Summary of Matthew 25: Jesus gives his disciples two parables to explain the second coming. He warns that those found ignoring the word of God would be cast out of the kingdom of heaven.
1. The Wedding: Jesus spoke a parable to his disciples explaining that the second coming would be like ten virgins attending a wedding and taking lamps. Five of them would be wise, and five would be foolish, not bringing enough oil for their lamps. So, when the bridegroom arrived at midnight and called them the five foolish virgins asked the wise ones for some oil. The five wise virgins, however, refused and told them to go and buy more for themselves. The foolish left to purchase more oil and the wise entered the wedding and the door was shut. Then, when the foolish returned, they knocked on the door but were turned away. Therefore, Jesus warned them to be prepared because they could not know when the second coming would take place.
2. The Servants: Then, Jesus spoke another parable to his disciples concerning his return. He said the kingdom of heaven was like a man travelling who gave money to three of his servants. The one who received five talents multiplied them to ten. The one who received two talents turned them into four. However, the one who received one talent buried it instead of trying to earn more. When the master returned, he was pleased with his first two servants because they had been responsible with small tasks and he reckoned that he would then trust them with many things. The third servant, however, said that he knew his master expected interest but he was afraid and so saved the talent he had been given. When the master heard it, he became very angry at the servant's wickedness and sloth. Therefore he cast him out into the darkness. So Jesus warned them that those who would not bear fruit for the Lord would lose even what little they had.
3. Judgment: After explaining these things to his disciples, Jesus told them that, at the second coming, they would see the Son of Man with his angels on a throne of his glory. Then, the people would be separated the righteous from the wicked, the compassionate from the merciless. Those who had shown kindness and goodness in the name of the Lord would be saved and given eternal life. However, those who had not done so would be cursed to damnation.
Summary of Matthew 26: Begins with Jesus telling His disciples He will be handed over to be crucified on the Passover, in two days' time.
1. The Pharisees' Conspiracy Against Jesus: The chief priests and elders planned among themselves to have Jesus arrested and put to death while he is in Bethany. However, they decide not to seize him during the feast for fear of the repercussions of the people. Meanwhile, Jesus and his disciples were preparing for the Passover. When they had sat at the table, a woman came to Jesus and anointed his head with expensive ointment. Indignant, the disciples protested that the ointment should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. Jesus rebukes them, saying they have him only for a short time and that her honoring of him in this way will be remembered. After Jesus had been anointed, the disciple Judas Iscariot left and sought out the high priests. He bargained with them and asked what they would give him to betray Jesus. Both parties settled with thirty pieces of silver.
Study Guide for Matthew 26
B. LESSON VERSES - A Last Supper with the disciples.
1. (Mat 26:17-20) Preparations for the Passover: remembering redemption.
17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?" 18 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 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.
a. Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread: This must have been a very moving commemoration for Jesus. Passover remembers the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, which was the central act of redemption in the Old Testament. Jesus now provided a new center of redemption, to be remembered by a new ceremonial meal.
i. This mention of the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread brings up complicated issues of the precise calendar chronology of these events. The main complicating issue is that Matthew, Mark, and Luke present this meal Jesus will have with His disciples as the Passover meal - normally eaten with lamb which was sacrificed on the day of Passover with a great ceremony at the temple. Yet John seems to indicate that the meal took place before the Passover (John 13:1) and that Jesus was actually crucified on the Passover (John 18:28).
ii. Another solution is suggested by Adam Clarke: "It is a common opinion that our Lord ate the passover some hours before the Jews ate it; for the Jews, according to custom, ate theirs at the end of the fourteenth day, but Christ ate his the preceding even, which was the beginning of the same sixth day, or Friday; the Jews begin their day at sunsetting, we at midnight. Thus Christ ate the passover on the same day with the Jews, but not on the same hour."
iii. "The simplest solution ... is that Jesus, knowing that he would be dead before the regular time for the meal, deliberately held it in secret one day early. Luke 22:15-16 indicates Jesus' strong desire for such a meal with his disciples before his death, and his awareness that the time was short." (France)
iv. One is inclined to agree with Bruce regarding precise chronological analysis: "The discussions are irksome, and their results uncertain; and they are apt to take the attention off far more important matters."
b. When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve: Since the Jewish day began at sundown. Jesus ate the Passover and was killed on the same day according to the Jewish calendar.
i. If it is true that Jesus ate this at the beginning of the Jewish day (evening), when most Jews would normally eat the Passover at the end of the day (following the night and the morning), it explains why there is no mention of Jesus eating lamb with His disciples at this meal. They ate it before the Passover lambs were sacrificed at the temple. This would correspond with John's chronology that indicates Jesus was crucified at the same approximate time the Passover lambs were being sacrificed.
ii. However, it would be wrong to say that there was no Passover lamb at this last supper Jesus had with His disciples; He was the Passover lamb. Paul would later refer to Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).
iii. He sat down with the twelve: "With Judas among the rest; though Hilary hold otherwise, for what reason I know not." (Trapp)
2. (Mat 26:21-25) Jesus gives Judas a last opportunity to repent.
21 And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" 23 He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said so."
a. Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me: In the midst of their Passover meal, Jesus made a startling announcement. He told His disciples that one of their own - these twelve who had lived and heard and learned from Jesus for three years - would betray Him.
i. If we are familiar with this story it is easy to not appreciate its impact. It's easy to lose appreciation for how terrible it was for one of Jesus' own to betray Him. For good reason Dante's great poem about heaven and hell places Judas in the lowest place of hell.
ii. "This was a most unpleasant thought to bring to a feast, yet it was most appropriate to the Passover, for God's commandment to Moses concerning the first paschal lamb was, 'With bitter herbs they shall eat it.'" (Spurgeon)
b. He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me: Jesus said this not to point out a specific disciple, because they all dipped with Him. Instead, Jesus identified the betrayer as a friend, someone who ate at the same table with Him.
i. This idea is drawn from Psalm 41:9: Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. "My fellow-commoner, my familiar friend, Psalm 41:9. This greatly aggravateth the indignity of the matter." (Trapp)
c. Rabbi, is it I? It was noble for the 11 other disciples to ask this question (Lord, is it I?); it was terrible hypocrisy for Judas to ask it. For Judas to ask, "Rabbi, is it I?" while knowing he had already arranged the arrest of Jesus was the height of treachery.
i. "It is a beautiful trait in the character of the disciples that they did not suspect one another, but every one of them inquired, almost incredulously, as the form of the question implies, 'Lord, is it I?' No one said, 'Lord is it Judas?'" (Spurgeon)
ii. "Judas appears to have been the last of the twelve to ask the question, 'Is it I?' Those who are the last to suspect themselves are usually those who ought to be the first to exercise self-suspicion." (Spurgeon)
d. You have said it: Jesus did not say this to condemn Judas, but to call him to repentance. It is fair to assume that He said it with love in His eyes, and Jesus showed Judas that He loved him, even knowing his treachery.
3. (Mat 26:26-29) Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper.
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
a. As they were eating: Sometime during or after this dinner Jesus washed the disciples' feet (John 13:1-11). Following this, Judas left (John 13:30). Then Jesus gave the extended discourse with His disciples and prayer to God the Father described in John 13:31-17:26.
i. Was Judas present for the first celebration of the Lord's Supper? The debate centers on the manuscript of John 13:2. Some textual traditions say, And supper being ended, which would imply that Jesus washed their feet and that Judas left after the institution of the Lord's Supper. Other textual traditions read, And during supper at John 13:2. This would indicate that Jesus washed feet and Judas left sometime during the meal, and therefore may have left before the institution of the Lord's Supper.
ii. Since John does not describe the institution of the Lord's Supper in his gospel account, there is debate as to if Judas was present when the Lord's Supper was first given, as described in the following passage. Most confidently believe Judas was not part of this part of the Lord's Supper (such as Morgan: "Before the new feast was instituted, Judas had gone out (John 13:30)."). The issue is very difficult to determine with certainty.
b. Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it: When the bread was lifted up at Passover, the head of the meal would say: "This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let everyone who hungers come and eat; let everyone who is needy come and eat the Passover meal." Everything eaten at the Passover meal had a symbolic meaning. The bitter herbs recalled the bitterness of slavery; the salt water remembered the tears shed under Egypt's oppression. The main course of the meal - a lamb freshly sacrificed for that particular household - did not symbolize anything connected to the agonies of Egypt. It was the sin-bearing sacrifice that allowed the judgment of God to pass over the household that believed.
i. The Passover created a nation; a mob of slave was freed from Egypt and became a nation. This new Passover also creates a people; those united in Jesus Christ, remembering and trusting His sacrifice for us.
c. Take, eat; this is My body ... This is My blood of the new covenant: Jesus didn't give the normal explanation of the meaning of each of the foods. He reinterpreted them in Himself, and the focus was no longer on the suffering of Israel in Egypt, but on the sin-bearing suffering of Jesus on their behalf.
i. "The words 'this is my body' had no place in the Passover ritual; and as an innovation, they must have had a stunning effect, an effect that would grow with the increased understanding gained after Easter." (Carson)
ii. This is how we remember what Jesus did for us. As we eat the bread we should remember how Jesus was broken, pierced, and beaten with stripes for our redemption. As we drink the cup we should remember that His blood, His life was poured out on Calvary for us.
iii. This is how we fellowship with Jesus. Because His redemption has reconciled us to God, we can now sit down to a meal with Jesus, and enjoy each other's company.
d. This is My blood of the new covenant: Remarkably, Jesus announced the institution of a new covenant. No mere man could ever institute a new covenant between God and man, but Jesus is the God-man. He has the authority to establish a new covenant, sealed with blood, even as the old covenant was sealed with blood (Exodus 24:8).
i. The new covenant concerns an inner transformation that cleanses us from all sin: For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more (Jeremiah 31:34). This transformation puts God's Word and will in us: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). This covenant is all about a new, close, relationship with God: I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31:33).
ii. We can say that the blood of Jesus made the new covenant possible, and it also made it sure and reliable. It is confirmed with the life of God Himself.
iii. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we have can have a new covenant relationship with God. Sadly, many followers of Jesus live as if it never happened.
- As if there is no inner transformation
- As if there is no true cleansing from sin.
- As if there is no word and will of God in our hearts.
- As if there is no new and close relationship with God.
iv. Which is shed for many: "In that large word 'many' let us exceedingly rejoice. Christ's blood was not shed for the handful of apostles alone. There were but eleven of them who really partook of the blood symbolized by the cup. The Savior does not say, 'This is my blood which is shed for you, the favored eleven;' but 'shed for many.'" (Spurgeon)
e. This is My body ... this is My blood: The precise understanding of these words from Jesus have been the source of great theological controversy among Christians.
i. The Roman Catholic Church holds the idea of transubstantiation, which teaches that the bread and the wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.
ii. Martin Luther held the idea of consubstantiation, which teaches the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine, but by faith they are the same as Jesus' actual body. Luther did not believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, but he did not go far from it.
iii. John Calvin taught that Jesus' presence in the bread and wine is real, but only spiritual, not physical. Zwingli taught that the bread and wine are significant symbols that represent the body and blood of Jesus. When the Swiss Reformers debated the issue with Martin Luther at Marburg, there was a huge contention. Luther insisted on some kind of physical presence because Jesus said, "this is My body." He insisted over and over again, writing it on the velvet of the table, Hoc est corpus meum - "this is My body" in Latin. Zwingli replied, "Jesus also said I am the vine," and "I am the door," but we understand what He was saying. Luther replied, "I don't know, but if Christ told me to eat dung I would do it knowing that it was good for me." Luther was so strong on this because he saw it as an issue of believing Christ's words, and because he thought Zwingli was compromising, he said he was of another spirit (andere geist). Ironically, later, Luther later read Calvin's writings on the Lord's Supper (which were essentially the same as Zwingli's) and seemed to agree with or at least accept Calvin's views.
iv. Scripturally, we can understand that the bread and the cup are not mere symbols, but they are powerful pictures to partake of, to enter in to, as we see the Lord's Table as the new Passover.
v. "Let the papists and Lutherans say what they can, here must be two figures acknowledged in these words. The cup here is put for the wine in the cup; and the meaning of these words, this is my blood of the new testament, must be, this wine is the sign of the new covenant. Why they should not as readily acknowledge a figure in these words, This is my body, I cannot understand." (Poole)
vi. "What is certain is that Jesus bids us commemorate, not his birth, nor his life, nor his miracles, but his death." (Carson)
f. Take, eat: We can't get so caught up in debating what the bread and the cup mean that we forget to do what Jesus said to do with them. We must take and eat.
i. Take means that it won't be forced upon anyone. One must actually receive it. "I anticipate that someone will say, 'Am I then to have Jesus Christ by only taking him?' Just so. Dost thou need a Savior? There he is; take him. . . . Take him in; take him in; that is all that thou hast to do." (Spurgeon)
ii. Eat means that this is absolutely vital for everyone. Without food and drink, no one can live. Without Jesus, we perish. It also means that we must take Jesus into our innermost being. Everyone must also eat for themselves; no one else can do it for them.
iii. "If you have any question as to whether you have drunk, I will tell you how to solve it - drink again! If you have been eating, and you have really forgotten whether you have eaten or not - such things do occur to busy men, who eat but little; if, I say, you would be sure that you have eaten, eat again! If thou wilt be assured that thou hast believed in Jesus, believe again!" (Spurgeon)
g. He gave thanks: In the ancient Greek language, thanks is the word eucharist. This is why the commemoration of the Lord's Table is sometimes called the Eucharist.
i. This tells us something of Jesus' own attitude and heart at this moment: "Observe, Jesus was in the mood, and able, at that hour, to thank and praise, confident that good would come out of evil. In Gethsemane He was able only to submit." (Bruce)
ii. This tells us something of our own receiving of the Lord's Supper:
"What, then, do we mean when at the Supper we lift that sacred cup to our lips? Are we not saying by that significant act, Remember thy covenant? Are we not reminding Jesus that we are relying upon Him to do His part? Are we not pledging ourselves to Him as his own, bound to Him by indissoluble ties, and satisfied with his most blessed service?" (Meyer)
iii. This tells us something of the sometimes declined condition of the people of God and their leaders: "Once there were wooden cups, golden priests; now there are golden cups, but wooden priests." (Trapp)
h. Until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom: Jesus looked forward to a future celebration of the Passover in heaven, one that He has not yet celebrated with His people. He is waiting for all His people to be gathered to Him and then there will be a great supper - the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9). This is the fulfillment in My Father's kingdom that Jesus longed for.
4. (Mat 26:30) Jesus sings with His disciples and goes out to the Mount of Olives.
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
a. When they had sung a hymn: We don't often think of Jesus singing, but He did. He lifted His voice in adoration and worship to God the Father. We can endlessly wonder what His voice sounded like, but we know for certain that He sang with more than His voice, and He lifted His whole heart up in praise. This reminds us that God wants to be praised with singing.
i. "These words, interpreted by a reverent imagination, present one of the most wonderful pictures. . . . They sing, and it is impossible to doubt that He led the singing." (Morgan)
ii. It is remarkable that Jesus could sing on this night before His crucifixion. Could we sing in such circumstances? Jesus can truly be our worship leader. We should sing to God our Father - just as Jesus did - because this is something that pleases Him, and when we love someone we want to do the things that please them. It really doesn't matter if it does or doesn't please us.
iii. "No sweeter singing, no mightier music ever sounded amid the darkness of the sad world's night than the sing of Jesus and His first disciples, as they moved out to the Cross of His Passion, and their redemption." (Morgan)
b. Sung a hymn: It is wonderful that Jesus sang, but what did He sing? A Passover meal always ended with singing three Psalms known as the Hallel, Psalms 116-118. Think of how the words of these Psalms would have ministered to Jesus as He sang them on the night before His crucifixion:
- The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!" (Psalm 116:3-4)
- For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8-9)
- I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. (Psalm 116:13-15)
- Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! (Psalm 117:1)
- You pushed me violently, that I might fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. (Psalm 118:13-14)
- I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. The LORD has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise the LORD. (Psalm 118:17-19)
- The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22-23)
- God is the LORD, and He has given us light; bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. (Psalm 118:27-28)
i. "When Jesus arose to go the Gethsemane, Psalm 118 was upon his lips. It provided an appropriate description of how God would guide his Messiah through distress and suffering to glory." (Lane)