Matthew 26 The Voice (VOICE)
26 And so this is what happened, finally. Jesus finished all His teaching, and He said to His disciples,
Jesus: 2 The feast of Passover begins in two days. That is when the Son of Man is handed over to be crucified.
3 And almost as He spoke, the chief priests were getting together with the elders at the home of the high priest, Caiaphas. 4 They schemed and mused about how they could trick Jesus, sneak around and capture Him, and then kill Him.
Chief Priests: 5 We shouldn’t try to catch Him at the great public festival. The people would riot if they knew what we were doing.
6 Meanwhile Jesus was at Bethany staying at the home of Simon the leper. 7 While He was at Simon’s house, a woman came to see Him. She had an alabaster flask of very valuable ointment with her, and as Jesus reclined at the table, she poured the ointment on His head. 8 The disciples, seeing this scene, were furious.
Disciples: This is an absolute waste! 9 The woman could have sold that ointment for lots of money, and then she could have given it to the poor.
10 Jesus knew what the disciples were saying among themselves, so He took them to task.
Jesus: Why don’t you leave this woman alone? She has done a good thing. 11 It is good that you are concerned about the poor, but the poor will always be with you—I will not be. 12 In pouring this ointment on My body, she has prepared Me for My burial. 13 I tell you this: the good news of the kingdom of God will be spread all over the world, and wherever the good news travels, people will tell the story of this woman and her good discipleship. And people will remember her.
14 At that, one of the twelve, Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests.
Judas Iscariot: 15 What will you give me to turn Him over to you?
They offered him 30 pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment, he began to watch for a chance to betray Jesus.
Here begins the account of Jesus’ last night before His trial and crucifixion.
17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples said to Jesus,
Disciples: Where would You like us to prepare the Passover meal for You?
Jesus: 18 Go into the city, find a certain man, and say to him, “The Teacher says, ‘My time is near, and I am going to celebrate Passover at your house with My disciples.’”
They find the man’s house and secure the owner’s permission, and there they will praise God for redeeming His people from bondage in Egypt.
19 So the disciples went off, followed Jesus’ instructions, and got the Passover meal ready. 20 When evening came, Jesus sat down with the twelve. 21 And they ate their dinner.
Jesus: I tell you this: one of you here will betray Me.
22 The disciples, of course, were horrified.
A Disciple: Not me!
Another Disciple: It’s not me, Master, is it?
Jesus: 23 It’s the one who shared this dish of food with Me. That is the one who will betray Me. 24 Just as our sacred Scripture has taught, the Son of Man is on His way. But there will be nothing but misery for he who hands Him over. That man will wish he had never been born.
25 At that, Judas, who was indeed planning to betray Him, said,
Judas Iscariot: It’s not me, Master, is it?
Jesus: I believe you’ve just answered your own question.
26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread. He offered a blessing over the bread, and then He broke it and gave it to His disciples.
Jesus: Take this and eat; it is My body.
27 And then He took the cup of wine, He made a blessing over it, and He passed it around the table.
Jesus: Take this and drink, all of you: 28 this is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell you: I will not drink of the fruit of the vine again until I am with you once more, drinking in the kingdom of My Father.
30 The meal concluded. Together, all the men sang a hymn of praise and thanksgiving, and then they took a late evening walk to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus: 31 Scripture says,
I shall strike the shepherd,
Just so, each of you will stumble tonight, stumble and fall, on account of Me.
32 Afterward I will be raised up. And I will go before you to Galilee.
Peter: 33 Lord, maybe everyone else will trip and fall tonight, but I will not. I’ll be beside You. I won’t falter.
Jesus: 34 If only that were true. In fact, this very night, before the cock crows in the morning, you will deny Me three times.
Peter: 35 No! I won’t deny You. Even if that means I have to die with You!
And each of the disciples echoed Peter.
It is indeed a dark, bitter night. The disciples are sad and confused, and maybe a little bit prideful. Peter can not believe that he could ever betray his Lord.
36 At that, Jesus led His disciples to the place called Gethsemane.
Jesus: I am going over there to pray. You sit here while I’m at prayer.
37 Then He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and He grew sorrowful and deeply distressed.
Jesus: 38 My soul is overwhelmed with grief, to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.
39 He walked a little farther and finally fell prostrate and prayed.
Jesus: Father, this is the last thing I want. If there is any way, please take this bitter cup from Me. Not My will, but Yours be done.
40 When He came back to the disciples, He saw that they were asleep. Peter awoke a little less confident and slightly chagrined.
Jesus (to Peter): So you couldn’t keep watch with Me for just one short hour? 41 Now maybe you’re learning: the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Watch and pray and take care that you are not pulled down during a time of testing.
42 With that, Jesus returned to His secluded spot to pray again.
Jesus: Father, if there is no other way for this cup to pass without My drinking it—then not My will, but Yours be done.
43 Again Jesus returned to His disciples and found them asleep. Their eyes were heavy-lidded. 44 So Jesus left them again and returned to prayer, praying the same sentiments with the same words. 45 Again He returned to His disciples.
Jesus: Well, you are still sleeping; are you getting a good long rest? Now the time has come; the Son of Man is just about to be given over to the betrayers and the sinners. 46 Get up; we have to be going. Look, here comes the one who’s going to betray Me.
47 There he was, Judas, one of the twelve leading a crowd of people from the chief priests and elders with swords and clubs; the chief priests and the elders were right there, ready to arrest Jesus. 48 And Judas, the one who intended to betray Him, had said to the elders and the chief priests that he would give them a sign.
Judas Iscariot: I’ll greet Him with a kiss. And you will know that the one I kiss is the one you should arrest.
49 So at once, he went up to Jesus.
Judas Iscariot: Greetings, Teacher (he kisses Him).
Jesus: 50 My friend, do what you have come to do.
And at that, the company came and seized Him. 51 One of the men with Jesus grabbed his sword and swung toward the high priest’s slave, slicing off his ear.
Jesus: 52 Put your sword back. People who live by the sword die by the sword. 53 Surely you realize that if I called on My Father, He would send 12 legions of messengers to rescue Me. 54 But if I were to do that, I would be thwarting the scriptural story, wouldn’t I? And we must allow the story of God’s kingdom to unfold. 55 (to the crowds) Why did you bring these weapons, these clubs and bats? Did you think I would fight you? That I would try to dodge and escape like a common criminal? You could have arrested Me any day when I was teaching in the temple, but you didn’t.
56 This scene has come together just so, so that the prophecies in the sacred Scripture could be fulfilled.
And at that, all the disciples ran away and abandoned Him. 57 The crowd that had arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas, the high priest. The scribes and elders had gathered at Caiaphas’s house and were waiting for Jesus to be delivered. 58 Peter followed Jesus (though at some distance so as not to be seen). He slipped into Caiaphas’s house and attached himself to a group of servants. And he sat watching, waiting to see how things would unfold.
59 The high priest and his council of advisors first produced false evidence against Jesus—false evidence meant to justify some charge and Jesus’ execution. 60 But even though many men were willing to lie, the council couldn’t come up with the evidence it wanted. Finally, two men stood up.
Two Men: 61 Look, He said, “I can destroy God’s temple and rebuild it in three days.” What more evidence do you need?
62 Then Caiaphas the high priest stood up and addressed Jesus.
Caiaphas: Aren’t You going to respond to these charges? What exactly are these two men accusing You of?
63 Jesus remained silent.
Caiaphas (to Jesus): Under a sacred oath before the living God, tell us plainly: are You the Anointed One, the Son of God?
Jesus: 64 So you seem to be saying. I will say this: beginning now, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God’s power and glory and coming on heavenly clouds.
65 The high priest tore his robes and screeched.
Caiaphas: Blasphemy! We don’t need any more witnesses—we’ve all just witnessed this most grievous blasphemy, right here and now. 66 So, gentlemen, what’s your verdict?
Gentlemen: He deserves to die.
67 Then they spat in His face and hit Him. Some of them smacked Him, slapped Him across the cheeks, 68 and jeered.
Some of the Men: Well, Anointed One, prophesy for us, if You can—who hit You? And who is about to hit You next?
69 As all this was going on in Caiaphas’s chamber, Peter was sitting in the courtyard with some servants. One of the servant girls came up to him.
Servant Girl: You were with Jesus the Galilean, weren’t you?
70 And just as Jesus had predicted, Peter denied it before everyone.
Peter: Not me! I don’t know what you’re talking about.
71 He went out to stand by the gate. And as he walked past, another servant girl recognized him.
Another Servant Girl (speaking to those standing around): That man over there—he was here with Jesus the Nazarene!
72 Again, just as Jesus had predicted, Peter denied it, swearing an oath.
Peter: I don’t know Him!
73 Peter then went to chat with a few of the servants. A little while later, some other servants approached him:
Other Servants: Look, we know that you must be one of Jesus’ followers. You speak like you are from the same area as His followers. You’ve got that tell-tale Galilean accent.
74 Cursing and swearing, Peter denied Him again.
Peter: I do not know Him!
As the exclamation left his mouth, a cock crowed. 75 And Peter remembered. He remembered that Jesus had looked at him with something like pity and said, “This very night, before the cock crows in the morning, you will deny Me three times.” And Peter went outside, sat down on the ground, and wept.