The Plot to Kill Jesus 1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man[a] will be handed over to be crucified.” 3 At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, 4 plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
Jesus, I really don’t know how You stayed so composed. You knew You were facing a horrible death, and You just walked right toward it. I am afraid to face my job if I get a little bad news. My investments fail, and I am worried about tomorrow. You embrace Your own execution.
Jesus, I know I am supposed to live by faith and not by sight. I know I am to have faith, but I am worried. Why? My God is a loving and all-powerful God – You! What on this earth can really matter? Things have not gone well the last couple years. It is easy to be faithful when they do. Now is the time to trust You.
Holy Spirit, fill me…strengthen me…change me. Help me to face the days knowing that You are with me and will care for me and my family.
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. 7 While he was eating,[b] a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. 8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. 9 “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? 11 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. 12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
Jesus, we really don’t know much about what is going on around us do we. The apostle’s criticism seems like something I would have said too. Yet, the woman was fulfilling Your will by NOT giving to the poor. Lord, help me to be very slow to criticize others. I can see that I am to love others and have faith that You are in control. I don’t need to understand everything that is going on around me. Help to live in faith Jesus.
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
Jesus, it seems so impossible that one of Your special 12 would betray…yet I know I am capable of the same. Everyone is. My only hope is that You protect me from such a temptation. Why was Judas chosen to fall so far? Please Lord, keep me from being so foolish and weak.
My pastor spoke of Judas last Sunday. He suggested that there is an old tradition in the church that when You “descended into hell” after Your death You met Judas. The tradition is that Judas repented and You forgave him. I don’t see that in Your Word anywhere, but I know You could forgive Judas…because You have forgiven me.
The Last Supper
17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” 18 “As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
Jesus, You obviously know all things. You knew and You directed Your disciples, and they listened. I say I want that kind of direction from You, but do I? They walked with You day-by-day…I sin day-by-day. I choose to not be so close to You. I don’t listen, I don’t obey…and I don’t have peace and rest in my life. My life is turmoil and worry.
Change my heart Jesus. Change me so that all I really want is to walk in peace with You. Help me give up my worldly goals and desires. Change me so You are my goal and desire, all day, every day. I am farther from You than I have been in a long time. Don’t let go of me Lord. I’m sinking into the waves. Rescue me.
22 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”
Jesus, is it I? It amazes me that each of Your apostles was humble enough to wonder if it could be them. Did they all really know they were capable of such and awful sin? I know I am capable of such a sin. I know I can fall into a life of total depravity and be lost. I know I am actually powerless to stop it from happening. Only You can keep me Jesus. I don’t know why Judas was the one, but don’t let me be the one Lord. Keep me. Pull me away from the cliff. don’t let me fall. It can only be You. Please choose to rescue me and bring me so close to You.
23 He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. 24 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
25 Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”
And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant[e] between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. 29 Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus, I must admit that the idea if eating Your body and drinking Your blood is odd to me. This is not so difficult if it is only symbolic. Only symbolic! Am I hard hearted as ever. If it is “only symbolic”, it is symbolic of Your death, for my sins. It is “only symbolic” of the only thing that give me any hope at all.
Holy Spirit, the next time I am in church and receive the Lord’s supper, please open my heart to what I am remembering. Please, change me so I am struck with the glory and majesty of it all. Teach me to know the love that fills this sacrament – Your love. Change me Holy Spirit.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike[f] the Shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
Jesus, I desert You so often. I sin. I fail to speak about You in public sometimes. I take part in the inappropriate jokes and talking at parties and gatherings. I go on with my worldly life without thinking of You. But You don’t desert me. You go ahead of me to my next big trial or my next beg heartache, and You are there waiting for me. You are so much more than I could ever deserve. I do love You Lord, in my imperfect way. Forgive my lack of love that causes me to forget You. Create in me a more perfect love each day, till I no longer desert You…ever.
33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.
Jesus, I am so prone to over-estimate my abilities, like Peter did. I can so easily say radical and foolish statements. I make promises that I cannot keep. I can be so proud. Peter was taught so much humility, but he learned it the hard way. Holy Spirit, stir in my mind when I am being proud and arrogant. Help my nature change to humility becomes my trademark. Change me Father. Change me Jesus. Change me Holy Spirit.
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus, You bowed Your face to the ground. Complete submission to the Father, though You, Yourself, are God! Completely amazing. You completely want what Your Father wants. I am so far from that. I want my time, my success, my recognition, my respect…the list goes on and on. Me, me, me, me, me!
Father, I can’t honestly say that I want what You want. I can look at my life full of sin and I know I don’t really want “Your will be done.” It is obvious. Father, change me. Help me become someone who truly can say “Your will be done.” and mean it…and live it. Change me.
40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
Jesus, this is me too! I give in to temptations so much, then I am filled with regret and self-hate. Yet, I fall again just moments later. Why is my flesh so weak? Why do I do what I do not want to do? Or do I really want to sin? Do I really not love You at all? What is the truth about who I am, and what I want, and if I love You? Help Lord!
42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away[g] unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.
44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
Jesus, You prayed Your way to readiness. You didn’t turn to Your own ideas or Your own plans. You prayed until You were ready to accept Your Father’s plan, no matter how awful it was. Can I ever be that submissive? Father, help me. Guide me. I know I don’t deserve it and I never will. I don’t know what Your plan is for me. I don’t know where we are going in future at all. I feel so lost. Keep me on Your path and help me learn to pray till I accept Your way. Change me Father.
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. 50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”
Jesus, so many things in this life that look good, and even loving, turn out to be like Judas’ kiss – betrayal. Sin is like that. We think it will improve our life, but it ends in tragedy. Jesus, I am trying to decide some things now that look like they are good options for me. Help me choose what You want me to. Your will be done, not mine.
Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.
52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands[h] of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”
Jesus, You could have had thousands of angels, but You chose death for me. How could You? I don’t think I can be that submissive. I just don’t know how You did it. You knew what was coming. You comprehended it fully. You could have avoided it…but You didn’t. Jesus, help me to bend to the Father’s will in my life, as You did in Yours. Change me.
55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Jesus, forgive me for the times I deserted You…and will desert You.
Jesus before the Council
57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. 58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.
Jesus, I know Peter denied You 3 times, but he also followed You to this place. I don’t know if he was foolish to be in the company of Your persecutors, or brave to have followed You that far…or was he foolishly brave! That is probably the case. He was brave enough to put himself in a bad situation. Jesus, help me be humble and retreat from the danger of sin, or bold enough to squash it. Please keep me from that middle ground where I put myself around temptation and fall over and over.
59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council[i] were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
Jesus, come back. I know the Father’s timing is better than mine, but please come back. Your will, not mine, be done. But finally then the suffering and evil will be over. Your prophets suffered before You came. You were lied about and suffered so much though You were so innocent. And since then, You church, Your body, is still persecuted. But You promised to come back in glory on the clouds. Finally then Your suffering will be over.
In some ways it is so scary to think of Your return, because I am such a sinner. But You are my only hope Jesus. I’ll take my chances begging for mercy at Your feet. Glory to You now and forever Jesus. Glory to You!
65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”
“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”
67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, 68 jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”
Jesus, You endured such disrespect, and You are the Son of God. I get all upset if I am humiliated or put down, and I am a sinner. Why am I so proud? When I think I am humble, I find and am still in need of more humility. Lord, teach me to endure humiliation and disrespect with silence and love, as You did. Change me to be like You Lord.
Peter Denies Jesus
69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.[l]”
72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.
73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”
74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.
Jesus, help me to weep bitterly over my sins. Peter loved You so much that betraying You caused him so much sorrow. I sin over and over, and I do not shed a tear. I know I am wrong, but my heart is hardened to it. Peter eventually loved You enough not to deny You and die for You. I can’t imagine. But perhaps Lord, I could love You enough to weep bitterly over my sins. Change me Lord, change me.
- Matthew 26:2 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
- Matthew 26:7 Or reclining.
- Matthew 26:20 Or Jesus reclined.
- Matthew 26:20 Some manuscripts read the Twelve.
- Matthew 26:28 Some manuscripts read the new covenant.
- Matthew 26:31 Greek I will strike. Zech 13:7.
- Matthew 26:42 Greek If this cannot pass.
- Matthew 26:53 Greek twelve legions.
- Matthew 26:59 Greek the Sanhedrin.
- Matthew 26:64 Greek seated at the right hand of the power. See Ps 110:1.
- Matthew 26:64 See Dan 7:13.
- Matthew 26:71 Or Jesus the Nazarene.