Matthew 26
Contemporary English Version

The Plot To Kill Jesus

(Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2; John 11.45-53)

1When Jesus had finished teaching, he told his disciples, 2 “You know two days from now will be Passover. This is when the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies and nailed to a cross.”

3At that time the chief priests and the nation's leaders were meeting at the home of Caiaphas the high priest. 4They planned how they could sneak around and have Jesus arrested and put to death. 5But they said, “We must not do it during Passover, because the people will riot.”

At Bethany

(Mark 14.3-9; John 12.1-8)

6Jesus was in the town of Bethany, eating at the home of Simon, who had leprosy.+ 7 A woman came in with a bottle of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus' head. 8But when his disciples saw this, they became angry and complained, “Why such a waste? 9We could have sold this perfume for a lot of money and given it to the poor.”

10Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said:

Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me. 11 You will always have the poor with you, but you won't always have me. 12She has poured perfume on my body to prepare it for burial.+ 13You may be sure that wherever the good news is told all over the world, people will remember what she has done. And they will tell others.

Judas and the Chief Priests

(Mark 14.10,11; Luke 22.3-6)

14Judas Iscariot+ was one of the twelve disciples. He went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “How much will you give me if I help you arrest Jesus?” They paid Judas 30 silver coins, 16and from then on he started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus.

Jesus Eats the Passover Meal with His Disciples

(Mark 14.12-21; Luke 22.7-13; John 13.21-30)

17On the first day of the Festival of Thin Bread, Jesus' disciples came to him and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal?”

18Jesus told them to go to a certain man in the city and tell him, “Our teacher says, ‘My time has come! I want to eat the Passover meal with my disciples in your home.’ ” 19They did as Jesus told them and prepared the meal.

20-21When Jesus was eating with his twelve disciples that evening, he said, “One of you will surely hand me over to my enemies.”

22The disciples were very sad, and each one said to Jesus, “Lord, you can't mean me!”

23 He answered, “One of you men who has eaten with me from this dish will betray me. 24The Son of Man will die, as the Scriptures say. But it's going to be terrible for the one who betrays me! That man would be better off if he had never been born.”

25Judas said, “Teacher, you surely don't mean me!”

“That's what you say!” Jesus replied. But later, Judas did betray him.

The Lord's Supper

(Mark 14.22-26; Luke 22.14-23; 1 Corinthians 11.23-25)

26During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and eat it. This is my body.”

27Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and drink it. 28 This is my blood, and with it God makes his agreement with you. It will be poured out, so that many people will have their sins forgiven. 29From now on I am not going to drink any wine, until I drink new wine with you in my Father's kingdom.” 30Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

Peter's Promise

(Mark 14.27-31; Luke 22.31-34; John 13.36-38)

31 Jesus said to his disciples, “During this very night, all of you will reject me, as the Scriptures say,

‘I will strike down

the shepherd,

and the sheep

will be scattered.’

32 But after I am raised to life, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

33Peter spoke up, “Even if all the others reject you, I never will!”

34Jesus replied, “I promise you before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don't know me.” 35But Peter said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never say I don't know you.”

All the others said the same thing.

Jesus Prays

(Mark 14.32-42; Luke 22.39-46)

36Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. When they got there, he told them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

37Jesus took along Peter and the two brothers, James and John.+ He was very sad and troubled, 38and he said to them, “I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying. Stay here and keep awake with me.”

39Jesus walked on a little way. Then he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don't make me suffer by drinking from this cup.+ But do what you want, and not what I want.”

40He came back and found his disciples sleeping. So he said to Peter, “Can't any of you stay awake with me for just one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you won't be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak.”

42Again Jesus went to pray and said, “My Father, if there is no other way, and I must suffer, I will still do what you want.”

43Jesus came back and found them sleeping again. They simply could not keep their eyes open. 44He left them and prayed the same prayer once more.

45Finally, Jesus returned to his disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting?+ The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. 46Get up! Let's go. The one who will betray me is already here.”

Jesus Is Arrested

(Mark 14.43-50; Luke 22.47-53; John 18.3-12)

47Jesus was still speaking, when Judas the betrayer came up. He was one of the twelve disciples, and a large mob armed with swords and clubs was with him. They had been sent by the chief priests and the nation's leaders. 48Judas had told them ahead of time, “Arrest the man I greet with a kiss.”+

49Judas walked right up to Jesus and said, “Hello, teacher.” Then Judas kissed him.

50Jesus replied, “My friend, do what you came for.”+

The men grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51One of Jesus' followers pulled out a sword. He struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.

52But Jesus told him, “Put your sword away. Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting. 53Don't you know that I could ask my Father, and he would at once send me more than twelve armies of angels? 54But then, how could the words of the Scriptures come true, which say this must happen?”

55 Jesus said to the mob, “Why do you come with swords and clubs to arrest me like a criminal? Day after day I sat and taught in the temple, and you didn't arrest me. 56But all this happened, so that what the prophets wrote would come true.”

All Jesus' disciples left him and ran away.

Jesus Is Questioned by the Council

(Mark 14.53-65; Luke 22.54,55,63-71; John 18.13,14,19-24)

57After Jesus had been arrested, he was led off to the house of Caiaphas the high priest. The nation's leaders and the teachers of the Law of Moses were meeting there. 58But Peter followed along at a distance and came to the courtyard of the high priest's palace. He went in and sat down with the guards to see what was going to happen.

59The chief priests and the whole council wanted to put Jesus to death. So they tried to find some people who would tell lies about him in court.+ 60But they could not find any, even though many did come and tell lies. At last, two men came forward 61 and said, “This man claimed he could tear down God's temple and build it again in three days.”

62The high priest stood up and asked Jesus, “Why don't you say something in your own defense? Don't you hear the charges they are making against you?” 63But Jesus did not answer. So the high priest said, “With the living God looking on, you must tell the truth. Are you the Messiah, the Son of God?”+

64 “That is what you say!” Jesus answered. “But I tell all of you,

‘Soon you will see

the Son of Man

sitting at the right side+

of God All-Powerful

and coming on the clouds

of heaven.’ ”

65 The high priest then tore his robe and said, “This man claims to be God! We don't need any more witnesses! You have heard what he said. 66What do you think?”

They answered, “He is guilty and deserves to die!” 67 Then they spit in his face and hit him with their fists. Others slapped him 68and said, “You think you are the Messiah! So tell us who hit you!”

Peter Says He Doesn't Know Jesus

(Mark 14.66-72; Luke 22.56-62; John 18.15-18,25-27)

69While Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, a servant girl came up to him and said, “You were with Jesus from Galilee.”

70But in front of everyone Peter said, “That isn't so! I don't know what you are talking about!”

71When Peter had gone out to the gate, another servant girl saw him and said to some people there, “This man was with Jesus from Nazareth.”

72Again Peter denied it, and this time he swore, “I don't even know that man!”

73A little while later some people standing there walked over to Peter and said, “We know you are one of them. We can tell it because you talk like someone from Galilee.”

74Peter began to curse and swear, “I don't know that man!”

Right then a rooster crowed, 75and Peter remembered that Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will say three times you don't know me.” Then Peter went out and cried bitterly.


26.6 leprosy: See the note at 8.2.
26.12 poured perfume on my body to prepare it for burial: The Jewish people taught that giving someone a proper burial was even more important than helping the poor.
26.14 Iscariot: See the note at 10.4.
26.37 the two brothers, James and John: The Greek text has “the two sons of Zebedee” (see 27.56).
26.39 by drinking from this cup: In the Scriptures “to drink from a cup” sometimes means to suffer (see the note at 20.22).
26.45 Are you still sleeping and resting: Or “You may as well keep on sleeping and resting.”
26.48 the man I greet with a kiss: It was the custom for people to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
26.50 do what you came for: Or “why are you here?”
26.59 some people who would tell lies about him in court: The Law of Moses taught that two witnesses were necessary before a person could be put to death (see verse 60).
26.63 Son of God: One of the titles used for the kings of Israel.
26.64 right side: See the note at 22.44.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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