The Jewish Leaders Plan to Kill Jesus

Chapter 26 After Jesus finished saying all these things, he said to his followers, “You know that the day after tomorrow is Passover. On that day the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies to be killed on a cross.”

Then the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders had a meeting at the palace where the high priest lived. The high priest’s name was Caiaphas. In the meeting they tried to find a way to arrest and kill Jesus without anyone knowing what they were doing. They planned to arrest Jesus and kill him. They said, “We cannot arrest Jesus during Passover. We don’t want the people to become angry and cause a riot.”

A Woman Does Something Special

Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper. While he was there, a woman came to him. She had an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ head while he was eating.

The followers saw the woman do this and were upset at her. They said, “Why waste that perfume? It could be sold for a lot of money, and the money could be given to those who are poor.”

10 But Jesus knew what happened. He said, “Why are you bothering this woman? She did a very good thing for me. 11 You will always have the poor with you.[a] But you will not always have me. 12 This woman poured perfume on my body. She did this to prepare me for burial after I die. 13 The Good News will be told to people all over the world. And I can assure you that everywhere the Good News is told, the story of what this woman did will also be told, and people will remember her.”

Judas Agrees to Help Jesus’ Enemies

14 Then one of the twelve followers went to talk to the leading priests. This was the follower named Judas Iscariot. 15 He said, “I will hand Jesus over to you. What will you pay me for doing this?” The priests gave him 30 silver coins. 16 After that Judas waited for the best time to hand Jesus over to them.

The Passover Meal

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the followers came to Jesus. They said, “We will prepare everything for you to eat the Passover meal. Where do you want us to have the meal?”

18 Jesus answered, “Go into the city. Go to a man I know. Tell him that the Teacher says, ‘The chosen time is near. I will have the Passover meal with my followers at your house.’” 19 They obeyed and did what Jesus told them to do. They prepared the Passover meal.

20 In the evening Jesus was at the table with the twelve followers. 21 They were all eating. Then Jesus said, “Believe me when I say that one of you twelve here will hand me over to my enemies.”

22 The followers were very sad to hear this. Each one said, “Lord, surely I am not the one!”

23 Jesus answered, “One who has dipped his bread in the same bowl with me will be the one to hand me over. 24 The Son of Man will suffer what the Scriptures say will happen to him. But it will be very bad for the one who hands over the Son of Man to be killed. It would be better for him if he had never been born.”

25 Then Judas, the very one who would hand him over, said to Jesus, “Teacher, surely I am not the one you are talking about, am I?”

Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

The Lord’s Supper

26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread and thanked God for it. He broke off some pieces, gave them to his followers and said, “Take this bread and eat it. It is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup of wine, thanked God for it, and gave it to them. He said, “Each one of you drink some of it. 28 This wine is my blood, which will be poured out to forgive the sins of many and begin the new agreement from God to his people. 29 I want you to know, I will not drink this wine again until that day when we are together in my Father’s kingdom and the wine is new. Then I will drink it again with you.”

30 They all sang a song and then went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus Says His Followers Will Leave Him

31 Jesus told the followers, “Tonight you will all lose your faith in me. The Scriptures say,

‘I will kill the shepherd,
    and the sheep will run away.’

32 But after I am killed, I will rise from death. Then I will go into Galilee. I will be there before you go there.”

33 Peter answered, “All the other followers may lose their faith in you. But my faith will never be shaken.”

34 Jesus answered, “The truth is, tonight you will say you don’t know me. You will deny me three times before the rooster crows.”

35 But Peter answered, “I will never say I don’t know you! I will even die with you!” And all the other followers said the same thing.

Jesus Prays Alone

36 Then Jesus went with his followers to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, “Sit here while I go there and pray.” 37 He told Peter and the two sons of Zebedee to come with him. Then he began to be very sad and troubled. 38 Jesus said to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, “My heart is so heavy with grief, I feel as if I am dying. Wait here and stay awake with me.”

39 Then Jesus went on a little farther away from them. He fell to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me drink from this cup.[b] But do what you want, not what I want.” 40 Then he went back to his followers and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Could you men not stay awake with me for one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. Your spirit wants to do what is right, but your body is weak.”

42 Then Jesus went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if I must do this[c] and it is not possible for me to escape it, then I pray that what you want will be done.”

43 Then he went back to the followers. Again he found them sleeping. They could not stay awake. 44 So he left them and went away one more time and prayed. This third time he prayed, he said the same thing.

45 Then Jesus went back to the followers and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to the control of sinful men. 46 Stand up! We must go. Here comes the one who will hand me over.”

Jesus Is Arrested

47 While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve apostles came there. He had a big crowd of people with him, all carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent from the leading priests and the older leaders of the people. 48 Judas[d] planned to do something to show them which one was Jesus. He said, “The one I kiss will be Jesus. Arrest him.” 49 So he went to Jesus and said, “Hello, Teacher!” Then Judas kissed him.

50 Jesus answered, “Friend, do the thing you came to do.”

Then the men came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 When that happened, one of the followers with Jesus grabbed his sword and pulled it out. He swung it at the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.

52 Jesus said to the man, “Put your sword back in its place. People who use swords will be killed with swords. 53 Surely you know I could ask my Father and he would give me more than twelve armies of angels. 54 But it must happen this way to show the truth of what the Scriptures said.”

55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Why do you come to get me with swords and clubs as if I were a criminal. Every day I sat in the Temple area teaching. You did not arrest me there. 56 But all these things have happened to show the full meaning of what the prophets wrote.” Then all of Jesus’ followers left him and ran away.

Jesus Before the Jewish Leaders

57 The men who arrested Jesus led him to the house of Caiaphas the high priest. The teachers of the law and the older Jewish leaders were gathered there. 58 Peter followed Jesus but stayed back at a distance. He followed him to the yard of the high priest’s house. Peter went in and sat with the guards. He wanted to see what would happen to Jesus.

59 The leading priests and the high council tried to find something against Jesus so that they could kill him. They tried to find people to lie and say that Jesus had done wrong. 60 Many people came and told lies about him. But the council could find no real reason to kill him. Then two people came 61 and said, “This man[e] said, ‘I can destroy the Temple of God and build it again in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Don’t you have anything to say about these charges against you? Are they telling the truth?” 63 But Jesus said nothing.

Again the high priest said to Jesus, “You are now under oath. I command you by the power of the living God to tell us the truth. Tell us, are you the Messiah, the Son of God?”

64 Jesus answered, “Yes, that’s right. But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right side of God. And you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 When the high priest heard this, he tore his clothes in anger. He said, “This man has said things that insult God! We don’t need any more witnesses. You all heard his insulting words. 66 What do you think?”

The Jewish leaders answered, “He is guilty, and he must die.”

67 Then some there spit in Jesus’ face, and they hit him with their fists. Others slapped him. 68 They said, “Show us that you are a prophet,[f] Messiah! Tell us who hit you!”

Peter Is Afraid to Say He Knows Jesus

69 While Peter was sitting outside in the yard, a servant girl came up to him. She said, “You were with Jesus, that man from Galilee.”

70 But Peter told everyone there that this was not true. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” he said.

71 Then he left the yard. At the gate another girl saw him and said to the people there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 Again, Peter said he was never with Jesus. He said, “I swear to God I don’t know the man!”

73 A short time later those standing there went to Peter and said, “We know you are one of them. It’s clear from the way you talk.”

74 Then Peter began to curse. He said, “I swear to God, I don’t know the man!” As soon as he said this, a rooster crowed. 75 Then he remembered what Jesus had told him: “Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” Then Peter went outside and cried bitterly.

Jesus Is Taken to Governor Pilate

Chapter 27 Early the next morning, all the leading priests and older leaders of the people met and decided to kill Jesus. They tied him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Judas Kills Himself

Judas saw that they had decided to kill Jesus. He was the one who had handed him over. When he saw what happened, he was very sorry for what he had done. So he took the 30 silver coins back to the priests and the older leaders. Judas said, “I sinned. I handed over to you an innocent man to be killed.”

The Jewish leaders answered, “We don’t care! That’s a problem for you, not us.”

So Judas threw the money into the Temple. Then he went out from there and hanged himself.

The leading priests picked up the silver coins in the Temple. They said, “Our law does not allow us to keep this money with the Temple money, because this money has paid for a man’s death.” So they decided to use the money to buy a field called Potter’s Field. This field would be a place to bury people who died while visiting in Jerusalem. That is why that field is still called the Field of Blood. This showed the full meaning of what Jeremiah the prophet said:

“They took 30 silver coins. That was how much the people of Israel decided to pay for his life. 10 They used those 30 silver coins to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”[g]

Governor Pilate Questions Jesus

11 Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor, who asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Yes, that’s right.”

12 Then, when the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders made their accusations against Jesus, he said nothing.

13 So Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear all these charges they are making against you? Why don’t you answer?”

14 But Jesus did not say anything, and this really surprised the governor.

Pilate Tries but Fails to Free Jesus

15 Every year at Passover time the governor would free one prisoner—whichever one the people wanted him to free. 16 At that time there was a man in prison who was known to be very bad. His name was Barabbas.[h]

17 When a crowd gathered, Pilate said to them, “I will free one man for you. Which one do you want me to free: Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 Pilate knew that they had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous of him.

19 While Pilate was sitting there in the place for judging, his wife sent a message to him. It said, “Don’t do anything with that man. He is not guilty. Last night I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much.”

20 But the leading priests and older Jewish leaders told the people to ask for Barabbas to be set free and for Jesus to be killed.

21 Pilate said, “I have Barabbas and Jesus. Which one do you want me to set free for you?”

The people answered, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate asked, “So what should I do with Jesus, the one called the Messiah?”

All the people said, “Kill him on a cross!”

23 Pilate asked, “Why do you want me to kill him? What wrong has he done?”

But they shouted louder, “Kill him on a cross!”

24 Pilate saw that there was nothing he could do to make the people change. In fact, it looked as if there would be a riot. So he took some water and washed his hands[i] in front of them all. He said, “I am not guilty of this man’s death. You are the ones who are doing it!”

25 The people answered, “We will take full responsibility for his death. You can blame us and even our children!”

26 Then Pilate set Barabbas free. And he told some soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then he handed him over to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.

Pilate’s Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus

27 Then Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace. All the soldiers gathered around him. 28 They took off Jesus’ clothes and put a red robe on him. 29 Then they made a crown from thorny branches and put it on his head, and they put a stick in his right hand. Then they bowed before him, making fun of him. They said, “We salute you, king of the Jews!” 30 They spit on him. Then they took his stick and kept hitting him on the head with it. 31 After they finished making fun of him, the soldiers took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be killed on a cross.

Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross

32 The soldiers were going out of the city with Jesus. They saw a man from Cyrene named Simon, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 They came to the place called Golgotha. (Golgotha means “The Place of the Skull.”) 34 There the soldiers gave Jesus some wine mixed with gall.[j] But when he tasted it, he refused to drink it.

35 The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Then they threw dice to divide his clothes between them. 36 The soldiers stayed there to guard him. 37 They put a sign above his head with the charge against him written on it: “ this is jesus, the king of the jews.”

38 Two criminals were nailed to crosses beside Jesus—one on the right and the other on the left. 39 People walked by and shouted insults at Jesus. They shook their heads 40 and said, “You said you could destroy the Temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross if you really are the Son of God!”

41 The leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the older Jewish leaders were also there. They made fun of Jesus the same as the other people did. 42 They said, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself! People say he is the king of Israel. If he is the king, he should come down now from the cross. Then we will believe in him. 43 He trusted God. So let God save him now, if God really wants him. He himself said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And in the same way, the criminals on the crosses beside Jesus also insulted him.

Jesus Dies

45 At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued for three hours. 46 About three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?”[k]

47 Some of the people standing there heard this. They said, “He is calling Elijah.”[l]

48 Quickly, one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled the sponge with sour wine and tied the sponge to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to get a drink from it. 49 But the others said, “Don’t bother him. We want to see if Elijah will come to save him.”

50 Again Jesus cried out loudly and then died.[m]

51 When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. 52 The graves opened, and many of God’s people who had died were raised from death. 53 They came out of the graves. And after Jesus was raised from death, they went into the holy city, and many people saw them.

54 The army officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything that happened. They were very afraid and said, “He really was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were standing away from the cross, watching. These were the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for him. 56 Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John[n] were there.

Jesus Is Buried

57 That evening a rich man named Joseph came to Jerusalem. He was a follower of Jesus from the town of Arimathea. 58 He went to Pilate and asked to have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave orders for the soldiers to give Jesus’ body to him. 59 Then Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a new linen cloth. 60 He put Jesus’ body in a new tomb that he had dug in a wall of rock. Then he closed the tomb by rolling a very large stone to cover the entrance. After he did this, he went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other woman named Mary were sitting near the tomb.

The Tomb of Jesus Is Guarded

62 That day was the day called Preparation day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that he has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about him before.”

65 Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” 66 So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it.


  1. Matthew 26:11 You will … with you See Deut. 15:11.
  2. Matthew 26:39 cup A symbol of suffering. Jesus used the idea of drinking from a cup to mean accepting the suffering he would face in the terrible events that were soon to come.
  3. Matthew 26:42 do this Literally, “drink this,” referring to the “cup,” the symbol of suffering in verse 39.
  4. Matthew 26:48 Judas Literally, “the one who handed him over.”
  5. Matthew 26:61 This man That is, Jesus. His enemies avoided saying his name.
  6. Matthew 26:68 prophet A prophet often knows things that are hidden to other people.
  7. Matthew 27:10 “They took … me” See Zech. 11:12-13; Jer. 32:6-9.
  8. Matthew 27:16 Barabbas In some Greek copies the name is Jesus Barabbas.
  9. Matthew 27:24 washed his hands Pilate did this as a sign to show that he wanted no part in what the people did.
  10. Matthew 27:34 gall Probably used as a drug to relieve pain.
  11. Matthew 27:46 Quote from Ps. 22:1.
  12. Matthew 27:47 “He is calling Elijah” The word for “My God” ( Eli in Hebrew or Eloi in Aramaic) sounded to the people like the name of Elijah, a famous man who spoke for God about 850 B.C.
  13. Matthew 27:50 died Literally, “let his spirit leave.”
  14. Matthew 27:56 James and John Literally, “the sons of Zebedee.”