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Matthew 26 Reading Guide

Dig In:

Chapter Overview:

Chapters 26 and 27 are two of the longest chapters in the New Testament. I don't know why those who enumerated the Bible with chapters and verses made this decision, but it's certainly reflective of how long these days must have felt. It works out well that we're hitting these chapters coming into a weekend: perhaps you can spread the reading out so that you can soak it all in.

  • v1-30 - The first half of this long chapter moves quickly, covering several events:

    • The establishment makes final plans to kill Jesus;

    • Jesus has expensive perfume poured over Him in an act of worship, one of the things that sends Judas over the edge, since he immediately goes to sell Jesus out;

    • Jesus and His disciples celebrate the Passover in a rented room, and Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper.

  • v31-46 - Jesus prays one short prayer several times (v39, 42, 44).

    • See if you can find the AAA elements (Acknowledge, Align, Ask - hint: they don't come in that order);

    • The disciples, whose "eyes were heavy (v43)," can't stay awake.

  • v47-56 - The brute squad, led by Judas, finds Jesus and arrests Him.

    • Swords come out for an instant, before it's quelled by Jesus.

    • "Then all the disciples deserted him and fled (v56)."

  • v57-68 - The kangaroo court begins session, with the Son of Man on trial.

    • v65 makes clear why the establishment wanted Jesus dead: because He claimed to be God.

    • The high priest tore his clothes in response to Jesus' claim. How do you respond to it?

  • v69-75 - The famous account of Peter's three denials.

Dig Deeper:

v24 is an awesome account of how God simultaneously plans, permits and uses sin, but also punishes it:

The Son of Man

will go

just as it is written about him.

Notice Jesus' resolute conviction: He will submit to Judas' sin. Jesus makes no effort to prevent or interfere with Judas' sinful desire. In fact, God had planned for this sin to occur, and had been predicting it for thousands of years.

But woe

to that man

who betrays the Son of Man!

It would be better for him

if he had not been born.”

As we noted back in chapter 23, the word 'woe' is simply a more refined, polite way of saying 'to hell with you.' Although God planed, permitted and used Judas' sin to bring you salvation, the sin itself is still wrong. Here we learn another interesting thing about sin: all sins are sufficient to convict us before our holy Creator, but some sins are more significant and earn more punishment than others. Certainly Judas's betrayal is one of the most heinous sins ever committed, but not far behind it is the sin of rejecting the suffering Savior who purchased salvation.


Psalm 40:6–8 speaks of Jesus:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—

but my ears you have opened—

burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—

it is written about me in the scroll.

I desire to do your will, my God;

your law is within my heart.”


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL— When Peter heard the rooster crow after he had denied Jesus three times, what did Peter do next? (See verse 75.)

  2. How are we are called upon to “keep watch” with Jesus, as the disciples were called to do in verses 38–41?

Thomas, Mack. The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, the Mighty One & Ancient of Days (v39, 42, 64)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Yet not as we will, but as you will. May your will be done (v39 & 42).



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