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Matthew 26

Those who are against Jesus want to take hold of him

1 When 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.’

26:2We can read about the Passover meal in Exodus, chapter 12.

3 Then the leaders of the priests and the important Jews met together in the house of the most important priest. His name was Caiaphas. 4 They wanted to kill Jesus. But they wanted to take hold of him secretly. So they tried to decide how they could do that. 5 They 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 oil that has a nice smell on Jesus' head

6 Then Jesus went to Bethany and he visited Simon at his house. At one time, Simon had had a bad illness of the skin.

26:6We believe that Jesus had caused Simon to become well again. Now Simon could live in his home in Bethany again.

7 While 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. She poured the oil over Jesus' head while he sat there.

8 Jesus' disciples saw what the woman had done. They became angry and they said, ‘This woman should not have wasted the oil. 9 She could have sold it for a lot of money. Then she could have given the money to poor people.’

26:9The 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.

10 Jesus 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. 11 You will always have poor people with you. But you will not always have me with you. 12 She has poured oil over my body. So now I will be ready for people to bury me. 13 I 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

14 Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus' 12 apostles. He went to see the leaders of the priests 15 and 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. 16 Judas then waited for the right moment to help them to take hold of Jesus.

Jesus eats his last meal with his 12 disciples

17 The first day of the festival when the Jews eat flat bread arrived. Jesus' disciples came to him and they asked him, ‘Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you to eat?’

26:17flat bread was bread which had no yeast in it.

18 Jesus 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.” ’ 19 So Jesus' disciples did what he had told them to do. They went and they prepared the Passover meal.

20 When it was evening, Jesus and the 12 apostles sat down to eat the Passover meal together. 21 While they were eating, Jesus said, ‘I tell you this. One of you will help the Jewish leaders to take hold of me.’

22 They were very sad about what Jesus had said. Each one of them said to Jesus, ‘Lord, I am sure that you do not mean me.’

23 Jesus said to them ‘The man who will give me to the rulers is eating from the same dish as I am. 24 The 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.’

26:23There 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.

25 Judas was the one who would give Jesus to the Jewish leaders. But he said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, I am sure that you do not mean me.’ Jesus replied to him, ‘Yes, you have said it.’

26 While 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.’

27 Then 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. 28 This 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. 29 I 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.’

26:29Most 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.

30 Then Jesus and his disciples sang a song to praise God. Then they went out to the hill that is called the Mount of Olives.

26:30People 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.

Jesus tells Peter what will happen

31 Then 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.” ’

32 Jesus went on to say, ‘But after that happens, I will become alive again. Then I will go to Galilee, and you will follow.’

33 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Even if everyone else runs away, I will not leave you.’

34 Jesus 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.’

35 But 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

36 Then 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.’ 37 Then Jesus took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, with him. He became very sad and upset. 38 He 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.’

39 Jesus 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.’

40 Jesus returned to the 3 disciples. Now they were sleeping. He said to Peter, ‘You men could not stay awake with me for even one hour! 41 You 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.’

42 Jesus 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.’

43 Then Jesus returned again to Peter, James and John. He saw that they were sleeping. They could not keep their eyes open. 44 So Jesus went away from them again and he prayed a third time. He said the same words to God.

45 When 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. 46 Stand up, we will go now. Look! The man who will give me to my enemies is here.’

The soldiers take hold of Jesus

47 While 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. 48 Judas 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.’

49 Now Judas went immediately to Jesus. He said, ‘Hello, Teacher.’ Then he kissed Jesus in a friendly way.

26:49We think that Judas kissed Jesus on the side of his face.

50 Jesus 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. 51 Then 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.

52 Then 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. 53 You 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. 54 They 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.’

55 At 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. 56 The 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

57 Then 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 together there with Caiaphas.

26:57The most important priest was called Caiaphas. He 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. The most important priest had the most authority in the meeting. They had a lot of power, but they could not kill a bad person. Only the Roman rulers could do that.

58 Peter 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.

59 The 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. 60 Many 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.

Then two men stood up and they said, 61 ‘We heard this man say, “I can destroy God's Great House and in 3 days I can build it again.” ’

26:61The important Jews could not say that a man must die. Only the Roman rulers could say that. The Jewish leaders wanted to find a reason to give Jesus over to the Roman rulers. Jesus had never said anything wrong. So they would have to say something that was not true.

62 Then 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?’ 63 But 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.’

65 The most important priest, Caiaphas, tore his coat to show he was 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. 66 What do you decide that we must do with him?’

‘What Jesus has said shows that he must die,’ they replied.

26:66Caiaphas tore his coat to show other people that he was very angry.

67 Then some of them spat into Jesus' face. They also hit him with their fists, 68 When 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

69 While 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.’

70 Peter said in front of everyone who was there, ‘That is not true. I do not know what you are talking about.’

71 Peter 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.’

72 Peter answered again very strongly. He said, ‘I promise you, I really do not know that man!’

73 After a little time, other people who were standing at the gate spoke to Peter. They said, ‘We are sure that you are one of that man's friends. We know this because you also speak like people who live in Galilee.’

74 Peter 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. 75 Then 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 outside away from the house. He began to cry a lot because he was very upset.