*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Matthew 26:1-2 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Matthew 26:1
  • Matthew 26:2

Jesus informs His disciples that He will be crucified in two days during Passover.

The parallel gospel accounts of this event are found in Mark 14:1 and Luke 22:1.

After Matthew recorded Jesus’s words to His disciples on the Mount of Olives, the gospel writer returned to narrating what happened next. This is indicated by Matthew’s phrase: When Jesus had finished all these words

What Matthew meant by all these words was all the things Jesus had just explained to His disciples about the sign of the end of the age (Matthew 24:4-14), the sign of His return (Matthew 24:15-31), and when these things will take place (Matthew 24:32-34), as well as the final judgements of all the nations by the Son of Man (Matthew 25:31-46).

When Jesus had finished explaining all these still distant-future events, He then shifted to explaining more imminent-future events.

He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.”

Jesus began with what the disciples already knew.

You know that after two days the Passover is coming.

The disciples knew about Passover. Passover was the Jewish holiday commemorating the liberation of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. The first Passover took place when God passed over the houses that had lamb’s blood painted on the doorpost (Exodus 11-13). Passover was the Jews founding holiday, somewhat like “the Fourth of July” is the founding holiday of the United States or “Bastille Day” is celebrated as the founding holiday of France. God commanded Israel to observe this event forever (Exodus 12:24). Jesus came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with His disciples (Luke 22:7-8).

As practicing Jews, the disciples would have been very much aware that Passover was only two days away.

Previously the disciples had been told by Jesus that He would be murdered. He had alluded to His death through prophetic riddles (Matthew 10:38; 12:39-40; 16:4; 21:37-40). And He had told them directly that He would be killed by the religious authorities (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23) And He had told them that His murder would take place when they went to Jerusalem (20:18-19). When Jesus said that He will be handed over for crucifixion, He also implicated the participation of Rome, since only the Roman authorities had the power to sentence anyone to capital punishment.

Now Jesus was reminding His disciples of His murder and was telling them that it would happen very soon. He was prophesying that it would take place around Passover. And He confirmed that He would be executed by Roman crucifixion.

Jesus referred to Himself with the messianic phrase Son of Man.

This phrase, Son of Man, was an expression with multiple meanings that Jesus frequently used to describe Himself. It was an Aramaic expression that meant “Someone.” Son of Man could also be used as a synonym for “man” or “mankind.” It was a way for Jesus to express His humanity and frailty by identifying as a human. But perhaps most potent of all, Son of Man was a political term latent with Messianic overtones. The prophet Daniel said the Son of Man will be given dominion, glory, and an everlasting kingdom, ruling the entire earth (Daniel 7:13-14).

To learn more about the expression, “Son of Man”, see The Bible Says article: “The Son of Man”.  

Biblical Text

1 When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.”

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