- Suggested Matthean Passion
based on the Revised NAB translation and on Seminar
discussions at its 2001 and 2002 meetings
[For short form omit bracketed verses 26:14-27:10.]
- Chapter 26
- Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief
- and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over
to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
- and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
- On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples
approached Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to
eat the Passover?"
- He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The
teacher says, "My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall
celebrate the Passover with my disciples."'"
- The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.
- When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve.
- And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you
will betray me."
- Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another,
"Surely it is not I, Lord?"
- He said in reply, "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
- The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that
man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if
he had never been born."
- Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, "Surely it is not I,
Rabbi?" He answered, "You have said so."
- While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke
it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my
- Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink
from it, all of you,
- for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many
for the forgiveness of sins.
- I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the
day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father."
- Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
- Then Jesus said to them, "This night all of you will have your faith
in me shaken, for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep
of the flock will be dispersed';
- but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee."
- Peter said to him in reply, "Though all may have their faith in you
shaken, mine will never be."
- Jesus said to him, "Amen, I say to you, this very night before the
cock crows, you will deny me three times."
- Peter said to him, "Even though I should have to die with you, I will
not deny you." And all the disciples spoke likewise.
- Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his
disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
- He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel
sorrow and distress.
- Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain
here and keep watch with me."
- He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My
Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will,
but as you will."
- When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter,
"So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
- Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing,
but the flesh is weak."
- Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, "My Father, if it is not
possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!"
- Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep
their eyes open.
- He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same
- Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, "Are you still
sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of
Man is to be handed over to sinners.
- Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand."
- While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the
chief priests and the elders of the people.
- His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, "The man I shall
kiss is the one; arrest him."
- Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and
he kissed him.
- Jesus answered him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then
stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
- And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword,
drew it, and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his ear.
- Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its sheath, for all
who take the sword will perish by the sword.
- Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me
at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels?
- But then how would the scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must come
to pass in this way?"
- At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against
a robber, with swords and clubs to seize me? Day after day I sat teaching in
the temple area, yet you did not arrest me.
- But all this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be
fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him and fled.
- Those who had arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest,
where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
- Peter was following him at a distance as far as the high priest's
courtyard, and going inside he sat down with the servants to see the
- The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain false
testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death,
- but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two
- who stated, "This man said, 'I can destroy the temple of God and
within three days rebuild it.'"
- The high priest rose and addressed him, "Have you no answer? What are
these men testifying against you?"
- But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, "I order you
to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Messiah, the
Son of God."
- Jesus said to him in reply, "You have said so. But I tell you: From
now on you will see 'the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power'
and 'coming on the clouds of heaven.'"
- Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has blasphemed!
What further need have we of witnesses? You have now heard the blasphemy;
- what is your opinion?" They said in reply, "He deserves to
- Then they spat in his face and struck him, while some slapped him,
- saying, "Prophesy for us, Messiah: who is it that struck you?"
- Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over
to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean."
- But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what
you are talking about!"
- As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who
were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean."
- Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!"
- A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely
you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away."
- At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man."
And immediately a cock crowed.
- Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the
cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep
- When it was morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people
took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.
- They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
- Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply
regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the
chief priests and elders,
- saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." They said,
"What is that to us? Look to it yourself."
- Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged
- The chief priests took the money, but said, "It is not lawful
to deposit this in the temple treasury, for it is the price of blood."
- After consultation, they used it to buy the potter's field as a burial
place for foreigners.
- That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood.
- Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet,
"And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a
price on his head, a price set by some of the Israelites,
- and they paid it out for the potter's field just as the Lord had commanded
- Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him, "Are you
the king of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You say so."
- And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no
- Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear how many things they are
testifying against you?"
- But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly
- Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to
the crowd one prisoner whom they wished.
- And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called (Jesus) Barabbas.
- So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, "Which one do you
want me to release to you, (Jesus) Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah?"
- For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over.
- While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message,
"Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream
today because of him."
- The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas
but to destroy Jesus.
- The governor said to them in reply, "Which of the two do you want me
to release to you?" They answered, "Barabbas!"
- Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus called
Messiah?" They all said, "Let him be crucified!"
- Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he
handed him over to be crucified.
- Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and
gathered the whole cohort around him.
- They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about
- Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in
his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying,
"Hail, King of the Jews!"
- They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head.
- And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him
in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.
- As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they
pressed into service to carry his cross.
- And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of the
- they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it,
he refused to drink.
- After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots;
- then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
- And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is
Jesus, the King of the Jews.
- Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the
other on his left.
- Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads
- and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three
days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, (and) come down from the
- Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and
- "He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of
Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.
- He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said,
'I am the Son of God.'"
- The revolutionaries who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in
the same way.
- From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the
- And about three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli,
lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you
- Some of the bystanders who heard it said, "This one is calling for
- Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and
putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink.
- But the rest said, "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save
- But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit.
- And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split,
- tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep
- And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the
holy city and appeared to many.
- The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and
they said, "Truly, this was the Son of God!"
- There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed
Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.
- Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph,
and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
- When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph,
who was himself a disciple of Jesus.
- He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it
to be handed over.
- Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it (in) clean linen
- and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a
huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
- But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the
||The NAB's "The chief priests
gathered the money ..." and been translated as "The chief
priests took the money ..." in order to be consistent with 27:7.
||These verses have been elided in
order to omit the riotous blood curse scene, a Matthean polemical device
aimed at the residents of Jerusalem who are led astray by their leaders,
but perennially interpreted as a divine curse upon the Jewish people
||The lection has been ended at 27:61
to omit the Matthean apologetic and polemical scene of guards being posted
at the tomb.