Matthew, Chapter 26
Matt. 26:51 "And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched
out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high
priest's, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up
again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall
perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my
Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of
angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it
must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come
out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat
daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But
all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be
fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled."
Peter, the one who smote off the ear of the servant of
the high priest with a sword, thought that the Lord needed delivering
from this hour. He was ready to fight to deliver the Lord from the mob
that had come out. Yet this was exactly the opposite of what the Lord
came to this hour for. The Lord said, "Put up again thy sword into his
place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall
presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"
The Lord did not come to cause men to perish, but to save
the lives of his elect from eternal damnation. Furthermore, the Lord
would have needed no help to deliver himself out of the mobs hand if
that had been his desire. Twelve legions of angels could have destroyed
all of mankind in a very short period of time. One angel on one night
during the days of King Hezekiah had destroyed 185,000 of the Assyrian
army that had come out against Jerusalem!
In addition, we see that the Lord counteracted the harm that Peter had
done to the servant of the high priest: Lk. 22:50 "And one of them smote
the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 And Jesus
answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and
"But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that
thus it must be?" The Lord had much earlier said, "one jot and one
tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled." The
scriptures of the prophets were fulfilled to the most minute detail by
"In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye
come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat
daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me." The
reason that the multitude had not previously laid hold on the Lord was
because his hour had not yet come and they were powerless to do anything
until God permitted them to do it. The Lord can constrain and the Lord
can bring to pass. We marvel at the mighty power and wisdom of God.
"Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled." That
which the Lord had told the disciples came to pass just as he told them
it would. All of the disciples forsook him at this time.
Matt. 26:57 "And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to
Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were
assembled. 58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's
palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. 59 Now
the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness
against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many
false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false
witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the
temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest
arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these
witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace.
And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure
thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ,
the Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I
say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right
hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high
priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further
need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66
What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. 67 Then
did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with
the palms of their hands, 68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who
is he that smote thee?"
The above passage describes to us the first of three
trials that Jesus went through. The other two were before Pontius Pilate
and before Herod the king.
This trial was held at the palace of the high priest
Caiaphas. The court was the Sanhedrin court also known as the seventy.
It consisted of the chief priests, the elders of the people and the
Jewish rulers as well as the high priest. This trial was a mockery of
even men's justice. Jesus was not brought before the council with a
charge made against him, but rather they were seeking for something
whereby they might charge him. Further, the outcome had already been
determined before the trial began. They had already determined to kill
Jesus, now they were fishing for a reason to put him to death. They
sought not for witnesses but for people who would lie, i.e., false
witnesses. According to their law they were to have a least two
witnesses that agreed together in order to put someone to death. The
problem for them was that even their false witnesses could not agree
"At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This
fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in
three days." What Jesus said was: John 2:19 "Jesus answered and said
unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and
wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his
body." Jesus certainly proved what he said to be true.
Finally, the high priest accused the Lord of having spoken blasphemy.
Again, this was a false charge, but this council was not going to let a
little thing like the truth stand in the way of their desire to kill
Sometimes people ask, "Couldn't Jesus have prevented this
from taking place." What we need to realize is that Jesus willingly went
to the cross to suffer God's punishment of sin. The council intended to
kill Jesus thinking that would get rid of him and satisfy their envious
jealous rage against him. God's purpose was for Jesus to suffer on the
cross the wrathful judgment of God against the sins of his elect and
thus redeem them and present them before God blameless. That is why
Jesus did not and would not stop the mock trial against him.
Once the council pronounced the Lord to be guilty of
blasphemy their mocking maltreatment of Jesus escalated. One of the
reasons that God destroyed Jerusalem and most of the Jews at 70 A.D. was
because of their maltreatment of Jesus and his disciples.
Peter had gone into the palace to witness the events that
took place there.
Matt. 26:69 "Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto
him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 70 But he denied
before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 71 And when he was
gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that
were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he
denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 73 And after a while came
unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one
of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to
swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And
Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock
crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly."
Just as the Lord had said, Peter denied the Lord three
times while at the palace of the high priest. Peter had so boasted of
how that though all men deny the Lord, he would never deny him and would
die for him. It is very easy to get on Peter's case and look down upon
his actions. However, how many times have each of us in our actions and
speech at times denied the Lord. I am so thankful that the Lord did not
leave Peter in his bitter sorrow for having denied the Lord. As we will
see later, the Lord after his resurrection gave Peter the opportunity to
affirm his love for the Lord three times.