The Plot, Arrest and Trials of Jesus (Matthew 26)

This chapter covers the Jewish leaders’ plot to kill Jesus, Judas Iscariot‘s agreement to betray Jesus to Caiaphas, the Last Supper with the Twelve apostles and institution of the Eucharist, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane and the subsequent vindication of Jesus’ predictions that one of the twelve will betray him and that he will be disowned by Peter.

This chapter is divided into 75 verses as follows:

The Plot to Kill Jesus (Matthew 26:1–5)

The Anointing at Bethany (Matthew 26:6–13)

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14–16)

Jesus Celebrates Passover with His Disciples (Matthew 26:17–25)

Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26–30)

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (Matthew 26:31–35)

The Prayer in the Garden (Matthew 26:36–46)

Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:47–56)

Jesus Faces the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57–68)

Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly (Matthew 26:69–75

In Matthew’s Gospel, the teaching of Jesus is now finished. In the last days leading up to his betrayal and crucifixion, he warned the multitudes about the corrupt religious leadership, and he spoke to his disciples about things to come. Now, it was time for Jesus to fulfill his work on the cross.  One theologian writes, “Having instructed his disciples and the Jews by his discourses, edified them by his example, convinced them by his miracles, he now prepares to redeem them by his blood!”

The Meaning of Jesus’ Death: As Jesus’ death approaches, he instructs his disciples more fully in the meaning of his mission. The disciples could not guess that their teacher’s death was part of God’s sovereign plan, and they would scatter in fear once it came; but by reinterpreting a familiar ritual (the Passover, an annual celebration of how God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt), Jesus gave them a new way of looking at God’s purposes, which would make sense once he had risen.  Jesus’ mission signifies a new Passover (26:17-20). In the context of the Passover, Jesus shows that his own mission provides a new act of redemption (vv. 17-20, 26).

 The Last Supper: “‘17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.’”


The Arrest, Trials and Death of Jesus (26:14—27:66)

The Resurrection ( 28):

The Earthquake and the Angel’s Announcement (28:1–7)

Jesus’ Encounter with the Women (28:8–10)

The Guards’ Report and the Jewish Elders’ Bribe (28:11–15)

The Great Commission (28:16–20)

The Olivet Discourse (Matthew Chapters 24-25)

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times: “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.”  As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains” (verses 1-8).

The Day and Hour Unknown: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (verses 36-42).

Matthew 25, consists of Three Parables of Jesus: Parable of the Ten Virgins (25:1-13); Parable of the Talents or minas (25:14–30); The Sheep and the Goats (25:31–46).

The Parable of the Ten Virgins: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (verses 1-5).

The Parable of the Talents: ‘“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness’” (v. 21)! The good servants are considered “good” by their master because they felt the responsibility of their assignment and went to work without delay. As a result of this work, the master increased their responsibility. It seems as though a part of the good servants’ reward included a share in the master’s joy for their work. This sets the good servants apart from the idle servant. The good servants diligently worked even in the absence of the master.

The Olivet Discourse (Matthew Chapters 24-25 continued)

Matthew 25, consists of Three Parables of Jesus: Parable of the Ten Virgins (25:1-13); Parable of the Talents or minas (25:14–30); The Sheep and the Goats (25:31–46).

 The ‘Well Done’ is said to both servants who were given the five and two talents because they used it well on behalf of the ‘Master’: “The man with two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness’ (vv. 22-23)!

The third servant is shamed by his master because his irresponsibility demonstrates his lack of love. We read in Matthew 25: “Then the man who had received one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. ‘So, I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’  “His master replied, “‘You wicked, lazy servant! So, you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest” (vv. 24-27).

The Sheep and the Goats:When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”  The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me'” (vv. 34-43).

Rewards in the kingdom of heaven are given to those who serve without thought of reward.  There is no hint of merit, God gives out of grace, not debt.


Beginning of Passion Week Matthew Chapters 21

Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Also included within Passion Week are Holy MondayHoly TuesdaySpy WednesdayMaundy ThursdayGood Friday, and Holy Saturday. Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. Passion Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday on the back of a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11): The climax of the Christian story is upon us. Christ is about to enter the gates of Jerusalem to songs of praise, only to hear those same voices turn first to accusations and then to jeers as he goes to his death on a cross. This entry has its genesis in Jesus’ strategy to bring himself and his message to Jerusalem. This was much more than a PR opportunity not to be missed because of the concentration of people in Jerusalem during Passover.

Matthew begins, as does Mark, with the finding of the animals. The actions of the crowd are as they are reported in Mark. Their acclamation, using the words of Psalm 118, which, heralds the Davidic Messiah. Matthew simplifies their cry. It becomes: ‘Hosanna to the son of David.’ ‘Son of David’ is an appropriate title for Israel’s Messiah. It is found on the lips of the Canaanite woman, two sets of two blind men (20:29-34; 9:27-31; Mark 10:46-52), and a few verses later on the lips of children who also cry: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ (21:15).

Jesus at the Temple: ‘“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.  “It is written,” he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers”’ (vv. 12-17).  Jesus is stated to have visited the Temple in Jerusalem, where the courtyard is described as being filled with livestock, merchants, and the tables of the money changers, who changed the standard Greek and Roman money for Jewish and Tyrian money. (Gentile money could not be used at the Temple because of the graven images on it.) Jerusalem was packed with Jews who had come for Passover, perhaps numbering 300,000 to 400,000 pilgrims.

The Authority of Jesus Questioned: All sorts of folks ask Jesus questions in Matthew’s Gospel, and both their questions and Jesus’ answers are striking. There are many different kinds of questions asked of Jesus. Both the Baptizer and Pilate ask questions about Jesus’ identity; John asks if he is in fact the one they have been waiting for (11:2-3), and Pilate asks if he is the king of the Jews (27:11). The Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, chief priests and elders asked questions to try to trap.

 Here in Matthew 21 Jesus responds to the question put to him with a question of his own, and a parable to illustrate it. The chief priests and elders ask Jesus where his authority comes from. His return-question is about John the Baptizer. He asks them if John’s baptism came from heaven, or from the human mind? His question reverses the trap which the chief priests and elders are trying to set for Jesus. His accusers take the fifth, refusing to answer Jesus lest it incriminate them in the eyes of the crowds. So, Jesus, in turn, doesn’t answer their question about his authority either, but he does tell them a parable.


Passion Week ( 24–27)

The Olivet Discourse ( 24–25)

The Anointing of Jesus’ Feet (26:1–13)

The Arrest, Trials and Death of Jesus (26:14—27:66)

Jesus’ Ministry in Judea and Perea (Matthew Chapter 20)

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16):  This parable of the laborers in the vineyard is about the 9th (and 10th) commandment. In a very real sense this parable is about coveting. While “covet” may not seem the most obvious word to describe what is going on here, it does fit both the emphasis of Jesus’ teaching and the overarching emphasis in Matthew on the Law and Jesus’ representation of it in a way that transforms our thinking and doing. Coveting lies at the heart of this parable in a couple of ways. We covet what God chooses to give to others.

A parable is essentially an elaborate allegory. We are invited to see ourselves in the story, and then apply it to ourselves. The wages at stake (even at the moment of Jesus’ first telling of the parable) are not actual daily wages for vineyard-laborers, but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers. We need not literally be laborers in a vineyard, as we are all of us co-workers in the kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:9). We have a tendency, as the parable aptly illustrates, to covet and to be resentful of what others receive from God. The owner of the vineyard asks those who have worked longest and (presumably) hardest for him, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” The point is that God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness are God’s to give away as God sees fit.

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time:  “Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!(vv. 17-19). The bold portion is an additional statement in this third prediction of the passion.  Jesus would not be killed by the Jews, which would have been stoning, but would be crucified by the Romans.  All three predictions include his resurrection on the third day (16:21; 17:23).

A Mother’s Request: Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.

 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father” (vv.20-23). The Gospel of Mark has “James and John, sons of Zebedee,” asking the question (Mark 10:35-37), yet there is no contradiction.  The three joined in making the petition.

“Drink the cup” – This a figure of speech meaning to “undergo” or experience.” Here the reference is to suffering. The same figure of speech is used in Jeremiah 25:15; Ezekiel 23:32; Habakkuk 2:16; Revelation 14:10; 16:19; 18:6 for divine wrath or judgement.

“Ransom for many.” – “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 28).  Ransom is the Greek word used most commonly for the price paid to redeem a slave.  Similarly, Christ paid the ransom price of his own life to free us from slavery to sin.

Two Blind Men Receive Sight: As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.  Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him” (vv. 28-34).  Mark and Luke mention only one blind man.  “Son of David” – Is a Messianic title.