About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 26:1-5  ch. 26:6-13   ch. 26:14-16  ch. 26:17-30

ch. 26:31-35   ch. 26:36-46   ch. 26:47-56

ch. 26:57-68   ch. 26:69-74

The Plot Against Jesus ()ch. 26:1 – 5)


Verse 1 says that “these things He said to His disciples”.  The words “these things” refer to what Jesus is about to say. 


Jesus begins in verse 2 by mentioning that they are two days away from Passover.  Passover was Thursday.  Associated with Passover would be the time when Jesus would be handed over to the authorities to be killed.  Once again, Jesus is preparing His disciples for this moment.


In verses 3 to 5 we see that the Jewish leadership began their final plot to arrest Jesus and have Him killed.  They did not want to do this during the Passover Feast.  They feared the masses who were on Jesus’ side at this point. 


You might well imagine how Jesus is feeling at this point.  The pressure must really be beginning to load His emotions down.  The Jewish leaders are more frustrated and upset with Jesus than ever.  The climax to Jesus’ three year ministry is now at hand.  The most important time in human history is beginning to take place.


Jesus Anointed At Bethany   (ch. 26:6 - 13)


In verses 6 and 7 we see Jesus and His disciples in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper.  Bethany was just outside of Jerusalem and was where Jesus spent the evenings during the last week of His life.


This man named Simon was clearly a man that Jesus had healed.  Beyond that, it is pure speculation to whom this man is. 


Some suggest the woman here with the perfume was Mary, the sister of Martha, while others suggest it was Mary Magdalene. 


We see that the container of perfume used here was alabaster.  This is a limestone type container that was often seen in Egypt where this stone was prevalent.  The container would have been in the shape similar to a rosebud, with a closed top.


We don’t know what kind of perfume was in this jar from Matthew’s account but Jon tells us it was nard.  Nard was very expensive and was often used as a gift for kings and royalty.  Thus you know what this lady thought of Jesus.


Perfumes in those days were normally very heavy and strong in smell and weren’t necessarily meant for one to simply smell nice.  They were meant more to cover up bad body odors. 


Also in verse 7 we notice that this lady poured out this perfume on the head of Jesus.  John says she poured it out on Jesus’ feet.  There doesn’t need to be any discrepancy here.  The verb suggests a pouring on to the head that would have run down Jesus’ head and  body and onto His feet.  


In verses 8 and 9 we see that the disciples were very upset.  They asked, “why this waste”.  They thought that this perfume could have easily been sold and the money raised from the sale, given to the poor.  We learn from John that Judas Iscariot was one of the disciples who was more vocal in this respect.      


One might well expect Judas to think in terms of money and profit because we know as John said that he was a thief and he was one from the beginning.  Jesus knew about those He chose to follow Him.  Jesus knew that Judas was a thief when He asked him to follow Him.


The rest of the disciples might have been thinking in terms of the poor from a more pure motive than that of Judas.  Jesus often spoke of the poor, and because of this they might have thought this perfume could have been used in a much better way than simply dumping out on Jesus. 


In verse 10 we see Jesus’ response.  While the disciples thought that the pouring out of this perfume was a waste, Jesus saw this woman’s actions as a thing of “beauty”.  Jesus even thought that what they were saying was an undue bother to the woman.


Verse 11 gives us a little clue to why Jesus felt that this woman’s actions was beautiful.  He said that the poor would always be around but He wouldn’t always be around.  This was yet another time when Jesus spoke of His soon coming departure. 


The more interesting aspect to Jesus’ statement though concern the poor.  He was basically saying that now isn’t the time to be concerned with the poor.  Jesus said that the poor would be around a lot longer than Him, so the priority at this present moment needed to be Jesus not the poor.  This tells us something concerning the poor and our priorities as Christians.  Jesus and the preaching of the gospel takes preeminence over the poor but not to the exclusion of the poor.  Ministering to the poor is important, but not to the exclusion of Jesus and the gospel. 


Jesus in fact viewed what this woman did as an act of worship.  This tells me how important true worship for Jesus is, no matter how it is expressed. We often think of worship as in a Sunday worship service.  But this act of worship came from this woman’s heart and Jesus understood it to be worship from a pure heart.


 In verse 12 Jesus pointed out the reason and the motive of the heart of this woman, who was likely Mary.  It was for His burial, Jesus said.  Perfumes were used in the burial process.  Jesus knew the heart of Mary and knew she had His burial in mind.  This tells me that this woman understood better than the men who followed Jesus what would soon happen to Him.  They might well have been expecting the dawn of the Kingdom of God on earth in the few short days to come, but Mary understood the many words of Jesus when He spoke of His death.


Concerning the controversy I mentioned earlier about Matthew saying that Mary poured her perfume on Jesus’ head and John saying she poured it on His feet.  Here in verse 12 Jesus says she poured it on His body, not feet or head.  To me this makes it clear.  She poured it on His head.  It ran down His body onto His feet.


Verse 13 is prophetic.  Jesus confirms the importance of Mary’s action by telling the rest in the room that what she has done would be preached along with the gospel throughout the world.   And indeed this has been the case with the inclusion of this event in the canonization of Scripture.


Judas Agree To Betray Jesus (ch. 26:14 - 18)


In verses 14 through 18 we see the true nature of Judas Iscariot.  He was more than a thief. He was a traitor. He was self motivated.  We learn from John that he gave into the devil’s call on his life.


Judas goes to the Jewish leadership as Matthew states here to see what they will give him if he hands Jesus over to them.  They agree on thirty pieces of silver, which in today’s North American world might be around  twenty to twenty five dollars. This was the going price for a slave in those days. 


The immediate thing that triggered Judas’ decision to hand Jesus over was Mary’s act of loving kindness when she anointed Jesus with her expensive perfume.  This act of love in turn prompted an act of cruelty and hatred.


In the world of the devil, we often see an act of love responded to by satan with an act of hostility on his part.  Whether the act is directly from God or from one of His children. 


The Lord’s Supper (ch. 26:17 - 30)            


 To learn most of what happened at the Lord supper you can read John 13 and 14.  He spends more time on this event than any of the other gospel writers.


Verse 17 says that it was the first day of the Passover, meaning the Passover week.  It was Thursday.  The disciples wanted to know where Jesus wanted to eat the Passover meal. 


In verse 18 we see Jesus tell the disciples to go to a certain man in Jerusalem and tell him that the “Teacher” wants to eat the Passover at his house “because His time is near”. 


We don’t know who this man was. Bothe Mark and Luke said that this man will be carrying water. 


The words “time is at hand” refers to the death of Jesus, the climax to His ministry.  Jesus’ life would not simply come to an abrupt end by His enemies.  It was God’s will that Jesus would die as part of His ministry, and when He would die was also long planned in the mind of God. 


In verse 19 the disciples followed Jesus’ directions and they went and prepared for the Passover meal.  Unless the disciples knew the owner of the house, this whole event must have been a little strange.  They knew that things were about to change, although I think they were in much confusion.  They heard Jesus’ words about His death that would soon come.  Yet did they believe or understand Jesus’ words?  I don’t think they completely understood.  Of course we know that Peter told Jesus earlier that he would not allow such a thing to happen.  Peter might still have had this in his mind.


In verse 20 we note that it is evening when Jesus and the disciples “are reclining at the table”.  People in those days did not sit on a chair at a table.  They actually “reclined” on the floor while they ate.


In verse 21 we see that while they were eating Jesus told them all that one of them would betray Him. This must have sent shock waves through the disciples’ hearts.  We know from John’s account that they wondered who might be the one to betray Him.  All along though in Judas’ heart, he knew.  I often wonder what went through the heart and mind of Judas at that time. 


I believe from my study of John that there was a spiritual battle going on between Judas and Jesus that the others could not see.  Jesus knew who was going to turn Him in, and so did Judas.  We know from John’s account that Jesus washed the disciples feet, and that included Judas.  I can see Jesus looking into the eyes of Judas as He washed his feet.  Those piercing eyes would have said much.


Verse 22 says it clearly  The disciples were sadden to hear that one of them would deny Jesus.  In response many of them said, “not I”.  They were certain that they could not do such a thing. 


Jesus gives the clue to who it will be in verse 23.  The one who would dip his hand into a bowl with Jesus would be the one.  In those days people dipped their bread into a soupy mixture to moisten  the bread.  Can you imagine that.  All eyes would be on Jesus as He dipped His bread into the bowl.  Who would dip his bread into the bowl with Jesus?  Finally Judas dipped his bread into the bowl.


In verse 24 Jesus said that the Son of Man would go as the Scriptures prophesied.  This tells me that Jesus’ death was the will of God, that it was a forgone conclusion.  You might think that such an event was so predestined to happen that those who brought it about would not be responsible for their actions, but this is not so.  Jesus said “woe” to the one who hands Him over to the authorities.  He also said that it would have been better for this man to have never been born. 


Judas would suffer eternal punishment for what he did. It would have been better for him to have never been born and come into existence in the first place. One might think of an interesting side-note here.  If Jesus says that it would have been better for Judas to have never been born, that suggests to me that Jesus did not believe in reincarnation.  The sol of Judas never existed before he was conceived.  What Jesus is saying here is that it is better for Judas never to have existed than to exist and enter eternal punishment for what he did.


I believe that Judas is a type of the anti-christ.  As satan entered a man before the climax to Jesus’ ministry to fight against Jesus, so satan will enter the man known as the anti-christ just before Jesus returns.  There is a real parallel here.


In verse 25 Judas must have dipped his hand in the bowl with Jesus.  As he did, he asks, “surely not I”.  As Judas was dipping his bread into the bowl as Jesus said, he claimed that he would not do such a thing.  Why and how Judas would say such a thing is beyond me.  He knew that he would betray Jesus.  He had already made the plans.


But Jesus answered by saying, “yes it is you”.  Once again, how these words must have echoed in the hearts of those in that room that evening.  How dramatic of a moment this must have been for everyone, and that includes Jesus.


Verse 26 begins what Christians have called the institution of the “Lord Supper”.  Jesus took some bread and passed it around and told them that this piece of bread was His body.  Catholics take this literally and say that when we eat of the bread in communion the bread actually turns into the body of Jesus.  Protestants believe the bread was symbolic, and that is what I believe.


Jesus does the same with the cup of wine in verse 27 through 29.  He passes the cup of wine around table.  He then says that the wine is the blood of the covenant that would be poured out for many.  These men would have understood what Jesus was talking about.  Every other Passover meal that they would have eat, the wine would represent the blood of lambs, but not this time.  The blood represented Jesus’ blood.  His blood would now replace the blood of lambs that would usher in the age of the New Covenant.    


The Old Covenant would soon be obsolete and laid aside.  This is a great truth that many, if not most Christians do not understand, and this can be seen in how they interpret the Old Testament as New Testament Christians.  Way too often we mix the rules and regulations of the Old Covenant with the New Covenant, and by so doing water down the New Covenant and make it into something its not. 


Jesus said that His blood would be shed for “many”.  In once sense of the word it was shed for all, not just many, but not all people accepted His sacrifice, so in that sense of the word only the many would benefit from the shedding of His blood.


Also in verse 28 Jesus speaks of the shedding of His blood was  for the “forgiveness of sins”. Forgiveness means “cancelation”.  Jesus’ blood paid for our sins to be cancelled, wiped out of the records of God, never to be recorded again.  Forgiveness does not mean “not feeling resentment”, as is often understood today.  Jesus not only doesn’t feel resentment towards us, but our sins have been totally cancelled, as if we had never sinned in the first place.


In verse 29 Jesus says that He would not drink of this cup again until He drank it anew with those people again in the Kingdom of God .   He is referring to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb that is seen in the book of Revelation.  That Feast is one big communion service.  Can you possibly imagine how those disciples will feel when they eat at the  Marriage Feast of the Lamb having already eaten at the Lord’s Supper just before Jesus dies?


In verse 30 we see all who were gathered singing a hymn, and then they went out to the Mount of Olives where we see the very heart of Jesus revealed and torn apart. 


Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (ch. 26:31 - 35)


In verse 31 Jesus tells all of His followers who were with Him in the room, which I believe were the Twelve, that they would “all fall away”.  We often think in terms of Judas falling away, and Peter falling away for a short while, but in fact they all fell away.  They all forsook Jesus in one way or another.


Their falling away was prophesied centuries earlier in Zech. 13:7 that said, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered”.  We need to know here who the sheep are, who the shepherd is, and who the one who strikes the shepherd is.


The sheep are the disciples.  Jesus is the shepherd, and God the Father is the one who strikes Jesus the shepherd.   We must remember that God was the one who really put Jesus to death.  It was not the Jews and it was not the Romans behind the death of Jesus.  They might well have participated and did the actual act, but God Himself was the mastermind of the death of Jesus as seen in Isa. 53.


In verse 32 Jesus tells the Twelve that He will rise from the dead and He will go ahead of them and head back into Galilee where He spent most of His time during His three year ministry. 


In verse 33 Peter responds to what Jesus said about everyone falling away.  In typical Peter fashion he tells Jesus that even though everyone else falls away he won’t.  Peter is always full of self confidence, that could not be supported in reality. 


In verse 34 Jesus sticks a pin in Peter’s self-confidence by saying that he would deny Him three times before the rooster would crow.  This is a pretty specific prophecy on the part of Jesus.  First of all the denial is prophetic, but the crowing of the rooster gives the specific time of the denial. Peter would have needed to be close enough to the rooster to hear it, and that he was.


In verse 35 Peter responds with even more self-confidence by saying that even if he had to die with Jesus, there was no way he would disown Him.  As Peter proclaimed this the rest joined in and agreed that none of them would fall away.  How human they were.  The Lord of all things says something, and they tell Him that what He says is not true.  We all tend to put more confidence in our own ability than we put in our Lord’s ability.  The reliance on self is one of our most common sins.


Matthew doesn’t tell us, but we know from other accounts that Jesus told Peter that satan wanted him, but He’d pray that “his faith would not fail’.  The point is this.  Even though Peter himself failed, or fell away, he did not forsake his faith.  His faith, or trust in Jesus brought him back.  This is important.  We all fail at times.  We all may disown Jesus by our actions at times, but that does not mean we’ve lost our salvation.  We still have faith, and it is this faith in Jesus that always brings us back to a place where we should be.


Gethsemane (ch. 26:36-46)          


After what has just taken place Jesus and His disciples go out to the Mount of Olives , one of Jesus’ most favourite spots.  From the mount He would look across the Kidron Valley and see the city of Jerusalem that meant so much to Him.  On the Mount of Olives there was a garden, probably a walled garden, that was called Gethsemane .  Gethsemane means “olive press”.  An olive press is a place where olives are crushed into olive oil.  How ironic this garden is because of what happens with Jesus here.  As olives are squeezed and pressed so all their juices run out of them, so Jesus was squeezed and pressed with great sorrow in His heart to the extent that He actually shed drops of sweaty blood.


In verse 36 Jesus tells His disciples to simply sit down while He walked a few yards away to pray.  He wanted them to watch Him pray.  Jesus needed to pray.  The time was very short now.  He knew that His Father would not prohibit what would happen.  He knew that He’d be left alone and His Father would forsake Him for a while.  He might well have felt the need for some human contact and comfort here, yet still needed to be far enough away from humanity to meet with His Father in private.


In verse 37 we see that as Jesus walked away from the Twelve that he took Peter, James and John with Him.  These three men would be by Jesus’ side as He experienced the terror that would soon come.   This is one of three times that we know of when Jesus took these three men aside for a special occasion.   Some suggest that this was the inner circle to the Twelve.


In verse 37 Jesus told these three men to sit and watch with Him because He was overwhelmed with sorrow, almost to the point of death.  The Greek word for our English word “overwhelmed” means to be completely crushed, overwhelmed to the point that one loses all sense of what is going on and has no control in the situation to change his feelings.  The point to this verse here is that Jesus almost died in Gethsemane .  The blood that He sweat almost killed Him. 


I’m convinced that there was a spiritual battle going on here.  Jesus might well have been in a spiritual battle with satan at this point.  He was clearly in a battle with His own mind, but it might well be that satan wanted to kill him right in this garden, but this was not the will of God.


In verse 39 we see Jesus going “a little farther” away from the three men He brought with Him.  So by now there were nine men farther back, three men fairly close to Jesus, but Jesus was still off a bit by Himself.


In verse 39 we see the battle between the will of God and Jesus.  He pleaded with His Father to take this cup from Him, to take back what He needed to do.  But Jesus knew better.  He knew He had to fulfill the will of His Father so He told His Father, “not my will but yours”.  Those were the words of victory that has led us to salvation.  Without Jesus saying these few words, there would be no salvation. 


These few words that Jesus spoke here are words that we need to say as well, and need to say them over and over again, as the battle between our flesh rages with the will of God.  If we aren’t in this battle, it means that we’ve already said no to God’s will.  We’ve already given in to our own selfishness.


In verse 40 we see that Jesus returned to the three men and found them sleeping.  They could not keep watch with Jesus for one hour. So we know how long Jesus was in prayer.  It wasn’t a short thirty second prayer. 


Jesus relates prayer to the word “watch”.  Praying is not only talking to God, but watching out for what He might say or do.  Prayer in one real sense of the word is a type of “watching”.  This is why Jesus has told the disciples so many times in the last few days to either “watch”, or “watch and pray”.  Watching out for the signs of the times, the signs that signal the end suggests a prayerful attention to what is happening around you.


It is also interesting to note that Jesus specifically asked Peter if he could not watch with Him for just one hour.  Peter, the one with the self-confidence, who said he’d protect Jesus, he’d die with Jesus, he wouldn’t deny Jesus, could not sit up and watch with Jesus.


In verse 41 Jesus says “watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.  We see watching associated with praying again here.  The context to these words are that Jesus will die.  He will leave this earth.  We will be responsible for the way we live.  We are to live in a state of “watchful prayer” so we will not give into temptation because our flesh is weak. 


Jesus gave these men an example of how to watch and pray but they fell asleep.  Jesus was being tempted in this garden.  He had to watch and pray, but once again, they missed the good example of how to overcome temptation.


In verse 42 we see Jesus left the three men again and went to pray.  Again Jesus had a battle with the flesh  He asked again to be released from the terror that would soon be His, but once again He gave into the will of God. 


In verse 43 Jesus came back to the three men again and once again they were sleeping.  They were just very tired. So in verse 44 Jesus went again and prayed  for the third time. Matthew tells us that he prayed the same prayer and returned to find the three asleep again.    After the third time of prayer Jesus went back to the three men.


In verse 45 He asked Peter, James And John, “are you still sleeping”?  Jesus could not imagine that they would sleep through one of the most important times of His life, but such it is with humanity.  We sleep when Jesus wants us awake and alert.


This section ends with verse 46. Jesus tells the disciples that His hour of betrayal is now here.  He tells them to look up for His betrayers are now walking towards them.  How horrible these men must have felt.  How confused and saddened they must have been as they saw the soldiers walking towards them with their friend Judas in the lead. 


Jesus Arrested (ch. 26:47 - 56)


In verse 47 we see that while Jesus was telling His disciples that those who were coming to arrest Him would soon be here, Judas comes with the soldiers.  How dramatic of an experience this would be.


Notice Matthew tells us that Judas was one of the Twelve.  He clearly wanted his readers to understand that it was one of Jesus’ own  that did Him in, and this is often the case, even in church circles today.


Also we learn about those who came with Judas in verse 47.  There was a large contingent of soldiers.  They had both swords and clubs, and they were sent by the Jewish leadership.  These men were Temple guards. 


You might wonder why Judas had to bring a crowd of soldiers with him to take Jesus.  Did he think that Jesus would not go peacefully after all that He had told His disciples? Apparently not.  It might well be that Judas was worried about Peter and the rest trying to protect Jesus.  I’m sure the Twelve had discussions about these things, probably lad by Peter.  Then there might well be the thought that Jesus might do some kind of miracle that would prevent His arrest.  The point is simple though,  Judas made sure that his attempt would not fail like all the other attempts by the Jewish leadership.  He wanted to get Jesus, and he made sure he did.


In verse 48 Matthew calls Judas “the betrayer”.  He doesn’t call him by name.  He might want to reinforce the point that Judas is about to betray Jesus, and how Judas did that is ironic to us.


It was standard procedure in those days to greet one another with a kiss.  So Judas kissing Jesus in verse 49 isn’t really out of place, but the verb tense in the Greek suggests that this was more of an intense kiss than just a quick kiss.  Some scholars wonder if Judas didn’t have conflicting feelings, and this would be the reason for the intense kiss.  That might well be the case.  Or on the other hand, the intensity might have reflected a great measure of anger Judas had for Jesus at this point.  You might even suggest that because satan was inside of Judas at this point that satan himself kissed Jesus.


Anyway, Judas had prearranged with the Jewish leaders that the one he kissed would be Jesus and it would be He that they needed to arrest.  Once again we see Judas has planned this out well.  Though he might have felt some feelings for Jesus when he kissed him, he didn’t feel them strong enough to change his mind. 


Notice that Jesus calls Judas “friend”.  Jesus had no resentment towards Judas even though he was about to betray Him. While in the garden Jesus had made His mind up to submit to God’s will and from that point on The Old Testament prophesies that Jesus went to the cross as if He were a sheep going to slaughter.  This is exactly what we see here. He simply quietly took each event as they came, and this event is no different.  I think that Jesus had great compassion for Judas.  He felt bad for him that he was about to betray Him. 


Jesus calling Judas “friend” demonstrates the fact that god, Jesus too, is both loving and just.  Even though Jesus loved Judas, His sense of justice did not sway Him.  Jesus knew, and said earlier, that it would have been better Judas was never born. 


There’s a bit of a controversy concerning verse 50.  The NIV states, “friend, do what you came for”.  Other translations put this as a question, like, “why have you come”. I don’t know if Jesus asked a question or made a statement.  He certainly knew why Judas came.  If He did indeed ask a question, it might well have been for Judas to verbalize his intentions.  Jesus often has us verbalize our intentions and requests.  If Jesus did not ask the question, He was simply giving Judas permission to do what he wanted to do.  As Jesus stated before Pilate, only God the Father had the real authority to take Jesus’ life from Him.  Pilate was only the tool, and so was Judas in this case.


As soon as Jesus gave the permission, the soldiers took Jesus and arrested him.  I think it is important to understand that Jesus willingly went to the cross.  He willingly was arrested.  He gave His permission to be arrested or else no on could have arrested Him.


Matthew tells us that one of the disciples took out his sword at this point and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers.  Matthew does not tell us who this disciple is but we know from other accounts that it was Peter.  This would be Peter’s typical response to a situation like this. Peter told Jesus that he would not allow anyone to take Him, and this was his futile attempt to do just that. 


As Peter’s actions here were an attempt to change the will of God, so man is constantly doing things that would interfere with God’s will, but whatever we do, God will have His way in His own time.    


In verse 52 Jesus tells Peter to put away his sword.  The reason that Jesus gives for this is, “he who draws the sword will die by the sword”.  Many people over the centuries have given many meanings to Jesus’ words here.  Pacifists have seen Jesus’ words to mean that they should not fight in war. 


I’m not convinced that Jesus’ words here are telling us not to fight in what some would call a just war.  He’s simply saying, “if you pull out your sword to fight, you might well be killed by the one you are fighting, and if you consistently draw out your sword, sooner or later you will die’.  It’s just a fact Jesus is making, not a commentary on war.


In verse 52 Jesus rebukes Peter.  He basically says that He doesn’t need his human and futile help.  He could call on His Father and if it were His will more than ten thousands legions of angels would come to His rescue, but that was not God’s will.  A legion of soldiers back then consisted of 6,000 men. God’s will was for Jesus to be arrested.   The point here is that God’s will must be done and human interference, no matter how well intended must stop.


In verse 54 Jesus says that if God did send the legion of angels to rescue Him, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that stated this would have to be.  Jesus is saying that it is God’s will for Him to be taken, and all this has been foretold in the Old Testament.  This should give us a bit of a clue how to interpret Old Testament passages, something the Jewish leadership did not understand.


In verse 55 Jesus turns and now speaks to the crowd of soldiers by asking them if they think He is leading a rebellion since they’ve come with swords and clubs.  This is a natural question.  The soldiers come in all military might to arrest a man who has no defense, who has no weapons to defend Himself with.


It is clear that Jesus was not leading a revolt like all the other false Messiahs that were around in those days.  Many of His followers, if not most, would have preferred and really wanted Jesus to lead such a revolt.  Some even thought this would happen, and for this reason the soldiers might have come prepared.


In the last part of verse 56 Jesus says that He taught in the temple on other days and they did not arrest Him then.  They could have, but they didn’t.  They couldn’t, because that was not God’s will.


In verse 56 Jesus states again why these soldiers did not, nor could not arrest Him.  The Scriptures had to be fulfilled right down to the last detail. And so they were.


We also see in this verse that it was at this point the disciples forsook Jesus, most likely out of fear of being arrested themselves.  How tragic this must have looked.  The close followers of Jesus left Him alone to the swords and the clubs, but that’s what Jesus Himself foretold what would happen.  It wasn’t only Peter and Judas that fell away.  They all fell away.


It appears from certain Scriptures, at least they are interpreted by many Futurists that this will all happen again before the return of Jesus.  The pressure of the world will get to many and they will not be able to withstand the enemy.


Before The Sanhedrin (ch. 26:57 - 68)


In verse 57 we see that the soldiers took Jesus to the Sanhedrin.  The Sanhedrin was the ruling class of men in Jewish society.  This body of men consisted of 70 men.  They were  elders, teachers of the Law, lawyers, Pharisees, and Sadducees.  Caiaphas was the high priest at the moment so he would have been in charge.


Verse 58 tells us that Peter went along to see what was going to happen, but he followed “at a distance”.  He did not want to get caught himself.   As often is the case, many of us want to follow Jesus, but when things get tough, we follow Him at a distance.  Such a distance between us and Jesus would allow a way of escape if we felt so inclined.


In verses 59 to 61we see that while Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin, many false witnesses came before the council. They lied in order to find something to convict Jesus on, but none of what was said was sufficient for a conviction.  Judas had done his part.  He got Jesus to this point and now it was up to the Jewish leadership to do their part to legally arrest Jesus, and that is what they wanted.  They wanted some sense of legality here, but in fact, much of this so-called trial was not legal according to Jewish law.


Finally two witnesses came forward who heard Jesus say that He’d destroy the Temple and in three days build it again. This would be grounds to arrest Jesus.


We learn from verse 62 that Jesus did not answer this accusation.  At this point in time He really didn’t have to answer.  He knew God’s will and any attempt to try to save Himself at this point would be going against the will of His Father. 


The Jewish leadership asked Jesus if He was going to answer this accusation.  Jesus remained silent.  This surely made the Jews more angry than ever. Ignoring them and their procedures would have been seen as a major put down.


After not answering the accusation Caiaphas got right to the issue.  He knew that Jesus had claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God.  This would make Him equal with God, which would have been seen as blasphemy in the eyes of the Jews, for which they could convict Him and ask the Romans to execute Him.


The Jews had no legal authority to execute anyone.  They could arrest people, imprison them and flog them, but they had no authority to sentence anyone to death.


In verse 64 Jesus does answer this question.  He has to answer this question.  He can’t let the opportunity go by to proclaim who he really was, especially in front of all the Jewish leadership.  Not answering this question might well be seen as denying the fact that He was the Son of God.


The way Jesus answers this question is especially interesting.  He says, “yes, it is as you say”.  Jesus didn’t say, “yes, I am the Son of God”.  That would have been direct words from His mouth.  He answered in a more indirect way.  What He was in fact saying here is that “what you say Caiaphas is right. Your proclamation of me is accurate.  You’re now the one who is saying that I am the Christ, the Son of God”.  Jesus is putting His own confession back into the mouth of Caiaphas who would deny such a confession.  So Caiaphas, even though He did not want to, was confessing the truth of who Jesus really was.


Jesus continues in verse 64 as He turns to speak to not only Caiaphas, but the rest of the Sanhedrin.  He tells them that in the future they will see  “the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven”.  These words are  in reference to the second coming of Jesus to earth.


Jesus calls Himself the “Son of Man” here as He often does.  This is a Messianic term.  The Jews would have known then that Jesus believes He is the Christ, the Messiah.  Then Jesus tells them that He will be at God’s right hand.  This is a symbolic way to say that Jesus will be in joint authority with God.  


The words “sitting at one’s right hand” back then was idiomatic, meaning, they understood these picture words to mean sitting a place of authority, not necessarily sitting at someone’s right hand.


So Jesus is telling these Jewish leaders that they will see Him at some distant future point return to earth on the clouds.  Of course these men would have been dead for centuries when Jesus returns, but wherever their souls are, they will see the return of Jesus.


In verse 65 and 66 we see that Caiaphas is furious with Jesus.  He tares his clothes.  This is a traditional way of showing one’s anger and disgust at something.  Caiaphas is totally disgusted with Jesus and His claim to deity and tells the others that they’ve seen enough.  Jesus had definitely spoken blasphemy according to the rabbinical teaching. This was worthy of death.  Caiaphas thus asks what the rest of the Sanhedrin thinks.


In verse 67 and 68 we see that some men spit in Jesus’ face and hit Him, asking Him to prophesy who did these things to Him.  They said this because He was blind folded at this point.  This was a complete mockery to Jesus.  The whole assembly and this so-called trial was a complete mockery to Jesus and to the Jewish system of government and justice.


Peter Disowns Jesus (ch. 26:69 - 74)


In verse 69 we see Peter sitting out in the courtyard, waiting to see if he might hear anything about what would happen to Jesus.  While sitting by the fire with others a girl comes up to him and said, “you also were with Jesus of Galilee”.  We know that Peter’s accent gave him away.  He talked liked a Galilean.   The girl called Jesus, “Jesus of Galilee”.  This might well suggest that she is not totally informed to who Jesus was and why He was with the Jewish leadership.  She knew He was from Galilee , but might not have know of His claims of Messiahship, or else just considered Him one of a number of so-called messiahs. 


In verse 70 Peter “denies all of it”, suggesting that the girl probably said more concerning Peter and Jesus than what we have recorded by Matthew.  I can picture Peter, in a disgusting tone of voice making this very confident denial. Of course Peter was lying.


We see Peter leaving the fire and going back to the gateway where yet another girl claims that Peter was with Jesus.  Notice that the ones making these claims are girls.  They weren’t men, or important men, but just girls.  I say “just girls” because that is how they would have been viewed back then.  Peter was being shown up by girls.


In verse 72 Peter denies knowing Jesus with even stronger words.  He makes an oath saying that he did not know Jesus.  This was more than a lie.  This was disobeying the Law of Moses in terms of making an oath.  Peter was taking his confident denial one step farther with this second girl.  And it wasn’t just to this girl, but to all those around to whom this girl was pointing Peter’s association with Jesus to.


In verse 73 we learn of Peter’s accent.  Those standing by Peter tell him that he is indeed a friend of Jesus “because his accent gives him away”.  Peter spoke as a Galilean would speak.  Jesus must then have spoken with a Galilean accent as well.  Thus the association was clear to those standing in the courtyard.  Peter knew Jesus.


In verse 74 we see the next stage in Peter’s denial of Jesus.  The first time he was confronted with being a friend of Jesus, he simply said that he wasn’t.  The second time he made an oath saying he wasn’t a friend of Jesus.  Now this time he tries to curse himself.  With any oath or covenant there would be blessings and cursings stipulated in the covenant.  Basically what Peter was doing here was in relation to the covenant that he made with the second girl.  If he was in fact not telling the truth as he claimed in the oath, then he should have been cursed with the curse stipulated in the oath.  You can certainly see that each of Peter’s denials got more intense as he spoke them.      


Immediately as he made this last denial he heard a rooster crow which was foretold to him by Jesus.  The word “immediately” is important here.  The impact of the immediate crowing by the rooster would have had severe impact on Peter.  The rooster didn’t crow a few hours after Peter’s third denial.  He crowed immediately which would have enforced the words of Jesus into Peter’s heart and mind.


This chapter ends with verse 75.  As soon as Peter hears the rooster crow he remembers the words of Jesus.  Immediately he leaves the courtyard and goes outside “and weeps bitterly”.  Peter is extremely sorrowful for what he has said in disowning Jesus.  He, in all of his confidence told everyone that he would never do such a thing, and here he was, caught in such a terrible thing.  Disowning his Lord, and using an oath in the process.  This was no simple denial.  The fact that Peter “wept bitterly” should tell us that he repented of his actions from the bottom of his heart.  


I’m convinced that this time of sorrow and repentance on the part of Peter was a life changing event for him.  It made him ready for that which would follow, meaning, the death of Jesus.  But not only His death but His resurrection that culminated in the ascension and then the giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.


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