Two days before the Passover, Judas conspired with Jewish leaders who desired to kill Jesus. On the night of the Passover, Jesus instituted the sacrament.
Have you ever seen a movie or read a story in which someone was betrayed? Why was that person betrayed? How would you feel if a close friend betrayed you? As you read about the final hours of Jesus Christ’s life, remember that He was betrayed by a close friend.
For the ancient Israelites, the Passover week was one of the most important weeks of the year. “The Feast of the Passover was instituted [in Moses’s time] to help the children of Israel remember when the destroying angel passed over their houses and delivered them from the Egyptians [see Exodus 12:21–28; 13:14–15].” As part of the Passover, the Israelites sacrificed a lamb and sprinkled its blood over their doorposts. “The unblemished lambs, whose blood was used as a sign to save Israel anciently, are a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice redeemed all mankind” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Passover,” scriptures.lds.org).
Read Matthew 26:1–2, looking for what Jesus Christ said would occur after the Passover.
Next, read Matthew 26:3–5, looking for who was formulating a plan to kill Jesus at this time.
Why did the scribes and chief priests decide to wait until after the Passover to kill Jesus?
In Matthew 26:6–13 we read that while Jesus was in Bethany, a woman came to Him and anointed Him with very expensive ointment to acknowledge His impending death and burial. Some of His disciples, including Judas, one of the Twelve Apostles and the group’s treasurer, complained that the ointment should have been sold to help the poor. However, Judas was not truly concerned for the poor but was a thief who wanted the money for himself (see John 12:4–6).
Read Matthew 26:14–16, looking for what Judas did after the Savior rebuked him for complaining.
Notice how much Judas received as payment for betraying Jesus. “According to the law of Moses, thirty shekels of silver would compensate an owner for the death of a slave (see Exodus 21:32). … The betrayal price reflects the low regard Judas and the chief priests had for the Savior” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 81). It also fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy of the betrayal of the Savior (see Zechariah 11:12).
Think about the last time you looked in a mirror. What are some ways mirrors can be helpful to us?
Read the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, looking for and marking why it is important to see ourselves clearly, as God sees us:
“None of us likes to admit when we are drifting off the right course. Often we try to avoid looking deeply into our souls and confronting our weaknesses, limitations, and fears. Consequently, when we do examine our lives, we look through the filter of biases, excuses, and stories we tell ourselves in order to justify unworthy thoughts and actions.
“But being able to see ourselves clearly is essential to our spiritual growth and well-being. If our weaknesses and shortcomings remain obscured in the shadows, then the redeeming power of the Savior cannot heal them and make them strengths. …
“So how can we shine the pure light of God’s truth into our souls and see ourselves as He sees us?
“May I suggest that the holy scriptures and the talks given at general conference are an effective mirror we can hold up for self-examination” (“Lord, Is It I?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 58).
Consider how the scriptures and the talks given at general conference might be like a mirror to help us see ways we need to improve our lives.
As you study Matthew 26:17–25, look for a principle that can help you recognize your weaknesses so that you can work to overcome them.
In Matthew 26:17–19 we read that Jesus told His disciples to secure a room in Jerusalem for the Passover meal.
Read Matthew 26:20–21, looking for what Jesus told His Apostles during the Passover meal.
If you had been there, what might you have been thinking after Jesus said this?
Read Matthew 26:22, looking for the question the Apostles asked Jesus.
What does the question “Lord, is it I?” teach you about the eleven faithful Apostles?
One principle we can learn from this account is that when disciples of Jesus Christ hear the word of the Lord, they examine their own lives to see how it applies to them.
President Uchtdorf said the following about this account:
“The disciples didn’t question the truth of what [Jesus] said. Nor did they look around, point to someone else, and ask, ‘Is it him?’ …
“I wonder what each of us would do if we were asked that question by the Savior. Would we look at those around us and say in our hearts, ‘He’s probably talking about Brother Johnson. I’ve always wondered about him,’ or ‘I’m glad Brother Brown is here. He really needs to hear this message’? Or would we, like those disciples of old, look inward and ask that penetrating question: ‘Is it I?’” (“Lord, Is It I?” 56).
Have you ever been tempted to disregard the Lord’s words and assume they were meant for someone else? Read the following statement, looking for what President Uchtdorf invited us to do when we hear the words of the Lord:
“In these simple words, ‘Lord, is it I?’ lies the beginning of wisdom and the pathway to personal conversion and lasting change. …
“We must put aside our pride, see beyond our vanity, and in humility ask, ‘Lord, is it I?’
“And if the Lord’s answer happens to be ‘Yes, my son [or daughter], there are things you must improve, things I can help you to overcome,’ I pray that we will accept this answer, humbly acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, and then change our ways by becoming better” (“Lord, Is It I?” 56, 58).
In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you were blessed by applying the words of the Lord in your life. Then write a specific goal regarding what you will do to better examine your own life whenever you hear or read the words of the Lord.
After the Savior ate the Passover meal with His Apostles, He instituted the ordinance of the sacrament.
Ponder your answers to the following questions: When you last partook of the sacrament, what were you doing? What were you thinking? What did you feel?
Read Matthew 26:26–29, looking for what the Lord did with the bread and the contents of the cup.
Through these verses we learn that the emblems of the sacrament represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which He sacrificed for us.
Look for the inspired changes that were made. How do they help us understand an important purpose of the sacrament?
Through these inspired changes we learn that Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament for us to remember Him and His Atonement for our sins.
If possible, watch the video “Always Remember Him” (5:28) to further understand the purpose and importance of the sacrament. In this video Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explains that the purpose of the sacrament is to remember Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. This video is available on LDS.org.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How has trying to remember the Savior and His Atonement affected your feelings and experiences while partaking of the sacrament?
What are some things that can distract us during the administration of the sacrament?
How can avoiding these distractions during the sacrament service help us have a more spiritual experience?
What are some things you can do to help you focus on the Savior and the significance of this ordinance during the sacrament service and remember Him throughout the week?
According to Matthew 26:27–28, what does the shedding of Christ’s blood allow us to receive as we partake of the sacrament?
Merely eating the bread and drinking the water during the sacrament does not automatically qualify us to receive a remission, or forgiveness, of our sins. We must exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and partake of the sacrament with real intent by always remembering Him and striving to keep His commandments. By worthily partaking of the sacrament, we renew our baptismal covenants.
Consider writing the following principle in the margin of your scriptures: When we repent and partake of the sacrament with real intent, we can receive a remission of our sins.
In your scripture study journal, write how you will apply the truths concerning the sacrament that you have identified in Matthew 26:26–30.
Reread Matthew 26:29, looking for when the Savior said He would next partake of the sacrament.
“As recorded in Matthew 26:29, the Savior told His disciples that He would not drink the fruit of the vine again until He drank it with them in His Father’s kingdom. Thus, the sacrament not only symbolizes the Savior’s Atonement but also looks forward in anticipation to the time when He will return to the earth in glory (see 1 Corinthians 11:26).
“In the latter days, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith details of a future occasion when He will drink the fruit of the vine on the earth. As recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 27, the Lord revealed that He will partake of the sacrament again on the earth with His followers, including many ancient prophets, such as Moroni, Elias, John the Baptist, Elijah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph who was sold into Egypt, Peter, James, and John, ‘and also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all’ (see D&C 27:4–14). The Lord’s followers include ‘all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world’ (D&C 27:14). This means that if we remain true and faithful to the covenants that we have made and endure to the end, we will be among those who partake of the emblems of the sacrament with the Savior at this future time” (New Testament Student Manual, 83–84).
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Matthew 26:1–30 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: