The Epilogue

13. Passion and Resurrection of Jesus, 26:1-28:20

i] The anointing


Matthew now details the events that lead up to Jesus' death and resurrection. In our passage for study Matthew sets the scene with a contrast. On the one hand we have a beautiful act of devotion undertaken by a woman who is aware that Jesus' death is imminent, while on the other hand we have the murderous plotting of Judas and the religious authorities. So, the final battle begins.


Jesus, in fulfillment of scripture, is victorious over sin and death.


i] Context: See 1:1-17. The final events in Jesus' life on earth are recorded in great detail by Matthew in chapters 26:1-28:20. Matthew tells us of the preparation for the passion, 26:1-46, the arrest and trial of Jesus, 26:47-27:26, the crucifixion of Jesus, 27:27-56, and his burial and resurrection, 27:57-28:20. The individual elements present as follows:

The anointing, 26:1-16

The last supper, 26:17-30

Gethsemane, 26:31-46

The arrest of Jesus, 26:47-56

Jesus before the Sanhedrin, 26:57-68, 27:1-2

Peter denies Jesus, 26:69-75

Judas commits suicide, 27:3-10

Jesus before Pilate, 27:11-26

Jesus' humiliation and passion, 27:27-56

The burial of Jesus, 27:57-66

Christ is risen, 28:1-15

The disciples commissioned for service, 28:16-20


As is the case for the gospels as a whole, the passion narrative is not just history, rather a theological perspective drives the selection, arrangement and shaping of the tradition. None-the-less, history it is, although when it comes to theology we are dependent on Paul, the exegete of Jesus, to fully unlock the mystery of the passion - namely the redemptive nature of Christ's death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins.


ii] Structure: The anointing:

Setting, v1-5;

The anointing, v6-13.


The introductory verses, v1-5, are transitional, serving to lead into the passion narrative as a whole. The first verse closes off the final discourse, Jesus then predicts his death, v2, and the religious authorities plot Jesus' arrest and execution, v3-5. Then follows the anointing in v6-13. The anointing beautifully introduces the passion with Jesus himself explaining its meaning; "she did it to prepare me for burial", v12. The woman's act of love is then contrasted with Judas' act of betrayal, v13-16.


iii] Interpretation:

We now come to the climax of the gospel. The passion narrative presents as a wonderful piece of drama, beautifully introduced by the contrasting preliminary events covered by this passage - plotting and betrayal contrasted with a woman's act of love in preparation for Jesus' death.


Scholars divide over the number of times Jesus was anointed, 3, 2, or 1. We should probably follow Carson who suggests that there are two anointings, one in Jerusalem prior to Jesus' arrest, recorded in Matthew, Mark and John, and a second independent anointing in Galilee recorded in Luke, 7:36-50. John tells us that the woman is Mary of Bethany and that the incident occurred six days before the Passover, prior to Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.


In the second part of the passage Mathew records Jesus' betrayal by Judas Iscariot. Matthew makes it clear that the betrayal of Jesus is undertaken by one of his inner circle of friends, and that Judas takes the initiative in this act of treachery (Luke and John link Satan with the betrayal). Numerous reasons have been suggested for his unsavory act, but Matthew simply puts it down to greed. Judas makes a grab for the cash, then, on witnessing the consequences, is overcome by remorse, and metamelhqeiV, "having repented", gives back the blood money and commits suicide.

The textual evidence indicates that the apostles never forgave Judas' treachery, but what if his repentance was genuine? If suicide is an unforgivable sin then his repentance is worthless, but of course, there is no Biblical basis for such a view, even though it is a long held doctrine of the church. The only unforgivable sin is the rejection of Christ (assuming this is what is meant by sinning against the Holy Spirit). So, it all depends on whether his repentance is genuine, for in Christ God's mercy is freely ours for the asking. If Judas' treachery can be forgiven then there is hope for all of us!


iv] Form:

The literary shape of the passion narrative indicates a firmly set oral tradition prior to the composition of the synoptic gospels. In fact, the passion narrative may well have existed as a separate written document, possibly compiled for liturgical use. This may explain the close alignment of Mark and Matthew at this point, although this alignment is usually explained as a consequence of Matthew using Mark to compose his gospel (Some, of course, have argued that Mark uses Matthew!!!).


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 26:1

The passion of Christ: i] Jesus speaks of his coming execution, v1-2. The Passover festival is close at hand and Jesus again warns his disciples of his impending arrest and execution. He does so again using the title, "the Son of Man". Note that the conclusion of each of the five major discourses in Matthew's gospel is marked by the statement; "and it came to pass, when Jesus had fished all these speeches."

egeneto (ginomai) aor. "-" - it happened. "And it came to pass", AV.

o{te "when" - when [jesus had finished]. Serving to introduce a temporal clause.

pantaV adj. "all [these things]" - all, every, the whole [these words]. "All these words" serves as the accusative direct object of the verb "to finish." Indicating an end to Jesus' teaching ministry.

toiV maqhtaiV (hV) "to [his] disciples" - [he said] to the disciples [of him]. Dative of indirect object. Indicating the intended recipients of Jesus' words in v2.


oJti "-" - [you know] that / [as you know]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception, expressing what the disciples know.

to pasca "the Passover" - [after two days] the passover [becomes = takes place]. Nominative subject of the verb "to become." Celebrated on the 14/15th of Nisan, commemorating the passing-over of the angel of death prior to Israel's escape from Egypt, and thus the divine act of mercy in the release of Israel from bondage and thus attainment of the promised land / blessing. Note how the synoptic gospels mark Jesus' final meal with his disciples as a passover meal, whereas John aligns the passover with Jesus' crucifixion - an interesting example of the tension between history and theology.

meta + acc. "[is two days away]" - after. Temporal use of the preposition; "You know that after two days ....", ESV.

tou anqrwpou (oV) gen. "[the Son] of Man" - The genitive, "of man", is adjectival, relational, limiting "son"; see 3:2. This is a messianic title favored by Jesus, cf., Dan.7:13, although the term can be taken to mean simply "man", ie., a self designation, so "I will be handed over" The messianic significance of this self-designation is probably paramount.

eiV to staurwqhnai (staurow) aor. pas. inf. "to be crucified" - [is handed over] to be crucified. This construction, the preposition eiV + the articular infinitive, usually forms a purpose clause; "will be handed over in order to be crucified", although result may be the intended sense here. By this time Jesus had revealed his coming crucifixion to the disciples on numerous occasions. This particular prediction is not recorded in Mark's account of the passion narrative.


ii] The Sanhedrin decides to act against Jesus, v3-5. The religious authorities have obviously had enough of Jesus' messianic pretensions and so members of the high-priestly family, along with other key players, meet to develop a strategy for his arrest and execution. Given Jesus' popularity and the public disorder that could follow his arrest, disorder that could prompt action from the Roman authorities, Jesus' arrest necessitates careful planning.

tote adv. "then" - then. Serving to introduce a temporal clause; "At that time Jesus was speaking about his crucifixion", Gundry.

oiJ aarciereiV (uV ewV) "chief priests" - "The chief priests and the elders" serves as the nominative subject of the verb "to gather together." Members of the high-priestly family are more orientated toward politics than religion.

tou laou (oV) gen. "[the elders] of the people" - The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "over the people." Mark has "Scribes", but Matthew wants to separate the people from the actions of their leaders.

eiV "[assembled] in [the palace]" - [were gathered together] into [the courtyard]. Spacial, virtually in place of en, "in".

tou arcierewV "of the high priest" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

tou legomenou (legw) "whose name was" - the one being called, named. The participial construction "the one being called Caiaphas" is best viewed as a substantive standing in apposition to "high priest", "namely, the one called Caiaphas."

Kaiafa (aV a) gen. proper. "Caiaphas" - Genitive complement of participle "the one being called."


sunebouleusanto (sunbouleuw) aor. "they plotted" - they took counsel together. Referring to their joining with others in order to plot a course of action.

iJna + subj. "to arrest ....... and kill" - that [they might arrest and kill jesus]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what they planned to do. "They discussed how to arrest Jesus", Barclay; "have Jesus arrested and put to death", CEV.

dolw/ (oV) "in some sly way / secretly" - by deceit, treachery, cunning, guile. The dative is adverbial, possibly means, although better manner; "They discussed a scheme to arrest Jesus", REB.


de "but" - but/and. The NIV includes the conjunction in what they said, but this is unlikely. The ESV suggests that it introduces the verse, "but they said." This is probably the case, but only to indicate a step in the unfolding dialogue.

mh "not" - [they were saying] not. Negation used for a prohibition; "It must not be during the festival or there might be a riot", Phillips.

en + dat. "during [the feast]" - Temporal use of the preposition.

iJna mh + subj. "or [there may be]" - lest, in case [a disturbance occurs]. Introducing a negated purpose clause, "in order that there not be ...." The population of Jerusalem increased some fivefold during the Passover Festival and this, along with the present undercurrent of popular messianism, could cause a public disturbance and an inevitable Roman crackdown.

en + dat. "among [the people]" - in [the people]. Local, but here with the sense "among".


iii] The anointing at Bethany - Jesus prepares for his coming execution, v6-13. Jesus is staying in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper and while he is there a woman takes some expensive scented rubbing / embalming oil, and anoints his head. John tells us that it is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Mark tells us that "some" of the disciples respond negatively to the woman's actions, John says it was Judas who was tetchy, but Matthew tells us that all the disciples, more or less, disapproved. Jesus steps up and defends the woman's actions. First, he points out to his disciples that his time with them is short, whereas the poor will always be with them. They will have plenty of future opportunities to assist the poor. Second, Jesus explains the women's actions; she has, in a sense, embalmed his body in preparation for burial. Third, the significance of her actions is so profound that what she has done will remain as an integral element of the gospel story for time immemorial.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative;"now".

genomenou (ginomai) aor. gen. part. "while [Jesus] was" - [jesus] being. The genitive absolute participle with its genitive subject "Jesus" serves to form a temporal clause; "Now when Jesus was at Bethany", ESV.

bhqania/ (a) "[in] Bethany" - A village on the East of the mount of Olives, on the other side to Jerusalem.

tou leprou (oV) gen. "[in the home] of Simon the Leper" - [in house of Simon] the leper. The substantive adjective stands in apposition to the possessive genitive "Simon"; "the home that belonged to Simon the Leper." The word does not imply that Simon is still suffering from leprosy, so possibly "who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease", TEV. Of course, Simon may now be dead, or even diseased and in isolation, and so "the home of" may only serve to identify the house where the anointing takes place, ie., it is Simon the leper's house, now the residence for Martha and Mary. Possibly Simon was their father, with Lazarus, according to John, being their brother. The word leprosy in the NT is used of numerous skin diseases, all of which alienated a sufferer from their faith community.


autw/ dat. pro. "[A woman came to] him" - [a woman approached] him. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to come to."

ecousa (ecw) pres. part. "with" - having. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting woman; "there came to him a woman who had an alabastrum of very precious ointment", Torrey.

alabastron (oV) "an alabaster jar" - an alabastrum. An expensive long-necked bottle. Mark tells us that she broke off the long neck and poured the perfume on Jesus. Alabaster is an easily carved marble and served to contain and preserve expensive products.

murou (oV) gen. "of [very expensive] perfume" - of [expensive] ointment, perfume, unguent. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / content; "an alabaster bottle full of expensive perfumed oil." Note the AV "ointment", a word carried over into some modern translations. It is a liquid, not a semi-solid. Not a pure essential oil as this would burn the skin, but rather a perfumed nut oil - possibly a rubbing oil, or a stronger version used in embalming.

epi + gen. "on [his head]" - [and she poured out] upon [the head of him]. Spacial. A host would usually mark a visitor's head with some perfumed oil. The woman's action may be an overboard form of welcome, but then her action seems to express more a symbolic anointing of messiah, or embalming of the suffering servant. Certainly that's Jesus take on it.

anakeimenou (anakeimai) gen. pres. part. "as he was reclining at the table" - reclining at table. The participle serves as a genitive absolute, best treated as temporal; "while he was reclining at table", Cassirer.


de "-" - but/and. Indicating a step in the narrative, possibly expressed as an adversative; "but when the disciples saw this."

idonteV (eidon) aor. part. "when [the disciples] saw this" - having seen. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV.

hganakthsan (aganaktew) aor. "they were indignant" - were indignant, angry. John tells us that it was Judas who was tetchy about the waste, while Mark tells us it was "some" of the disciples. Bruce says "probably all the disciples disapproved more or less. It was a woman's act, and they were men."

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "were indignant"; "they were indignant and said."

eiV "why [this waste? they asked]" - to [what this waste]? The preposition here is serving to introduce a purpose clause; "to what purpose is this waste?", AV.


gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the indignant response; "for it might have been sold for a high price", Torrey.

edunato (dunamai) imperf. pas. "could have been" - it would have been able, possible. The imperfect tense is used for an unfulfilled possibility, cf. Robertson p.886.

praqhnai (pipraskw) aor. pas. inf. "sold" - to sell [this]. As with "to give", the infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "would have been possible" ..... "to sell ... and to give." The suggestion that the money could go to the poor is an example of righteous indignation, a response usually hiding a more sinister motive, eg., John makes the comment that Judas' real motive is greed.

pollou gen. "at a high price" - of much. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / price; "this could have been sold for a large sum", ESV. According to John, Judas determined that the value of the perfume was 300 denari, a years wage for a laborer.

ptwcoiV adj. "[the money given] to the poor" - [and to give] to poor. The adjective serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object.


de "-" - but/and. Indicating a step in the narrative / dialogue. It may be treated as adversative; "But Jesus was aware of what they said", Moffatt.

gnouV (ginomai) aor. part. "aware of this" - having known, having come to know. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, "when Jesus understood it", AV, or causal, "because he is aware of this, Jesus said to them ..."

autoiV dat. pro. "[he said] to them" - [jesus said] to them. Dative of indirect object.

parecete (parecw) pres. "[why] are you bothering" - [why] are you causing / providing [trouble]. "Why do you embarrass this woman?", Berkeley.

th/ gunaiki (h aikoV) dat. "this woman" - to, for the woman. Dative of interest / disadvantage.

gar "-" - for [she does a good work for me]. More explanatory than causal; serving to explain the basis of Jesus' question. "Why are you causing trouble for this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me."

ergon .... kalon "a beautiful thing" - a good work. Used technically of almsgiving or charitable works. Embalming the dead is viewed as a worthy charitable deed, further indicating the significance of the woman's act.

eiV + acc. "to" - to. Probably here expressing advantage, "for me." "The opportunity to show love and honor to Jesus in the state of humiliation had almost vanished. Gethsemane, Gabbatha and Golgotha were just around the corner", Hendriksen.


gar "-" - for. Again more explanatory than causal, so not translated; "You will always have the poor with you." Jesus is not devaluing a concern for the poor. The point he is making is that caring for the needy can be undertaken at any time, whereas actions of love and devotion toward the incarnate Christ remain but for a moment.

pantote adv. "always" - [the poor you have] always. The temporal adverb is emphatic by position in the Gk. text.

meq (meta) + gen. "with [you]" - with [yourselves]. Expressing accompaniment / association.

de "but" - but/and [you do not have always me]. Best translated as adversative, as NIV; "but me you will not always have", Cassirer.


gar "-" - for. Again more explanatory than causal and so not translated by the NIV, in that Jesus continues to explain the basis of his rebuke / question; "in pouring this ointment on my body she was preparing for my burial", Rieu.

balousa (ballw) aor. part. "when she poured" - [this woman having thrown, put = poured [this scented oil]. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV.

tou swmatoV (a atoV) gen. "body" - [upon] the body [of me]. "Body", rather than "head", since it is the body which is anointed for burial, rather than just the head.

proV to entafiasai (entafiazw) aor. inf. "to prepare [me] for burial" - [she did] to prepare for burial [me]. This preposition, with the articular infinitive, usually forms a purpose clause, "in order to prepare me for burial." The word can just mean "burry", but here obviously "prepare for burial." Given that spiced / perfumed oils were used to prepare a corpse for burial, Jesus has interpreted the woman's act as a preparation for his burial.


amhn lew uJmin "I tell you the truth" - truly I say to you. Always used by Jesus to reinforce a truth.

o{pou ean + subj. "wherever [..... is preached]" - wherever [may be preached, proclaimed]. Introducing an indefinite local clause, as NIV. The verb khrussw is commonly used of communicating the gospel. Given today's media, "communicated", rather than "preached", better reflects today's reality.

to euaggelion touto "this gospel" - Nominative subject of the verb "to preach, proclaim, communicate." In 24:14 we have a similar statement; "this gospel of the kingdom." "Gospel" = "important news", important news "of the kingdom" = "concerning the coming kingdom [of God] / reign [of God] in Christ."

en + dat. "throughout [the world]" - in [the whole world]. Local, with a distributive sense, as NIV. Jeremias suggests that this proclamation of the gospel is eschatological, an angelic proclamation at the end of the age, but surely Jesus is speaking of the church's communication of the gospel which he himself commissioned, cf. 28:18-20.

lalhqhsetai (lalew) perf. pas. "will [also] be told" - it will be spoken [and = also]. The perfect expressing a past act with ongoing consequences. "This story will become a standard part of the gospel tradition and will come to be repeated everywhere the gospel is preached", Hagner.

eiV + acc. "in [memory of her]" - [what this woman did] to, toward [memory of her]. Here final / telic, expressing purpose; "with a view to." Certainly "as a memorial offered to her", Cassirer, (ie., something by which someone is remembered, here not a monument, but a loving act) by the church, rather than God (so Jeremias), or simply expressed "so that she will always be remembered", Barclay.


iv] The betrayal, v14-16. In contrast to the woman's act of loving devotion, Judas, one of the twelve apostles, enters into negotiations with the religious authorities for the payment of thirty pieces of silver, probably equivalent to 6 months wage for a laborer / basic wage - a tidy sum for an unemployed troublemaker like Judas. All Judas has to do is provide the authorities with the time and place where Jesus can be arrested out of the public eye.

tote "then" - then. Introducing a temporal clause.

twn dwdeka gen. "[one] of the twelve" - The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

oJ legomenoV (legw) pres. pas. part. "the one called" - the one being called. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting the substantive adjective ei|V, "the one", "the one who is called Judas Iscariot"; "the man called Judas of Kerioth", Rieu.

IskariwthV "Iskariot" - [judas] iscariot. Nominative standing in apposition to "Judas". Possibly derived from the Aramaic "assassin", but more likely referring to a place name, either Kerioth located in Moab, or Kerioth-Hezron, 25k South of Hebron.

poreuqeiV (poreuomai) aor. pas. part. "went" - having gone [to the chief priests]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "said", v15; "went and said (asked)."


dounai (didwmi) aor. inf "to give" - [said what are you willing] to give [me]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb qelete, "are you willing."

moi dat. pro. "me" - Dative of indirect object.

kagw (kai egw) "if I [hand him over]" - and i [will hand over / deliver him]. It is likely that kai here expresses a final or consecutive sense, "so that"; "what will you give me to betray him to you", REB; "what will you pay me for handing him over to you", Knox.

umin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object, emphatic by position in the Gk.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

esthsan (iJsthmi) aor. "[so] they counted out" - they put, placed, weighed out. So, "counted out / weighed out", but possibly in the sense of the authorities coming to an agreement with Judas as to an amount they would pay for information leading to the arrest of Jesus; "they fixed the price they would pay him", Cassirer.

autw/ dat. pro. "for him" - Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage.

arguria (oV) "[thirty] silver coins" - [thirty] silver, money. The exact payment is unclear. Obviously silver coins are intended, but which ones? The argument is usually confined to the silver coinage of the time which was commonly Greek, minted in Tyre, either the drachma, double drachma, or tetradrachmon (a four drachma piece = 1 sheckel). A drachma minted in Tyre was equivalent to a Roman denari. One drachma / denari was the standard value of a healthy sheep in Palestine at the time. It is likely that Judas negotiated a payment of 30 tetradrachmon pieces, a tidy sum for a farm laborer looking to secure his future in the face of uncertain times, although nothing like a king's ransom. See possible Old Testament allusion in Zechariah 11:12.


apo tote "from then on" - from then. Temporal phrase.

ezhtei (zhtew) imperf. "watched" - he was seeking. The imperfect is durative, expressing the ongoing action of seeking an opportunity when Jesus could be arrested without causing a public uproar.

eukairian (a) "an opportunity" - a good [time] = in/at a suitable opportunity. "A moment and place in which concealment from the public eye can be secured; so Judas must exercise a hunter's patience", Davies & Allison.

iJna + subj. "to [hand him over]" - that [he might betray him]. This construction may indicate a purpose clause, "in order that", given that the intended purpose of Judas' watching is to find an opportunity when Jesus can best be arrested. It may also introduce an object clause which serves as the complement of the object "an opportunity", together serving as a dependent statement of perception; "He looked out for an opportunity to betray him", Cassirer. Olmstead suggests that it is epexegetic, specifying the "opportunity", namely, "to hand him over."


Matthew Introduction



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