1 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.”
Chapters 26 and 27 demonstrate national rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. The first five verses of chapter 26 present a developing plot against Jesus.
Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples,
This verse marks a turning point in Matthew. Events in Matthew now come to a climax. Having concluded His last public discourse, Jesus turned His attention to the way of paying for sins of the world—the cross.
“You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
Jesus predicted His crucifixion during the Passover period. The Passover was an annual feast to celebrate God’s passing over the homes of those with blood on the doorway. God passes over the sin of people because of the blood of Christ.
This is the fourth and last time Jesus forewarned His disciples of His death (16:21; 17:23; 20:18).
Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
The scene now shifted from Jesus to religious leaders (the Sanhedrin), who assembled clandestinely to make a concrete plot against Jesus.
Caiaphas served as High Priest from the years A.D. 18 to 36. He had a malevolent attitude towards Jesus throughout Jesus’ public ministry.
and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.
The plan was to take Jesus by sleight of hand. “Trickery” means stealth. Caiaphas and his wily cohorts resorted to deception for accomplishing their mission. They would use any means possible to reach their ends; their ends justified their means. Jesus rejected religious extortion by denouncing practices in the temple. This, no doubt, was at the heart of their animosity against Him.
But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
Religious leaders tried to calculate their plot to wait until most of the pilgrims to the Passover went home because they did not want a popular uprising against their devious ways. They were not able to do it on their timetable because God had His timetable. All this reveals the decadence of religion; religion always resorts to deception.
The ire of religion always raises its ugly head against the substitutionary death of Christ.
It is incredible that religious leaders would plot to destroy their own Messiah; however, such is the nature of religion. Religion is often nefarious and scheming in methodology. It is more concerned with its ends than integrity of truth. This religious group is more concerned about what the crowd thinks than what God says.
The cross shelters the sinner from God’s judgment. Application of Christ’s blood as the answer to our sin is what saves us from the penalty of sin. If you are not a Christian, this is the only hope for your soul. Accept God’s promise today to cleanse your soul by accepting Christ’s paying for your penalty.