When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16
Jesus continued his teaching in the temple as the crowds gathered to hear him (Luke 21:37-38), although Wednesday passed without any noted controversy in his teaching. After the stir he caused earlier in the week, today was a quiet day—but it wasn’t without activity. Secretly, the religious leaders gathered to conspire against Jesus, to plot his death, and—now with Judas’s help—put an end to Jesus’s “kingdom.”
Because Jesus had become so popular with the common people, at least some of the Sanhedrin (a group of high-powered religious leaders) planned to arrest and kill him “after the feast.” The city of Jerusalem would have been overflowing with pilgrims for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which began with the Passover. At the conclusion of this eight-day celebration, the city’s population would return to normal and there would be far less risk of an uprising. As the high priest, it was to Caiaphas’s benefit to dispose of Jesus quietly; he was the high priest from AD 18 to 36, so he most likely had a good working relationship with both Rome and Herod.
But things were progressing according to Jesus’s timeline, not the Sanhedrin’s. He told his disciples in two days he would be delivered up to be crucified. This final prediction of his death, now with a date attached (Friday), reinforces that Jesus was never out of control of the situation; his wisdom, plan, and obedience will be fulfilled, even in the timing of his own death. Until now, his time had not come.
Now, at the end of his ministry, it is time for the Scriptures to be fulfilled (Matt 26:53-54). Jesus’s opponents mean to kill him. They plot and scheme. They want to cut him off, but by betraying the Son of Man—the King of Glory—they are unknowingly bringing all of human history to its climax and fulfilling God’s plan of redemption.
Catch up on our 7-day Easter Devotional series: