“When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
I’m not sure if I’d call myself a control freak, but that statement probably isn’t too far from the truth. If I have a choice between fixing the car myself and letting someone else do it, I’m going to choose the “me” option every time. That way if something goes wrong, I know it’s my fault. There is no one to blame but me!
Most people like to be in control of the situations around them, or at least like to think they are in control. On Tuesday of Holy Week the chief priests and elders of the people thought they were in control. They thought they had a great plan to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him, and were proud of their plan. During the Passover feast, Jerusalem was packed with thousands of Jewish pilgrims who had come to celebrate. By killing Jesus during the Passover feast, they thought they might run the risk of starting an uncontrollable riot, so they decided to wait until AFTER the Passover feast to kill Jesus. They had thought of everything!
The irony in Matthew’s account of this discussion between the chief priests and elders is the verse immediately preceding it. Jesus had just told his disciples that he would be handed over to be crucified ON the Passover! So in reality, while these Jewish leaders thought they were in control of the situation, it was actually Jesus who was in control! No one would be able to lay a hand on the God-man unless he allowed it to happen, and Jesus had just told his disciples he was going to allow it to happen on the Passover.
When reading through the book of Matthew, I suppose one could fly over this five verse section at the beginning of chapter 26 in eager anticipation of the events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. But then we’d miss, not only a detail, but another example of Jesus’ amazing love for us. Jesus wasn’t handed over to be killed because the chief priests and elders of the people formulated a master plan. Jesus was handed over to be killed because that was his mission in life! That’s why he was born in Bethlehem! That’s why he came to this earth and lived a perfect life! He came, so that when the time was right he would allow himself to be put to death, so the price for your sin and mine could be paid.
On Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus guaranteed that it would happen on his terms!
Looking forward to joining you in witnessing our Savior’s incomprehensible love this week!