Summary: We must be willing to travel down the road that God is leading us down even when it is difficult.
A Messiah's Road to the Cross Begins
Text: Matt. 26:1-16
1. Illustration: There was a family in our last church in Arkansas that I dreaded to go visit. Now they were really nice people, but they lived on a really difficult road. First, it was a dirt road filled with huge rocks, and most of it was uphill. Second, in was so narrow that it could only accommodate one vehicle at a time. Third, on one side of the road was a bobbed wire fence, and on the other side there was a huge drop off. If it hadn't been for the fact that I had a pick up truck there would have been no way for me to get to their house.
2. Some roads are difficult to travel, but we will never get where we need to go if do not travel them.
3. Jesus road to the cross was...
a. A Road to Willingness
b. A Road to Betrayal
c. A Road of Love
4. Let's stand as we read together Matt. 26:1-16
Proposition: We must be willing to travel down the road that God is leading us down even when it is difficult.
Transition: The road to the cross that Jesus traveled was...
I. A Road of Willingness (1-5).
A. Handed Over and Crucified
1. Some roads are obviously more difficult than others, but our willingness to go down those difficult roads shows our character and level of commitment. Jesus showed His character and level of commitment by His willingness to go to the cross.
2. Matthew makes it clear that Jesus was now ready to head down the road to the cross. He says, "When Jesus had finished saying all these things..."
a. This is the fifth time in Matthew that a linking text is used to connect what has previously happened to what is going to happen.
b. "All these things" is a reference to all the teaching that Jesus did in chapters 24-25, but is also an indication that Jesus' teaching was over and the road to the cross now begins (Horton, 565).
3. Jesus then tells His disciples, “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
a. This is the fourth time in this Gospel that Jesus makes a reference to His coming death.
b. Although this prediction is briefer than the others, Jesus connects his death with the celebration of Passover.
c. Later, Paul recognizes the spiritual significance by referring to Jesus as "our Passover lamb" (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary: Matthew).
d. It should also be noted that it was not the plans and schemes that Matthew is about to inform us of, but the will and word's of Jesus' that decide the time of His arrest and death.
e. Despite that plot that is to follow, this verse shows us that Jesus would not be taken by surprise, but rather that He willingly submitted to the cross.
f. It will become obvious that they would fit into His plans and not He into theirs (France, 970).
g. Matthew reminds us that whatever the power of those who plotted against Jesus, Jesus moved according to his Father's plan and not theirs.
h. No matter how strong the forces arrayed against God's servants, God will ultimately fulfill his purposes (Keener, IVPNT: Matthew).
4. Matthew now fills us in on what is going on the other side of this story by saying, "At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 'But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.'”
a. The "leading priests," controlled by the high priest and the wealthy aristocracy of Jerusalem, were dominated by Sadducean influence.
b. They are among the most eager in Jerusalem to get rid of the threat to their influence in the temple posed by Jesus and his messianic following, so they plot to arrest him (Wilkins).
c. In this meeting at the High Priest's house, they agreed that they needed to come up with a plan to get rid of Jesus.
d. However, they also agreed that it must not happen during the Passover for fear that the people would stand with Jesus and possibly cause a riot which we be had news for them.
e. It wasn't the feast itself that was the problem, but the fact that there would be so many people in the city who made the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover (Horton, 567).
f. Again we must notice that it wasn't their plans that were important, but rather the will of God.
g. They didn't want it during the Passover, but God did. Guess who's plan won out?