Matthew Chapter 26 Continued
Verses 17-22: “The first day … of unleavened bread,” or the fourteenth of Nisan (Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7). While Jesus said, “I will keep the Passover,” the cross-reference (in Luke 22:16), notes He added, “I will not any more eat thereof,” implying an interruption.
Only Jesus and the 12 disciples were present. At this crucial time Jesus announced “one of you shall betray me.” For the first time, Jesus had clearly indicated that the betrayer would be one of His closest followers.
They were “exceeding sorrowful,” indicating their grief over such an announcement. In the original language, the question “Lord, is it I?”, suggests that a negative answer was cautiously expected by each one, “It is not I, is it?”
Matthew 26:17 “Now the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?”
“The first day of the feast of unleavened bread”: The Passover lambs were killed (Mark 14:12), on 14 Nisan (Mar/Apr). That evening, the Passover meal was eaten. The Feast of Unleavened Bread followed immediately after Passover (from 15-21 of Nisan).
The entire time was often referred to either as “Passover” (Luke 22:1), or as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Therefore the first day refers to (14 Nisan).
Jesus said over and over that He came not to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. He also observed the Passover. The room where the Passover was to be observed had to be prepared ahead. There was quite a cleansing that had to go on before the celebration to remove the leaven (sin).
Matthew 26:18 “And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.”
“To such a man”: (Mark 14:13 and Luke 22:10), say they would be able to identify the man because he would be “carrying a pitcher of water,” a chore normally reserved for women. He was evidently someone they did not know, probably a servant of whoever owned the house with an “upper room”, where the Passover meal was to be eaten (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12).
Jesus had evidently made these arrangements clandestinely, in order to prevent His premature betrayal. Had Judas known ahead of time where the meal was to be eaten, he would surely have alerted the chief priest and elders. But none of these things were to happen until the “time” was “near”. All of this reveals how Jesus Himself was sovereignly in control of the details of His own crucifixion.
In Luke’s writings, he said that Jesus sent Peter and John. The “where” was Jerusalem. The place, that is said to be the place of the Passover feast in Jerusalem today, is still a magnificent building. If this truly was the home of the man, this had to be a very wealthy man. The upper room is unbelievably preserved.
“My time is at hand” just means the crucifixion of Jesus was near. At this Passover, Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb. There is no mention of a lamb being served at this meal with the disciples. The lamb could not be killed until the fourteenth. This was actually a remembrance of Jesus.
The Lamb the disciples ate, was when Jesus told them “This is my body” “This is my blood” speaking of the bread and wine which symbolized His body and blood. This, commonly called “The Last Supper”, was with just His twelve; not even the master of the house dined with them.
This large upper room is believed to be the same room where over fifty days later these same disciples (except for Judas), would come for the infilling of the Holy Spirit of God. The group would have grown to 120, but this room was plenty large to accommodate that many.
Matthew 26:19 “And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.”
“And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them”: They went into the city of Jerusalem; they met the man carrying a pitcher of water home; they followed him into the house he entered; they addressed the master of the house, in the manner Christ directed, who showed them a large upper room, prepared with all proper furniture for such an occasion, as Christ had foretold.
“And they made ready the Passover”: They went and bought a lamb; they carried it to the temple to be slain in the court, where it was presented as a Passover lamb for such a number of persons. They had it flayed, cut up, the fat taken out, and burnt on the altar, and its blood sprinkled on the foot of it.
Then they brought it to the house where they were to eat it; here they roasted it, and provided bread, and wine, and bitter herbs, and a sauce called “Charoseth”, into which the herbs were dipped. And, in short, everything that was necessary.
Matthew 26:20 “Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.”
“When the even was come”: The lamb was killed “between the evenings” (Exodus 12:6). In Hebrew, that is between three o’clock, p. m., and nine in the evening. The Jews reckoned two evenings, one from three o’clock p. m. to sunset, the other from sunset to the close of the first watch in the night, or nine o’clock p. m. The paschal supper was commonly eaten after the setting of the sun, and often in the night, Exodus 12:8.
“He sat down”: At first the supper was eaten standing, with their loins girded and their staff in their hand, denoting the haste with which they were about to flee from Egypt. Afterward, however, they introduced the practice of partaking of this as they did of their ordinary meals.
The original word is, “he reclined”, that is, he placed himself on the couch in a reclining posture, in the usual manner in which they partook of their meals.
Matthew 26:21 “And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.”
“As they did eat”: The account contained in these verses is also recorded (in Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:21-22). John says that before Jesus declared that one of them should betray him, “he was troubled in spirit, and testified;” that is, he “felt deeply” in view of the greatness of the crime that Judas was about to commit. And to the sufferings that He was to endure, and “testified,” or gave utterance to his inward feelings of sorrow.
The thing that stands out to me over and over, and this alone should have told the disciples who Jesus was, is that there was no hassle in finding the man to whom Jesus sent them and the ease of finding the room. This meal of bread, wine, and bitter herbs was to be Jesus’ last meal with the disciples before His crucifixion.
Here again, Jesus was speaking prophetically when He said that there was one of His own who would betray Him. Remember now, Jesus knew exactly what would befall Him in Jerusalem, but He came anyhow. He knew what His mission was, and He is willing to perform it. Don’t you know how this saddened the disciples?
Matthew 26:22 “And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?”
“They were exceeding sorrowful”: John says, (John 13:22). “They looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake”, that is, they anxiously looked one at another, consciously that each one, except Judas, had no such intention, and each one beginning to examine himself to find whether he was the person intended.
This showed their innocence, and their attachment to Jesus. It showed how sensitive they were to the least suspicion of the kind. It showed that they were willing to know themselves, thus showing the spirit of the true Christian. Judas only was silent, and was the last to make the inquiry, and that after he had been plainly pointed out (Matthew 26:25), thus showing:
- That guilt is slow to suspect itself;
- That it shrinks from the light;
- That it was his purpose to conceal his intention; and,
- That nothing but the consciousness that his Lord knew his design could induce him to make inquiry.
The guilty would, if possible, always conceal their crimes. The innocent are ready to suspect that they may have done wrong. Their feelings are tender, and they inquire with solicitude whether there may not be something in their bosoms, unknown to themselves, that may be a departure from right feeling
Verses 23-26: Jesus’ reply “thou has said” means “yes.”: The statement “He that dippeth” reveals the personal and intimate nature of the betrayal. “Jesus took bread:” The head of the Jewish household was accustomed to doing this during the Passover feast.
Matthew 26:23 “And he answered and said, He that dippeth [his] hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.”
Jesus gave a completely new significance to the action. “This is my body:” During the Passover feast the Jewish householder took bread in his hand and said, “This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt,” meaning, of course, that the one represented the other.
By His words the Lord changed the whole significance and emphasis of the feast from looking back to the typical redemption from Egypt to faith in the redemption from sin accomplished by His death.
The bread and wine were only outward symbols of our Lord’s death. Nothing in the Gospels indicates that these were to be viewed as a means of grace, sacraments, or that they were physically necessary for one’s salvation.
Matthew 26:24 “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.”
It is almost as if each disciple began to question Himself. Jesus really did not tell them who it was. When He said one who dipped with Him, because they all did. Of course, Judas knew who it was. There are so many schools of thought on Judas. I personally believe that Judas fell to the desire of the flesh.
Judas loved money more than anything else, even more than He loved Jesus. I believe Judas was a free agent of his own will, the same as we are. The reason Jesus knew who it would be was because Jesus, as well as the Father, had foreknowledge of what would be done.
Jesus was looking ahead to Judas’ killing himself and all of eternity, when He said, it would have been better had he not been born.
Matthew 26:25 “Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.”
Judas, probably, had not asked Jesus before; He was, probably, afraid Jesus might expose him to the others. In the answer Jesus gave, He did not just say, yes it is you. The rest of the disciples would have suddenly realized if He had said that, but He answered in such a way that Judas alone would be aware that He knew.
Matthew 26:26 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”
“Take, eat; this is my body”: Jesus thus transformed the last Passover into the first observance of the Lord’s Supper. He is the central antitype in both ceremonies, being represented symbolically by both the paschal lamb of the Passover and the elements in the communion service.
His statement, “this is My Body” could not possibly have been taken in any literal sense by the disciples present that evening.
Jesus is the Bread of life. When He took this bread and blessed it, it was like a wave offering. This bread had to be unleavened bread, free of sin to symbolize the body of the Passover Lamb. This unleavened bread, we call Matzah, is full of holes and stripes. The stripes are symbolic for the whipping Jesus received.
The showbread in the Temple was symbolic of Jesus, and so was the bread (Manna), which fell from heaven. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (house of Bread), He was and is the Bread of life. Without Him, there is no life. This must have been a shock to the disciples, for at this time, they had not been filled with the Holy Spirit and did not truly discern His body.
Verses 27-30: “The cup:” Three cups were passed around by the Jewish householder during the Passover meal; the third, which is probably the one referred to here, being known as “the cup of blessing.”
Matthew 26:27 “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;”
“And he took the cup”: That is, the cup of wine which was used at the feast of the Passover, called the cup of “Hallel,” or praise, because they commenced then repeating the (“Psalms”), with which they closed the Passover (see Matthew 26:30).
This cup, Luke says, he took “after supper” – that is, after they had finished the ordinary celebration of “eating” the Passover. The “bread” was taken “while” they were eating, the cup after they had done eating, and gave thanks.
Drink ye all of it – That is, “all of you, disciples, drink of it;” not, “drink all the wine.”
Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
“My blood of the new testament” taken from the Greek Septuagint version of (Exodus 24:8), with allusions to (Jeremiah 31:31 and Zechariah 9:11). The covenant (in Exodus 24:8), was sealed with blood. The word testament (Greek diatheke), can also mean “a covenant.”
“Shed for many for the remission of sins:” Here is a clear statement that the death of Jesus was necessary to enable God to forgive sins. It, in fact, made it right or morally justifiable for Him to do so.
The word “remission” is interesting, it means freed from or pardon. You see, we were bound down by sin, until we accept the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood which freed us from sin. This cup that Jesus raised was probably, the most important part of salvation, for without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.
“New Testament” is an interesting statement as well. This is the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, and we are the heirs or beneficiaries. Jesus purchased our salvation, healing, happiness and very lives with His shed blood. We should never take the communion cup lightly. We must take it reverently with a pure heart, remembering His great sacrifice.
We must never take it with hate for our brother in our hearts, or we might become sick or even die. This cup taken properly with a pure heart can bring many blessings of God. This blood was shed for whosoever will. It is offered universally to old and young, rich and poor, male and female.
(1 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 24 thru 31): “And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” “After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.” “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.” “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” “For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
Matthew 26:29 “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
“That day” refers to the time when He comes again in glory.
“My Father’s kingdom”: I.e., the earthly millennial kingdom (Luke 22:18, 29-30).
Jesus was telling them of His close departure from the earth. Here, He was speaking of the future marriage supper of the Lamb, in the Father’s kingdom.
Matthew 26:30 “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”
The Mount of Olives was Jesus’ favorite place to go and commune with God. The garden of Gethsemane is on the Mount of Olives.
Matthew Chapter 26 Continued Questions
1. When did the disciples come to Jesus and ask where they would celebrate Passover?
2. Jesus came, not to do away with the law but to ________it.
3. Why was it necessary for them to clean up for Passover?
4. How could the disciples find the place for Passover?
5. What name did Jesus call Himself here?
6. Who would celebrate with Jesus?
7. St. Luke said what two disciples went to get the room?
8. What city was this in?
9. What can we learn about this man by his house?
10. Why were they secretive about where it should be held?
11. What does “my time is at hand” mean?
12. Who was the sacrificial Lamb for this Passover?
13. What would this room be used again for fifty days after resurrection?
14. In verse 21, what bad news did Jesus give the twelve?
15. In reply to this, what did the disciples ask Jesus?
16. What statement was made of Judas when Jesus spoke the woe on him?
17. The author’s personal belief is that Judas fell to what?
18. When did Jesus take bread and break it?
19. What did Jesus say the Bread was?
20. What did the wine symbolize?
21. What are three symbolic things we find in Matzah? Explain.
22. Why was Jesus’ blood shed?
23. What is the New Testament?
24. When a person takes communion unworthily, what is he guilty of?
25. What are two things that might happen to you, if you take communion unworthily?
26. When Jesus said He would not drink the cup again until His Father’s kingdom, what does it mean?
27. What did they do last before they went to mount Olives?
28. What garden was located on the Mount of Olives?
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