and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him.Matthew 26:4(NASB)
Jesus gave His disciples an in-depth teaching session on the Mount of Olives, two days before He was crucified. The men were curious to know about the end of the age, when Christ would bring in the promised time of peace and prosperity and set up His Messianic kingdom. No doubt they were all anticipating places of honour in the coming kingdom, but Jesus needed to prepare them for events in the near future, as well as giving signs to identify the end of the age.
No doubt they were horrified to hear Christ prophesy of the destruction of the Temple, where not one stone would be left upon another, or to discover that at the time of the end there would be wars, rumours of wars, famines, earthquakes, and a time of Great Tribulation.
He warned that terrible persecution and hatred, would overtake Christ's followers. He warned of lawlessness acts and a lack of love, false prophets and false messiahs, terrible trouble and deep deception. He warned that there would be great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect of God.
Jesus also described the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel, being set up in the Holy Place - BUT He also said that the good news of the kingdom would be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations - and then the end would come. And Jesus then concluded His teaching on the end times, with a number of parables, illustrating the things, about which He had just taught.
Christ's detailed 'Olivet discourse' must have caused His disciples much confusion and concern, but He finally finished His teaching by reminding His faithful followers of certain things, about which He had already warned them. "You know that after two days the Passover is coming," Jesus said, "that is the time that the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion."
Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had informed them that He must suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes. He had already told them that He would be killed and raised from the dead on the third day. It was while they abode in Galilee, that Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of wicked men," and on their way to Jerusalem He again told them, "Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and The Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death... and will hand Him over to the Gentiles."
Christ's disciples were exceedingly grieved by what they heard. They were distressed to hear about His betrayal and death, even though He told them He would be raised to life on the third day. However, they were anticipating the Millennial Kingdom and found His words hard to understand. It was only after the resurrection when the Scriptures were opened up to them and they believed.
It was after Jesus had reminded His disciples about His coming passion that we read about the religious leaders, "and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him." Jesus knows the end from the beginning. He knows the secret thoughts of the heart. He knew that these proud religious leaders were plotting to seize Him by stealth and to kill Him. He knew that their plan was to arrest Him secretly. He knew they planned to arrest Him AFTER the Feast of the Passover had ended... when pilgrims who had flocked to the city for the feast had finished their celebrations and returned to their hometowns.
Their scheme was to have Jesus quietly removed and disposed of, following the festivities, so that their nefarious deed would remain hidden from the general public. However, God is in control and it was not His timing and it was not His plan. God is not mocked and their evil conspiracy to kill Jesus was brought into full view, because Judas went to betray the Lord Jesus, earlier than they had planned.
Matthew gives a detailed description of many things that took place in the week leading up to Christ's death and crucifixion, including His arrest and lawless trials. We are told everything we need to know of His passion and cruel treatment in Scripture, and in these first few verses of Matthew 26, we are told of the evil conspiracy these religious Jews stealthily hatched.
The evil plot to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him secretly did not take our Lord by surprise and Psalm 44 asks the rhetorical question, "Would not God discover this? For He knows the secrets of the heart."
How foolish to think that the shadows of darkness and the hidden secret of the mind can be concealed from the almighty God. May the words that we speak, the meditations of our hearts, and the thoughts of our minds, be always acceptable to our heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ - our God and Saviour.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Word is true and we have all we need for life and godliness contained within the sacred pages of Scripture. I pray that my heart and mind would be open to Your pure scrutiny and that all I say and do would honour You. Thank You that You know the end from the beginning and I pray that any evil that is being secretly plotted today, to dishonour Your name and shipwreck the faith of Your people will be exposed, and that truth will prevail. Thank You for sending Jesus to be the sacrifice for my sin and that He took the punishment I deserve so that I could be declared righteous in Your eyes. Praise Your holy name, AMEN.