua, as we know, first came to his people on the back of a donkey (Matthew 21:5), and is destined to return in the clouds.

65  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy;

Again, the reaction of the High Priest is that of someone claiming in some fashion to be God, as all Jews were considered "sons of God" in a greater sense.


1. Credit to James Trimm of www.nazarene.net for this corrected translation.


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