Mat 26 outline:
Mat 26:1-4, Jesus foretells His death/ The chief priests + elders plotted Jesus’ death
Mat 26:5-13, Woman anoints Jesus with an alabaster flask of fragrant oil in Bethany
Mat 26:14-16, Judas Iscariot plans to betray Jesus to the chief priests
Mat 26:17-30, Jesus eats the Passover feast with His disciples/ foretells His betrayal / communion
Mat 26:31-35, Jesus foretells that Peter will deny Him three times
Mat 26:36-47, Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
Mat 26:48-50, Judas betrays Jesus to the chief priests and elders of the people
Mat 26:51-68, Jesus arrested and tried at the house of the high priest
Mat 26:69-75, Peter denies Jesus three times before the cock crows
Mat 26 chiastic structure:
1a) Mat 26:1-5, Jesus foretells His crucifixion/ chief priests + elders assembled at the palace of the high priest;
1b) Mat 26:6-13, Woman anointed Jesus with costly fragrant oil in preparation for His burial;
1c) Mat 26:14-16, Judas accepted 30 pieces of silver from the chief priests to betray Jesus;
1d) Mat 26:17-20, His disciples prepare for the feast of Passover/ Unleavened Bread;
1e) Mat 26:21-25, Jesus foretells His betrayal at the hands of one of His disciples;
central axis) Mat 26:26-30, Take eat; this is My body/ drink; this is My blood of the new covenant;
2e) Mat 26:31-35, Jesus foretells His disciples’ abandonment + Peter’s denial;
2d) Mat 26:36-46, Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (He prepares for Passover, that is, His crucifixion);
2c) Mat 26:47-50, Judas betrayed Jesus to the chief priests + elders;
2b) Mat 26:51-56, Jesus arrested by night that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled;
2a) Mat 26:57, He was led away to the palace of the high priest, where the scribes + elders were assembled.
B pair: The B elements are forced together by the surrounding elements, which pair without a doubt. Usually when this happens, the matching elements thus paired, which seem to be out of place, proclaim a wonderful and profound spiritual truth as we meditate on their connection, asking for insight and revelation from our Teacher, the Holy Spirit. As I was meditating, I realized the B pair elements each formed smaller chiastic structures:
1B) Mat 26:6-13:
1a) Mat 26:6-7, A woman came with an alabaster flask of costly fragrant oil, and poured it on His head;
1b) Mat 26:8-9, Indignant disciples: The oil was wasted, for it might have been sold + the money given to the poor;
central axis) Mat 26:10, “But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me;’”
2b) Mat 26:11, For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always;
2a) Mat 26:12-13, She has anointed My body for My burial/ what she has done will be told as a memorial.
2B) Mat 26:51-56:
1a) Mat 26:51-53, His disciples defend Him with the sword, but He rebuked them;
1b) Mat 26:54, How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus;
central axis) Mat 26:55, “In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, ‘Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me;’”
2b) Mat 26:56a, But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled;
2a) Mat 26:56b, Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
In each case His disciples became indignant at the action taken toward Jesus, which was preparing Him for His upcoming sacrifice of Himself. (He sacrificed Himself; He was not sacrificed by others. For as He said, He could have at any time called for legions of angels which would have defended Him against any actions of men.) The woman’s anointing was in preparation for His burial (please see Joh 12:1-8 for John’s version of these events; it wasn’t the disciples who were indignant but Judas Iscariot, and not because he cared about the poor, John tells us), and His seizure was in preparation for His trial and crucifixion. And in each case, Jesus rebuked His disciples for interfering. That is the common thread between the two.
So what then is the profound spiritual truth? His disciples were well- meaning but wrong. I think it is an admonition to us to always have our hearts humbled before the Master and our ears open for His instruction and correction, because as dearly as we hold some of our opinions, they may in fact be wrong and need refining.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. Pro 9:9
D pair: His disciples prepared to eat the memorial feast of Passover, which commemorated Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and slavery. Jesus prepared Himself, by His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, for the day ahead, which would see Him crucified as the Passover Lamb, His blood being shed to deliver Israel (and many with Israel, vs. 28) from the kingdom of darkness and slavery to sin.
Peter’s denial forms a separate structure:
1a) Mat 26:58, Peter followed at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard + sat with the servants;
1b) Mat 26:59-62, Jesus’ trial: chief priests, elders, council sought false testimony to put Him to death;
1c) Mat 26:63, The high priest: I adjure you by the living God, are you the Christ, the Son of God;
central axis) Mat 26:64, “Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven;’”
2c) Mat 26:65-66a, The high priest: He has spoken blasphemy + what further need do we have of witnesses;
2b) Mat 26:66b-68, The council’s judgment: He is deserving of death/ they mock + abuse Him;
2a) Mat 26:69-75, Peter sat outside in the courtyard + denied Jesus three times before the servants.