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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Matthew 26

Verse 1

26:1 All these sayings refers to the speeches Jesus made to his disciples following his last visit to the temple. His work on earth was about to come to an end and he turned his attention to the events that were soon to come.

Verse 2

26:2 The passover was a feast of the Jews that was instituted in Egypt on the night of the slaying of the firstborn of the Egyptians (Exodus 12). It became one of the annual feasts of the nation at which time all the males were required to go to the city of Jerusalem where it was celebrated in commemoration of the Egyptian event. After two days would come the regular date which was Friday, the 14th day of the 1st month. Jesus and his apostles ate the feast two days before the regular time. As proof of this, the italicized words above indicates it, and Joh 18:28 records a statement that shows the Jews had not yet eaten of the pass-over, although it was the day after Jesus and his apostles had eaten theirs. There was a reason for his observing it at this time for he knew that he was to die the next day and hence would not get to partake of it if he waited for the established time. This should not confuse us any in view of the emergency, and also the authority of Jesus. Chapter 12:8 states that the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath, and he certainly is Lord of other days also.

Verse 3

26:3 Then assembled means a gathering of the members of the Sanhedrin, the highest court of the Jews in the time of Christ. The word is usually rendered "council" in the New Testament, but it is sometimes referred to as an assembly as it is in this verse. The word is from the Greek, SUNEDRION which Thayer defines, "Any assembly (especially of magistrates, judges, ambassadors), whether convened to deliberate or to pass judgment; in the Scriptures 1. any session of persons deliberating or adjudicating [judging]. 2. specifically, the Sanhedrin, the great council at Jerusalem." He follows his definition with the following information. "Consisting of seventy-one members, viz., scribes and elders, prominent members of the high priestly families (hence called . . .), and the high-priest, the president of the body. The fullest periphrasis [wordy description] for Sanhedrin is found in Mat 26:3; Mar 14:43; Mar 14:53. The more important causes were brought before this tribunal, inasmuch as the Roman rulers of Judea had left to it the power of trying such cases, and also of pronouncing sentence of death, with the limitation that a capital sentence pronounced by the Sanhedrin was not valid unless it were confirmed by the Roman procurator• [an agent]. The Jews trace the origin of the Sanhedrin to Num 11:16." All of this information from Thayer-is important, and the reader should make a note of it for ready reference, for the subject will be mentioned several times in the New Testament study.

Verse 4

26:4 We have learned in the preceding paragraph that the Sanhedrin could not lawfully put anyone to death. That is the reason the Jews had this consultation to devise some plot to kill Jesus by a trick of subtilty.

Verse 5

26:5 The Jews were not concerned about disturbing the holy feast, but wished to avoid any conflict with the people. In other words, they were acting on policy more than on principle and wished to retain their popularity.

Verse 6

26:6 The writer now goes back a few days to relate some incidents that happened while Jesus was in Bethany. In chapter 21:17 is the account of his going out to that village nearby where he lodged over night. In John's account (Joh 12:1-2) we are told that when he was there a supper was made in his honor, which our present verse says was in the house of Simon the leper•. The law of Moses required a leper to dwell apart from society (Lev 13:46), hence we should conclude that Simon had been miraculously cured by the Lord, and he was designated "the leper" to distinguish him from several other men with the same name.

Verse 7

26:7 According to Joh 12:3 this woman was Mary a sister of Lazarus. Funk and Wagnalls Standard Bible Dictionary says the following of this box. "Alabaster (origin of the word unknown): Mineral carbonate of lime. A white stone much used in antiquity to ornament buildings and for vases and small bottles for holding precious ointment." Mar 14:3 says the woman broke the box and poured the ointment on his head. No reason is given for breaking the box, but at least it shows she intended to use all the ointment.

Verse 8

26:8 According to Joh 12:4-6 it was Judas who made the complaint. And the same passage explains his motive to have been a selfish one. John calls him a thief and Jesus calls him a devil in Joh 6:70, all of which accounts for his conduct.

Verse 9

26:9 It was true that such a product was costly (about fifty dollars' worth) to be used in what might have been considered an unprofitable way. But it was not really his thoughts of economy that caused Judas to make his remark. He was a covetous man and it hurt him to see that much value bestowed upon another.

Verse 10

6:10 Good work is used in the sense of a good act or deed, not so much as a manual effort which we know it was not. What constituted this a good deed will be explained in the comments on verse 12.

Verse 11

6:11 Jesus did not criticize the idea of giving something to the poor. He instructed the rich young man (chapter 19:21) to give his possessions to the poor. Neither did he question the motive of Judas in making his complaint. He left that subject for-some other to do as John did in the passage cited at verse 8. But he made a statement that pertained to the subject of using present opportunities that are soon to pass. He was to leave the world in a short time and that would stop all chances of doing him a bodily favor, while they would never cease to have. the opportunity of helping the poor.

Verse 12

6:12 For my burial. It was an old custom to anoint the dead and use spices at the time of burial. (See 2Ch 16:14; Joh 19:40; Luk 23:56). Mar 14:8 quotes Jesus as saying, "She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying." Since it was customary to bestow such treatment on the human body it would be regarded as a good deed to perform it. Mary evidently believed that she would not have as good an opportunity for this service if she waited until after the death of Jesus. However, whether this tells the motive for her coming aforehand or not, the mere desire to do honor to the body of her Lord was regarded favorably. This subject furnishes us with some suggestions concerning an inquiry often heard as to whether the use of flowers and other items on funeral occasions is right. Of course all good things are liable to abuse, and the extravagant spending of money for flowers is wrong. But we have convincing proof that it is proper to give respectful attention to the body because it is made in the image of the Creator. Any unnecessary mutilation of the body, therefore, would be wrong, which would condemn the desecrating act of cremation.

Verse 13

6:13 This means that the deed of the woman would become a part of the Gospel record and hence would be mentioned wherever the sacred book went.

Verse 14

6:14 The covetous heart of Judas was evidently stirred by the "waste" of something that would have brought in a goodly sum of money, and since it was bestowed upon Jesus, the thought occurred to him that he could recover some of it by betraying him to the Jews for money.

Verse 15

6:15 He asked the priests to make him an offer for which he would carry out the wicked deed. They covenanted (contracted) to give him thirty pieces of silver. According to the Oxford Cyclopedic Concordance it would be about twenty dollars today.

Verse 16

6:16 Immediately after the bargain was made, Judas watched for an opportunity to fulfill it by pointing Jesus out in the way stated in verse 48.

Verse 17

6:17 Matthew resumes his history at the place where he left it at verse 5. Feast of unleavened bread. The 14th day of the first month was the time of the passover (Exo 12:6), and it was to be eaten with unleavened bread (verse 8). And the seven days following were also days in which they were to eat unleavened bread (Lev 23:5-6). For more details about these days of unleavened bread, see the comments at Exo 12:15 and Lev 23:6-7 in volume 1 of the Old Testament Commentary. Jesus and his apostles ate their pass-over two days before the regular time (verse 2), and hence all the other items as to dates were set back correspondingly. The entire eight days beginning with the 14th came to be referred to as the feast of unleavened bread, so that the day of the passover (14th) would be called the first day of unleavened bread as we see it here; hence these italicized words apply to Christ and his apostles only in this place and the like statements in the other Gospels accounts. This being a special date for them, the disciples wished some instructions where to arrange for the passover, knowing Jesus would not eat it in any public place with the Jews.

Verse 18

6:18 Jesus directed them to go to a certain man in the city and deliver the request of their Master to him. Notice Jesus called it my time; that is, his time of crucifixion was at hand and he needed to eat the pass-over that evening. Also, since it was a special date, he wanted to eat it in a private house and hence made the request for the use of this man's house to be occupied by him and his apostles.

Verse 19

6:19 Made ready the passover. Jesus and his disciples were under the law of Moses and of course they made this preparation according to the directions recorded. Exo 12:5-9 has its fist application in Egypt which was before the law was given from Sinai, but the same regulations were followed afterward. That means the disciples prepared the animal as directed, and also procured a supply of unleavened bread.

Verse 20

6:20 One of the great advantages of having more than one account of the life of Christ is the fact that the same details are not given in all of them. The things that happened on this last night of Christ before his death are not given in strict chronological order. For the convenience of the reader I shall write a list of references, and if he will read them in exactly the order as given he will have a connected record of what took place on that night. Luk 22:14-18; Luke 21-23; Joh 13:23-30; Luk 22:19-20. It is important that the passages be read just as the references show, not taking in a single verse not indicated nor leaving out one. I shall now comment on the verses of this chapter in their order. Even is from OPSIOS and has a somewhat indefinite meaning as to any exact hour, but all lexicons agree that it means toward the end of the day.

Verse 21

6:21 Jesus had divine knowledge and hence was aware of the intentions of Judas.

Verse 22

6:22 They were exceeding sorrowful. This was a sincere sorrow on the part of all except the guilty one, for he could not have any sorrow (at this time) for something that he was wanting to do.

Verse 23

6:23 The apostles had asked Jesus who was going to betray him but he did not answer them all. According to Joh 13:22-26 John was leaning on Jesus' bosom and hence was near him. Peter beckoned to him to ask Jesus who it was, and when Jesus told him, Judas did not hear the answer. The answer was accompanied with the act of dipping a piece of bread in the dish containing the flesh and its broth. Jesus reached into the dish at the same time that Judas did, which was the sign to the other apostles that answered their question of who was to be the betrayer.

Verse 24

6:24 Son of man goeth. The last word is from HUPAGO which Thayer defines at this place, "To withdraw one's self, to go away, depart." Jesus knew that it was destined for him to leave the world through the treachery of one of his professed friends (Psa 41:9). However, this decree against him was not to relieve the perpetrator of the deed from the guilt of wrong doing. We have learned that Judas was called a thief and a devil before he had ever performed this evil deed (Joh 6:70; Joh 12:6), hence it did not change his character in the least for God to use him as the agent in the necessary act. Woe to that man. Why pronounce a woe upon Judas if he was selected as this agent, is a natural inquiry. It was because of his motive in doing it, which was to obtain some money to gratify his covetous heart. Another thing, even this deed would not need to have caused him to be lost. The Jews on the day of Pentecost were accused of murdering Jesus, yet they were given the opportunity of obeying the Gospel for the remission of their sins. If Judas who was guilty only of betraying Christ, had repented from a godly sorrow and obeyed the Gospel he could have been saved also. But Jesus knew he would not do this, hence he made the prediction of this verse.

Verse 25

6:25 Judas could not have asked the question for information, for he had already contracted with the chief priests to betray his Lord. All of the others had asked the same question and if he kept silent it would be so conspicuous that his guilt would be manifest to all in the group.

Verse 26

6:26 Blessed is from EULOGEO and Thayer defines it in this passage, "To praise, celebrate with praises." We should understand, therefore, that it does not mean to bestow some miraculous quality upon the bread. The conclusion is strengthened by the giving of thanks for the cup, and we know that the cup is as important as the bread. If the bread required some miraculous quality to be given to it to produce the desired effect on the communicants, then surely the cup would have also required something more than the simple act of thanksgiving. Brake is from KLAO which is defined by Thayer, "To break," and he then adds the comment, "used in the New Testament of the breaking of bread." He also cites Mat 14:19; Mat 15:36, and other places where we know it refers to the act of dividing a loaf so that more than one person could properly partake of it. Thus we see the word has no religious significance, but states what is a physical necessity in order that the communicants could eat of it which is the only religious phase about the handling of the bread. This is my body. The Ro-manists insist that this statement must be taken literally and not to be understood in the sense of the bread as only a representation of his body. That reasoning would make nonsense of the other passages where the language is just as direct. For instance, in 1Co 10:4 where Paul is speaking of the Israelites in the wilderness and of their drinking of a rock, he says "that rock was Christ." The record of that event is in Exo 17:6 where Moses literally smote a literal rock and thus provided drinking water for the congregation. We know that rock was only a piece of material, so that the statement of Paul means it was a type or representation of Christ who furnishes water of spiritual life. On the same principle, the bread represents the body of Christ because his body had to be given to provide spiritual food for mankind.

Verse 27

6:27 It might be asked why the cup was not "blessed" if it is as important as the bread; it was. The definition of "blessed" is, "to praise, celebrate with praises," as may be seen in comments on the preceding verse. In thanking God for the cup one would thereby be praising it. Matthew uses the two terms, blessed and thanks, as being the same in principle. Drink ye all of it means for all of them to drink of it. The priests of Rome insist on doing the drinking tor the others, which is a contradiction of the instructions that Jesus gave to his disciples.

Verse 28

6:28 Blood of the New Testament. Under the Old Testament the blood that was shed was that of beasts, but the blood of the New was that of the Lamb of God. Shed for many. None but the Jews received the benefit of the blood shed in the animal sacrifices, while the blood of Christ offers benefits to the whole world (Rom 3:25; 1Jn 2:2), which includes Jews and Gentiles without distinction.

Verse 29

6:29 The passages cited at verse 20 show that when Jesus spoke the words of this verse they were kill in the passover feast, and hence he said them before verses 26-28 of the present chapter. Therefore, when the fruit of the vine was served in the institution of the Lord's supper he did not partake. That would be appropriate, for that supper was to celebrate the death of Christ (1Co 11:26), and a man would not be expected to memorialize his own death. Until I drink it new in my Father's kingdom. Yes, Jesus does partake of the cup, but it is in a spiritual sense only. When disciples are eating and drinking of the Lord's supper he is present in spirit even as he promised that he would be (Mat 18:20).

Verse 30

6:30 According to Thayer and Robinson this hymn was one of the Psalms of David. The mount of Olives was the site of Gethsemane which will be explained at verse 36.

Verse 31

6:31 While on their way to the mount of Olives Jesus said many things to his apostles. Chapters 14, 15, 16 and 17 of John were spoken as they were going, but Matthew records only what is in verses 31-35. Shall be offended or be caused to stumble. It means that something was going to happen that would cause them to falter in their devotion to Christ. This lack of devotion was to be manifested by the fact of their deserting him and fleeing. Jesus said it was written and we may read the prediction in Zec 13:7.

Verse 32

6:32 After I am risen explains what Jesus meant in the preceding verse by being smitten. The stroke was to be so severe that it would cause his death, but he predicted that he was to rise from the dead.

Verse 33

6:33 Peter was a man of an impulsive temperament and inclined to make rash statements and to perform rash acts, such as that recorded in Joh 18:10. The emphatic statement recorded here, therefore, is not surprising or should not be.

Verse 34

6:34 Jesus made a specific prediction of what Peter would do; not only specific as to the act but also as to the time of the night in which it would occur.

Verse 35

6:35 Even the pointed predictions of Jesus did not calm the rash spirit of Peter, but he repeated his declaration with an added item, that he would die before he would betray Jesus. His enthusiastic vows seemed to affect the other disciples for they all repeated his declaration.

Verse 36

6:36 The journey from the upper room and the passover to the garden of Gethsemane was ended. When they reached the border of the garden Jesus instructed the group to be seated while he went on farther to pray. I shall quote from Smith's Bible Dictionary on the item of Gethsemane. "A small 'garden,' Mat 26:36; Mar 14:32, situated across the brook Kedron, Joh 18:1, probably at the foot of Mount Olivet, Luk 22:39, to the northwest and about one-half or three-quarters of a mile English from the walls of Jerusalem, and 100 yards east of the bridge over the Kedron. There was a 'garden' or rather an orchard, attached to it, to which the olive, fig and pomegranate doubtless invited resort by their hospitable shade."

Verse 37

6:37 Leaving the most of the group at the place where they first paused, Jesus took with him Peter and the sons of Zebedee (James and John), and went on into the garden with them. The humanity in his nature now began to manifest itself which caused him to be sorrowful and heavy hearted.

Verse 38

6:38 Jesus expressed his feelings to the three disciples and told them to tarry there while he stepped aside to pray. Sorrowful, even unto death. This is a highly colored figure of speech, meaning that he felt sad enough to die.

Verse 39

6:39 Having asked the three disciples to tarry and watch, Jesus wished to be alone with his Father and hence went a little farther away from them before beginning his prayer. He prayed that this cup might pass from him if it was the will of his Father. A common error in the comments heard today is to apply this cup to the suffering and death on the cross. Jesus rebuked Peter for thinking he could rescue him from that cup (Joh 18:11), saying that the cup of death was necessary to fulfill the scripture. He certainly would not ask the Father, then, to save him from it. No, the cup to which he referred was this cup, meaning the present agony through which he was going. That cup of agony is forcefully described in Luk 22:40-44. Jesus only asked that he be spared the terrible nervous agitation which he was at that time enduring. But it was not God's will to spare his Son even that much, so he was compelled to go through with it, until his agony brought out the great drops of sweat that was likened to thickened blood.

Verse 40

6:40 After his first prayer Jesus came back to the three disciples and found them asleep. We might wonder why he did not rebuke them more severely, but Luk 22:45 says they were "sleeping for sorrow." Even that should have been overcome by the spirit of watchfulness, but at least we are pleased that it was not from. indifference.

Verse 41

6:41 Watch and pray denotes the two sides of the scheme of salvation, the human and the divine. Watching is a duty of man in order that he may not be overtaken or surprised by temptation. (See Gal 6:1.) While doing what is humanly possible, it is proper to look for help from God if man goes to Him in prayer. Spirit and flesh are the two parts of a human being; the first is the inner man and the other is the outer. The first is inclined to the better way of life and the other is more inclined to evil. A good picture of these two is presented in Rom 7:15-25.

Verse 42

6:42 Notice Jesus says this cup which denotes something present with him then. See the comments on the subject at verse 39.

Verse 43

6:43 The eyes of the disciples were heavy with the fatigue of sorrow.

Verse 44

6:44 Jesus prayed three times and each time his prayer was on the same subject. His persistence was on the principle that faith should be enduring and not inclined to give up easily. See the teaching on this subject in Luk 18:1-8. It should be noted that each of the prayers was made on condition that they were as God willed.

Verse 45

6:45 Jesus perceived the depressed condition of his disciples and decided to let them sleep undisturbed for a little while since the critical hour was about on hands. Is betrayed is in the present tense as to grammatical form but really means "is to be betrayed." Yet it is put in this form to indicate the event was very near.

Verse 46

6:46 We do not know how much time passed between this and the preceding verse. It could not have been long, yet there was enough time for the disciples to get a short but undisturbed nap. Jesus saw Judas and the crowd with him approaching, and roused the disciples from their sleep.

Verse 47

6:47 Jesus was concluding his speech to the disciples when Judas arrived in his immediate presence. To avoid confusion as to why he was not with the group of disciples that Jesus left at the border of the garden, the reader should see the passages, cited at verse 20. He should particularly note from Joh 13:30 that Judas left them while the passover was still taking place, hence he was never near them again until the present verse. Staves is from a Greek word that means "clubs," and the possession of such weapons indicated an attitude of cruelty and disrespect. Even an ordinary policeman usually refrains from using his club (billy) unless there is resistance, but Jesus had never even indicated that he would "resist arrest" as a guilty lawbreaker might do. No wonder he asked them (Luk 22:52) if they thought they had to deal with him as they would a thief.

Verse 48

6:48 Hold him fast. Judas had no doubt of the ability of Jesus to escape from the hand of the mob and really expected him to do so. Then if the priests complained of their loss and demanded the recovery of the money on a pretense of fraud, he could remind them of his warning and thus reject their complaint. Had things turned out as he expected, Judas would have procured the money which his covetous heart craved, and at the same time Jesus would not have been any worse off. Verse 49. Hail means a salutation that comes from a Greek word denoting a friendly greeting that includes good wishes. It is as if Judas had said, "Master, I give you my good wishes for your happiness," and then pretended to verify his wishes by a kiss.

Verse 50

6:50 Friend is from ETAIROS which Thayer defines, "a comrade, mate, partner." Wherefore is from some Greek terms that virtually mean "for what purpose." The verse denotes as if Jesus said, "Judas, we have been comrades for over three years, then why is it that you come to me in this manner?" Just then the mob took charge of Jesus.

Verse 51

6:51 Joh 18:10 tells us it was Peter who made this attack on the servant.

Verse 52

6:52 Some people use this verse to condemn capital punishment, but instead of condemning it the opposite is true. To °take the sword under the circumstances where Peter did is the act of a private, unofficial man. Had he gone to the limit in his act it would have caused the death of the servant and that would have made him a murderer since he did not represent the law. And if that had occurred, Jesus said that he should himself have perished with the sword, that being one of the means of lawfully executing a murderer under the criminal law of the land.

Verse 53

6:53 Had it been right to defend Jesus with force, he could have prayed his Father who would have sent him twelve legions (about 72,000) of angels.

Verse 54

6:54 But if that had been done it would have prevented the scripture prophecies of his death from being fulfilled. Jesus knew all through his life that he was to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, to replace the animal sacrifices of the Mosaic system and make one offering for all time (Heb 10:1-5).

Verse 55

6:55 Jesus rebuked the mob for coming out against him armed as if he were a thief. He reminded them of former opportunities of taking him and they did not do so nor even try to. All this showed their evil motive in the present movement.

Verse 56

6:56 Matthew is making the statements in this and the following verses. He is telling us that the deeds of this crowd were done in fulfillment of the predictions in the scriptures. The rebuke that Jesus gave Peter, also his submission to the attacks of the mob, seemed to dishearten all the disciples so that they forsook him and fled. By that act they fulfilled the predictions in Isa 53:3 and Zec 13:7.

Verse 57

6:57 Led him away to Caiaphas. Joh 18:13 says they led him to Annas first who was the father-in-law of the high priest. Just what official position (if any) this Annas had at this time is a disputed point. But he was a former high priest and perhaps as a preliminary hearing Jesus was taken before him through respect for his former position, and in view of his relation to Caiaphas.

Verse 58

6:58 Peter's curiosity prompted him to follow Jesus as they led him away to the officers. But he also began to show the cowardice which he afterward displayed in the court by following Jesus afar off. He wanted to be near enough to see what was going on but not so near as to be suspected of being connected with him in any way that might be embarrassing or endanger his own life and liberty.

Verse 59

6:59 The persons referred to here were leading men of the Jews who composed the council (Sanhedrin). The description of this court and the extent of its powers may be seen at verse 3. Before they could obtain any action from the Roman court, the Sanhedrin must first try and condemn the prisoner. Sought false witness is very significant. They knew that nothing could be said truthfully against Jesus, hence they would have to rely on witnesses who were willing to give false testimony.

Verse 60

6:60 But found none. That is, no man was willing to testify to any act on the part of Jesus that would have made him guilty of a capital offence under the law of Moses. However, at last two witnesses came forward who said they had something to offer the court about the prisoner.

Verse 61

6:61 The testimony of these had nothing to do with' any capital offence. Had Jesus said what they claimed, it still would not have made him guilty of anything serious, but only a claim as to what he said he could do if he chose. But even this was false, for he never said anything like what they affirmed. Another thing, according to Mar 14:59, even these two witnesses disagreed with each other, and that would have thrown their testimony out of court had it been even on the subject of capital offences. According to Deu 17:6; Deu 19:15 there must be at least two witnesses who testify to the same thing before a man could be condemned to death.

Verse 62

6:62. The high priest was surprised that Jesus did not make any reply to the testimony of these witnesses. He tried to get him to say something or other but failed.

Verse 63

6:63 But Jesus held his peace. There is a familiar rule that "silence gives consent" which would mean that if a man refused to deny a charge made against him it was taken as an admission of guilt. Under most circumstances that would be true, but Jesus knew he was bound to be condemned to die regardless of whether he replied or not. Besides, the pretended testimony was so ridiculous and contradictory that he considered it as beneath his dignity, hence he treated their statments with silent contempt. For an officer to adjure another person means to place him under oath. The high priest did this to Jesus and placed him under oath by the living God. Having bound Jesus with such an oath he asked him whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. This introduced another subject, different from the one for which he was supposed to be brought into the council. The question pertained to his divinity and hence was a vital one, being the central fact of the entire system that Jesus was introducing into the world. Of course he would not be silent on that and his answer will be given in the next verse.

Verse 64

6:64 Thou hast said is an affirmative answer to the question of the high priest. Nevertheless is used in the sense of "moreover, furthermore," etc. It thus is not a restriction on or modification of what was just said, but introduced additional thoughts. Jesus did not stop with merely answering the question about his divinity, but announced some things that were to happen because of his divine Sonship with God. Ye shall see agrees with Rev 1:7 which says that every eye shall see him when he comes to the earth again. The prediction was a blow to the pride of the high priest, not because he was told that he would see Jesus when he comes, but because it predicted that he (Jesus) was to occupy a throne of glory. The high priest was at that very hour presiding in a meeting that was prejudiced against the prisoner, and he as president had manifested his sympathy with the accusers.

Verse 65

6:65 Decisions of the Sanhedrin were to be made by the vote of the members who should be uninfluenced by any interested person. The high priest violated the rules of justice by announcing a conclusion ("he hath spoken blasphemy") before they had voted.

Verse 66

6:66 With such a breach of justice to influence them, it is no wonder that the assembly answered the question of the high priest as they did. It was all the more to be expected when their own personal sentiments were previously set against the prisoner because of his frequent rebukes of their wicked lives. He is guilty of death means that he is guilty of a crime that calls for the death penalty. Under the law of Moses a man who was guilty of blasphemy against God was to be put to death (Lev 24:16). Jesus was not guilty, but the high priest had pronounced him so, hence the way was opened for the assembly, which was overwhelmingly moved by the spirit of a mob, to agree with the decision of the president and condemn the prisoner.

Verse 67

6:67 The Sanhedrin could pronounce a sentence of death but it could not execute it, hence they gratified their wicked hearts by this contemptible treatment of Jesus. According to Num 12:14 and Deu 25:9 it was regarded as a disgrace to have another spit in one's face. Thayer says to buffet means "to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist," which would be intended to cause pain. To smite with the open hand was not so much to cause pain as it was to treat with contempt.

Verse 68

6:68 Prophesy is from PRO-PHETEUO which Thayer defines at this place, "To utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation." In a crowded condition no one person would be distinctly visible so that the belittling act of slapping with the hand could be done without its being seen as to who really did it. (See Mar 5:27-31.) This act was an unmanly challenging of Christ's knowledge.

Verse 69

6:69 Sat without in the palace We should remember that the present session of the Sanhedrin was held in the headquarters of the high priest (verse 57). Palace is a somewhat indefinite word in the Bible, but a common view of it is a building surrounded with an uncovered court. Sometimes the word is used to designate the building only, and at others it means the courtyard around it; the session of the Sanhedrin was held in the building. Peter sat without in the palace means he was out in the courtyard of the palace. The text does not tell us why the damsel asked Peter the question, but the same thing was asked him by another damsel, and still one of the crowd asked this question. All of them received the same negative answer, hence it is reasonable to conclude it was a part of the Lord's plan to bring about the threefold denial that was predicted in verse 34. This question about Peter's being with, Jesus and the cowardly denial is significant, and shows that the fact of association with another makes him a partaker of whatever he is doing. (See Rom 1:32.) Of course Jesus was not doing anything wrong, and if Peter had been true to his profession so strongly expressed in verses 33-35, he would gladly have admitted his friendly association with the Lord and rejoiced in sharing in his persecutions. (See Act 5:41.)

Verse 70

6:70 Peter not only denied being an associate of Jesus, but uttered a falsehood by saying he did not know him. The fear of sharing in the persecutions of Jesus caused him to say this and thus added another sin to the ones previously committed.

Verse 71

6:71 This porch was a place a little further away from the main building. The statement of the first damsel alarmed him and he was induced to move farther away. But even at this place his presence was noticed and a maid connected him with Jesus.

Verse 72

6:72 Peter emphasized his denial this time with an oath.

Verse 73

6:73 We are not told which person did the speaking this time, only that it was someone of the group standing near. The statement was made in an argumentative mood which shows they had heard his former denials (verse 70). Bewrayeth is the same as saying his speech "gave him away" or proved him to be what they were saying. Different communities and groups had their own dialects or brogues in their conversation. These people knew the dialect of Jesus and recognized that of Peter as being the same.

Verse 74

6:74 This time Peter thought he should make his denial still more emphatic than he had the first two instances. Curse is from KATANATHE-MATIZO which Thayer defines, "to call down direct evils on, to curse vehemently." Swear is from OMNURUI and the same lexicon defines it, "to swear; to affirm, promise, threaten, with an oath." The sentence means that Peter expressed the wish that some great misfortune would come to him if what he said was not true. And to give force to his declaration he made an oath in connection with it. As soon as he had concluded his statement the cock crew. Mar 14:30 says the cock would crow twice, but that Peter would make his third denial before the second crowing. Verse 72 of that chapter says the cock crew the second time after this third denial.

Verse 75

6:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus. Luk 22:61 says that the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. The place where Jesus was being tried was so arranged that he could be seen from the space outside where Peter was. Jesus hence cculd be seen by the apostle, and when the cock crew the third time he turned and gave him an accusing look that reminded him of what was said in verse 34. This brought him to his better thinking and filled him with genuine sorrow (Godly sorrow, 2Co 7:10); his immediate reaction was to go out from the crowd to himself and weep bitterly.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 26". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/matthew-26.html. 1952.