James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,Matthew 26:1-75
BETRAYAL AND ARREST
As to the first point (Matthew 26:1-5), note that Christ predicts His death for the fourth time, adding the manner of it, and the time it would take place. What a calm walking up into death it was! But see how Satan, through the human conspirators, would hinder, if he could, the offering of the sacrifice at the appointed time (Matthew 26:5)!
As to the second point (Matthew 26:6-13), we learn from John 12:1-8, that the woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus, leading to the presumption that Simon the leper was her father, and possibly one whom Jesus had healed. The circumstance that one Gospel speaks of her as anointing Jesus’ head and the other His feet, shows that the “ordinary anointing of hospitality and honor” included both. Matthew mentions the first as in harmony with the general purpose of his Gospel to reveal Jesus as the king. John reveals Him as the Son of God, in which the attitude of Mary at His feet is in harmony. Matthew 26:12 is significant, indicating that Mary understood more of Christ’s death than the disciples; in which connection note that she is “not among the women who went to the sepulchre to embalm His body.” The cost of the ointment (John 12:5), equals about $50, which as values are today compared with those times would mean six times as much, or $300. A laborer’s daily wage at that time being a penny, one understands the “indignation” of the disciples (Matthew 26:8). But how blessed to obtain our Lord’s interpretation of the act (Matthew 26:10)! Let us bring our best to Him no matter what men say. To Him let it be brought. There is much charity and philanthropy in our day in which the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ is not considered.
As to the third point (Matthew 26:14-16), compare Psalm 41:9; Psalm 69:25; Psalm 109:8; Zechariah 11:12, and observe from Luke 22:3, that Satan entered into Judas, and that the price for which he sold our Lord was that of a slave (Exodus 21:32).
Coming to the Passover (Matthew 26:17-25), let it not be supposed that because of the different accounts in the four Gospels there is any conflict among them, even though we may not be perfectly able to harmonize them. For the Passover itself, and what it commemorated, we refer to Exodus 12.
The institution of the Lord’s Supper which followed (Matthew 26:26-29), marked the end of the Mosaic dispensation. The Passover had fulfilled its purpose as the paschal lamb to which it pointed, was to be slain the next day. Hence the inauguration of a new feast embodying the fundamental truth of Christianity as that had embodied the fundamental truth of Judaism. And the fundamental truth of Christianity is “remission of sins.” “Remission” means to send off, or away, i.e., to separate the sin from the sinner. In this respect there is a difference between human and divine forgiveness. The first remits the penalty, which is all that it can do, while the second remits the sin. And the latter can do this, because with God, forgiveness always follows the execution of the penalty (see Leviticus 4:35; Hebrews 9:22). We are forgiven for Christ’s sake, in the sense that Christ has borne the sins of the believer in His own body on the tree. What meaning must be wrapped up in verse 29, “new with you in my Father’s kingdom!” Who can fathom its depths?
Concerning the agony in the garden (Matthew 26:36-46), we must not suppose the “cup” was the fear of mere physical pain or death, in which event Christ would have been lacking in the courage and faith of many an ordinary martyr. Moreover, He need not have died at all had He desired otherwise (John 10:17-18). The “cup” must have been the making of His soul an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10), including the withdrawal of His Father’s face on account of that sin (Psalms 22 :l) not His own sin of course, but that of the whole world (1 John 2:2). The value of His petition is seen in the testimony it bears to the necessity of the atonement, showing that without the shedding of His blood there could have been no remission.
Other events in this chapter we pass over to speak of them in the next lesson, pausing a moment to allude to the seeming discrepancy in the account of the denial of Peter (Matthew 26:69-75). Comparing the story here with the corresponding places Mark 14, Luke 22, and John 18, it is to be kept in mind, that an excited crowd had gathered and that Peter was questioned in two places; with the servants (Matthew 26:58), where the first charge was made (Matthew 26:69); and in the porch where a great number of people would be gathered, and where the second and third charges were made by another damsel and by the crowd.
1. Name the ten great facts of this lesson.
2. How would you harmonize the two accounts of the anointing of Jesus by Mary?
3. Name the events on the night of the Passover.
4. What is the origin of the Passover and what did it commemorate?
5. How does remission differ from forgiveness, and why?
6. How should we interpret the “cup” spoken of in Gethsemane?