Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 25:33-26:14

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Matthew 25:33

Sheep on right ... goats on left. In this parable Jesus was describing a final separation of people into those who are aligned with God and those who are not. Herds in Jesus' day were typically mixed between sheep and goats and there is nothing inherently bad about goats. Rather, Jesus used the typical practice of separating sheep and goats as an image for the separating of all people according to their allegiance to God's kingdom or not.

Matthew 26:1

when Jesus had finished all these words. This is the fifth and final time that Matthew has used this phrase and each time it has marked the end of one of his five major teaching blocks. In this verse he has added the word "all" to indicate that this is the end of the teaching discourses. Together these five blocks provide summary teachings for Jesus' disciple to learn and follow.

Matthew 26:2

Passover. The Passover is the most important Jewish holiday because it commemorates the most important event in Israel's history, the Exodus, when God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt, formed them into a nation, and made a covenant with them. This holiday was very relevant for Jesus' final week because he was rescuing the new people of God — his followers — from bondage and bringing them into his kingdom, making a new covenant with them (Matt. 26:28).

Matthew 26:2

crucified. Three times on his way to Jerusalem Jesus predicted that he would be arrested, beaten, crucified, and raised (Matt. 16:21; 17:22; 20:18-19). Now he made clear that this was going to happen in two days. This sets the tone for this last section of Matthew and highlights the climactic point of the story. The Roman Empire killed any rebels with crucifixion, a gruesome and shameful way to die by being hung on a wooden pole.

Matthew 26:3

High priestCaiaphas. The OT law prescribed for a tribe of Israel to provide priests from the tribe of Aaron who would guide the Jewish people in proper practices and worship (Num. 18:7; 2 Chr. 19:11). During the century before Jesus the priesthood had become corrupted by its political relationship with various Gentile rulers, including the Roman Empire.

Matthew 26:4

Plotted together to arrest … and kill him. In this climactic chapter in the Gospel story the Jewish leadership will bring to completion the plan they made back in 12:14 to end Jesus' influence by killing him.

Matthew 26:7

Alabaster jar of very expensive ointment. This woman made a great sacrifice of her most valuable possession in a time of poverty. This shows her great love and trust in Jesus.

Matthew 26:12

She did it for my burial. This woman meant to honor Jesus, but she did not realize she was doing something even deeper and more meaningful. She was preparing Jesus for his impending death. Jesus honored her for this role.

Matthew 26:14

Judas Iscariot. Judas/Judah was a very common Jewish name in the first century. Iscariot distinguishes the Judas that betrayed Jesus from other men of that name, and it probably refers to his origins in the village of Kerioth. Judas was one of the original Twelve Disciples (Matt. 10:2-4). He appears in the next parts of Matthew's story as a contrast to the disciple Peter (Matt. 26:25, 47; 27:3).

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