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Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps
Lesson 23, May 29 — June 4
Matthew 26; Mark 14; John 13
“In Remembrance”

Matthew 26:1-5, 14-20 Conspiracy Against the Lord (see also Mark 14:1-2, 10-17; Luke 22:1-18)

First, we will continue with the events of “Tuesday,” three days before Jesus’s death.

Read Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16, about the plot to destroy the Savior. Then read verses 17-20 (which take us to “Thursday”), regarding the preparation for the Passover meal, also called the “Last Supper.” (Verses 6-13, wherein Mary anointed Jesus, actually took place the Sunday before, which was addressed two weeks ago in the version found in John 12:1-11.)

John 13:1-17 Jesus Washes the Apostles’ Feet

Read verses 1-3. Ponder what Jesus and the apostles may have been thinking and feeling. This is the prelude to one of Jesus’s supreme, exemplary acts, as recounted in verses 4-17:

  • Jesus dresses Himself as a servant would, and begins washing their feet (verses 4-5). How did Peter react? (verses 6-8).
  • Jesus’s explanation to Peter (verse 8) and Peter’s subsequent request (verse 9) certify that the Savior was performing an essential priesthood ordinance, as was later done in the School of the Prophets under the Prophet Joseph Smith; see D&C 88:138-141. Peter shows us that we should not resist what the Lord wants to do in our lives.
  • Read verses 10-11, noting that although Judas may have been “undeserving” of Jesus’s service, the Savior nonetheless washed his feet also.
  • What do you draw from verses 12-17? In what practical, intentional ways can you apply these teachings in your life?

Matthew 26:21-25; John 13:18-30 Judas (see also Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23)

  • Read the sad announcement in Matthew 26:21-25. The apostles show a good example by not accusing others, but rather looking inward to examine their own motives and behavior. We too can ask the Lord to show us our faults.
  • Read John 13:23-30. Clearly, Judas used his agency, choosing to follow the influence of Satan and the lust for money. Church leaders and others have varied in their opinions regarding Judas’s eternal state.

John 13:33-35 Love One Another

After the Savior’s example of love and service (in washing the apostles’ feet), and as counterpoint to Judas’s dark heart and conduct, Jesus beautifully teaches us the path of discipleship:

  • In verse 33 Jesus explains that He is leaving them, and “so now I say to you …” (thus introducing this as one of His most important final teachings).
  • Read verse 34. In what ways do you think this is a “new” commandment? (see also the law of Moses teaching, in Leviticus 19:18).
  • According to John 13:35, loving one another is also a way we can show and share our belief in and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 26:26-35 The Sacrament and the Walk to Gethsemane (see also Mark 14:22-31; Luke 22:19-20, 31-34, 39; John 13:36-38)

After the departure of Judas, Jesus instituted the ordinance of the sacrament among the eleven apostles:

  • Read and ponder Matthew 26:26-29. This is the end of the sacrifices of the law of Moses, and Jesus is about to become the “great and last sacrifice… an infinite atonement” (Alma 34:10, 12).
  • The Joseph Smith Translation for Matthew 26:26 adds, “… this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you” (JST Matthew 26:2).
  • In verse 28 Jesus states, “this is my blood of the new testament” (or “new covenant”); again signifying the end of the “old” testament or covenant (the law of Moses) and the beginning of the “new” law of the gospel (next on the hierarchy is the law of consecration, which is instituted in the book of Acts).
  • In verse 29 the Savior tells of a time—yet to come—when He will once again partake of the sacrament with His disciples, as is also foretold in D&C 27:5, 14.
  • Is there something in these verses that inspires you to make the weekly sacrament a more moving, renewing experience?

Note: John 14 includes further teachings of the Savior during the Last Supper (not included in the other three Gospels); we will study this chapter next week.

  • After the Passover meal/Last Supper, and the sacrament, Jesus and the eleven apostles sing a hymn (Matthew 26:30; scholars suggest it may have been a hymn based on Psalms 113-118, which was known was “the Hallel” and was part of the Passover tradition).
  • Then they began together the walk from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane (about a mile away; see also John 18:1). At some point the Savior tells the apostles that all of them would be “offended because of me this night” (verse 31), which Matthew points out as fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 13:7.
  • Read the interchange between Peter and Jesus, in Matthew 26:33-35; read also the additional information in Luke 22:31-33.

Note: John 15-17 includes teachings of Jesus that are not in the other three Gospels, which Jesus shared during the walk to Gethsemane. We will study these chapters next week.

Matthew 26:36-44 He Atones (see also Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:40-46)

We now come to the account of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is interesting that John, the only Gospel writer who was near Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, records nothing of this part of our Savior’s atonement. Of the eleven apostles, Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to go further into the Garden with Him (Matthew 26:36-37):

  • What words are used in verses 37-38, describing the Savior’s suffering? (see also Isaiah 53:4-7).
  • Mark 14:33 adds that Jesus was “sore amazed” in His suffering. Remember that Jesus had never experienced the anguish that comes upon one who has sinned, whereas now He is beginning to feel the pain and punishment of all sins, of all mankind, of all God’s inhabited creations.
  • Read the additional account provided in Luke 22:43-44 (see also Mosiah 3:7).
  • In Matthew 26:39, what was Jesus’s plea, and how did He qualify this request to His Father? This is another perfect example for us, as we pray and commune with Heavenly Father.
  • Read Matthew 26:40-44, noting the ongoing interaction between Jesus and His apostles and Jesus and the Father (Luke 22:45 says the apostles were “sleeping for sorrow”). What personal gospel principles can you draw from these verses? Note that three times the Savior expressed in prayer that His desire was to do the will of the Father (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44).

Matthew 26:45-68 The Betrayal, Arrest, and Trials (see also Mark 14:42-65; Luke 22:47-55, 63-65; John 18:2-3, 10-12)

Note: Much of John 18 also addresses these events and adds more information, which we will study in two weeks.

The agony in Gethsemane lasted until past midnight, and it is now “Friday,” the day Jesus is crucified. He was well aware of what He still had to endure:

  • The Savior informed the apostles that the betrayal and arrest were about to happen, even saying, “Rise, let us be going” toward Judas and the multitude (Matthew 26:45-46). He is remarkable and selfless every step of the way.
  • Read verses 47-50. One must wonder—did the chief priests and elders think that they could overpower Jesus by sending a “great multitude” to take Him? Read also John 18:4-9.
  • Read verses 51-54 about Peter’s courageous actions. Note that John 18:10 tells us it was Peter; and Luke 22:51 tells us that Jesus then healed the servant’s ear. What were Jesus’s response and instruction, in Matthew 26:52-54 (“twelve legions of angels” would be 60,000).
  • After He was arrested, Jesus was first taken before Annas, a powerful high priest (see John 18:13, 19-24).
  • Next, Jesus was taken to appear before Caiaphas, the chief high priest (Matthew 26:57). This was His second appearance in a series of sham trials, mockings, and brutalities that Jesus would endure through the rest of the dark night and into the morning.
  • Jesus’s third appearance is before the “chief priests, and elders, and all the council” (meaning the Jewish Sanhedrin; the ruling council in religious affairs; verse 59). What were their strategies, according to verses 59-61? (Mark 14:56 says that “their witnesses agreed not together”).
  • What did Caiaphas do next, and how did Jesus counter, according to Matthew 26:62-66? (Other Bible translations indicate that Jesus’s answer in verse 64—“Thou hast said”—may also be rendered, “Yes, I am” or “Yes, it is as you say.”)
  • What terrors followed for Jesus, in verses 67-68? (see also Luke 22:63-65).
  • In Jacob 4:12, the prophet Jacob asked, “Why not speak of the atonement of Christ…?” In spite of the difficulty of even reading these accounts of Jesus’s severe maltreatment, what spiritual benefit do you think there is in pondering these narratives?

Matthew 26:69-75 Peter’s Denial (see also Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:56-62; John 18:17, 25-27)

Read Matthew 26:69-75. Note that President Spencer W. Kimball stated that he did not agree with the criticism of Peter, preferring instead to focus on Peter’s subsequent powerful ministry as the leader of the Church after Jesus’s death. After all, President Kimball notes, Jesus had instructed Peter to “tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20); and Peter may have felt that he should avoid being arrested, in order to fulfill his role as leader of the Church (see “Peter, My Brother,” BYU devotional, July 13 1971).

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