“But they said, ‘Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.’”
Matthew 26 and 27 record the final events in the life of Jesus. The hostility toward Him has reached a climax, and His opponents are seeking to kill Him. Theirs is the most heinous of sins, the murder of the Son of God! But the text reveals that their sin was motivated by what commonly drives you and I to sin; the fear of man. The fear of man might simply be defined as being more concerned with what man thinks, than what God thinks. On the other hand, the fear of God is being more concerned with what God thinks, than what man thinks. Solomon wrote
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” Proverbs 29:25
The hunter sets the trap for the wild animal, disguises it as best he can, making it look like something it is not, but his real goal is to catch, kill and eat the animal. The fear of man is a lot like that. So subtly, we set aside what is well-pleasing to the Lord, in order to be pleasing to others. The opponents of Jesus did not want to lose favor with the people because of the position they had and the comforts that went along with it. It was their social status and the fear of losing it, which led them to commit this great sin. John tells us, this is one of the great dangers for all Christians. He said, “All that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). The pride of life speaks of position, status, wanting to fit in, or fearing we might no longer be accepted in our peer group. We call that “peer pressure,” and warn our children of the destruction it brings. However, even adults fall prey to the pressure of the fear of man. Solomon not only warns of the fear of man, he also speaks of the antidote.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Proverbs 8:13
Wanting to live well-pleasing to the Lord will produce in us a hate for the things that are displeasing. Had the religious leader’s foremost concern been pleasing God, they would have never committed such a horrible act, as crucifying the Son of God. The same will always be true of us. Today, if we will allow the fear of God to influence all we do, we will find, at the end of the day, we have lived lives well-pleasing to Him.
Questions for chapter 26
- Why were the religious leaders concerned about arresting Jesus during the feast?
- How is the anointing of Jesus a good illustration of worship?
- While eating the Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus breaks bread and passes a cup.
- What does the bread represent?
- What does the cup represent?
- What promise does Peter make to Jesus regarding “stumbling”?
- How does Jesus respond to Peter?
- What lessons can we learn from the disciples sleeping while Jesus is praying?
- Jesus had 12 legions of angels at his disposal, yet he did not seek their aid. What does that teach about the love of Jesus?
- What promise does Jesus give in verse 64?
- What steps led to Peter denying Jesus?