The Lord Jesus was now only a few days from His crucifixion. He chose to spend His remaining time with His disciples in seclusion. Everything would take place according to the Lord’s prediction. He was anointed in preparation for His burial; He ate the Passover meal with the disciples; He was betrayed by His own. As you read this passage, picture yourself to be with Jesus in these last hours and feel the deep emotions that permeate the story.
Did You Know...?
- Passover (26:2): The Passover began Thursday afternoon with the slaughter of the lamb. [ref] The Jewish festival commemorating the time when the angel of the Lord passed over the homes of the Hebrews rather than killing their firstborn sons as he did in the Egyptian homes (see Ex 12:13,23,27). The lambs or kids used in the feast were killed on the 14th of Nisan (March- April), and the meal was eaten the same evening between sundown and midnight. Since the Jewish day began at sundown, the Passover Feast took place on the 15th Nisan. [ref]
- Caiaphas (26:3): High priest A.D. 18-36 and the son-in-law of Annas (Jn 18:13), a former high priest, who served 6-15. [ref]
- Thirty silver coins (26:15) were the redemption price paid for a slave (Ex 21:32). This same amount was also prophesied as the price for the services of the rejected Shepherd (Zech. 11:12). The exact value of the agreed price cannot be determined because the coinage was not identified [ref]
- Feast of the Unleavened Bread (26:17): Most Bible students believe that the events recorded in Matt 26:17-30 took place on Thursday of Passion Week. This was the first day of the seven- day Feast of the Unleavened Bread. On that first day Passover lambs were sacrificed (Mark 14:12). The Feast of Unleavened Bread followed immediately after the Passover; the entire eight- day event was sometimes called the Passover Week…. [ref]
- Hymn (26:30): The hymn normally sung was the last part of the Hallel (pss 114-118 or 115-18). It was sung antiphonally: Jesus as the leader would sing the lines, and His followers would respond with “Hallelujah!” [ref]
- Prediction and Plot (26:1-5)
- Anointing at Bethany (26:6-13)
- Plan of Betrayal (26:14-16)
- Preparation for Passover (26:17-19)
- Prediction of Betrayal (26:20-25)
- Institution of Holy Communion (26:26-30)
- Prediction of Scattering and Denial (26:31-35)
In what ways did Jesus show Himself to be the sovereign Lord who voluntarily gave Himself as a sacrifice rather than a helpless victim of the circumstances?Hide Answer
He made numerous predictions about His death and burial, even down to the exact day and the form of execution (2,11,12). He commanded the disciples to ask a man for the use of his house for the Passover meal. Everything turned out to be just as He had commanded (18, 19; cf. Lk 22:8-13). He knew that Judas was going to betray Him (21,23,25). He knew that the disciples would stumble and even deny Him (31-34). He knew that he would rise from the dead (32). From His predictions and foreknowledge we know that Jesus was God, who had complete control over the situation. Even so, He offered up Himself willingly in order to redeem us.
Why is it significant that the Lord was crucified during Passover?Hide Answer
The Passover was a foreshadow of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of God’s people. Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb that God had prepared for us (1Cor 5:7).
Why did the writer put the plot of the chief priests, scribes, and elders immediately after the Lord’s prediction?Hide Answer
Even though it was the chief priests, scribes, and elders who plotted Jesus’ death, all these thing happened under God’s sovereign will.
Why were the disciples indignant?Hide Answer
They cared more about the oil than about the Lord.
What do the words, “why this waste” tell us about the disciples?Hide Answer
They didn’t think the Lord deserved such costly offering. They were also unaware of how great a price the Lord was about to pay to redeem the sins of the world.
Do you sometimes feel “indignant” about others’ offering or service to God?
Compare the woman and the disciples in this story.Hide Answer
The woman offered her gift without a word; the disciples had nothing to offer except their complaint. The woman was probably aware of the events that lay ahead of the Lord whereas the disciples were not. The woman exalted the Lord as one who was worthy of the best; the disciples placed less value on their master than on the price of the oil.
According to the Lord Himself, why was the woman’s action a good work (or a beautiful thing)?Hide Answer
It was done at the right time (“Me you do not have always”). Matthew also made special mention that the oil was very costly. The woman’s offering was beautiful not because the oil was expensive, but because she considered the Lord worthy to receive her best.
What can we learn from Jesus’ commendation and promise in 13?Hide Answer
God does not take our offerings lightly. Even though others may criticize us for our service, God takes note of our every deed of love for him and gives lasting value to the work we do today (cf 1Cor 15:58).
Could there be any connection between Judas’ action and the disciples’ reaction in 8-9?Hide Answer
Judas, probably speaking for the other disciples, complained about the woman’s offering. He might have wished that he could have some of the money (Jn 12:4-6). His greed, and perhaps also his anger, drove him to sell his master.
How was Judas the very opposite of the woman who poured out oil on Jesus?Hide Answer
The woman honored Christ by giving Him the best. Judas, instead of giving anything to the Lord, sold the Lord for a small profit..
How do we sometimes, like Judas, also “betray” Jesus?Hide Answer
By choosing some material gains or temporary pleasure over obeying the Lord.
Why do you think the Lord revealed that one of the disciples was about to betray Him?Hide Answer
So that his conscience may be stricken and repent immediately.
Why didn’t Jesus just point out directly that Judas was the betrayer?Hide Answer
Had Jesus pointed at Judas directly, Judas would have probably hardened his heart right away because of the sudden exposure and embarrassment. By speaking to the disciples without mentioning who it was, Jesus warned everyone the seriousness of the sin of betrayal while giving Judas a chance to repent privately.
Why should Judas be condemned if the betrayal was already prophesied in the Scriptures (24)?Hide Answer
While it was God’s sovereign will that Christ be delivered up to be crucified, and in His foreknowledge He had predicted the betrayal, God did not make Judas do what he did, for God does not cause anyone to sin (cf Jas 1:13-15).
Was the Communion only symbolic of Christ’s body and blood? Explain your answer.Hide Answer
The Lord said, “This is my body,” and “This is my blood.” The communion is not symbolic of, but is in fact, Christ’s body and blood.
What is the new covenant in 28? What does it have to do with the Lord’s blood?Hide Answer
In Jer 31:31-34, the Lord promised a new covenant with His people. The Israelites had failed to obey God. But God in His mercy offered His children the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph 1:7; Rev 1:5).
What should we commemorate when we partake of the Communion today?Hide Answer
We partake of the communion in remembrance of Christ and to proclaim His death (Lk 22:19; 1Cor 11:24-26). We must remember how Christ poured out His blood for the forgiveness of our sins (Mt 26:28). We are also to look forward to His coming (29; 1Cor 11:26).
What can we know about Peter from his words?Hide Answer
He had a strong determination to sacrifice for the Lord, even though his will was stronger than his flesh. At this point, Peter showed that he was very self-confident. In his own judgment, he was stronger than and more resolute than any other disciple.
Have you ever made a sincere promise which you failed to keep? Why did you make the promise? Why did you fail?