The Sanhedrin had a secret meeting on the Wednesday before the crucifixion of our Lord, they met to figure out a way to rid themselves and their nation of this Messiah. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples, ‘Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace (this infers this was an official meeting which would include all 71 members of the High Council; Matthew 16:21;27:41) of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill Him.” Matthew 26:1-4 On this day there is no record of our Lord’s activities, but Judas was busy! It is important to note that what Judas did was not impulsive, it was deliberate, it had been planned!!
This is the fifth time such a linking text occurs in the Gospel according to Matthew. The other occurrences are Matthew 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; and 19:1. “These sayings” clearly refer to chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew. The verbiage of verse one is important. Jesus was finished!!, according to the text, ALL Jesus ever intended to teach had now been taught, He was through, the time for teaching being over, the time for suffering was approaching!!!! Jesus introduced His fourth and last announcement of His suffering, mentioned previously in Matthew 16:21; 17:22,23; and 20:18,19, with the remark that in two days time it would be the Passover and on that day He would die, informs us that it was not the crafty plans of the Sanhedrin nor the desperate action of Judas, the traitor; but the Lord Jesus, Himself was the one who decided WHEN His death would occur. It was His will, His word, and His decision!! Caiaphas and the rest may have thought THEY were the ones who were going to set the date of His death, but our Lord made all the decisions about this WHEN He was going to become the sacrifice for His bride, the Church of Christ!! This death was apart of a Divine plan, not the coincidental element of time that decided when Christ would die!! Peter, later mentions this when the Holy Spirit inspired him to speak and Luke pen his words; “He was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” Acts 2:23. From the very beginning Jesus moved in the direction of the cross how, then can some who preach the gospel teach that Christ never intended to die but was coerced and intimidated by the Father to carry out His plan??
There is no doubt that the killing of Jesus had been discussed in the Sanhedrin meetings previously, Matthew 21:46, but they were afraid of the people who followed Christ, not especially of they who lived in Jerusalem, but the strategy seemed to be that they had tried to contact Judas before Tuesday of this week, hence the phrase “take Him by subtlety (trick).” The people who followed Christ were mainly from Galilee and as a mass of people were considered pilgrims and vagabonds, but they had always showed an affinity to both Him and John, the Baptist.
“When Jesus was in Bethany,” (there is no “when” in the inspired text), shows us Christ had come to the home of friends, and why would they not be His friends, for Simon had been healed of leprosy, Lazarus had been raised from the dead, and Mary (who washed His feet with her expensive ointment and hair) had been particularly blessed by Him. Being His friends could have cost them for the Sanhedrin had commanded “if any man knew where He were, he should show it, that they might take Him.” John 11:57. We do not know the purpose of Christ being at this house, but it is reasonable to think this might have been a celebration of Lazarus resurrection. Martha served, as usual, while Mary took an “ointment of spikenard, very costly,” a whole pound, and washed the body of Christ. Whether Mary had heard of a previous anointing of Jesus by a woman of Capernaum, Luke 7:37, or if this was the same woman, Mary’s appreciation for the Lord was greatly seen. She anointed Him beyond the service a slave would render to a guest (which would be to wash His feet), humbly, in extreme submission, and at a great expense to herself; Mary dried His feet with the hair of her head. A woman’s hair was a sign of her glory (1 Corinthians 11:15), but she abandoned her glory to Him who would soon die for her!! As the fragrance of the ointment filled the room, hell came calling!! Judas was stirred. Satan NEVER is quiet when the valiant soldier of Christ is honored! Hate is “inside” them,it has to come out!One would wish the messengers of Calvary had the same problems-what’s in must come out!!