Preparing the Way of the Lord

Matthew 26: Passover Betrayal

Mathew 26

Jesus warns that at the Passover he will be betrayed and crucified. He also sets the date as being AFTER two days; that is Passover would be the third day.

Matthew 26:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 26:2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Now the chief priests of the church of God as it was established in those days, conspired against Christ. Notice they cared nothing for God’s Festivals and were only concerned about what the people might think and do.

26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 26:4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.

Notice very carefully that this is PROOF that the Passover was the day BEFORE the High Day; for they were afraid to take him on the High Day; yet they did take Christ on the Passover Day! 

Yet the brethren knew that this was the Passover day as did the Jews; proving that during the Temple period the Passover was kept from the beginning of the 14th day until the sunset ending the 14th and the beginning the Holy Day of the 15th.

26:5 But they said, Not on the feast day [The first Holy Day of The Feast of Unleavened Bread], lest there be an uproar among the people.

Remember that Jesus had told them that he would be crucified on Passover; and this woman understanding that wept over him and anointed him; while the disciples who had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry still did not understand.

This is an example for us today that it is not the proud who are given understanding, but the humble who love and serve their Master.

26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper [Greek leper. Possible alternate translation: Aramaic potter], 26:7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.

Judas was the one who stirred up this indignation that he might find personal gain. How like Judas are many of the church of God today who want the people to give everything to themselves and are jealous of those who are zealous to who give themselves to Jesus Christ.

They want us to give them the precious sacrifice of our service, in obedience to them, and for us to obey them instead of obeying the teachings and commandments of Christ.

26:8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 26:9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.

Jesus said: Do not rebuke those who are zealous for God

26:10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Judas was really offended at this rebuke and not understanding spiritual things, but seeking only physical gain by his association with Christ; in anger went out to arrange his betrayal.

26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 26:15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

Zechariah 11:12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 11:13 And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.

Matthew 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Below we have a difficult translation; for the proper wording should be rendered “before the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread”; and not rendered the “first day of the Feast”.

The word “on” was chosen by translators not familiar with the Passover / Feast of Unleavened Bread because of the modern Rabbinic error.

We KNOW this because we just saw that the rulers were afraid to take Christ on the First High Day! And therefore took him on the Passover preparation day!  We also know that Jesus ate the Passover after sunset ending the thirteenth day and before midnight on the 14th day of the month, the Passover day. 

This means that Jesus told the disciple to go and prepare at least sometime on the 13th day of the first month. 

26:17 Now the [when the] first day of the feast of unleavened bread [and the Passover were approaching] the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 26:18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

The Passover Day

The two disciples or the host, would have taken a lamb to be killed according to the law, at the Temple; again showing that in those days the Temple practice was to kill the Passover at the Temple on the 14th day and not on the 15th day of the month which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 

On the 13 day of the first month, the evening Daily Sacrifice was started with the “Hour of Prayer” about 3 PM and completed soon after sunset, at which time the Passover sacrifices began. 

The lambs would be killed just after sunset and because of the great multitudes, the killing would continue through the night and into the daylight.

In Egypt each family killed its own lamb; and when Israel left Egypt certain changes from the commandment specific to leaving Egypt were made, because they were no longer in Egypt.

For example they could not leave their homes in Egypt for the entire night; because of the danger of the destroyer.  This danger was no longer present on subsequent Passover’s and Christ himself went out to the garden after eating the Passover.

The Passover can now lawfully be eaten at any time on Passover day [the 14th day]; however it is appropriate that we follow our Lord’s example and eat it after sunset ends the 13th day and begins the 14th day of the first biblical month.

Christ and his disciples ate the Passover at the time that it was eaten in Egypt, and then Christ himself was killed as our Passover, later during the daylight portion of the 14th; but STILL ON THE 14TH.

26:19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. 26:20 Now when the even [probably near midnight as the lamb had to be prepared whole and was killed only after sunset] was come, he sat down with the twelve.

During the Passover meal of eating the lamb; Christ speaks of his betrayer.

26:21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 26:22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? 26:23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Judas asked quietly to see if he was known, and Jesus replied in the affirmative, but so that most of the others did not hear or understand.

26:25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

As the meal was ending, the commanded Unleavened Bread and Wine were explained, blessed and distributed by Christ.

26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Jesus said that he would not again drink wine with them until after he had been killed and resurrected into eternal life by God the Father.

The other words of Christ spoken at this Passover are recorded mainly by John.

26:29 But I say unto you, 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. 26:30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

The disciples are warned that they [not yet being given God’s Spirit]; shall fear and deny Christ at his death.

26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Jesus also prophesies that he will appear in Galilee, after his resurrection.

26:32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

Peter in his enthusiastic zeal and not understanding what is coming, proclaims his passionate love and loyalty for Jesus [Hebrew: Yeshua; meaning Salvation].

26:33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 26:34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 26:35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Jesus goes to pray and takes three of his disciples, who will soon be tried particularly by Satan, to pray with him. Peter so full of the zeal of words, and so soon be tempted profoundly by Satan; and James and John the sons of thunder, who will be so tested when their Master dies and does not establish the Kingdom at that time.

26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch [wait] with me.

26:39 And he went a little farther [from them], and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Jesus tells Peter to pray about his coming trial

26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Jesus in his own hour of trial prays that God the Father’s will be done.  What a shameful disgrace that today’s Ekklesia compromise and reject scripture for our own pleasures; while Jesus Christ fulfilled the Father’s will to a terrible death.

26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Remember they had been up all day and night and had just eaten and drunk wine; this was now very early morning.

26:43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 26:44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Jesus chides the sleepers and warns them that the hour has arrived for his arrest.  Brethren, most today are also asleep and comfortable in their slumbers.

26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 26:46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

The betrayal and arrest

26:47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

26:48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

26:50 And Jesus said unto him [Judas], Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.

A disciple tries to resist and fight for Christ

26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

The disciples of Christ are not to take up arms in his defense in religious wars; for the Kingdom of God is not yet; until Christ comes with his heavenly armies. Then will the resurrected fight in the host [army] of Almighty God.

26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 26:55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.

26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Christ is arrested and taken to the High Priest.

26:57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 26:58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

The accusation that Jesus [Hebrew: Yeshua] claimed to be the Christ the son of God was true. The term “false witnesses” can mean false accusers; and in this case means that they are witnessing that the words [witness] of Christ were false. They are mocking and attacking Yeshua’s claim to be the Messiah the Son of God.

26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 26:60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none [reasonably credible]. At the last came two false witnesses, 26:61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

26:62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 26:63 But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

Yeshua [Jesus] then admits to the charge that he claims to be the Messiah, the Christ! He then adds to his claim, by saying that he shall come [return] in the clouds as the Son of God the Father; the Messiah, the Christ.

26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Jesus was then convicted of blasphemy for his claim that he was God, the Son of God.

26:65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 26:66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

26:67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 26:68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?

The temptation of Peter

26:69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 26:70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.

Out of fear of men, Peter falsely swears that he does not know Christ.

26:71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 26:72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.

26:73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

Peter must have been absolutely crushed to remember the words of Jesus and his own protestations of loyalty. This trial made Peter a man totally dedicated to never again denying Christ.

We are taught and tempered by our experiences as well as our studies. Like Peter many of us have denied Christ: often by compromising with the teachings and commandments of Christ, and so denying his authority over his people.

Right now and throughout history God’s people have learned through their experiences as well as from study, and as long as we live: God is not finished with us yet.

26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept [repented] bitterly. 

Brethren, we can also repent after falling, as Peter did; and then go forward in passionate zeal as Peter [and later Paul] did! 

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