What does Matthew 26:56 mean?
ESV: But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
NIV: But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.' Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
NASB: But all this has taken place so that the Scriptures of the prophets will be fulfilled.' Then all the disciples left Him and fled.
CSB: But all this has happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.
NLT: But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.' At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
KJV: But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has told His own disciples not to fight to defend Him from being arrested (Matthew 26:51–54), and now He has mocked those who have come for Him. They brought a miniature army, with clubs and swords, as if they would need those to capture some violent bandit. Christ is making it clear that He is going willingly with those who have come for Him (Philippians 2:8; Matthew 26:42).

At least one reason for these declarations is to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. John said that Jesus clearly identified Himself and told those who had come to arrest Him to let His disciples go (John 18:8). Along those same lines, He instantly healed the man Peter had wounded and told Peter and the others not to fight (Luke 22:51).

Finally, Jesus emphasizes to everyone present that His arrest and the events to follow will fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets. Nothing is happening which is not supposed to happen. It's the opposite: this is the moment God has been engineering all along. Jesus will not stop it, because it's why He has come (John 18:36–37).

At those words all the disciples scatter into the darkness. Matthew writes that they "left him," in the sense that they all abandoned Jesus. This is what Jesus said they would do just a few hours earlier (Matthew 26:31). This is a natural reaction to being faced by an arresting mob. However, it's clear Jesus wanted the disciples to get away for their own safety. They need to be preserved to start, in the coming weeks and months, the work for which He had trained them (John 16:12–15).

For now, the disciples will feel the danger of being associated with Jesus. They will experience the confusion and sadness resulting from His arrest and conviction (John 20:19).
Verse Context:
Matthew 26:47–56 paints the scene of Jesus' betrayal and arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Judas arrives leading an armed crowd of soldiers, temple guards, and others. Judas identifies Jesus to the arresting crowd using a friend's kiss. Peter (John 18:10) wildly swings a sword and cuts a man's ear off in a misguided effort to defend Jesus. Jesus tells him to put the sword away. If He wanted saving, He could ask the Father and 12 legions of angels would arrive. He will not resist. The Scriptures of the prophets must be fulfilled. This passage parallels Mark 14:43–50, Luke 22:47–53, and John 18:1–11.
Chapter Summary:
The Jewish religious leaders further their plots to arrest and kill Jesus, finding a willing traitor in Judas Iscariot. A woman anoints Christ with oil during a dinner at Bethany. Next, Jesus and the disciples hold the Passover meal in an upper room where Jesus predicts His arrests and introduces the sacrament of communion. Then Jesus prays in unimaginable agony in the garden of Gethsemane before being betrayed by Judas and captured. The disciples scatter. Before the high priest, Jesus explicitly claims to be divine. They convict Him of blasphemy and sentence Him to death. As this happens, Peter denies knowing Jesus and runs away in shame.
Chapter Context:
After a long series of teaching (Matthew 24—25), Matthew 26 begins with Jesus saying He will be delivered up for death. Christ is anointed at a dinner in Bethany and Judas agrees to turn Him over to the chief priests. Jesus holds a Passover meal with the disciples, predicts an act of treachery, and introduces the sacrament of communion. He tells the disciples they will run in fear and that Peter will deny Him, which happens just as prophesied. Christ prays in great sorrow in a garden and is then arrested and taken away and unfairly sentenced to death. After this, Jesus will be taken to the Roman governor, where Jewish leadership will press for Him to be executed as an insurgent.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/22/2024 9:41:51 AM
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