Summary: Here in this passage, Jesus predicts His death at the hand of the ones who should have been the first to accept him as Israel’s Messiah. It is incredible that these religious leaders perpetrated history’s greatest crime during Israel’s holiest festival.
JESUS TELLS DATE OF HIS CRUCIFIXION
Life presents us with many opportunities; how we respond to them depends on what we love and what we look for in life. The Jewish leaders looked for the opportunity to destroy Jesus, while at the same time Jesus was anticipating the opportunity to obey His Father and bring Him glory.
Here in this passage, Jesus predicts His death at the hand of the ones who should have been the first to accept him as Israel’s Messiah. It is incredible that these religious leaders perpetrated history’s greatest crime during Israel’s holiest festival.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples (Matthew 26:1)
For the forth time in this Gospel (16:21; 17:23; 20:18), Jesus gave His disciples notice of the approach of His sufferings and death. He waited until he had finished all these sayings; that is, when He had finished all he had to say in His Olivet Discourse. The Lord Jesus had completed His mission as a prophet; now He entered into the performance of His office as priest. He is moving according to God’s timetable, and He is forcing the issue; He is not a helpless victim. Christ had always avoided His enemy’s plots to kill Him, but now it was His time. The true Lamb of God would take away the sin of the world.
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. (Matthew 26:2)
After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: (Mark 14:1a)
Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. (Luke 22:1)
Jesus makes a final prediction of His death two days before Passover, which was eaten on the evening of Nisan 14. Hence, the prediction was made on the 12th of April (Wednesday); the year was probably A.D. 30. The Feast of the Passover was the first feast on the Jewish yearly calendar and was kept in commemoration of the national deliverance from Egypt in the exodus under Moses. All Jewish men were required[TL1] to be in Jerusalem for the Passover (Deut 16:16).
The Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus for what they considered to be the good of their nation. They reasoned that if people followed Christ as the Messiah, the Roman government would rise up and crush the “rebellion.”
Passover takes its name from the Hebrew term related to the Death Angel passing over those who had applied the blood to their homes (see Ex 12). The Hebrew root pesach was translated into “pashcal” from which Christ’s suffering is often referred to as His “passion.” Passover time was a great high day among the Jews and thousands of pilgrims flocked to Jerusalem to observe it each year. Our Lord’s death was the ultimate fulfillment of which the annual feast had been a representation. It was followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15–21). Sometimes the entire period was generally referred to as Passover.
The Jewish religious leaders, and Sanhedrin members, had already decided that Jesus must be put to death (Jn. 11:47-53). While his enemies were preparing trouble for him, He was preparing himself and his followers to meet it. He had told them of his coming sufferings before, now he speaks of them as being at the door. He told His disciples to expect sad times, jail and afflictions, and then tells them, The Son of man is betrayed; to imply that they would get along no worse than he would, and that his sufferings[TL2] should take the sting out of theirs.
Son of man is His favorite designation for Himself. Betrayed is better translated here as “delivered up” or “handed over.” The meeting of the Sanhedrin takes place at the palace courtyard. He is betrayed, since Judas was at that moment making plans to betray him.
His announcement implied that the Passover and His crucifixion were not far away: “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” This year the Passover would find its true meaning. The Passover Lamb had at last arrived and would soon be slain.
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, (Matthew 26:3)
Caiaphas was a Sadducee who had been appointed High Priest a few years earlier, about A.D. 18, just before Christ’s earthly ministry began. The plot of the chief priests, and scribes, and elders of the people is against the life of our Lord Jesus. Many consultations had been held against the life of Christ but this plot was laid deeper than any yet, for the attendees were all engaged in it. The chief priests, who presided in ecclesiastical affairs; the elders, who were judges in civil matters, and the scribes, who, as doctors of the law, were leaders of both—these three groups of people made-up the Sanhedrin, or great council that governed the nation, and these were allied against Christ.