Matthew 26:16
And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
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26:14-16 There were but twelve called apostles, and one of them was like a devil; surely we must never expect any society to be quite pure on this side heaven. The greater profession men make of religion, the greater opportunity they have of doing mischief, if their hearts be not right with God. Observe, that Christ's own disciple, who knew so well his doctrine and manner of his life, and was false to him, could not charge him with any thing criminal, though it would have served to justify his treachery. What did Judas want? Was not he welcome wherever his Master was? Did he not fare as Christ fared? It is not the lack, but the love of money, that is the root of all evil. After he had made that wicked bargain, Judas had time to repent, and to revoke it; but when lesser acts of dishonesty have hardened the conscience men do without hesitation that which is more shameful.Sought opportunity to betray him - Luke adds, "in the absence of the multitude." This was the chief difficulty - to deliver him into the hands of the priests so as not to have it known by the people, or so as not to excite tumult.

The "opportunity" which he sought, therefore, was one in which the multitude would not see him, or could not rescue the Saviour.

To betray him - The word "betray" commonly means to deliver into the hands of an enemy by treachery or breach of trust; to do it while friendship or faithfulness is "professed." All this took place in the case of Judas. But the word in the original does not necessarily imply this. It means simply to "deliver up," or to give into their hands. He sought opportunity "how he might deliver him up to them," agreeably to the contract.


Mt 26:1-16. Christ's Final Announcement of his Death, as Now within Two Days, and the Simultaneous Conspiracy of the Jewish Authorities to Compass It—The Anointing at Bethany—Judas Agrees with the Chief Priests to Betray His Lord. ( = Mr 14:1-11; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-11).

For the exposition, see on [1361]Mr 14:1-11.

Ver. 14-16. Mark saith, Mark 14:10,11, And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him. Luke hath this yet more fully, Luke 22:3-6, Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. While they were busy in council, (viz. the chief priests, and scribes, and elders), how they might surprise Christ without making a tumult, Judas surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples of our Lord, instigated by the devil, who possibly did take advantage of Judas’s discontent that the ointment was not sold, and he had not the money to put into the bag, or that Christ checked him so openly before the disciples, goes to the council, and offereth them to betray him unto them, without making any noise in the city. This being what they desired, and were consulting how to effect, they were glad of such an offer, and agreed with him for a sum of money. No evangelist but Matthew, in this place, mentions the particular sum, which was thirty pieces of silver. Interpreters do very probably think that these thirty pieces were thirty staters or shekels of the sanctuary, which being but of the value of two shillings and six pence apiece, amounted but to three pounds fifteen shillings in our money, which was the sum appointed by the law, Exodus 21:32, to be paid for a servant gored to death by the beast of another, the poorest and meanest price of any person’s life: Judas left it to them, and they set the meanest price imaginable. There are other opinions about the value of these pieces of silver, but this is the most probable, especially considering the mean opinion these men had of Christ, and their design and interest to depreciate him as much as might be, and that the priests were the great men in this council, who most probably agreed with him for such pieces of money as were most in use amongst the Jews. It may be a just matter of admiration that they should make so cheap a bargain with him, considering that they doubtless (had he insisted upon it) would have given him more; but there was a prophecy to be fulfilled, which we find Zechariah 11:12,13, So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. I shall have occasion, when I come to Matthew 27:9, to discourse that text further. The price was set by the council of Heaven, which had determined this degree of our Lord’s humiliation, that as he took upon him the form of a servant, so his life should be valued at the rate of an ordinary servant’s life. Though therefore Judas was covetous enough to have asked more, and it is like the malice of those councillors would have edged them to have given more, yet it was thus ordered by the Divine council. Christ must be sold cheap, that he might be the more dear to the souls of the redeemed ones. For thirty pieces of silver he covenanted with them, and they promised it to him; whether it was now paid, or when he had done his work, appeareth not. From that time, (saith Mark), he sought how he might conveniently betray him. Luke expounds this ater oclou, without tumult, Luke 22:6. He was now fixedly resolved upon his villany; his lust wanted but opportunity, which soon after offered itself.

And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Luke adds, "in the absence of the multitude", Luke 22:6; in the most private manner, when he was alone, and in some solitary place, that no tumult might arise, and that there might be no danger of a rescue: for so he, and the chief priests, had consulted, and settled it, as what would be most prudent and advisable; and therefore, from that time forward, being prompted on by Satan, and the lucre of the money he was to receive, he narrowly watched, and diligently observed, the best and most fitting season to perform his enterprise, and quickly offered. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
Matthew 26:16. εὐκαιρίαν, a good occasion, the verb, εὐκαιρέω (Mark 6:31), belongs to late Greek (Lobeck, Phryn., p. 125).

Verse 16. - From that time. As soon as he had made his bargain. Opportunity. "In the absence of the multitude," St. Luke adds. The Sanhedrin no longer thought it necessary to wait for the termination of the festival (ver. 5). Judas would enable them to seize Christ in his most secret retirement, and at the most opportune moment. Matthew 26:16
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