The chief priests and the elders plotted against Jesus in order to arrest him and kill him: “But they said, ‘Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people’” (26:4). They had to time that thing just right, didn’t they? Can’t interrupt the people’s routine and special celebration; they might be upset at being bothered. Better to look for a time when everyone is busy about other things and not paying attention; then they’ll strike. What’s the old saying about the deeds of darkness done in the dark?
Judas “sought an opportunity to betray him” (26:16). Scheming. Conniving. Devious. Satan is moving. He seems to be in command of all his minions and directing everything toward his desired end. But, was he?
Meantime, Jesus is teaching his disciples about his upcoming death. He eats supper with them and tells them what is about to happen. He knows that Peter will deny him. He prayed. He walked straight to the cross. Was Satan really in charge here? I don’t think so!
Pilate even sealed the tomb and set his soldiers on guard. The enemies of Jesus had warned that the disciples might plot to steal the body of Jesus and promote a fraud. What? Pilate thought he could prevail? The evil one thought his schemes could be successful? But then, there were those words of the angel: “He is not here, for he is risen” (28:6). Ha! What had been foretold has now taken place! God intended to redeem, and now he has redeemed!
Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
their notes in gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord hath risen,
our joy that hath no end. -- John of Damascus (8th century)