Matthew 26: "My Time Is at Hand"

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 35–36

As Matthew 26 begins, the mortal ministry of Jesus is nearly over. For three years Jesus traveled among the Jews teaching His gospel, testifying of His mission in both word and action, and setting up His Church on the earth. All He had done up to that time would have been of no use, however, if he did not complete what He prepared Himself to do, as recorded in Matthew 26–28.For over a thousand years, Israelites remembered how the Lord had saved their lives and delivered them from slavery in Egypt with a special ceremony and meal called Passover, or the feast of unleavened bread (see Exodus 12–13). The main element of the Passover meal was a young, perfect, male lamb. In the first Passover, those who put the blood of a lamb on the doorpost of their house, as commanded, were saved from the destroying angel that killed the firstborn in all the land of Egypt.This lamb symbolized Jesus Christ and His act of saving us from the slavery of sin and death. Knowing this, consider what it must have been like for Jesus and His disciples as they shared the Passover meal as described in Matthew 26. Soon after, Jesus Himself would be the Lamb that every Passover lamb was a symbol for. Notice what Jesus did to replace the Passover with another ceremony and ordinance that looks back on—rather than forward to—the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. You will likely notice and feel many other things about the Savior as you carefully read Matthew’s testimony of the events leading up to the Crucifixion of the Lamb of God.

Understanding the Scriptures

Matthew 26

Subtilty (v. 4)A quiet and dishonest way 
Alabaster (v. 7)A light-colored stone, considered beautiful and valuable 
Precious ointment (v. 7)Valuable perfumed oil 
Indignation (v. 8)Anger and disgust (a judgmental anger) 
Wrought a good work (v. 10)Done a good thing 
Testament (v. 28)Covenant 
Yonder (v. 36)Over in another place 
Staves (vv. 47, 55)Clubs 
Perish (v. 52)Be destroyed, die, or be killed 
Presently (v. 53)Ready to give 
Legions (v. 53)Large groups (a Roman legion was about six thousand men) 
Laid no hold on me (v. 55)Did not arrest me 
Forsook (v. 56)Left 
Rent (v. 65)Tore (a sign of great unhappiness) 
Blasphemy (v. 65)Mockery of sacred things 
Buffeted (v. 67)Forcefully hit 
Smote (vv. 67–68)Slapped 
Without (v. 69)Outside 
Bitterly (v. 75)With grief 

Matthew 26:23—“Dippeth His Hand with Me in the Dish”

See “Understanding the Scriptures” for John 13:25 (p. 86).

Garden of Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36–46—What Is Gethsemane?

Gethsemane is a garden of olive trees at the base of the mount of Olives (see Luke 22:39). The name literally means “oil-press”—the place where olive oil was squeezed from raw olives, which are bitter. There is great symbolism in the fact that Jesus chose this place to bear the sins of mankind, where His suffering caused Him “to bleed at every pore” (D&C 19:18), thus making possible forgiveness of sin and, ultimately, eternal life.

Matthew 26:59–60—False Witnesses

The law required two or three witnesses before a man could be put to death (see Deuteronomy 17:6). The false witnesses the chief priests gathered together, however, were unable to get their lies to agree (see Mark 14:55–59). It is ironic that the Jews who wanted to crucify Jesus tried very hard to follow their law of witnesses but apparently did not worry about the law to not bear false witness (see Exodus 20:16).

Matthew 26:69–75—Peter Denies Jesus

See “Understanding the Scriptures” for Luke 22:31–34, 54–62 (p. 71).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Matthew 26.

Activity A iconThe Last Supper and the Sacrament

As mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, Jesus and His disciples were participating together in a Passover meal (see Matthew 26:17–20), which was also a ceremony or ordinance that the premortal Christ commanded them to participate in when He gave the law of Moses. In the middle of this meal, the mortal Christ introduced a new ordinance of remembrance and worship that we call the sacrament (see vv. 26–29).

  1. 1.

    Carefully look at the additions and corrections in the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 26:28 (see JST, Matthew 26:24–25). What important truths do we gain from the Joseph Smith Translation?

  2. 2.

    Imagine that you have been asked to give a presentation about the sacrament to the Primary children in your ward or branch. Make a chart or draw pictures that would help you explain the sacrament as Jesus introduced it in Matthew 26:26–29.

Activity B iconThe Importance of Music

  1. 1.

    According to Matthew 26:30, what did Jesus and His disciples do before Jesus took them to the Garden of Gethsemane?

  2. 2.

    What might have been the value of doing this?

  3. 3.

    Name a hymn that helps you feel how you think that hymn might have helped Jesus and His disciples feel. Explain what it is about the hymn that is so helpful to you.

Activity C icon“My Will” versus “Thy Will”

Christ praying in Gethsemane
  1. 1.

    In Matthew 26:36–46, Matthew recorded at least a part of what Jesus prayed during three different times in the garden of Gethsemane. What is the same or different about each of those prayers?

  2. 2.

    What were Jesus’ disciples doing while Jesus was praying? How could what He said to them in Matthew 26:41 be symbolic of His struggle as He thought and prayed about what He needed to do?

  3. 3.

    Read Mosiah 15:7; 3 Nephi 11:11; and Doctrine and Covenants 19:19. In your notebook, write the phrases from these verses that describe what motivated Jesus to “drink the bitter cup” of suffering He experienced in Gethsemane.

  4. 4.

    Briefly write about a lesson you think we can apply to our own lives from the example of Jesus in Gethsemane. As you do, tell about a situation in which a person your age might need to apply this example of Jesus.