The Scriptorium

Once More, for Emphasis

Matthew slows things down. Matthew 26.1-5

Matthew 26: Arrested (1)

Pray Psalm 143.1, 2.
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

Sing Psalm 143.1, 2.
(Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Hear my earnest prayer, O Lord!  Give ear to my pleas for grace!
In Your faithfulness and righteousness, look upon me with Your face!
Enter not to judgment with Your servant, Lord, with Your loving servant, Lord:
None can stand before Your Word.

Read and meditate on Matthew 26.1-5.

1. What did Jesus say to His disciples?

2. Who gathered with Caiaphas, and why?

Two days to go (v. 2). Two days until the most significant and momentous event of all history will play out in a remote Roman backwater, before an angry crowd of lost people, people not that different from you and me.

Matthew taps the brakes in his narrative, slowing down the action even more to give plenty of time for the importance of these events to sink in. The time he covers lengthens, as does the verbiage of his narrative. He is saying to us, “Slow down. Pay attention. Al that I’ve written before has been pointing to this.”

As if to punctuate that point, Jesus once again, as He had beginning in chapter 16, told His disciples what was about to take place. In two days, during the Feast of Passover, the Lamb of God would be slain for the sins of the world (v. 2). No mention of the resurrection. No promises about His imminent return. Here Jesus sought to impress on His disciples the awful reality of what was about to occur, so that when it did, they would know that He had not walked into a trap, but was merely following the course laid out for Him from before the foundation of the world.

Matthew heightens the tension in these first five verses by switching quickly from Jesus’ camp to that of the “chief priests, scribes, and the elders” – the first time we’ve seen all these people mentioned together. A gathering has been convened (v. 3), and a course of action is being decided and set in motion. Jesus must die, but if possible, in a way that will keep “the people” from going into an uproar (vv. 4, 5). All the religious leaders were united in purpose, just as Jesus had predicted they would be (Matt. 21.45).

It should be very clear to us just Who is orchestrating these events.

1. Why did Jesus emphasize His death once again to His disciples? What should we learn from this?

2. What were the religious leaders trying to accomplish? What were they trying to avoid?

3. Who’s in charge here, and how do we know it?

What did they consult together? That they might seize him secretly, or that they might put him to death? Both, for they feared the people. Thus they waited for the feast to be past, for they said, “Not on the feast day,” lest he should make the Passion conspicuous. They were afraid of causing an uproar. Note that they never were afraid of the judgment of God but only the judgment of people.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 79.3

I thank You, Lord, that You are in control, and I don’t have to be afraid of anything as I…

Pray Psalm 143.3-12.
Meditate on Jesus’ work of redemption. Let your soul cry out to Him for faith and courage. Look into His face, then face your day in the knowledge that He is with you.

Sing Psalm 143.3-12.
Psalm 143.3-12 (Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
See, the enemy pursued my soul; he has crushed and cast me down.
He has made me sit in darkness, Lord, like those dead and in the ground.
Thus my spirit faints within me, Lord, faints within my weary soul,
and my heart is no more whole.

I recall the days of old; on Your works I meditate –
all the wonders of Your mighty hand, works both small, O Lord, and great.
Lord, my thirsty soul cries out to You!  To You, Lord, I reach my hand
in a dry and weary land.

Answer quickly, O my Lord!  Do not hide from me Your face!
For my spirit fails and I am like those who do not know Your grace.
In the morning let me hear Your steadfast love; Lord I trust You, show my way!
I lift up my soul and pray!

Rescue me from all my enemies!  Lord, I refuge seek in You.
Let me know Your will, O Lord my God; make me know what I must do.
Let Your Spirit lead me on to level ground; save my life!  Preserve my soul!
Rescue, Lord, and make me whole!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore