Matthew 26:1-2 – Jesus declares that in two days He is going to be delivered up for crucifixion. The leadership had determined to rid themselves of Jesus because he was a continual threat to their authority. They worried about the volatile atmosphere that existed in Jerusalem and their cozy arrangement that they had with Rome. Religious riots could endanger that fragile relationship, and multitudes followed Jesus.
Following His triumphal entry into Jerusalem the entire city was stirred with His words and deeds. Matthew 21 had occured on the tenth of the month and all that we have covered from that point until now has been said in the last two days. The triumphal entry was on the 10th of the month and chapter 26 begins on the 12th of the month.
Jesus would be crucified on the first day of Passover which would be on the 14th. Jesus had predicted at least three times that he would die and then rise again. The timing of His death was in the hands of the Father. There had been numerous attempts on His life but no man could take His life, He would be the one to lay it down (John 10:18).
The Jewish leadership here now determines that they would seize Jesus when He wasn’t expecting it and kill him. They determined that they would wait until after Passover, because they feared that any plot against Jesus would stir the multitudes to riot. The timing quite clearly was not in their hands as Peter declared in (Acts 2:23).
The Fathers appointed time was Passover, for Jesus was to be the Passover Lamb, making it possible for Israel and any other nation to be delivered from the bondage of slavery to sin. The death of Jesus would make it possible for men to enter the promised land of heaven, just as the blood of the Passover lamb in Egypt made it possible for Israel to begin the journey to the promised land of Israel.
Matthew 26:3-5 – The Jewish leadership here now determines that they would seize Jesus when He wasn’t expecting it and kill him. They determined that they would wait until after Passover, because they feared that any plot against Jesus would stir the multitudes to riot.
The timing quite clearly was not in their hands as Peter declared in (Acts 2:23) The Fathers appointed time was Passover, for Jesus was to be the Passover Lamb, making it possible for Israel and any other nation to be delivered from the bondage of slavery to sin.
According to Josephus there were 256,500 sacrificial lambs offered on a typical Passover in the Temple. The Talmud required that no fewer than ten people were to share a lamb. This would mean that on a typical Passover there were probably over 2 ½ million Jewish people present. The majority of these people believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah as was the witness on Palm Sunday. The death of Jesus would make it possible for men to enter the promised land of heaven, Just as the blood of the Passover lamb in Egypt made it possible for Israel to begin the journey to the promised land of Israel.
The chief priests were Sadducees who were members of the ruling Sanhedrin, the chief elders were lay leaders who were a part of the ruling body of Israel. Nicodemus was a chief elders as was Joseph of Aramathea. Caiaphas was the High Priest who received his appointment not so much as a result of lineage but because of political connection. His relationship to Annais made it easier to appoint him but politics played more of a role. He was not interested in the things of God but rather political expediency.
Jesus was a threat to the arrangements worked out with Rome. Any political or religious riots would be Caiaphas job to control or Rome would place some other puppet who could get the job done. His chief reason for getting rid of Jesus is spoken in (John 11:50).
Caiaphas held the office of High Priest from A.D. 15-37, which was unprecedented, the turn over was incredibly high because of the political juggling act that was required to remain in office. The High Priest who followed Caiaphas lasted only 50 days. It was Caiaphas who oversaw all the business that were in the Temple. This included the buying and selling of ritually pure animals for sacrifice, and the exchanging of “unclean” money for clean. All of this was taxed and the commissions went to Caiaphas and his family. It is for this reason that Jesus overturned the tables in the Synagogue.
These business activities were in the Court of the Gentiles, and this prevented Gentiles from the ability to engage in undistracted worship in the Temple. (Mark 11:17 NASB) And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.”
Matthew 26:6-13 – These verses bring us back to the day before Jesus’s triumphant entry in Jerusalem. The parallel account is described in John 12 and the woman is identified as Mary the sister of Martha.
In Luke 10:39 we know that Mary was attentive to the words of Jesus. She understood what the disciples refused to accept that Jesus was going to die. She in some way knew that His death was for her. She was someone who did not have an agenda or preconceived ideas for Jesus. She accepted the Lord at His word. In pouring the perfume on the Lord she did not consider the cost, it was simply an expression of love and worship for the Messiah.
The disciples haven’t a clue of why she was doing what she did, and became incensed at the waste. From the account in John 12 it was Judas who was most concerned, claiming it could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Judas however was a thief and the money would have been better used in his pockets than wasted on the feet of Jesus.
Jesus rebuked the disciples who according to Mark 14:4 had also joined in their dissatisfaction with Mary’s actions. Mary had once again chosen the better part. There is a season for worship and a season for ministering to the poor. This was the season of worship. She probably did not realize that she was preparing his body for burial but Jesus said her act would be noted throughout time never to be forgotten.
Matthew 26:14-16 – Contrasted with the loving actions of Mary is the evil actions of Judas. Secretly he approached the chief priests and asked them what they would be willing to pay if Judas turned him over to them. Some have speculated that Judas was trying to force Jesus to assume the kingdom by causing him to fall into the hands of his enemies.
Whatever his motives they were clearly pronounced to be evil and caused him to be sentenced to eternal judgment. The price given to him by the priests was thirty pieces of silver the price of a slave according to the law and tradition. Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers was very much a type of the Messiah and was betrayed for the price of a servant (Leviticus 27:2-5). In any case Judas looked for an opportune time to betray the Lord (Luke 22:6).
Matthew 26:17-19– Jesus observed the Passover on the first of the two days that were celebrated. This was the anniversary of the liberation of the Jewish people from their bondage in Israel. God gave specific instructions concerning the remembrance of this day in Exodus 12.
The disciples came to Jesus asking Him where do you want us to prepare the Passover? They had to go and get the lamb that had been set aside for Passover, bring it to the Temple and offer it there and then return with the Lamb to prepare for the meal. They had to cleanse the house of leaven and prepare the ceremonial foods that were to be partaken during the meal.
All of these things were to help Israel remember their slavery in Egypt and God’s deliverance through the blood of the lamb. This was their birthday as a nation, and each year they were to remember in such a way as if it was this year that they had come out of slavery. They partook of 4 cups to remember the 4 “I wills” of Exodus 6:6-7 that God spoke concerning them. Jesus told them that they should go into the city and there they would come across a certain man.
In other passages we are told that he would be identified because he was carrying a pitcher of water (Luke 22:10), this man would show him a room that was all prepared for them to use to celebrate for the Passover. The unusual manner in which the place of the Passover was found may have been to thwart Judas who would have used the dinner away from the multitudes as a place to betray Jesus.
This Passover Seder had to be completed in an undisturbed manner for the Lord’s final instructions to His disciples would be given here John 13-17. The expression “my time is at hand” refers to a specific time rather than general time. It was an allusion to the work that He was about to accomplish on Calvary.
Matthew 26:20-24– It was Thursday evening and the disciples reclined at the table. According to Exodus 12 the meal was to be eaten in haste, but now they were no longer in bondage so God specifically required that they recline during their meal. Reclining was the sign of a free man. Four cups were partaken of during the meal to remember the 4 times spoke “I will” in Exodus 6:6-7. After the washing of the hands which was part of the ceremony a fight broke out among the disciples Luke 22:24, over who was greatest among them.
It was probably at this time that Jesus laid aside his garments to wash the disciple’s feet and explain to them that a true disciple will follow his example to them (John 13:4-5). The betrayal of the Lord by Judas was highlighted by his dipping into the bowel of bitter herbs. The betrayal spoken of in John 13:18 had been prophesied in Psalm 41:9 and it would be fulfilled.
Judas thought he was setting a trap for Jesus but in reality he was serving the plan of God. Nothing will take God by surprise. Judas’ betrayal while it served God’s purposes, was not done by God. Judas was to be damned for what he did, even though it did accomplish God’s purposes.
Matthew 26:26-29 With the remaining eleven Jesus transformed the meaning of the Passover from a remembrance of God’s deliverance from Egypt’s bondage to a message of deliverance for all the nations who would put their trust in Him. The third cup was a picture of redemption through the blood of the Passover Lamb. It was here that Jesus changed the meaning of the third cup from the Passover lamb in Egypt to His blood which be a reminder of what would bring redemption.
In the same way, Jesus changed the meaning of the eating of the bread after supper. It had one meaning before this last supper, and a different meaning afterwards. Both the bread and the wine were pictures or illustrations of what it meant in the wilderness for Israel.
MATTHEW: DIVISION XVI – THE MESSIAH’S ARREST, TRIAL, AND CRUCIFIXION, Matthew 26:1-27:66.
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E.The Messiah Foretells the Disciples’ Failure: Stumbling and Falling Away In Life, Matthew 26:31-35.
(Matthew 26:31-35) Introduction: one of the great convictions of believers is that they must warn the world of sin and its consequences. Yet in the midst of this warning and its fervor, something is often missed: believers, too, must be warned of sin and its consequences.
Believers are not above sin; they are not removed from human flesh. However, there is something that makes them different: they have been given a spiritual nature. They now live in the spirit as well as in the flesh. The flesh is still with every believer. Therefore, every believer must be warned: here and there he will stumble and fall. But Christ is ever waiting to receive and forgive him if he will do but one thing: genuinely confess and repent. Such is the warning that Christ gives to His disciples in this most meaningful passage.
(Matthew 26:31-35) Another Outline: The Warning About Falling Away (Matthew 26:31-35).
1. Some fall because they are offended “in” Christ (Matthew 26:31).
2. Some fall because Christ is rejected by the crowd (Matthew 26:31).
3. Some fall because they fail to see and believe the resurrection of Christ, (Matthew 26:32).
4. Some fall because of over-confidence (Matthew 26:33).
5. Some fall because they are blind to the cross (Matthew 26:34).
6. Some fall because they do not know self, that is, the flesh (Matthew 26:35).
1. (Matthew 26:31-32) Backsliding: there is the prediction—all shall fall away. “All ye” is emphasized; not a single one will stand fast. Every disciple will fall away. Christ shared two reasons why the disciples would fall away, two reasons that are common to every man.
1. “All shall be offended because of me” (en emoi, in me). Men question who Christ is, wondering about Him and sometimes being turned off by Him. The word offend means to stumble, to fall (see Deeper Study #1—Matthew 26:31). When facing Christ, men stumble over three things. (For a thorough discussion see Deeper Study #9—Matthew 21:44 and Deeper Study #10—Matthew 21:44 cp. note—Luke 20:17-18.)
a. Men stumble over who Christ is (John 6:54-58,60,66).
b. Men stumble over the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:21-23,1 Corinthians 1:23).
c. Men stumble over the cross God calls them to bear (Luke 9:23 and Deeper Study #1—Luke 9:23).
Very simply, when men look at Jesus Christ and His cross, many react. They…doubt, deny, ignore, reject, close, their hearts, spiritualize, consider Him & His cross to be irrational, in the modern, scientific world.
When Christ was arrested, the apostles questioned and wondered if Christ was really the Messiah. He did not resist arrest, and He did not use His mighty power. He was not leading the people in an uprising against the Romans, nor was He freeing Israel and setting up the nation as the center of God’s kingdom.
The apostles were disillusioned and perplexed; they simply could not understand. Their hopes were hanging upon a cross of despair. In this passage Christ was foretelling them of their falling away. He knew that after His resurrection, they would remember His words and be able to return more easily and understand more fully. Remembering that He had foretold them would help them to return and to become stronger (John 14:29;13:19).
2. The disciples would be offended because Christ was rejected. Visibly, He was rejected by the crowd. But behind the scenes, in the invisible world, it was God who smote the Shepherd; that is, God put Christ to death (Zechariah 13:7). It was in “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” that Christ was to die (Acts 2:23).
Christ had to give His life for man if man was to be saved. “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before
my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved” (Acts 2:25). “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).
When the crowd rejected Christ, the disciples felt threatened. They feared the crowd and lacked the courage to take a stand with Him. They turned away, fled, and deserted.
Peter even denied Him vocally (Matthew 26:69-75). There is a remedy for falling away: the resurrection. Note the Lord’s words, “I will go before you.” Christ was telling the apostles two things:
1. They were to come to Him after His resurrection (Matthew 26:32). Despite their fall, He would still accept them. In fact, He would be waiting for them.
Thought 1. How quickly a fall can come. Picture the disciples sitting in the Upper Room with Christ as He shared with them. It was this very night that they would fall—not the next week, not the next month, but this night—the very night that He and they were sharing so much, so intimately (Matthew 26:34). (John 14-16 to see just how much Jesus shared and how precious and intimate the occasion was).
Thought 2. Christ knew His disciples would stumble and fall. He knew they would be extremely discouraged. Knowing this, note what He did.
1)He did not upbraid, scold, reproach, or condemn them.
2)He planned to meet them, forgiving and receiving them—all in the power of His love and resurrection.
Thought 3. Christ knows nothing but love for the believer who stumbles and falls, even if the believer commits the most terrible sin, that of denying Christ with his lips. However, one thing is essential for forgiveness: repentance.
2. (Matthew 26:33-35) Self-Confidence— Flesh, Weakness of: there was the claim of over-confidence by Peter. Peter’s over-confidence was caused by four things:
1. His over-confidence was caused by comparing himself with others. Peter could not believe what he was hearing. Christ said, “All shall stumble,” including him. Others may, Peter thought, but not him. There was not a chance, and he wanted Christ to know it. Note that Peter compared himself with others, in fact, with “all others”: “Though all men shall be offended…yet will I never be.”
Peter saw the weaknesses and the flaws of others. Perhaps they could fail, but not him; he could never fall away from Christ. Others may be weak, but not him. Peter committed the terrible sin of humanity: pride (1 Corinthians 10:12). Peter thought himself stronger than others, above and beyond them spiritually.
2. Peter’s over-confidence was caused by being blind to the cross (Matthew 26:34).
Peter just did not see the cross. It was Christ hanging upon the cross that was going to cause Peter to deny Christ. Christ had told him all about the cross, but he had refused to believe it (Matthew 17:22;18:1-2).
The fact that human flesh was so sinful, so depraved that God would have to crucify it was just too much to grasp (Luke 9:23,Romans 6:1-10; Romans 6:11-13;Galatians 2:19-21;5:24;6:14-17. Romans 6:2;Colossians 3:3).
3. Peter’s over-confidence was caused by not knowing himself, his own personal weaknesses, the weaknesses of his human flesh. Peter’s self-image was strong. He saw himself above serious sin and failure. He asserted with all the confidence in the world that he would die for Christ before denying Him.
Note several things:
a. Peter was a strong believer, one of the strongest.
b. Peter really failed to understand himself and his flesh. The one sin that a believer should not commit is to deny Christ. To die for Christ rather than to deny Him is the one thing a genuine believer would be expected to do.
c.Peter believed and believed strongly that he, his flesh, was above serious sin (cp. Romans 3:9f; Romans 7:8, 14-18; Galatians 5:19f).
d.Peter failed not once, but three times, and all three times were in the same night when Christ was right off to his side being tried for His life (Luke 22:61).
4. Peter’s over-confidence was caused by contradicting Christ instead of listening to Him. Christ was warning the disciples about the deceitfulness and weakness of the human heart. Peter and the rest just refused to accept the fact. They denied personal weaknesses.
Thought 1. The fact that others fail is not reason for confidence in oneself, but a reason for guarding oneself even more.
Thought 2. All men come short, stumble, and fall. Falling and stumbling are the way of human flesh. One falls in a particular area; another falls in another area. The difference between men is that one confesses and repents in his heart and the other does not. In fact, many do not even acknowledge the need to repent.
Thought 5. Peter really felt he was above serious sin. How like human nature! How common to us all, how self-righteous!
Thought 6. No believer is above serious sin and all sin is serious. In particular, the very thought that one is above serious sin is serious sin.
Matthew 26:36-38 – The Mount of Olives was a private garden which Jesus often used as a retreat (John 18:2). Gethsemane means “oil press,” which is significant in light of our His agony in the Garden. It was a regular gathering place for Jesus and His disciples and was the perfect place for Judas to bring those who would grab hold of Jesus.
A follower of Jesus who allowed Him and His disciples to gather there probably owned it. It is just outside the gates of Jerusalem at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Peter is usually the one cited as the one who had failed the Lord, but all of the disciples were involved. Jesus referred to Zechariah 13:7 in warning His disciples, but He also added a word of promise:
He would rise again and meet them in Galilee. Unfortunately, the men paid little attention to the promise of His resurrection. On Resurrection Day, the angels reminded them of the meeting in Galilee (Matthew 28:7,10). It may have been the effects of the wine from the Seder, or that they were tired but they could not keep awake and give the Lord the fellowship with them that He desired from them.
He had only taken Peter, James and John the sons of Zebedee. Perhaps he wanted to show them that in the face of real crisis their help would not come from men but needed to come from God through prayer. But Jesus was going to face this trial all alone. He knew well enough not to put His faith in men but rather in God. His grief may have come from the awareness of what was before Him. Separation from the Father and the bearing of the world’s sins upon Himself.
Matthew 26:39-47 It was this prospect that caused Jesus to ask of the Father if it were possible for this cup not to be drunk. Was there another way that the Father might make for Atonement? Jesus knew the answer but the flesh caused Him to ask the question. The agony of the suffering of Jesus cannot be diminished or negated. He full submitted to the Will of the Father. When He returned to the disciples they were all asleep. Like children they could not keep up with their father.
They also like children were oblivious to His need but succumbed to their own needs. It was in this setting that He tells the disciples that they should be ever vigilant. The expression “keep watching and praying” denotes continual action. We who are disciples of the Lord should always be alert. There will never be a time in this life where we confidently rest on our work. The truth is that the Spirit is willing to do the things of God but the flesh is weak. This was the truth that Paul came to understand in Rom 6-8. While they were being aroused for the third time Jesus alerted his disciples to the arrival of those who would bring him to cross.
A multitude came in the middle of the night to arrest and subdue a group of 12 men who were know for their peaceful activities. The multitude included Temple guards, Roman soldiers, chief priests and elders or members of the Sanhedrin. Jesus could have summoned his angels to come to his aid but after three times praying to the Father that this cup might pass from Him, he submitted to the will of the Father. Prayer sometimes is not answered in the way that we would like, but genuine prayer involves accepting with grace God’s will for our lives.
Matthew 26:48-50 Judas was disappointed with Jesus because he was looking for a kingdom of this world. He was looking to be the treasurer. Some believe that the motive of Judas’ betrayal was to force the hand of Jesus to become the King in power. But this was not the will of the Father, before the crown there would first have to be the cross.
According to Luke 22:3 Judas was now fully possessed of the devil and was likely under his control. Delivering up Jesus was in the mind of Judas, Satan, and the other forces that were at work. They were acting in their own free will, but Scripture is quite plain in suggesting that God was ultimately in control. Acts 2:23, this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
Because it was dark and there would be uncertainty by the multitude who was the real Jesus, Judas said he would give them a sign so that they would know. There could have been any number of different ways to do this but Judas chose to kiss his master. In those days lowly slaves might kiss the hand of their masters, working servants might kiss the back of the hand, kissing the hem of the garment was the sign of respect or devotion, but to kiss on the cheek was the sign of deep affection and love.
It is the same word that is used to describe the action of Luke 7:38,45;15:20, and by the elders at the departing of Paul in Acts 20:37. This betrayal was the most renown of its kind, motivated by worldly desire to accomplish one’s own will rather than submit to God’s.
Matthew 26:50 With this sign they laid hands upon Jesus and seized Him. Peter the impulsive reacted by drawing his sword and striking the slave of the High Priest, cutting off his ear (John 18:10). There are times when we are called not to pick up arms but to commit ourselves into the hands of the Father.
(2 Corinthians 10:4) for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. Jesus taught that those who live by the sword would die by the sword. God has sovereignly given government the responsibility of bearing the sword for us and our protection (Romans 13:4) for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.
Jesus here is not speaking of self defense or protection loved ones who are under attack but using the sword to get justice for yourself. The Lord goes on to tell those present that if He wanted He could call on 12 legions of angels who could instantly come to His aid.
A Roman legion consisted of 6,000 soldiers, so we are talking about 72,000 angels whose strength and power is far greater than the armies of man. (2 Kings 19:35) Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out, and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead.
Prophecy needed to be fulfilled. Jesus had told his disciples that He was going to suffer and die repeatedly. Moreover the prophets had foretold of his suffering and death. He would be betrayed by a close personal friend (Psalm 41:9) Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.
Matthew 26:51-57– It was Judas who had given the authorities the information, which enabled them to find Jesus in the privacy of the Garden of Gethsemane. The forces at the disposal of the Jewish authorities were the Temple police. But it was more like a mob for a lynching than a detachment for an orderly arrest. Jesus allowed no resistance. Matthew simply tells us that one of the disciples drew a knife and, prepared to resist to the death and to sell his life dearly, wounded a servant of the High Priest.
When John tells the same story (John 18:10), he tells us that the disciple was Peter, and the servant was Malchus. In this instance Peter was willing to take on the mob alone, and it was Peter that followed Jesus into the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. But the focus is on Jesus and here we learn two things about him. First His death was by his own choice. He need never have come to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast.
Even in the Garden he could have slipped away and saved himself, for it was night, and there were many who would have smuggled him out of the city. He could have called down the power of God and blasted his enemies. Every step of these last days makes it clear that Jesus laid down his life and that his life was not taken from him. Jesus died, not because men killed him, but because he chose to die. Secondly.
He chose to die because he knew that his death was the purpose of God. He took this way because the prophets had foretold it. Peter, a fisherman, tries win a spiritual victories with a carnal weapon! We need to remember that God does not need to be defended. We fight Satan, not flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10-18); the weapons we use are spiritual, not fleshly (2 Corinthians 10:3-5;Hebrews 4:12).
Moses made this same mistake (Acts 7:22-28), and had to spend forty years learning to let God fight his battles. There are no Christian Holy wars every one was a disaster for the Kingdom of God and did not represent God and His Kingdom. Jesus made it clear that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36).
Matthew 26:57-58 -. When we fail to heed the Word of God, we always get ourselves into trouble. Jesus according to John was led first to the Father in Law of Caiaphas, Annas. (John 18:13 NASB) and led Him to Annas first; for he was father‑in‑law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. The order of Jesus’ trials was as follows:
(1) the hearing before Annas (John 18:12-14,19-23);
(2) the trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68;27:1);
(3) the first appearance before Pilate (Matthew 27:2,11-14);
(4) an appearance before Herod (Luke 23:6-12);
(5) a second trial before Pilate (Matthew 27:15-26).
Annas had served as High Priest about 20 years earlier for about four years. Even though he stepped down from his official duties, the title of High Priest was one for life, and he retained his title and power through his sons and then through his son in law Caiaphas. The concessions in the Temple were under his jurisdiction, this included the various vendor that Jesus purged from the Temple.
These concessions were known as the “Bazaars of Annas”. He received commissions for all sales at these various selling stalls. The Temple officers were instructed to bring Jesus to Annas first, probably so Caiaphas would have time to assemble enough of the Sanhedrin to quickly dispatch Jesus to the Romans for “justice”. In a myriad of ways the trial of Jesus broke the Law of God. Annas in seeking a legal means to put Jesus to death.
Illegaly Jesus was arraigned, before an official indictment had been made against Him. He also tried to have Jesus incriminate Himself. His response to Annas in John 18:20-21, was to call him to interview the thousands who observed his very public ministry. He should interview them and see if he said anything that broke the Law. Failing to find anything to charge Him with, he sent Jesus to Caiaphas.
This was still “before the cock crowed” so it was the middle of the night when Jesus was brought to Caiaphas. This too was an illegal action to accuse a man at night. Peter who was trying to keep up with what was happening, should not have followed at all, let alone “afar off” (Matthew 26:58). Zechariah 13:7 prophesied that when the Shepherd would be struck prophesied that the sheep would scatter, this was fulfilled though Peter tried to follow (Matthew 26:31).
Jesus plainly told the disciples to “go their way.” Jesus already warned Peter that Satan was after them (Luke 22:31-34) and that he would deny his Lord that night. The fact that Peter was in the courtyard of the High Priest demonstrates another illegality. A trial that could be punished with death was to be held only in the Temple and in public.
Matthew 26:59-61 – According to Jewish tradition Ezra established a school for the training of teachers, known as the hakeneseth hagedolah (the great assembly), which interpreted the Law of Moses (Matthew 15:2) to meet current needs.
When the Great Assembly ceased sometime in the third century B.C., the Sanhedrin became the organization to interpret and Judge the community concerns in Judea. According to Josephus, it was known as the gerousia (Greek), “Council,” during the Seleucid period (198‑167 B.C.) and Sanhedrin, “Court,” during the Roman occupation. It consisted of 71 members, including the acting high priest, who presided over the other 70 members from two parties, the Sadducees and Pharisees.
Former high priests, the acting high priest, scribes, and the elders also served. During the Roman period, many local courts existed because the Romans permitted the Jews to handle many of their own domestic and religious matters. At least three judges made up the local courts, and there were courts in large towns which had 23 members, the number needed to decide cases of capital punishment.
The Sanhedrin constituted the Jewish supreme court and met in the temple area each day, except on holy days and on Sabbaths. The Jerusalem Sanhedrin, exercised considerable authority, which varied with different monarchs. Herod the Great tried to limit its powers, but under the Roman governors its powers extended to free regulation of religious matters and controlled regulation of civil matters. Beginning with the rule of Archelaus (4 B.C.‑A.D. 6), the powers of the Sanhedrin were limited to Judea, since it could not exercise authority over Jesus when He was in Galilee.
After the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the Sanhedrin was abolished. During its existence, it had its own police force and could order arrests as we have just seen, and in capital cases had the power of life and death, provided that the Roman governor gave his consent. His judgment, however, usually complied with the Sanhedrin’s demands. The Sanhedrin also heard charges of blasphemy (Matthew 26:57ff.;John 19:7), transgression of the Law of Moses (Acts 22‑24), and false doctrine (Acts 4).
The Sanhedrin could act as judge and jury on cases brought before them, they could not instigate charges, which was still another illegal action going on in this Atrial. In order to succeed they tried to obtain false testimony against Jesus that they might find grounds to put Him to death. The false witnesses failed repeatedly until one brought before the Sanhedrin a charge that they could use, (John 2:19 NASB).
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Even thier testimony in this was inconsistent according to the account in Mark 14:59.
Because of the inconsistency the accusation the law required that it should have been thrown out. Moreover the law required that they relate the date, including the month, day, and year, as well as the location of the statement. No one not even Satan and his demons could bring a charge of an illegality against Jesus, because He never broke the Law. He only broke the laws that were devised by the traditions of the leaders.
Matthew 26:62-64 – All of these illegalites were happening just before Passover. They desperately wanted to end this trial before dawn so they wouldn’t be exposed doing this, as well as get home for their Passover.
In order to expedite things the High Priest begins another illegal attack on Jesus, but Jesus remains silent, thus fulfilling prophecy (Isaiah 53:7 NASB) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
Matthew 26:65-66 – With Jesus’ unwavering testimony that He was in fact God, the High Priest could now sentence Him to death. The tearing of the robes actually was still another illegal action by the Caiaphas (Leviticus 21:10). Jesus gave ample evidence that he was in fact god by His miracles (John 10:37-38). By asking for an immediate verdict the High Priest contributed once again to an illegal procedure.
In capital cases each individual member of the Sanhedrin was to be polled. The response was unanimous which tells us that not all were present for Scripture tell us that Joseph did not agree with the decision (Luke 23:50-51). All the elements of the trial indicate that this was more along the order of a mob action rather than a thoughtful legal trial.
Matthew 26:67-68 – In the highest court in the land the judges and the jury stoop to the lowest of possible levels by spitting in His face and beating Him with their fists while taunting Him. Following this shameless treatment by the leadership of God’s people he was turned over to the Temple guards (Mark 14:65)
Matthew 26:69-75 – Peter’s denial is tragic in its impact on this beloved disciple, but his resultant recovery and restoration provide for us one of the greatest illustrations of God’s steadfast love for his children. All of us at one time or another have denied the Lord or worse, Peter’s reinstatement demonstrates that there is always hope for the one who will turn back. Peter’s self-confidence needed to be broken. When we are confident in ourselves we are setting ourselves up for discipline in the same as Peter.
He argued with the Lord when he was told that before the cock crows three times he would deny Jesus. Rather than submit and receive God’s Word he thought his interpretations and understanding was better (Proverbs 14:12). In the garden when Jesus was urging Peter, James and John to pray with Him it was so that they would be able to resist in the hour of temptation.
The result was that Peter was not prepared in the hour of temptation. Peter also was in a place the shouldn’t have been. He should have fled with the others, accenting his fear and panic, instead he followed Jesus and found himself in the courtyard of the worst enemies of the Lord. Here his faith would be tested beyond which he would be able to endure.
Peter entered the house of Annas which was also the place where Caiaphas lived as well. In those days extended families lived together. The courtyard was part of the interior of this huge home and Peter thought he would blend in with all the other people and officials who were present. While sitting in the courtyard a servant girl identified Peter as being associated with Jesus “the Galilean”.
The expression Galilean was used as a put down, as Galilean’s were thought to be illiterate bumpkins who were noted trouble makers. Peter immediately denied even knowing Jesus. Earlier he was ready to do battle, even going so far as to cut off the ear of an approaching servant. Yet now he was denying the Lord, why? This confrontation was not prepared for, but Peter was prepared for battle. Elijah was brave before the prophets of Baal, but when he heard the threatening words of Queen Jezebell he fled.
In Mark 14:68 we learn that Peter moved from there to the porch of the home and was fronted again by a servant girl. She stated out loud that Peter was one of them, and not only did he deny but he cursed the men as well. Immediately a cock crowed and Luke tell us that Jesu was in a position where he and Peter could exchange glances.
At the third denial and the crowing of the cock, Jesus looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the words of Jesus (Luke 22:61). Peter went out weeping bitterly. After the resurrection, Jesus appears to Peter and questions him three times concerning his love for Him and three times Peter affirmed his love for Jesus (John 21:15-17).