Matt 26:2 after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified
It is truly remarkable how many times the Master clearly told the disciples what was going to happen to him, and still they did not understand. The gospel of Matthew alone records 6 previous instances (either plainly or in parable) declaring he would be killed (see Matt. 12:40; 16:21; 17:12; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; 21:39-42). This seventh declaration, like the others, seems to go in one ear and out the other. Mark reports that, 'they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him' (Mark 9:32). Luke records, 'they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying' (Lu 9:45). Like so many other things, 'These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they' (Jn. 12:16).
Interesting how unreceptive we can be to concepts we don't understand or don't like! This phenomenon happens to us all the time. We read scriptural passages over and over again without comprehending the full meaning of the words. How many prophetic details regarding the end of the world and the Lord's coming will be understood only in retrospect? After certain prophesied events occur, we will reread our scriptures and ask ourselves, "why didn't I ever see that before? It's written here as plain as day!" Just as Christ's death didn't fit into the disciples' mental construct of the Messiah, there are events yet to take place which will surprise us-not because we were not told-but because we were not ready to receive them.
Matt 26:3-4 the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders...consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him
Robert J. Matthews wrote, "The Jewish leaders made several formal attempts to arrest and dispose of Jesus before the feat was actually accomplished. The record shows that the Pharisees, particularly, held several councils and consulted with others to plot the death of Jesus. When he was finally betrayed by Judas and taken captive, it was the culmination of more than two years of planning." (Behold the Messiah, 265.)
While Christ had condemned their hypocrisy on many occasions, this last murderous plot defines the pinnacle of human hypocrisy. These "defenders of the law" had broken commandment #1-having placed the god of personal pride before the Lord God Jehovah. They had broken commandment #6-'thou shalt not kill' (Ex. 20:13). They had broken commandment # 9-in carefully preparing false witnesses (v. 59). And they had broken commandment #10-in that they coveted Christ's authority, knowledge, and popularity. Nephi correctly ranked their wickedness, saying 'there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God' (2 Ne 10:3). But they were not just the most wicked nation on earth, they were the most wicked nation in the Universe, as Elohim told Enoch, 'among all the workmanship of mine hands (speaking of other planets) there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren' (Moses 7:36). Thus, we may fairly say, the men who put Christ to death were the most wicked men of the most wicked nation of the most wicked planet in the Universe.
Matt 26:8 To what purpose is this waste?
John tells us that this question was posed by Judas, 'not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag' (Jn. 12:6). Today, some criticize the Church for spending too much on our temples. "Think of how many poor people could be fed with the money used on that temple," they declare with Judas-like hypocrisy. Yet our offerings to God, whether Mary's costly spikenard or latter-day temples, must be made with only the best, regardless of cost.
"The builders of the Kirtland Temple used the very finest materials available in its construction. At the time, some suggested that the temple be made of local timber, but Joseph Smith insisted that the building be made only from quarried stone. Although this was a financial hardship and posed difficulties for the few men available, Smith's directions were followed, and a sandstone quarry was purchased and used. The exterior plaster of the temple was made from crushed glass, bone, and other materials at great sacrifice...'Come ye, with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities; and with all who have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come, and bring the box-tree, and the fir-tree, and the pine-tree, together with all the precious trees of the earth; and with iron, with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your precious things of the earth; and build a house to my name, for the Most High to dwell therein' (D&C 124:26-27)." (Donald W. Parry, ed., Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism, 165.)
Matthew 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you
"This is taken by many as welcome proof of the hopelessness of trying to end poverty and the futility of giving; in the Bible it means just the opposite. In the New Testament, Judas had protested that the costly ointment used to anoint Jesus' feet could better have been sold for the benefit of the poor, but Jesus reminded him that if he was so eager to help the poor, he would always have excellent opportunities, while the Son of Man was to be with them only for a day or two. But the poor you have always with you; you have plenty of time to bless them. That is not an excuse to help them; it's an obligation to help them all the more." (Approaching Zion, 429 - 431.)
Matt 26:12-13 she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial
This woman was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (see Jn. 12:1-3). Forever would her humble deed be remembered as the last recorded honor bestowed to that body which was soon to be smitten, scourged, and crucified. "To anoint the head of a guest with ordinary oil was to do him honor; to anoint his feet also was to show unusual and signal regard; but the anointing of head and feet with spikenard, and in such abundance, was an act of reverential homage rarely rendered even to kings. Mary's act was an expression of adoration; it was the fragrant outwelling of a heart overflowing with worship and affection." (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 512.)
While the disciples couldn't comprehend Christ's impending crucifixion, Mary was inspired to anoint "the Anointed One" in preparation for his burial. With that spiritual sensitivity so common to the sisters, Mary was more in tune than were the disciples. Indeed this was a product of her consistently choosing 'that good part, which shall not be taken away from her' (Luke 10:42).
Matt 26:15 they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver
Bruce R. McConkie
"[Thirty pieces of silver] was the fixed price of a slave... Thirty pieces of silver! Such would they pay for the life of their God-no more and no less. And by so doing all men ever after would know that they esteemed him as the basest of men. And thus, also, even their attempts to debase and insult would fulfil, in literal detail, the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah which had foretold their evil conspiracy. 'If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear,' the Lord says of the sum for which he will be sold. 'So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.' (Zech. 11:12.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:702-703)
Matt 26:17 the first day of the feast of unleavened bread...the passover
How fitting it is that the Lord would introduce the Sacrament on the evening of the Passover meal! Indeed, the Passover was the Law of Moses version of the sacrament. Both were meant to symbolize his atoning sacrifice. With the fulfillment of the Law of Moses animal sacrifice was replaced with a new requirement-that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Similarly, the Lord would replace the Passover ordinance with the ordinance of the Sacrament. However, Jewish Christians, by reason of culture and commandment (Ex. 12:14), celebrated both the Sacrament and the Passover, 'For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.' (1 Cor 5:7-8)
Joseph Fielding Smith reminds us how the Passover started:
"The feast of the Passover was instituted at the time the children of Israel came out of Egypt. In the deliverance of Israel the Lord sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh with a demand that he let Israel go to worship the Lord beyond the borders of Egypt. Before this consent was given terrible plagues were visited upon the Egyptians. The tenth and last plague was the smiting of the first-born of every household among the Egyptians. By command of the Lord the Israelites had marked the posts and lintels of their doorways with the blood of a lamb and the angel of death passed by all houses so marked, while in the houses of the Egyptians the hand of death was seen. The night that this was done the Israelites ate the flesh of the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and this was done in haste, for the Israelites were waiting, girded and with staff in hand, for the command to gather their substance, such as they could take, and depart from Egypt. The term Passover is from the Hebrew word pesach (Greek paschal), to pass by, and from the incident of the angel passing by the homes where the sign of the blood of the lamb was found, the lamb slain and eaten at the feast of the Passover is known as the Paschal lamb. This lamb had to be a male of the first year, and without spot or blemish, which was the requirement in all sacrifices, and not a bone was to be broken. The reason for this is that the sacrifice was typical of the great sacrifice which should be made by Jesus Christ. In commemoration of this passing by of the angel of the Lord and the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, the Lord required that this feast should be observed annually in Israel." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 1: 120 - 121.)
Let's review the symbolism of the Jewish Passover, for 'all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him' (2 Ne 11:4).
The Atonement & The Sacrament
1. The blood of the lamb saves Israel from physical death
1. The blood of the Lamb saves all from physical and spiritual death.
2. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year (Ex. 13:10)
2. I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things (the Sacrament) which ye have seen me do. (JST Matt 26:25)
3. Lamb was male, without blemish or broken bone
3. Christ was without blemish or broken bone
4. The Lamb was to be eaten (Ex. 12:8)
4. The Sacrament bread must be eaten, for 'Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life' (Jn 6:54).
5. The Passover meal included saying a blessing before drinking wine and blessing the unleavened bread before breaking and eating it (McConkie, DNTC 1:720)
5. The emblems of the Sacrament are blessed prior to partaking
6. The unleavened bread was broken
6. The Bread of Life was without hypocrisy and his body was broken in death
7. The Passover wine was mixed with water (McConkie, DNTC 1:720)
7. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water (Jn 19:34)
8. No leavened bread was allowed in the house during the feast (Ex 12:19-20)
8. No hypocrisy is allowed in partaking of the Sacrament (1 Cor. 11:28-29)
9. The Egyptian firstborn die for Pharaoh's sin
9. God's Firstborn dies for the sins of mankind
10. Moses delivers children of Israel from physical bondage
10. Christ delivers the children of men from spiritual bondage
Orson F. Whitney
"The [Last] Supper, like the [Passover] Feast, pointed to the Atonement; but in the Passover the pointing was forward to an event that had not yet occurred, while in the Supper, for the reverse reason, the indication is backward. It is said that the paschal lamb was offered in the Temple at Jerusalem about the same hour that Christ died; the substance and the shadow thus corresponding. Thereafter the Passover was obsolete, having fulfilled its purpose." (Saturday Night Thoughts, 151.)
"'With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.' To eat what with you? The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Thus He eat both, for the two ceremonies centered in Him, He was the embodiment of both, He was the Being provided before the foundation of the earth, and prophecied of by men of God throughout all the preceding ages; and also on account of whom the sacrifices were offered up by all the servants of the Lord, from the fall of Adam to that time; and all the various atonements heretofore offered pointed to Him, for whom they were all made and in whom they all centered." (Mediation and Atonement, 125.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"It is the time of the Lord's Passover!
"Nay, more, it is the Passover of Passovers. In Jehovah's House, in Jerusalem the Holy City, on this very day-April 6, A.D. 30-calculating on the basis of one yearling lamb for each ten persons, some two hundred and sixty thousand lambs will be slain. And then on the Passover morrow the Lamb of God himself will be sacrificed; he in whose name and honor countless lambs have had their blood sprinkled on the holy altar will himself have his blood shed that its saving power may be sprinkled upon believing souls forever." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4: 19.)
Matt 26:20 when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve
Gordon B. Hinckley
"I like occasionally to open the New Testament and read of the Last Supper. I think I can envision in my mind the gathering together of the Twelve in the Upper Room. I think maybe they came in very happily, very jauntily. They were all brethren and they probably shook hands with one another and said, 'How are you doing, Peter?' 'How are things going, John?' and a few such things as that. But I think when the Lord came in He was sober and quiet and thoughtful and sad. He knew what was coming. They could not seem to understand it. But He knew what was coming, that He would have to give His life in pain and terrible, unspeakable suffering if He were to accomplish the mission outlined by His Father for the redemption of mankind." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 561 - 562.)
Matt 26:22 they...began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It was our beloved Savior’s final night in mortality, the evening before He would offer Himself a ransom for all mankind. As He broke bread with His disciples, He said something that must have filled their hearts with great alarm and deep sadness. “One of you shall betray me,” He told them.
"I remind you that these men were apostles. They were of apostolic stature. It has always been interesting to me that they did not on that occasion, nudge one another and say, 'I'll bet that its old Judas. He has surely been acting queer lately.' It reflects something of their stature. Rather it is recorded that: They were exceedingly sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (Matt. 26:22.)
"Would you, I plead, overrule the tendency to disregard counsel and assume for just a moment something apostolic in attitude at least, and ask yourself these questions: Do I need to improve myself? Should I take this counsel to heart and act upon it? If there is one weak or failing, unwilling to follow the brethren, Lord, is it I?" (March 23, 1965, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1965, p. 3.)
Joe J. Christensen
"There are many in the divorce courts who are saying or thinking, 'If my partner would change, we could probably make a go of this marriage.' Generally, there is enough fault to go around. As someone once said, 'It is a mighty thin pancake that doesn't have two sides.' We need to enter into a healthy dose of self-analysis, as the disciples did in the upper room when Jesus said that one among them would betray him, and each one asked, 'Lord, is it I?' (Matthew 26:22).
"We can and must come to realize the eternal importance of our marriages and develop the capacity to overlook each other's faults. As we invite the Spirit of the Lord to be with us, we can come to realize more fully that our companions are literal children of our Heavenly Father. The most important association in all the world to help us become like him is our sacred marriage relationship. When we truly understand this, we will commit ourselves to join the construction team and not be on the wrecking crew." (One Step at a Time: Building a Better Marriage, Family, and You, 28 - 29.)
Matthew 26:24 woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!
Many have wondered what judgment would come upon Judas Iscariot. Is he a son of perdition? Some have tried to mitigate his great sin and therefore his great punishment. One argument is that Judas had not yet been given the gift of the Holy Ghost and therefore could not be guilty of denying the Holy Ghost. But there is another element of his great sin which is too often overlooked, for the sons of perdition have 'denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame' (DC 76:35). This was Judas' sin. Certainly, Christ's 'open shame' began with Judas' hypocritical kiss.
Therefore, there is no question what will be his fate-he is a son of perdition. The scriptures declare 'it had been good for that man if he had not been born.' The Lord has never referred to any mortal as a son of perdition except Judas. During the Intercessory Prayer, the Lord referred to Iscariot when he said, 'none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled' (Jn. 17:12).
Matthew 26:26-28 The administration of the Sacrament
Bruce R. McConkie
"No single account of the institution of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, standing alone, contains enough to let us know the reality and the glory and the wonder of what happened in that upper room as the Paschal supper died and the sacramental supper was born. Nor for that matter do all the biblical accounts taken together reveal the glorious mystery of it all." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4: 57.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"We are a covenant people. I have had the feeling that if we could just encourage our people to live by three or four covenants everything else would take care of itself; we would not have to have anything else except to go forward with our program.
"The first of these is the covenant of the sacrament, in which we take upon ourselves the name of the Savior and agree to keep His commandments with the promise in His covenant that He will bless us with His spirit. If our people would go to sacrament meeting every week and reflect as they partake of the sacrament on the meaning of the prayers which are offered, . . . if they would listen to the language of those prayers, which were given by revelation, and live by them, we would be a better people, all of us would be. That is the importance of the sacrament meeting. The speakers are incidental. The great thing is that we gather together and partake of the sacrament together. . . ." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 146 - 147.)
David O. McKay
"There are three things fundamentally important associated with the administration of the sacrament. The first is self-discernment. It is introspection. 'This do in remembrance of me,' but we should partake worthily, each one examining himself with respect to his worthiness.
"Secondly, there is a covenant made; a covenant even more than a promise...A covenant, a promise, should be as sacred as life. That principle is involved every Sunday when we partake of the sacrament.
"Thirdly, there is another blessing, and that is a sense of close relationship with the Lord. There is an opportunity to commune with oneself and to commune with the Lord. We meet in the house that is dedicated to him; we have turned it over to him; we call it his house. Well, you may rest assured that he will be there to inspire us if we come in proper attune to meet him." (Conference Report, April 1946, Afternoon Meeting 112.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"The covenant made by members of the Church each time they partake of the Sacrament, should constantly be uppermost in their minds. Never should they eat the bread or drink the water, without a full realization of just what they are doing and what it means to them. The covenant made embraces the following:
"First, that through the sanctified bread and water, we too, sanctify ourselves in partaking of it before our Heavenly Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ.
"Second, that we eat in remembrance of his broken body and of his blood which was shed for us.
"Third, that we are willing to take upon us the name of the Son, and not be ashamed of him. We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, and if faithful have taken upon us his name.
"Fourth, we covenant that we will always remember him. This embodies the willingness to love and honor him.
"Fifth, that we will keep his commandments which he has given us.
"These things we covenant to do when we partake of these emblems; moreover, we renew the covenant each week, if we perform our duty. The promise made to us, if we will do these things, is that we shall always have his Spirit to be with us.
"No member of the Church can fail to make this covenant and renew it week by week, and retain the Spirit of the Lord. The Sacrament meeting of the Church is the most important meeting which we have, and is sadly neglected by many members. We go to this service, if we understand the purpose of it, not primarily to hear someone speak, important though that may be, but first, and most important, to renew this covenant with our Father in heaven in the name of Jesus Christ. Those who persist in their absence from this service will eventually lose the Spirit and if they do not repent will eventually find themselves denying the faith." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1: 123.)
JST Matthew 26:25 I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do
Elder John Wells
"...he told them that as often as they should meet together they should do this in remembrance of him. Our Savior left no Church ritual, nor did he outline in detail the proceedings that his followers should adopt for their meetings. He gave them no sermon and no form of worship distinctive from that which they had been accustomed to in the synagogues; but he did leave that one definite thought: that as often as they should meet together they should partake of the bread and wine in remembrance of his body and blood and of his death and sufferings, and this they should do until he should come again." (Conference Report, April 1926, Afternoon Session 122.)
Matthew 26:28 this is my blood...which is shed for many
Interestingly, the scripture says that his blood was shed for many. But wasn't Christ sacrifice for all of God's children?
The atonement satisfies the demands of justice on two points: it overcomes physical death and spiritual death, both of which are products of the Fall. Christ's mastery over physical death is symbolized by his body and the sacrament bread. Death comes upon all men and all men are resurrected regardless of their degree of righteousness. But his blood, symbolized by the wine, ransoms only those who believe on his name and repent. They are the only ones who will be saved from spiritual death. The blood is shed for many because his sacrifice will be refused by some. Such is the saddest irony of God's dramatic judgment-redemption denied because of 'the easiness of the way' (Alma 37:46), Hence, the Lord has declared, 'I, God, have suffered these things for all [with one important exception]...if they would repent' (DC 19:16).
Matthew 26:29 that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom
"According to ancient and modern scripture, Jesus Christ, the bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-13), will host a 'marriage supper' at his second coming when he symbolically claims his bride, the faithful members of his Church (Rev. 19:5-9; D&C 109:73-74).
"In Jesus' parable of the marriage of the king's son (Matt. 22:1-14), 'the king' represents God, and 'his son' is Jesus. The guests first 'bidden to the wedding,' are the house of Israel. Guests invited later from 'the highways' are the gentiles to whom the gospel went after most Jews rejected it in the meridian of time (JC, pp. 536-40).
"Latter-day Saints believe that by teaching and exemplifying the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world they are extending to all mankind the invitation to come to the marriage feast. 'For this cause I have sent you...that the earth may know that...all nations shall be invited. First, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble; ...then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord' (D&C 58:6-11).
"After partaking of the Sacrament with his apostles, Jesus said, 'I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom' (Matt. 26:29). In latter days, the Lord declared, 'The hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you' (D&C 27:5-12). 'There is to be a day when...those who have kept the faith will be...admitted to the marriage feast; ...they will partake of the fruit of the vine,' or the sacramental emblems of Christ's atoning sacrifice, and reign with him on the earth (TPJS, p. 66)." (John M. Madsen, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, 860.)
Matthew 26:30 when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives
We can only imagine how somber the mood and melancholy the melody of Christ's last mortal hymn. But we can surmise the message and words that were sung. According to the Passover custom, the last event was to sing Psalms 115-118 (See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1: 744.). By tradition the psalms were more often sung than read. These sacred lyrics were indeed prophetic, for they include the phrases, 'The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?' and 'therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me' and 'The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.' (Ps 118:6-7, 22-23)
"Many have recorded powerful experiences with hymns which have brought about conversion or increased testimony, or which have given comfort, courage, or strength by opening communication through the spirit. The Lord has said that 'the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.' (D & C 25:12.) Hymn-singing, then, can be another form of communication with our Father in heaven. While we are used to thinking of singing hymns in church as another form of worship, praise, or supplication, we may not have realized that, like prayer, the communication can go in both directions: not only from us as an expression of praise, gratitude, worship, or pleading; but also to us as inspiration, guidance, comfort, or conversion. As the forces of the adversary seem to be marshalled in anticipation of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, so must we use every means available to us to fortify ourselves and our children. There is great power in the hymns of the Latter-day Saints. It is available to all, regardless of musical ability or training. Just as prayer is not limited to the articulate, neither is hymn experience limited to the musically articulate." (LaVonne VanOrden, comp., Blessed by the Hymns, Preface)
David B. Haight
"As deacons and teachers, we sat on the first row, prepared to pass the sacrament...Everyone was expected to sing the special sacrament hymn. Everyone did sing. Children were trained not only to be reverent but also to know some of the words of the most familiar sacrament songs...We were learning in our youth that in order to feel of the Spirit, we must experience a change in our hearts, and in order to be in harmony on this sacred occasion, we had to sing the sacrament hymn. As we sang the words, our souls were better prepared to understand this sacred ordinance. At the Last Supper the early apostles joined with the Savior in singing. Matthew records, 'And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives' ("Matt. 26:30Matthew 26:30). As we young boys would sing in sacrament meeting, the message of the words would be impressed upon our hearts. There comes to one's soul heavenly thoughts as he joins in heavenly expressions coupled with heavenly melody." (A Light unto the World, 173.)
Matthew 26:33 Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended
Jeffrey R. Holland
"Peter was, in President Kimball's words, 'a diamond in the rough-a diamond that would need to be cut, trimmed, and polished by correction, chastisement, and trials-but nevertheless a diamond of real quality. The Savior knew this apostle could be trusted to receive the keys of the kingdom.' Time was short. Much had to be done in a matter of months. Jesus prepared Peter as quickly as possible for the call that was to come.
"...Peter had been certain that his strength was sufficient for such times; that if necessary he would withstand evil alone. Reassuringly he had said to Jesus, 'Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.' ("Matthew 26:33.) But in the kingdom of God, no man's strength is sufficient. This sobering, sorrowing realization-that he was not, of himself, capable of what God requires-was perhaps the final ingredient in Peter's short months of personal preparation." (However Long and Hard the Road, pp. 91, 95.)
Matthew 26:36 a place called Gethsemane
"Significantly, the greatest act of 'the true vine' took place at the 'mount of olives,' in a place called Gethsemane, meaning 'oil press,' though the Hebrew behind the first element of the name usually refers to a winepress (Matthew 26:36; Luke 22:39; John 18:1). There, pressed under the weight of the sins of the world, he shed blood at every pore (Luke 22:44; Mosiah 3:7; D&C 19:18), like a grape in the press." (Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch, eds., The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5, 383.)
Matt 26:38 My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death
"For Latter-day Saints, Gethsemane was the scene of Jesus' greatest agony, even surpassing that which he suffered on the cross, an understanding supported by Mark's description of Jesus' experience (Mark 14:33-39).
"According to Luke 22:43-44, Jesus' anguish was so deep that 'his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground,' an observation that harmonizes with the view that Jesus suffered most in Gethsemane during his Atonement...About 125 B.C., a Book of Mormon king, Benjamin, recounted in an important address a prophecy of the coming messiah spoken to him by an angel during the previous night. Concerning the Messiah's mortal experience, the angel declared that 'he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people' (Mosiah 3:7). The Doctrine and Covenants gives the following poignant words of the resurrected Jesus: 'Behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; ...which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit' (D&C 19:16, 18)." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, 542.)
James E. Talmage
"Christ's agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. The thought that He suffered through fear of death is untenable. Death to Him was preliminary to resurrection and triumphal return to the Father from whom He had come, and to a state of glory even beyond what He had before possessed; and, moreover, it was within His power to lay down His life voluntarily.
"He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing.
"No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so; for his human organism would have succumbed, and syncope would have produced unconsciousness and welcome oblivion.
"In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, 'the prince of this world' could inflict...In some manner, actual and terribly real though to man incomprehensible, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world. Modern revelation assists us to partial understanding of the awful experience.
"In March 1830, the glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, thus spake: 'For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent, but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit: and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink-nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.' (DC 19:16-19)
"From the terrible conflict in Gethsemane, Christ emerged a victor. Though in the dark tribulation of that fearful hour He had pleaded that the bitter cup be removed from His lips, the request, however oft repeated, was always conditional; the accomplishment of the Father's will was never lost sight of as the object of the Son's supreme desire." (Jesus the Christ, pp. 613-14.)
Matthew 26:39 O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me
Glenn L. Pace
"As a loving Father in Heaven viewed His Beloved Son suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Savior cried out, 'O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.' (Matthew 26:39.)
"Can you imagine the tears in the eyes of the Father when He had to deny His Son's request? Can you comprehend the sacred tears shed by the Father when He had to abandon the Savior on the cross and hear Him say, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' (Mark 15:34.) And yet, even as God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ wept, sinners laughed." (Spiritual Plateaus, 90.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Will we, too, trust the Lord amid a perplexing trial for which we have no easy explanation? Do we understand-really comprehend-that Jesus knows and understands when we are stressed and perplexed? The complete consecration which effected the Atonement ensured Jesus' perfect empathy; He felt our very pains and afflictions before we did and knows how to succor us (see Alma 7:11-12; 2 Nephi 9:21). Since the most innocent one suffered the most, our own cries of 'Why?' cannot match His. But we can utter the same, submissive word: 'Nevertheless . . .' (Matthew 26:39)." (If Thou Endure It Well, 52.)
Matt 26:39 nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt
Neal A. Maxwell
"There are no Christlike prayers, however, that do not include, as did the Lord's Prayer, deep expressions of gratitude and appreciation to our Father in heaven along with a submittal to Him.
"So very much of pure prayer seems to be the process of first discovering, rather than requesting, the will of our Father in heaven and then aligning ourselves therewith. The 'Thy will be done' example in the Lord's Prayer reached its zenith in the Savior's later prayer in Gethsemane and in His still later submittal on the cross: 'Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.' (Matthew 26:39.)
"When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, 94.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Such love of the Lord requires that we become trustingly patient as experiences come to us that God deems are for our good. We must, on this side of the veil, wait out the inexplicable things, maintaining serenity as the storms beat upon us and as the winds of derision howl. We must be willing to submit ourselves 'to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict' upon us. (Mosiah 3:19.) This is the unconditional submittal of the soul that lies at the very center of the first great commandment; there can be no holding back. Only as we thus come close to the living Lord can we honestly say, in the midst of the fiery trials of life, 'Not as I will, but as thou wilt.' (Matthew 26:39.)" (Notwithstanding My Weakness, 39.)
Matthew 26:40 he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep
Spencer W. Kimball
"That brings to my thought, am I asleep; are you asleep? Are you taking for granted all of the joys and blessings of this world without thinking of the eternities that are to come beyond? Are we asleep? Are we his disciples called by him to serve and to teach and to train, and are we asleep? That question always reaches into my heart. 'Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, 152.)
Matt 26:40 What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
"Loneliness can be a terrible thing.
"It can strike at the heart. It can lead us onto paths that put us in harm's way, both physically and spiritually. It can cause us anguish and pain...Think of the awful loneliness the Savior must have suffered during His final hours on earth. From the time He prophetically announced to His apostles at the Last Supper that one of them would betray Him until the time His mortal life came to a close on the cruel cross of Golgotha, He undoubtedly felt the piercing pangs of loneliness. Matthew leaves us with a brief description of how heavy His heart was as He arrived at the 'place called Gethsemane.'
'And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.' (Matt. 26:37-38.)
"But the three apostles probably were very tired from what had already transpired that evening and fell asleep. Jesus, upon finding them asleep, asked of Peter, 'What, could ye not watch with me one hour?' (Matt. 26:40.) What a sad, despairing inquiry! Even those closest to the Savior failed to give Him support in His loneliest hours." (Don't Languish in Loneliness , LDS Church News, 1995, 03/25/95 .)
Matthew 26:42 if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done
Spencer W. Kimball
"In the first prayer he still seemed to have a glimmer of hope that something could be done about it, but in the latter it seemed to have been definitely settled in his mind that no adjustment could be made, and in order that the purposes of God might not fail he must drink the bitter cup." (Conference Report, April 1945, Afternoon Meeting 59.)
Matthew 26:51 Peter struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear
Neal A. Maxwell
"The living prophets are not perfect men, but they live close to him who is perfect. It is no real reflection on them that in their imperfections these great men at times wish to hold back or to hasten history. Peter smote off the ear of one of those who came to take Jesus captive on the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:51.) Peter did not understand that the 'arrest' of Jesus should not be arrested, because the unfolding events would move from Gethsemane to Golgotha and then to an empty grave, all of which he would witness and preach about for years after." (Things As They Really Are, 77.)
Matthew 26:52 all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
"We believe in peace. We are the devoted followers of the Prince of Peace. We abhor war, save in the actual defense of our homes, our families, our liberties. For we remember that when Peter struck off with his sword the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest, the Lord said: 'All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.' (Matthew 26:52) The Lord made no exceptions to His law. History has made none." (Conference Report, April 1941, First Day-Morning Meeting 21.)
"...he that arms himself with Gun, sword, or Pistol except in the defense of truth, will some time be sorry for it-I never carry any weapon with me bigger than my Pen Knife-when I was dragged before the Cannon and muskets in Missouri, I was unarmed. God will always protect me until my mission is fulfilled." (The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, compiled and edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, 365-369.)
Matt 26:53 thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
"...fathom, if you can, the powers Jesus had at his command. How pitifully futile the might of Pilate's Roman garrison would have been in the face of the twelve heavenly legions Christ could have summoned but didn't (see Matt. 26:53). How easy it would have been for the one who cast out devils to banish the arrogant high priest. How elementary for one who loosed the tongues of the dumb to stop the tongues of false witnesses. Yet he who brought worlds and galaxies into being stood mute before his mortal accusers. He who stilled the rushing winds and pounding waves of the Sea of Galilee stilled not the stormy cries of 'Crucify him! Crucify him!' He who had escaped unharmed from the angry mob at Nazareth (see Luke 4:29-30) faced the small band of arresting soldiers with a simple 'I am he' (John 18:5). The awesome, infinite power at his command was not unleashed to spare himself the least pain, the smallest discomfort. His will was irrevocably interwoven with that of the Father's, and nothing deterred him from its accomplishment." (Selected Writings of Gerald N. Lund: Gospel Scholars Series, 308.)
Matthew 26:65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy
"Thus one of the greatest ironies in history occurred, for Jesus, the divine Son of God, the one person who could not have been guilty of falsely assuming the power of God, was found guilty of blasphemy! Also, the only person since the fall of Adam who had power over physical death was condemned to die!" (Daniel H. Ludlow, "The Greatest Week in History," Ensign, Apr. 1972, 34)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Annas and Caiaphas had done their work well. As the high priests in Israel-one the real, the other the titular high priest-they had guided the Sadducean-dominated Sanhedrin, representative of the hosts of the people, to find the Jesus guilty of blasphemy because he said he was the Son of God. And the garments of Caiaphas had been rent in everlasting witness that the blasphemer before them was worthy of death. They had spoken; the council had spoken; and through them, as the representative leaders of all Jewry, the whole nation had spoken; the collective judgment of the Jews (though yet to be formally ratified) had nonetheless been given." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4: 158.)
Matthew 26:67 They did spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands
Jeffrey R. Holland
"He who most deserved peace and was the Prince of Peace had peace taken from him. He who deserved no rebuke, let alone physical abuse, went under the lash that his taking of such stripes might spare us such pain if only we would repent. The total cost of such combined spiritual and physical suffering is incalculable. Yet the iniquities, including the sorrows and sadness, of every mortal being who ever has lived or will live in this world were laid across one lonely set of shoulders. In the most magnificent display of strength ever known in the world of human endeavor, they were carried until full payment had been made." (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon, 92.)
Matthew 26:73 thy speech bewrayeth thee
Sterling W. Sill
"This interesting experience of Peter points out to us that it is pretty difficult to fool people about ourselves. Probably it was not only Peter's speech that betrayed him; it was also his dress, his manner, and his general appearance. Peter had spent much of his life as a fisherman in Galilee, and his verbal expressions and his weathered look would all be quite different from those of the priests and the elders." (Thy Kingdom Come, 121.)
Matthew 26:75 Peter remembered...And he went out, and wept bitterly
Three times Peter had denied his Lord. The evening's unexpected drama had distracted Peter from his great statement of resolve-'Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee' (v. 35). But the Master would forgive Peter. First there would be the bitter remorse and tears from a seared conscience. Later, the Lord would allow Peter to make full restitution. Hence came the Lord's question to Peter, 'lovest thou me?' (Jn. 21:16)
But the Master didn't ask once, he didn't ask twice, he asked three times-until 'Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?' (Jn. 21:17) (Peter's grief at the third question certainly pales in comparison to the Savior's grief at Peter's third denial.) Peter's affirming answer unwittingly made full restitution for his previous blunder-three times he denied the Lord, three times he would be required to declare his love and allegiance.
Gordon B. Hinckley
"As I have read this account my heart goes out to Peter. So many of us are so much like him. We pledge our loyalty; we affirm our determination to be of good courage; we declare, sometimes even publicly, that come what may we will do the right thing, that we will stand for the right cause, that we will be true to ourselves and to others.
"Then the pressures begin to build. Sometimes these are social pressures. Sometimes they are personal appetites. Sometimes they are false ambitions. There is a weakening of the will. There is a softening of discipline. There is capitulation. And then there is remorse, self-accusation, and bitter tears of regret.
"One of the great tragedies we witness almost daily is the tragedy of men of high aim and low achievement. Their motives are noble. Their proclaimed ambition is praiseworthy. Their capacity is great. But their discipline is weak. ("And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly," Ensign, May 1979, p. 65.)
"Mental control must be stronger than physical appetites or desires of the flesh. As thoughts are brought into complete harmony with revealed truth, actions will then become appropriate.
"The timeless proverb is as true now as when it was first spoken: 'For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he' (Proverbs 23:7)." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 578-579.)
Carlos E. Asay
"To observers in Jerusalem of a former day, Peter may have appeared to be a small, useless weapon as he denied Christ thrice near the high priest's palace (see Matt. 26:69-75). But when the converted Peter stood before the Jews on the day of Pentecost, he testified with the conviction and power of a gleaming sword, placing himself in the hands of God and winning the souls of three thousand people (see Acts 2).
"The mettle of the man Peter did not come automatically and without effort. Peter was subjected to trials and temptations and all else commonly referred to as the refiner's fire. The heat of opposition did not consume him; it served only to burn out the impurities and weaknesses and leave refined and pure metal. Peter emerged from the furnace of affliction as a polished, strong sword of righteousness. His iron strength of character carried him through to the end of his mission.
"After the day of Pentecost, Peter was a man with a cutting edge. He exhibited a sharpness of mind that enabled him to bear witness of the risen Christ. It is recorded that on one occasion his words 'cut to the heart' (Acts 5:33) those who sought to slay him. Undoubtedly such sharpness of mind was the result of much study, fasting, and prayer." (Carlos E. Asay, The Seven M's of Missionary Service: Proclaiming the Gospel as a Member or Full-time Missionary, chap. 4)