Matthew 26:1-16 Part 2


We’re going to use some of our time this morning, while we’re at verse two, to take a look at Passover – what it meant and how it was instituted; and, having done so, we will have answered the question I promised last Lord’s Day… “Why was Jesus delivered up by God the Father on the evening of Passover?”

Now, there were a number of feasts that were prescribed by God in His Law; and they all had a great significance for the newly constituted nation.  They were, 1) the feast of the weekly Sabbath, 2) Passover, 3) the feast of weeks, or Pentecost, 4) the feast of trumpets, 5) the feast of the Day of Atonement, and 6) the feast of Tabernacles.

Some were celebrated often, such as the feast of the Sabbath; but most were annual feasts… as was Passover.  And, as I said, they all had great meaning – especially concerning the anticipation of Israel’s coming Messiah.

Passover was the second national feast instituted by God for His separated-out people.  And that which was to be commemorated in the feast was a foreshadowing of that which was to be anticipated by this nation!  Commemorated:  the passing over those covered by sacrificial blood.  Anticipated:  the delivering of those covered by sacrificial blood, being the Christ.

Now, Exodus chapter twelve reveals judgment day for the firstborn males of every living thing in Egypt.  Israel was to be released to its freedom under God; but Pharaoh did not believe.  As other passages of Scripture tell us, God had shut Pharaoh’s eyes and made his heart one of stone; and he would not release the Hebrews as he was commanded by Moses.

An angel was to be sent to take the lives of all male firstborns; but God’s chosen people were to slaughter an unblemished lamb in its first year, and mark the openings of each household with its blood, and, having prepared it according to specific instructions, the whole family (or multiples of families) wholly consume its flesh.

Upon seeing the blood on the doors of Hebrew households, the angel “passed over” those and took only the firstborns of all Egyptian households – human and animal.  Hence the name… “Passover”.

Most of us know the history thereafter, so I won’t relate it all.  But Israel was released (delivered, saved).  Then Pharaoh had another change of mind.  He decided to pursue and destroy.  God parted the Sea for His people to cross on dry land (Peter later calls this the “baptism” of the nation), and the Egyptian army was destroyed in the ensuing flood.

Then God gave His Holy Law to His people at Sinai (including the Law of the feasts); and He then commanded His “mark” to be placed on the flesh of all Hebrew males – circumcision.  The flesh of the foreskin was to be “cut off”.

This entire “covenant” had been enacted with Abraham five hundred years before; and these were all his descendants.  And as God more fully revealed His covenant with this people, at Sinai, it was made clear to them that great blessings would come to them in their obedience; but that awful judgments would occur should they disobey.

(And just as a reminder for you, this entire covenantal enactment occurred again forty years later as Israel prepared to occupy the promised land of Israel.  The Jordan River was parted for them to cross on dry land [referred to again as a “baptism”]; and, having crossed over, all males were given the “mark” of God – circumcision.)

Now.  As God revealed His Holy Covenant to Moses (and thereby Israel), as I said, the holy convocations and feasts were therein revealed.  And the institution of feast of Passover appears in Exodus chapter thirty-four and Leviticus chapter twenty-three.

Now, coming up in our text of Matthew, Jesus commands His disciples to prepare the Passover for them; so I’ll reserve some of the details of the Passover for then.

But on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month in the Jewish year (Nisan), all of the people of God were to participate (annually) in a feast commemorative of what had happened in Egypt when that destroyer angel came for the firstborns.

The lamb was to be slain between 3:00 PM and dark on the fourteenth, and its blood was to be taken by a priest into the newly constructed tabernacle and sprinkled upon the altar and the utensils; and then the animal was to be roasted whole.

And then after dark (considered to be the beginning of the fifteenth of the month) whole families (or multiples of families – however many it took to eat it all) would feast on the whole, unbroken lamb until it was gone.  This feast was the evening meal for families, and it’s obvious that everyone in the family was involved – including all the children.  God even gave instruction on what to say when the children asked what it was all about!

Now, in Exodus twenty-three God calls the Passover “My Sacrifice”!  And thereafter it was known as “the Sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover”.  The entire character of the feast was sacrificial.  And it was in consideration of its blood (as substituted for the lives of the firstborn) that the Lord preserved and rescued (saved) the children of Israel from the dominion of the Egyptians.

The apostle Paul later adds his explicit testimony (First Corinthians chapter five, verse seven) concerning the sacrificial character of Passover when he represents the crucifixion of Christ as “the Sacrifice of our Passover”.  So, it’s obvious from the rest of Scripture that Passover was not only commemorative… but it was anticipatory.

Now, the fact that the animal sacrifice itself (the Pascal lamb) was turned into a meal, showed the actual fellowship which the partakers of the meal had with God – as a result of the atoning sacrifice!  In the mercy of God, while they were saved from death they were also made to enter into a new life – one of obedience!

The life of the victim animal was given to them as the food of their redeemed lives; and in feasting on it there was a conscious enjoyment of God’s favor so that they might proceed in strength and joy to live in Him in obedience!

The annual repetition of the feast brought to their memories afresh the redemptive act that secured their deliverance and national existence.  But the Paschal feast wasn’t just commemorative, you see.  It wasn’t just for remembering!  All these things were purposely designed by God to be foreshadowings of an immensely higher work.

The Lamb perpetually slain to commemorate the past, and eaten as a sacrament of redemption accomplished, spoke of the future (True) Lamb of God Who would take away the sin of the world.  In Paul’s later inspired statement, “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us”, is the higher reference to the Passover institution!  For the Lamb without blemish, with its sprinkled blood, pointed to the sinless Redeemer come to shed His blood for many for the remission of sin.

And again, deliverance from destruction isn’t all that’s signified here.  For just as the Passover lamb was to be unbroken and eaten whole, the unbroken body of our Lord Jesus Christ is the one Bread of Life for the Christian community.  Not a bone of His was allowed to be broken… in order that the unspoken promise of the Passover might be fully realized.  In an undivided Christ is undivided Oneness of the entire body of believers in Him.  In Him is an undivided unity!

And all of this speaks of a greater faithfulness as well, doesn’t it, since the obligation of those delivered by His blood is to prove, by daily conduct, what is His good and holy and acceptable will.

Now, in verse two Jesus says:


 “Know that after two days is the Passover; and the Son of Man is delivered up in order to be crucified.”


As we said last Lord’s Day, this is Tuesday… two days before the Paschal Lamb is to be chosen and delivered up to be slaughtered.

The “Son of Man” is the One Who will ascend to the right hand of the Father and receive a Kingdom, and power, and dominion over heaven and earth (Daniel seven).  He (speaking of Himself) will be delivered up to be crucified!

The One Who was thought, by His disciples and by the crowds who followed Him, to be the One Who would somehow ascend to the throne of David and rule Israel, and who would return Jerusalem to its world-wide glory, had just spoken of His crucifixion!  And He had done so in the context of Passover – the slaughter of the lamb!  And He had also called Himself the Son of Man… clearly a reference to Daniel chapter seven where Messiah receives His Kingdom as an inheritance!

And, as we saw last Lord’s Day, He would be “delivered up” (passive voice – it would be done to Him).  Other passages of Scripture make it clear that it was God the Father Who “delivered Him up”.  The Passover, God said, is “My Sacrifice”!  The Lamb of God is the Sacrifice of God, to Himself, for the remission of sin!  He delivered up His Own perfect, unblemished Lamb in order to satisfy Himself.

The wrath of God toward fallen, cursed man had to be satisfied so that the sin could be remitted!  Man had to pay for his sin!  And the blood of a perfect, unspotted, unblemished man was to be substituted for the many – at Passover – in order that God would “pass over” His people and not require them to be destroyed!

“After two days… the Son of Man is delivered up to be crucified”!

Now, how do the prophets anticipate His crucifixion?  There are a number of allusions in the Older Testament of the coming atonement for the sin of God’s people (even as early as Genesis chapter three); but how do the prophets speak of the crucifixion?  Listen.

This is that great Messianic chapter fifty-three of Isaiah concerning the “Lamb of God”:


“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.  He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from justice.  And who shall declare His being?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of My people was He stricken….”


He was cut off from the land of the living….

And listen to the prophet Daniel in chapter nine:


“And after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah will be cut off and is not.  And the people of a coming prince will destroy the city and the temple; and its end shall be with a flood.  And until the end there shall be war; and desolations are determined….”


You remember the passage.  We read it a number of times with reference to chapter twenty-four.

But, “Messiah will be cut off and is not….”

Jesus said, here in verse two, that “the Son of Man is delivered up to be crucified.”  And He is obviously referring to the prophetic word when Isaiah says that He will be removed from justice and “cut off” from the land of the living!  And… when Daniel says that Messiah will be “cut off”!

Now, not too many of us are very familiar with modern Judaism.  But we do have a Jewish synagogue here in Tyler.  And if you’ve passed it, you may have wondered what the sign out front means.  It says B’nai B’rith.  The Hebrew words mean “sons of the covenant”.  That’s of course a terrible perversion of the truth, since the Jews were “cut off” from God’s covenant in 70AD.

But the word B’rith means Covenant.  Well, it so happens that the Hebrew word to “cut off” is b’rath – from the same word!  The “cutting off” of the foreskin of all of Israel’s males was the sign of the Covenant.  The B’rath’ was the sign of the B’rith.  The cutting off was the sign of the covenant!

And the b’rath was the sign of Jesus’ crucifixion!  This very word in the Old Testament prophets – to cut off – was used to prophesy the Crucifixion of the Son of Man!

The crucifixion of Christ was His having been cut off from His people; it was His having been cut off from life… it was His ultimate circumcision!  The circumcision/sign of the covenant for Old Testament Israel found its fullness in the final circumcision of Christ… in His being “cut off” … in His crucifixion!

That’s why circumcision is no longer required as a mark of God in God’s Law.  It was the Old Testament sign of the covenant which reached its fullness in Christ’s being “cut off” at His crucifixion.  The “sign” is no longer applicable, since the fullness of the sign has come!  The reality of the signified came!

And that’s why the apostle Paul says, in response to the Jews’ continuing requirement for circumcision, that circumcision now means nothing!  The requirement of circumcision in order to be a Jew and a son of the covenant is idolatry.  It’s not the sign and seal of God’s covenant any longer, because Jesus Christ was “cut off” on the cross.  So one who is a newborn in Christ, i.e. living in Him in obedience, is a true, circumcised Jew.  That’s what Paul says.  The old, fleshly sign is no longer valid… it was only a sign, a foreshadowing of that which was to come.  And for those who now require it – there is no faith in Christ!

“Know that after two days in the Passover; and the Son of Man is delivered up in order to be crucified.”  I think we’ve said enough about this verse two in these two sermons, although we’ve really only scratched the surface.  There’ll be much more concerning Passover, and the “delivering up” of Christ, and His crucifixion during the next year or two as we move on through these last three great chapters of the Gospel.

Now, I know you’ve had a lot coming at you this morning, and I don’t want to overload you; but in the final couple of minutes of our time let me just make you aware of a startling contrast here in these first five verses of chapter twenty-six.  We’ll most certainly come back to it next Lord’s Day, but we can begin it today.

As we’ve already seen, Jesus fixes the time of His being delivered up to be crucified as (Thursday) evening during Passover.  But, you see, the fourteenth day would end at dark, and the fifteenth day (Friday) would begin at that point.  And He would indeed be crucified during the afternoon of the fifteenth.

But Passover was a seven-day festival event… not just one day.  It lasted from the fifteenth of Nisan until the twenty-first! 

Now, the text of Matthew’s Gospel leaves Jesus and His disciples at this point (verse three), and describes a behind-the-scene, secret meeting going on at that very time! (verses three through five)  It was a meeting of the full Sanhedrin of Israel to plan Jesus’ murder!  The Sanhedrin is the entire political and religious leadership.  Leaving a lot unsaid about it until next time, what Matthew calls to our attention is the time of the Sanhedrin’s intended killing of Jesus.

Jesus, in verse two, has fixed the time of His murder; but the Sanhedrin have planned to do it after the next nine days!  Even though it’s really incidental here, how do we come up with nine days?  Well, there are two days between verse two and the Passover; and the Passover festivities last seven days.  And the Sanhedrin agree, as verse five says, that they wouldn’t kill Him during the festival!  (They were afraid of the large crowds that had come into Jerusalem with Him!)  And that’s a total of nine days.

Jesus says, “It all begins in two days.”  (chapters twenty-four and twenty-five)  The Sanhedrin says, “It all begins in nine days.”

God rules His enemies.  It began in two days.  That Jesus should be delivered over to be crucified… how, where and when, was God’s decision.  It is written, “this is My Sacrifice”.  The wrath to be poured out was His wrath; the blow to be struck was His blow; the Lamb to be slain was the Lamb of God.  None of the decisions were made by His enemies.