MATTHEW: DIVISION XVI

THE MESSIAH'S ARREST, TRIAL AND CRUCIFIXION, 26:1-27:66

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A. The Messiah's Death Explained and Plotted, 26:1-5

(26:1-5) Introduction: it was apparently Wednesday of Jesus' last week (see notes— Matthew 21:1-11; note— Matthew 21:12-16; notes— Matthew 21:17-22; notes— Matthew 21:23-27). He was to be killed on Friday, just two days away. In these few verses Matthew gives a glimpse into the drama that was rapidly building. Two scenes are pictured: Jesus was intensely preparing His disciples for His death, and the religionists were behind closed doors demonically plotting His death.

What Jesus explained about His death is explicit: He was to be betrayed and crucified. What the religionists plotted was explicit: they were going to kill Jesus.

1. Jesus' death was explained to His disciples (v.1-2).

a. His death was tied to the Passover.

b. His death was the Son of Man dying.

c. His death was caused by betrayal.

d. His death was to be by crucifixion.

2. Jesus' death was plotted by the religionists (v.3-5).

a. His death was planned by all the leaders.

b. His death was to be by deception.

1) He was to be arrested on false charges and killed.

2) He was to be arrested quietly after the pilgrims had left the feast.

1. (26:1-2) Jesus Christ, Death: Jesus' death was explained to His disciples. In just two days He was to be crucified. The disciples had to be strengthened for the hour of trial lest their dreams become dashed upon the rocks of despair and they loose faith. Remember, their thoughts were focused on the Messiah restoring the kingdom of David to Israel. They were thinking that He, the Messiah, was going to deliver Israel from Roman bondage. The Messiah would free the nation and establish it as the greatest nation on earth under the rule of God Himself (see note— Matthew 1:1; Deeper Study #2—Matthew 1:18; Deeper Study #2—Matthew 3:11; note— Matthew 11:1-6; note— Matthew 11:2-3; Deeper Study #1—Matthew 11:5; Deeper Study #2—Matthew 11:6; Deeper Study #1—Matthew 12:16; note— Matthew 22:42; note— Luke 7:21-23). There was the very live possibility that the apostles could lose faith when they saw Him being put to death by the hands of mere men. It could appear as though He was being forsaken by God! Christ had to do everything He could to prepare them. There were four basic facts about His death that would help and help tremendously.

1. Christ's death was tied to the Passover (see Deeper Study #1—Matthew 26:2; Deeper Study #1—Luke 22:7). He was foretelling the disciples the exact day He was to be killed, and it was to be the very same day the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed. And note, He was tying His death to the sacrifice of the lamb. As John the Baptist had proclaimed earlier, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, 36).

"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever" (John 6:54-58).

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephes. 1:7).

"But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:19).

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).

2. Christ's death was the Son of Man Himself dying (see Deeper Study #3—Matthew 8:20). "Son of Man" means that He perfectly identified with man in human flesh. But it means more, much more: it means that He is the Ideal Man, the Man who lived a perfect and sinless life. By living without sin, He has become the Ideal and Perfect Man, the Pattern Man for all men. It is the Son of Man who knows our trials and hurts, pain and suffering. It was the Son of Man who lived a perfect life and who secured a perfect righteousness—the Son of Man who died for us. And because He died, His Ideal righteousness and Ideal death can stand for our righteousness and death.

"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3).

"Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father" (Galatians 1:4).

"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour" (Ephes. 5:2).

"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14).

"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).

"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin" (1 John 3:5).

"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).

"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9).

He is our Ideal righteousness and life. When we seek for a Savior, it is He for whom we must seek. It was the Son of Man Himself who was to die, the only Man who could die as the Ideal Man; and because He was the Ideal Man, His death can cover all men. His death is the Ideal death, the Pattern death which covers any man who calls upon Him.

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18).

3. Christ's death was caused by betrayal. One of the disciples was going to betray Him (see note— Matthew 26:20-25; note— Matthew 27:3-5; note— Mark 14:10-11; note— Luke 22:4-6; note— John 13:18 and Deeper Study #1—John 13:18; note— John 13:21-26). Note that Christ used the present tense, "is betrayed." The betrayal was certain, immediate, staring Him right in the face.

4. Christ's death was to be by crucifixion. (Death by crucifixion is graphically described in the outline— Matthew 27:26-44, notes— Matthew 27:26-44, and Deeper Study #1—Matthew 27:26-44; notes— Mark 15:16-41; note— Luke 23:26-49; note— John 19:16-37.)

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Galatians 3:13).

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:8-10).

Thought 1. The Passover clearly shows the glorious preparation of God for salvation, for taking away the sins of the world. The Paschal lamb was given by God as a picture of the giving of His Son for the sins of the world.

Thought 2. Jesus died for us. He has taken away the sins of the world.

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18. See note— Matthew 17:22-23; note—-§Matthew 20:18 and Deeper Study #1—Matthew 20:18.)

Thought 3. Jesus did all He could to prepare His disciples for the great trial they were to face in witnessing His death. He does all He can to prepare us for whatever lies ahead. Just think of the things He has told us that lie out in the future. How well He has prepared us—lest we be caught off guard (see outlines—§ Matthew 24:1-25:46 and notes— Matthew 24:1-25:46).

Thought 4. Jesus' death not only saves us, but it encourages us to bear the trials of life.

"For consider Him that endured such contradiction (hostility) of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:3).

DEEPER STUDY #1 (26:2) Passover— Jesus Christ, Death

2. (26:3-5) Religionists, Plot Jesus' Death: Jesus' death was plotted by the religionists. Matthew painted a dramatic picture. While Christ was on one side of town preparing His disciples for His death, the religionists were on the other side of town plotting His death. And note: they were in the house of the high priest behind closed doors.

1. Christ's death was plotted by all the leaders: the chief priests, the Scribes, and the elders (see Deeper Study #1—Matthew 16:21; Deeper Study #2—Matthew 26:3).

a. Note where they met, how deceptive it was. They met in the home (palace) of the high priest, not in the official court. It was a secret plot, to be kept quiet until the right moment for the arrest and murder.

b. Note who it was that took the lead in the plot: Caiaphas, the high priest himself, the very person who was supposed to be the spiritual leader of the people.

2. Christ's death was to be wrought by deception and lies.

a. He was to be arrested on false charges and killed (see outline— Matthew 26:60-66 and notes— Matthew 26:60-66).

b. He was to be arrested quietly, after all the pilgrims had left the feast to return home. The feast day refers to all eight days of the feast. The danger of an uprising would not have passed until they had all left the city. Of course, the threat of an uprising was removed by the willingness of Judas' to betray Christ. In the crowded masses of about two million bodies within the city, Judas was able to show them where Christ was and to quietly identify Him. He was able to show them how Christ could be quietly taken in the dark of the night (cp. Matthew 26:47-50).

"Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips" (Romans 3:13).

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived" (1 Cor. 6:9).

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience" (Ephes. 5:6).

"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:7-8).

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).

"For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful" (Psalm 36:2).

"There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness" (Proverbs 30:12).

"Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" (Proverbs 20:6).

"And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity" (Jeremiah 9:5).

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).

Thought 1. Note how even the most religious can be gripped by the fear of losing position, power, recognition, esteem, and security (see notes— Matthew 12:1-8; note— Matthew 12:10 and Deeper Study #1—Matthew 12:10; notes— Matthew 15:1-20; Deeper Study #2—Matthew 15:6-9; Deeper Study #3—Matthew 16:12). How worldly, how attached to the things of the world even the most religious become!