Matthew 26:5

ESV But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
NIV But not during the festival,' they said, 'or there may be a riot among the people.'
NASB But they were saying, 'Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.'
CSB "Not during the festival," they said, "so there won't be rioting among the people."
NLT But not during the Passover celebration,' they agreed, 'or the people may riot.'
KJV But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

What does Matthew 26:5 mean?

The moment is coming when Jesus will be arrested by Israel's religious leaders. He knows this (Mark 10:33; Matthew 16:21–23). He knows He will be tried, condemned, and turned over to the Romans to be crucified. In fact, this is central to His mission on earth as the Son of God.

The high priest of Israel, along with the chief priests and elders, are actively working toward that exact goal now, as well. They want Jesus dead (John 11:53). They hope to accomplish it as lawfully as possible, but they're willing to cut corners. Even meeting to condemn Jesus in this way is a violation of the law (Deuteronomy 17:6; Leviticus 19:15–18).

They know they must be careful, though. Jesus is a popular healer of the sick and demon oppressed. Great crowds of people have followed Him around Israel to hear Him preach and see His miracles. Many people think of Him as a true prophet of God and some have started to believe He could be the Messiah (Matthew 21:9–11). The religious leaders cannot afford to let Jesus' power and popularity grow, but they also do not want to provoke the people to riot by arresting Jesus during the Passover celebration.

The Passover could be an especially dangerous time in Jerusalem. For one thing, as many as five times as many people crowded into Jerusalem as normal. The crowds brought with them a restless energy. For another thing, they were celebrating God's miraculous and powerful rescue of their people under the oppression of Egypt. Why couldn't God do the same for them again with the Romans? Why couldn't God do it right now? Why couldn't the Savior, the Messiah, be among them to raise up and overthrow the Romans at this very moment?

Israel's religious leaders wanted to avoid riots and uprisings. It would be best to wait for the Passover to end before arresting Jesus. Soon, though, a man named Judas would change their minds about waiting any longer (Matthew 26:14).
What is the Gospel?
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