Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest
As Jesus was still speaking, Judas [Iscariot], one of the twelve [disciples], came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, [who came as representatives] from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Greetings (rejoice), Rabbi!” And he [a]kissed Him [in a deliberate act of betrayal]. Jesus said to Judas, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then they came and seized Jesus and arrested Him.
And [b]one of those who were with Jesus reached out and drew his sword, and struck [Malchus] the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place; for all those who habitually draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will immediately provide Me with more than twelve [c]legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?”
At that moment Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Day after day I used to sit in the porches and courts of the temple teaching, and you did not arrest Me. But all this has taken place so that the Scriptures of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.
Jesus before Caiaphas
Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to [d]Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) had gathered [[e]illegally] together. But Peter followed Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the [elegant home of the Jewish] high priest, and went inside, and sat with the [f]guards to see the outcome.
Now the chief priests and the whole Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) tried to get false witnesses to testify against Jesus, so that they might [have a reason to] put Him to death. They found none, even though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward, and testified, “This man said, ‘[g]I am able to [h]tear down the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” The high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Have You no answer to give? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I call on You to swear a binding oath by the living God, that you tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have [in fact] said it; but more than that I tell you [regardless of what you do with Me now], in the future you will see [Me revealed as] the Son of Man seated at the [i]right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his [j]robes [in mock horror] and exclaimed, “He has blasphemed [by making Himself God’s equal]! What further need have we of witnesses or evidence? See, you have now heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They answered, “[k]He deserves to be put to death.”
Then they spat in His face and struck Him with their fists; and some slapped Him, saying, “[l]Prophesy to us, You Christ (Messiah, Anointed); who was it that struck You?”
- Matthew 26:49 A kiss on either the hand or cheek was usually an act of homage and a common gesture of greeting and reverence given to a rabbi by his disciples, but done here to identify Jesus.
- Matthew 26:51 John identified this “one” as Peter.
- Matthew 26:53 A legion equaled 6,000 troops.
- Matthew 26:57 See note 26:3.
- Matthew 26:57 It was unlawful for a criminal court proceeding to be held at night. Further, although the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) was granted substantial power to act by the Roman government, the Sanhedrin could not impose the death penalty on a criminal. Court cases requesting a death penalty to be imposed by the Roman government were to be held publicly in the temple. The officials of the Sanhedrin waited until morning to announce their verdict, perhaps in a token attempt to legalize their unlawful gathering.
- Matthew 26:58 Or servants.
- Matthew 26:61 This was a distortion of Jesus’ comment (John 2:19-21).
- Matthew 26:61 This would amount to a capital offense.
- Matthew 26:64 The place of preeminence and authority.
- Matthew 26:65 Or outer garments. This was a response required by Jewish law for judges who had heard blasphemy. However, OT law forbade the high priest to tear his clothing (Lev 10:6; 21:10).
- Matthew 26:66 A statement expressing complete rejection of and contempt for the Messiah.
- Matthew 26:68 Jesus was blindfolded according to Mark 14:65.