Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’”
19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.
20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 21 Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”
22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”
23 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”
He said to him, “You have said it.” – Matthew 26:17-25.
The Prediction (v.20-25) — Before taking the Passover, which becomes the Lord’s Supper, Jesus predicts that someone, for whom it would have been better if he had never been born, will betray him. The disciples become very sad. Each of them ask him whether it is he. Jesus tells them that the one who dips his hand with Him in the dish would betray Him. Judas asks Him if he is the one, and Jesus confirms that he is.
“first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread” (v.17) — The exact chronology of the last week is uncertain. Often the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and John (13:1; 19:14,31,42) do not agree. This eight day feast involved two Sabbaths, Passover being the first (cf. Lev. 23:4-8; Deut. 16:8).
“the disciples” — Luke 22:8 identified Peter and John as these disciples.
“Passover” — It was eaten on Nisan 15 at 6:00 p.m. The exact day of the week varied year to year because of the Jewish lunar calendar (cf. Matt. 26:20).
“to a certain man” (v.18) — Luke 22:10 says he was to be identified by “carrying a pitcher of water,” an activity traditionally considered women’s work.
“My time is at hand” — This was a cryptic phrase used by Jesus for His time of rejection, betrayal, and crucifixion (cf. John. 2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1).
“Lord, is it I?” (v.22) – The disciples are not only confused, but also fearful.
“He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish” (v.23) — The dipping of the bitter herbs in a bowl of salt(?) water also took place during the Passover meal. To betray a host was the height of shame in the East (cf. Ps. 41:9). Judas had the seat of honor next to Jesus on His left side. Jesus was still trying to reach Judas!
“The Son of Man” (v.24) — Jesus knew who He was and what He must do (cf. John 13:1). Jesus came to reveal God, to give mankind an example to follow, and to die for their sin (cf. Mark 10:45; Acts 2:23-24; 2 Cor. 5:21). His life was revealed in OT prophecy (cf. Matt. 26:31,54,56; 11:10; 21:42).
“if” — Judas’ betrayal was a necessary, predicted act for which he will suffer the punishment. This is the mystery of election and free will!
“Rabbi, is it I?” (v.25) — Note Judas used the title “rabbi” (i.e., my teacher) not “Lord” as the other disciples had.
“You have said it.” — Jesus was still trying to reach Judas. Jesus uses the same idiomatic phrase in Matt. 26:64 and 27:11.