Matt 26:1-27:66

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Home > The New Testament > Matthew > Chapters 26-27
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Matt 26:1-16: Preparations for Passover, Jesus anointed with oil[edit]

Matt 26:17-35: Last Supper[edit]

Matt 26:36-46: Gethsemane[edit]

  • Matt 26:41: Spirit. The Greek term pneu^ma is used widely to refer to the Holy Ghost (as in Matt 28:19 "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost") as well as other kinds of spirits: the unclean spirits in Matt 12:43, Matt 5:3's "poor in Spirit", when Christ "yielded up the ghost" in Matt 27:50, etc. More thorough definitions showing the usage of "spirit" are found at and Blue Letter
  • Matt 26:41: The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Jesus may have intended three different meanings:
1) The spirit of God, which motivates the disciples to follow Jesus, is active (i.e. willing), but the disciples themselves are physically tired and unable to stay awake (i.e. weak). This reads as if Jesus was excusing their behavior.
2) The spirit of God is active within the Church upon the earth, (e.g.Eph 4:4-16) but the Apostles, who represent the Church here, are not up to the task. This reads as the Lord chastising and warning his disciples.
3) Jesus may have been referring to himself: his divine nature was willing to do the will of the Father, but hisBurial mortal nature was nearly overwhelmed. This reads as Jesus reiterating his plea for support (vs. 38-40).
The context of the phrase supports 1 and/or 2, but 3 is nevertheless a possibly intentional double-meaning.
  • Matt 26:44. See 3 Nephi 19:16-20 Discussion page for parallels/contrasts between Christ and his apostles at Gethsemane and Christ and His disciples at Bountiful.

Matt 26:47-75: Arrest and Trial before Caiaphas[edit]

Matt 27:1-25: Trial before Pilate[edit]

  • Matt 27: Ironies. There are many ironies in the account of Jesus's trial and crucifixion in Matthew 27.
  • The chief priests and elders refused to take the money back, or place it in the treasury, (yet that is likely where the money came from) so they used it to purchase something for the people. (Matt 27:3-10).
  • In verse 6 the chief priests call the pieces of silver "the price of blood." It is appropriate that this silver is named the price of blood since it was for this price that Jesus's blood was bought. Note that similar language is used to describe how it is that we are saved through Jesus's sacrifice. Acts 20:28 says that Christ purchased "the church of God" with his own blood. It is ironic that Jesus's blood, blood which purchased the salvation of all mankind, was bought for only 30 pieces of silver. (Matt 27:6)
  • In verse 11 Christ acknowledges the authority of Pilate. We could rewrite the last part of this verse in common English as: Q: "So they say you are the King of the Jews, are you?" A: "I am whatever you say I am, as you are the boss." Note that in John 19:19-21 Pilate seems to legally give Christ a Kingdom on Earth, if just for a brief moment, as a mockery of the priests. (Matt 27:11)
  • It is ironic that the people release Barabbas. Litterally, Barabbas's name means "son of the father." But Christ is the Son of the Father. (Matt 27:16-20)
  • It seems ironic also that his wife tells Pilate she "suffered many things" because of Christ when Christ atoned for our sins to alleviate suffering. (Matt 27:19)
  • Pilate washes his hands of the blood of Christ. Compare this with the fact that Christ washes our sins (the works of our sins) through his blood. (Matt 27:24)
  • The people say "His blood be on us, and on our children." They didn't understand fully what they were saying - in duality. They are asking to be condemned by his blood. And, his blood is what makes them and their children (if they repent) cleansed. (Matt 27:25)
  • The mocking treatment of Jesus by the soldiers is ironic since he truly is their king. (Matt 27:27-29)
  • It is interesting that Simon was "compelled" to carry Christ's cross. We give our crosses (sins, sufferings, etc.) to Christ who helps us carry ours. We are never compelled to carry our own, let alone others. (Matt 27:32)

Matt 27:26-56: Crucifixion[edit]

  • Matt 27:46. Possible explanations for why Christ says "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Ps 22:1) include:
  1. Christ had to suffer all of the consequences of sin in order to atone for the sins of the world. Since one consequence of sin is that the presence of God is withdrawn, Christ had to go through this.
  2. God the Father could not bear to watch his son in pain and so He turned away.
  3. As the cross reference indicates, this is the first part of Psalm 22:1; Christ was reciting this psalm, and Matthew and Mark refer to the psalm by its first line, much as we often refer to the hymns. And the psalm is a prophecy of the manner in which Christ had just been treated (Ps 22:18), which could make this reference by Christ an announcement of his divinity.
Note that these explanations are not mutually exclusive. The first two of these three explanations suggest that Christ did not fully comprehend either a) what was happening to him, or b) the reason it was happening, or both. He either incorrectly perceived that he had been abandoned (forsaken), or he did not comprehend the reason for it.
This may be the point referred to when Christ says "I have ... trodden the wine-press alone" D&C 76:107. See commentary on that verse for further discussion.
  • Matt 27:51. How is it that a hanging veil can tear from the top down? This is clearly a miracle.
  • Matt 27:53. It is an interesting reversal that the dead (who are unclean by the Law of Moses) are entering a "holy" (sanctified and clean) city?

Matt 27:57-66: Burial[edit]

  • Matt 27:66. Was the stone meant to keep people out, or people in?

Unanswered questions[edit]

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  • Matt 27:8. The potters field is called "The field of blood." Does this mean the field of Jesus' blood or the field of Judas' blood?
  • Matt 27:14. Why does a non-response cause Pilate to "marvel?" Is it because Christ does not deny? Does Pilate consider this both an acknowledgement and a denial of the accusations?

Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Matt 27:33. Golgotha is the place of a skull. What does Matthew note this? Is there some significance to it?
  • Matt 27:42. Would the chief priests really have believed at this point--after all the other miracles they saw?
  • Matt 27:46. What does Christ's question tell us about his nature during his earthly ministry?
  • Matt 27:46. Why was it necessary for Christ to submit to something he did not fully comprehend?
  • Matt 27:53. What is the holy city that is referred to? Is it Jerusalem? Is it the city of God in the Celestial Kingdom?
  • Matt 27:63-64. Verses 63 and 64 indicate that Jesus's enemies understood Jesus's prophecies about rising again. How do we reconcile this with the lack of understanding Jesus's own disciples have about Jesus rising from the dead? See Mark 16:10-11, Luke 24:10-11, and John 20:2.


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  • Matt 26:41. Several General Conference talks have cited verse 41 "the spirit is willing ..." including:
  • In O Divine Redeemer Elder Maxwell uses Matt 27:46 as an example to show us that the Lord knows what it is like to feel forsaken.
  • In Jesus of Nazareth Elder Haight quotes Talmage's explanation in Jesus the Christ for why the Father "seems to have withdrawn."
  • In Behold Your Little Ones Elder Kerr of the seventy uses this verse in his discussion of Jesus as an example of the power that one person can have. Specifically, he uses this verse to say that Jesus had to stand alone to accomplish the atonement. See Exegesis explanation 1.
  • In The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope President Faust quotes Matt 27:46 as part of telling the story of the atonement. In reference to this verse President Faust says that Jesus "was treading the wine-press alone."
  • In That They Might Know Thee (Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 99–101), Elder Keith R. Edwards relates a story in which he gains personal insight into the perspective of the Father during the suffering of His son.


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