Saturday, January 26, 2013

Matthew 26 - The Garden, Arrest, and Jewish Trials

Here is a link to a map that you can open in another window and click on to make it larger. Then, you can print it off and have it alongside you as you follow Jesus' steps to the cross: MAP OF JERUSALEM.

LINK: Matthew 26


Tuesday of Holy Week

207. Religious leaders plot to kill Jesus: Matthew 26:1-5, Mark 14:1-2, Luke 22:1-2

It is two days before the Passover and unleavened bread (I place this at Tuesday, but some commentators think this is Wednesday), and the religious leaders have decided to arrest and kill Jesus, but their sly plan was to wait until the religious pilgrims from the Passover feast had gone home. 

182. A Woman Anoints Jesus with Perfume: Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-11

Chronologically, this event happened before Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, but the gospel accounts by Matthew and Mark place it here and can only be explained as a flashback. Some commentators believe it was put here in the Matthew and Mark accounts in order to contrast the worship of Mary with the hostility of the religious leaders or to show why Judas was so interested in obtaining more funds. John’s account is in the correct place chronologically (John 12:1-11).

This event draws Jesus' public ministry to a close. Mary's anointing of Jesus signified her anointing for the coming sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. This is not to be confused with the account in Luke 7:36-50, where the sinful woman anointed Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee in Galilee. The anointing in this event is by Mary, probably the sister of Lazarus and Martha, a virtuous woman. Sometimes people are confused because both events happened in the home of a man named Simon, which was a common name in those days.  

It is six days before the Passover. Some gospel harmonies place this day as Friday and some as Saturday before Palm Sunday. People would arrive early because of the large number of pilgrims coming for ritual purification before the feast.  Jesus has just returned from Ephraim and is attending a dinner in Lazarus' honor at Simon the leper's house (Jesus had probably healed him). 

It was unusual for a woman to be at the table with guests. The flask contained .5 liter or a pint of pure nard imported from the mountains of East India. It was only opened on special occasions. Even though anointing of special guests was customary at wedding feasts, the costly perfume would have been poured on the head of a king and not on the head (Matthew and Mark) and feet (John) of an upstart teacher like Jesus. 

Judas objected, but that was because he had been dipping in the money box! Jesus knew all that though (John 2:24, 25; 6:64). The Matthew and Mark accounts say it was "some disciples" and "some" who were indignant, but John says it was Judas specifically. 

Jesus told them to leave Mary alone because she was anointing Him for burial. There is an obvious contrast between Judas' secret greed and Mary's open and giving sacrifice. 

The John account adds that a large crowd gathered to see Jesus and Lazarus whom the religious leaders were also planning to kill. 

208. Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6

What was Judas' motive? We will never really know. It may have been money (John 12:6). Thirty silver coins was the price paid for the redemption of a slave (Exodus 21:32) and was prophesied as the price to be paid for Jesus, the rejected Shepherd (Zechariah 10:12). It prophesied that one of the Messiah's close friends would betray Him (Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14). 

Thursday before Sunset

209. Disciples prepare for the Passover: Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16. Luke 22:7-13

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was seven days long. The first day, Passover lambs were sacrificed (Mark 14:12). Passover and this Feast are often lumped together and just called Passover (Luke 22:1,7). See below for a fun thing to do on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread!

We do not know where the "Upper Room" was located other than it was in the city of Jerusalem. 

They purchased and prepared the Passover food. Have you ever celebrated a Passover? It is a great object lesson. We often do it on Holy Week. Here are pictures of us celebrating with others. 

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) - The Last Supper (1495-1498)
Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
211. Jesus and the disciple share the Last Supper: Matthew 26:20-30, Mark 14:17-26, Luke 22:14-30, John 13:21-30

Leonardo da Vinci's painting did not get it right. They were all reclining and not sitting at a table (Matthew 26:20), but it is still a beautiful work of art!

John's account is the only one that mentions that Jesus was "troubled in spirit" (the Greek word, etarachthÄ“, means stirred or agitated) when he identified that someone would betray Him. John, as the disciple Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus' bosom and would have been more able to sense Jesus' spirit at the time. Luke is the only one who records Jesus saying "woe" (judgment) on the man who does the betraying. How disconcerting to learn that one of their own would betray Jesus.

The Matthew, Mark, and John accounts record the betrayer as the one who dips together with Jesus in the bowl. John's account records Him doing this act and giving the morsel to Judas. It was a "final extension of grace to Judas. A host's giving a morsel of bread to a guest was a sign of friendship" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John 13:25-27), but Judas did not take it as that and Satan entered him (John 13:27). John is the only gospel writer that records this and that the disciples still did not know Judas was the betrayer. 

How astounding that Luke would record a dispute about who was the greatest after Jesus had just said that someone would betray Him (Luke 22:24-30). Jesus told them this talk was "pagan thinking." The way UP to greatness was DOWN through service. In fact, it is "lowly service" in the Greek! Eventually, they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes in His Kingdom (Luke 22:30, Matthew 19:28). 

During the meal, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper where the wine would represent the blood of the covenant and the unleavened bread, His body. The John account does not record Jesus' words regarding this. The Lord's Supper is to be done in remembrance of this (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It is to be a memorial feast where believers are reminded that Jesus gave His body and blood for the redemption of the world! It is also celebrated to look forward to the day when He will come again. Lastly, it is a time where we can look within, examine our hearts, and repent of known sin (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).  Jesus was the Passover lamb, sacrificed for us, let us celebrate the feast (John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8)!

Here is general order of the last supper from
The order of the last supper is in 13 steps [some books show more steps, others fewer steps, so this is a general guideline]
  1. The head of the company, Jesus in this case, opens with a prayer and
  2. Gives the 1st cup of wine for everyone in the company to drink.
  3. The head of the company washes his hands. 
  4. The head of the company dips some of the bitter herbs into the salt water or vinegar and speaks a blessing, eats some of the herbs and hands them to the others.
  5. The unleavened bread is broken into pieces, reserving half to be eaten after the supper, called the after dish.
  6. The 2nd cup is filled and the youngest in the company (John) is instructed to ask questions about the significance of the Passover.
  7. Psalms 113 and 114 are sung.
  8. The 3rd cup of wine is filled, followed by prayer, and they all drink the cup.
  9. Everyone washes his hands.
  10. Supper begins by eating the unleavened bread and bitter herbs and the lamb. Everyone in the group must eat at least an olive size portion of the lamb. All of the lamb is to be consumed or destroyed. No bones of the lamb are to be broken.
  11. The after dish of the bread broken earlier is eaten. It is believed this is where Jesus said, “Take eat, this is my body.”
  12. The 4th cup of wine is the point when Jesus told them to all drink of it, this was his blood.
  13. Conclude with hymns and prayers. Psalms 115-118 and the Great Hallel – Psalm 136.
222. Jesus again predicts Peter's denial: Matthew 26:31-35, Mark 14:27-31

Jesus reiterated what He had already said in Luke 22:31-38 (Event #212. Also John 13:31-38.) and John 16:31-31 (Event #218). This would be fulfilled in Matthew 26:56 (Event #224) and Matthew 26:69-75 (Events #227. Also Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-65, John 18:25-27.). 

After 9 pm until Pre-Dawn

223. Jesus agonizes in the garden: Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46

After the Last Supper in the Upper Room (Possibly #3 on the map), they went to the Garden of Gethsemane (#4). Gethsemane means "an oil press." Obviously, the garden contained an olive grove and Jesus had often gone there with His disciples (John 18:1-2). He took the same disciples that He had taken to the transfiguration on the mountain and the raising of Jairus' daughter (Matthew 17, Luke 8:49-56): Peter, James, and John. All three accounts record that Jesus told them to pray, but Luke's account adds, "that you may not enter into temptation." Matthew and Mark record Him going away for three agonizing prayers and each time finding His disciples asleep on the watch. He rebukes Peter telling him that his "spirit is willing but his flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38). God is not finished with Peter yet. He was eager with his mouth but not able to follow through with his actions as we will see very soon. 

Jesus' prayers were not because He was afraid of death, the "cup" He would endure would be taking on the sins of the world (John 18:11; 1 Peter 2:24). He was made sin and a curse for mankind (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13). He would also be forsaken by the Father (Matthew 27:46) at that moment (for a holy God cannot abide with sin). Jesus willingly drank this cup but not without agony. That would be a hard cup for the sinless Jesus, vitally connected to the Father! But it was necessary for us (Join the Bible Book Club for the book of Romans, and we will discuss this further!). 

The Luke account is a little different. It does not record the three prayers, and it also said that "an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him," and that in the agony of His prayer "His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:43-44). This was no easy task for Jesus. 

224. Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-11.

Judas brings a large crowd, and the John account explains it was not only from the Jewish religious leaders, but also the Roman cohort (about 600 soldiers).

When they said they were looking for Jesus the Nazarene, John records that Jesus responded by saying, "I am." The NASB adds He in italics indicating that this word is not in the original Greek. If you are reading this in many other versions (including the NIV) they say “I am he” without italics and a very important thing is lost in the translation. Jesus was asserting His deity by saying “I am” (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58)!  I think this is why the people fell to the ground!

Matthew, Mark, and Luke mention Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss. John mentions Peter's brash act of cutting off the slave's right ear and even mentions his name! Jesus was arrested willingly and without any harm to His disciples fulfilling His prayer in John 17:2 (John 18:9). 

Here is the helpful map of Jerusalem I mentioned above: 

From: The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 84

Religious (Jewish) Trials 

226. Caiaphas questions Jesus: Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65

Religious Trial Two

This is a brief trial while the religious leaders gathered testimony against Him. They found two false witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15-21) who testified that He said, "I will destroy this temple (sanctuary) made with hands and in three days I will build another made without hands" (Mark 14:58). Jesus had said this about three years earlier (John 2:19). Speaking against the temple was the cause of the death of Stephen (Acts 6:12-14; 7:45-50), but Jesus was referring to His body. 

Jesus did not respond to this charge, fulfilling Isaiah 53:7. He also led an example for us, described in 1 Peter 2:18-23. 

Since this charge was not incriminating enough. Caiaphas put Jesus under oath (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:2) and asked if He was the Son of God. Since Jesus had already asserted this (John 10:30-33), He affirmed it quoting Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13, prophetic messianic passages predicting his resurrection, ascension, and return to His place of glory. The significance of this claim is beautifully summed up in an article by Brad Bromling: 

To identify Jesus as the Son of God is to acknowledge His genealogical connection to Israel, His right to the throne of David, and His unparalleled nearness to God. To confess that Jesus is the Son of God is to declare as true Jesus’ claim: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Caiaphas passed condemnation of death with this blasphemous statement. This marks the beginning of Jesus' physical abuse. 

Early Friday Morning before Dawn (when the "cock crowed")

227. Peter denies knowing Jesus: Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-65, John 18:25-27

It is just before dawn, and these denials occurred either during the Jesus's trial with Annas (John 18:12-24) or Caiphas (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65).  The three denials are in such contrast to his boast to lay down his life for Jesus (John 13:37) and the cutting off of Malchus' ear during the arrest (John 18:10). How ironic that a relative of Malchus would ask the final question that prompted the final denial! Don't lose hope on Peter though. Those three denials will be followed by three affirmations by Peter in John 21. Stay tuned!


Many years ago, two friends and I started a group called Watchwomen. Our goal was to encourage women to keep watching and praying. We did not share prayer requests like most prayer meetings do. We just waited on God and praised and prayed in response for two hours.

Much of the time was spent listening to God, and that is tough for many people to do, especially women who are "doers."  But Jesus said this was the "better thing" (Luke 10:41).

Watching and praying is a discipline. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak. 


Put aside time to "watch and pray" today. Purpose in your heart to spend some undisturbed time listening to God. Now, this may be five minutes or five hours. The time is up to you!  Do not defeat yourself by taking on more than you can chew. Just have some protected time with God. 


Lord, we watch and pray, expectantly for You. Amen. 
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