Matthew 26 Commentary

Please choose a passage:

Matthew 26:1-2

Jesus informs His disciples that He will be crucified in two days during Passover.

Matthew 26:3-5

Meanwhile the chief priests plot with their high priest, Caiaphas, how and when they will destroy Jesus. They decide it is best to do this away from the crowds. This event is commonly known as “The Plot to Kill Jesus.”

Matthew 26:6-13

When Jesus is in the home of Simon the leper, a woman anoints His head with expensive perfume. The disciples see this as a waste of money and resources. Jesus informs them that she has done a good thing and that it prepares His body for burial.

Matthew 26:14-16

Judas’s Bargain: Judas seeks out the chief priests in order to betray Jesus. He asks them what they will give him for doing this. They reply “thirty pieces of silver”—the prescribed compensation to be paid an owner for the accidental death of his slave. Judas agrees.

Matthew 26:17-19

Instructions for Passover: Jesus’s disciples ask Him on the first day of Unleavened Bread where He wants to keep the Passover. He sends them into the city to find a certain man and deliver a message that Jesus will observe Passover at His house.

Matthew 26:20-25

Jesus identifies Judas as His betrayer. The Passover meal begins. During the meal with His disciples Jesus makes the startling announcement that that one of the twelve will betray Him. This troubles the disciples. Jesus quietly but clearly identifies Judas as His betrayer.

Matthew 26:26-29

Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples and leads them through what appears to be a Passover Seder. Matthew summarizes his account to include the three moments from Jesus’s retelling of the Passover that most stand out.

Matthew 26:30

Jesus and His disciples sing a hymn and leave the upper room for the Mount of Olives.

Matthew 26:31-35

Jesus informs His disciples that they will abandon Him that very night. Peter assures Jesus that he will stick with Him even if everyone else runs away. Jesus tells Peter that he will deny him three times before dawn. Peter tells Jesus that He is wrong and assures His Lord that he is ready to die with Him.

Matthew 26:36-38

Jesus led the disciples to a place called Gethsemane and asks them to pray. He takes Peter, James, and John further into the garden and confesses that He is grieved to the point of death. He asks them to remain and stay awake with Him.

Matthew 26:39

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prays to His Father. He asks for another way to be made for Him to complete His mission of saving the world that would not require Him to suffer and die. But having made this request, Jesus tells His Father that He will submit to His will.

Matthew 26:40-44

As Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He checks on His disciples and finds them sleeping during His hour of grief. Jesus continues to pray and tells His Father that He will obey Him. The disciples fall back asleep again, as Jesus returns to pray more.

Matthew 26:45-50

Judas’s Betrayal: Jesus awakens His disciples to inform them that Judas has betrayed Him. Judas is accompanied by an armed crowd who have been sent by the priests and elders to arrest Jesus. Judas identifies His master with a kiss.

Matthew 26:51-54

Peter’s Attack: A disciple pulls out his sword to defend Jesus to the death. His swing cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus tells His disciple to stop, because this is part of His Father’s plan.

Matthew 26:55-56

Jesus’s Surrender: Jesus boldly submits to arrest. As He does, He confronts the armed crowd sent to arrest Him by the secret of night.

Matthew 26:57-58

Jesus is brought to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, for His Night-Time Trial in this narrative transition from the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:59-66

The cohort of priests conduct their trial of Jesus. It consists of false and conflicting testimonies. Jesus does not answer their accusatory questions, to their frustration.

Matthew 26:67-68

Having reached their guilty verdict, the priests mock and physically abuse Jesus. 

Matthew 26:69-75

Peter’s Three Denials of Jesus Peter is recognized by various people as a follower of Jesus while the Lord’s religious trials carry on inside the homes of high priests. Despite his earlier promises, Peter denies knowing Jesus three times, each with increasing vigor.