The Plot to Kill Jesus

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. 5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” – Matthew 26:1-5.

THE PLOT — Having completed His teaching about the second coming and the kingdom, Jesus tells the disciples that He will be delivered up to be crucified at the Passover in two days’ time. The chief priests, scribes and elders (the Sanhedrin) assemble at the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest, to plot to take Him and kill Him. They will use trickery. They will not take Him during the feast, in case the people riot.

“will be delivered up to be crucified” (v.2) — Jesus had warned the disciples of this several times (cf. Matt. 16:21; 17:9,12,22-23; 20:18-19; 27:63). These predictions would embolden His followers in the days after the Passion week. Jesus knew future events. Jesus laid down His own life (cf. Mark 10:45; John. 10:11,15,18). He was always in control of the timing and events themselves.

“Caiaphas” (v.3) — Caiaphas was the High Priest, appointed by Rome, in exchange for a price, from A.D. 18-36. He was the son-in-law of Annas, High Priest from A.D. 6-15. This powerful family was motivated more by politics and wealth than by spirituality.

“plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him” (v.4) — They were jealous of His popularity and fearful of His teachings and actions.

“not during the feast” (v.5) — The Passover was combined with the Feast of the Unleavened Bread to form an eight day feast (cf. Exodus 12 and Josephus’Antiquities of the Jews 3.10.5).

John’s dating of the Supper one day earlier emphasizes Jesus as the Passover lamb killed to save the family (see John 1:29). If so, John may have altered the date for theological purposes, as he may have altered the cleansing of the temple early for theological presentation of Jesus’ life. The Gospel writers under inspiration had the right to select, adapt, and arrange the words and deeds of Jesus so as to present Him to different groups (Gordon Fee, Doug Stuart, How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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