The Son of man shall be betrayed - Or, will be delivered up. This is the third time that our Lord informed his disciples of his approaching sufferings and death. This was a subject of the utmost importance, and it was necessary they should be well prepared for such an awful event.
And Jesus, going up to Jerusalem - That is, doubtless, to the Passover. This journey was from the east side of Jordan. See the notes at Matthew 19:1. At this time he was on this journey to Jerusalem, probably not far from Jericho. This was his last journey to Jerusalem. He was going up to die for the sins of the world.
Took the twelve disciples apart - All the males of the Jews were required to be at this feast, Exodus 23:17. The roads, therefore, on such occasions, would probably be thronged. It is probable, also, that they would travel in companies, or that whole neighborhoods would go together. See Luke 2:44. By his taking them apart is meant his taking them aside from the company. He had something to communicate which he did not wish the others to hear. Mark adds: “And Jesus went before them, and they were amazed; and as they followed they were sore afraid.” He led the way. He had told them before Matthew 17:22 that he should be betrayed into the hands of people and be put to death. They began now to be afraid that this would happen, and to be solicitous for his life and for their own safety, and they were amazed at his boldness and calmness, and at his fixed determination to go up to Jerusalem in these circumstances.
Matthew 20:18, Matthew 20:19
Behold, we go up to Jerusalem - Jesus assured them that what they feared would come to pass, but he had, in some measure, prepared their minds for this state of suffering by the promises which he had made to them, Matthew 19:27-30; 20:1-16. In all their sufferings they might be assured that eternal rewards were before them.
Shall be betrayed - See Matthew 17:22. “Unto the chief priests and scribes.” The high priest, and the learned men who composed the Sanhedrin or the Great Council of the nation. He was thus betrayed by Judas, Matthew 26:15. He was delivered to the chief priests and scribes, Matthew 26:57.
And they shall condemn him to death - They had not power to inflict death, as that power had been taken away by the Romans; but they had the power of expressing an opinion, and of delivering him to the Romans to be put to death. This they did, Matthew 26:66; Matthew 27:2.
Shall deliver him to the Gentiles - That is, because they have not the right of inflicting capital punishment, they will deliver him to those who have to the Roman authorities. The Gentiles here means Pontius Pilate and the Roman soldiers. See Matthew 27:2, Matthew 27:27-30.
To mock - See the notes at Matthew 2:16.
To scourge - That is, to whip. This was done with thongs, or a whip made for the purpose, and this punishment was commonly inflicted upon criminals before crucifixion. See the notes at Matthew 10:17.
To crucify him - That is, to put him to death on a cross - the common punishment of slaves. See the notes at Matthew 27:31-32.
The third day - For the evidence that this was fulfilled, see the notes at Matthew 28:15. Mark and Luke say that he would be spit upon. Spitting on another has always been considered an expression of the deepest contempt. Luke says Luke 18:31, “All things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” Among other things, he says he shall be “spitefully entreated;” that is, treated with spite or malice; malice, implying contempt. These sufferings of our Saviour, and this treatment, and his death, had been predicted in many places. See Isaiah 53:1-12; Daniel 9:26-27.
The revenge which the priests had thought would be so sweet was already bitterness to them. They knew that they were meeting the severe censure of the people; they knew that the very ones whom they had influenced against Jesus were now horrified by their own shameful work. These priests had tried to believe Jesus a deceiver; but it was in vain. Some of them had stood by the grave of Lazarus, and had seen the dead brought back to life. They trembled for fear that Christ would Himself rise from the dead, and again appear before them. They had heard Him declare that He had power to lay down His life and to take it again. They remembered that He had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19. Judas had told them the words spoken by Jesus to the disciples while on the last journey to Jerusalem: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again.” Matthew 20:18, 19. When they heard these words, they had mocked and ridiculed. But now they remembered that Christ's predictions had so far been fulfilled. He had said that He would rise again the third day, and who could say that this also would not come to pass? They longed to shut out these thoughts, but they could not. Like their father, the devil, they believed and trembled. DA 777.1
Now that the frenzy of excitement was past, the image of Christ would intrude upon their minds. They beheld Him as He stood serene and uncomplaining before His enemies, suffering without a murmur their taunts and abuse. All the events of His trial and crucifixion came back to them with an overpowering conviction that He was the Son of God. They felt that He might at any time stand before them, the accused to become the accuser, the condemned to condemn, the slain to demand justice in the death of His murderers. DA 777.2
They could rest little upon the Sabbath. Though they would not step over a Gentile's threshold for fear of defilement, yet they held a council concerning the body of Christ. Death and the grave must hold Him whom they had crucified. “The chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.” Matthew 27:62-65. DA 777.3Read in context »
Thus far the cunning and hatred of Satan had not broken up the plan of salvation. The time for the accomplishment of the object for which Jesus came into the world was drawing near. Satan and his angels consulted together and decided to inspire Christ's own nation to cry eagerly for His blood and heap upon Him cruelty and scorn. They hoped that Jesus would resent such treatment and fail to maintain His humility and meekness. EW 161.1
While Satan was laying his plans, Jesus was carefully opening to His disciples the sufferings through which He must pass—that He would be crucified and that He would rise again the third day. But their understanding seemed dull, and they could not comprehend what He told them. EW 161.2Read in context »
Before His crucifixion the Saviour explained to His disciples that He was to be put to death and to rise again from the tomb, and angels were present to impress His words on minds and hearts. But the disciples were looking for temporal deliverance from the Roman yoke, and they could not tolerate the thought that He in whom all their hopes centered should suffer an ignominious death. The words which they needed to remember were banished from their minds; and when the time of trial came, it found them unprepared. The death of Jesus as fully destroyed their hopes as if He had not forewarned them. So in the prophecies the future is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples by the words of Christ. The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed. Satan watches to catch away every impression that would make them wise unto salvation, and the time of trouble will find them unready. GC 594.1
When God sends to men warnings so important that they are represented as proclaimed by holy angels flying in the midst of heaven, He requires every person endowed with reasoning powers to heed the message. The fearful judgments denounced against the worship of the beast and his image (Revelation 14:9-11), should lead all to a diligent study of the prophecies to learn what the mark of the beast is, and how they are to avoid receiving it. But the masses of the people turn away their ears from hearing the truth and are turned unto fables. The apostle Paul declared, looking down to the last days: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:3. That time has fully come. The multitudes do not want Bible truth, because it interferes with the desires of the sinful, world-loving heart; and Satan supplies the deceptions which they love. GC 594.2
But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support. GC 595.1Read in context »