The Plot to Kill Jesus


TABLETALK DEVOTIONS WITH RC SPROUL

The Plot to Kill Jesus
======================
Matthew 26:1–5 “The chief priests and the
elders…plotted together in order to
arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But
they said, ‘Not during the feast,
lest there be an uproar” (vv.
3–4).

Matthew 26 opens with Jesus’ fourth prediction of His passion
and
resurrection. After ending His Olivet Discourse, Matthew tells us that
our
Lord has finished “all these sayings” (v. 1), which likely refers to all
the
instruction He has thus far given in this gospel. In other words,
Christ’s
teaching ministry is done and it is time for Him to atone for sin and seal His
victory.

The Savior has already told His disciples three
times that He will die and be
raised (16:21; 17:22–23; 20:17–19), but in
today’s passage He explains for the
first time that this will take place
during Passover. This provides a
theological framework for understanding the
significance of the Messiah’s
death. Just as the angel of death passed over
all of those who were covered by
the blood of the lamb (Ex. 12), so too will
the blood of the Lamb “slain from
the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8,
NKJV) shield those whom it covers
from eternal destruction.

According
to Matthew, Caiaphas is the high priest under whom this will happen
(Matt.
26:3), but Luke tells us that Annas is also high priest at this time
(Luke
3:1–2; Acts 4:5–6). In AD 15, Rome deposed Annas from the high
priesthood,
later replacing him with his son-in-law, Caiaphas. Yet Annas
continued to
wield power behind the scenes, almost like a “co-high priest”
with
Caiaphas.

Rome’s tendency to intervene explains the Sanhedrin’s desire to
do away with
Jesus and their initial reluctance to act during the Passover
(Matt. 26:3–5).
The Empire was quick to put down Jewish revolts, which often
began during the
Jewish festivals when messianic pretenders capitalized on
the nationalistic
fervor generated as Jews gathered to recall Yahweh’s
promised salvation
through His prophets. Caiaphas and the others want to kill
Jesus because the
messianic clamor His presence creates might draw the ire of
Rome, but they
want to postpone His execution lest it provoke the people to
rebel against the
priests for murdering God’s Messiah.

But the
Almighty has other plans, and in His sovereignty He will bring about
Jesus’
predicted death during the Passover. The Creator’s providence, John
Calvin
says, will ensure that events turn out exactly as He has planned.

Coram
deo: Living before the face of
God
========================================
John Chrysostom comments on
these Pharisees, saying that “they never were
afraid of the judgment of God
but only the judgment of people” (Nicene and
Post-Nicene Fathers, first
series, vol. 10, p. 477). We can be led into sin
and deceit when we fear men
more than we fear God. Ask yourself today whose
judgment you fear. Endeavor
to care not primarily what men think but to be
first and foremost concerned
with fearing the Lord.

For further study:

Psalm 83

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