1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples,
2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.
5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
The events of these five verses occurred on Tuesday of the last week. (Matthew 21:23-26:5 all takes place on that day.)
This (v.2) was the Lord’s fourth prediction of His death. The account also is covered in Mark 14:1 and Luke 22:1.
palace (v.3) — The courtyard of the high priest’s residence
Caiaphas (v.3) — A Sadducee, appointed about AD 18.
The rulers wanted Christ dead at anytime except during the feast (Passover and the seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread that followed), but God’s plan, which in fact took place exactly as He wanted, was for Christ to die the moment the Passover lamb was slain in the temple.
Christ’s scathing denunciation of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-36) stirred that group into a frenzy of activity. The hostility between Christ and the Pharisees became so open and irreversible that action could not be delayed.
While He was delivering His Olivet discourse to the disciples, the chief priests and elders of the people withdrew into a secret session in the house of the high priest. This assemblage was under the direction of Caiaphas, the one who had counseled the Jews that “it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50).
The High Priest was, in virtue of his office, President of the Sanhedrin, and at that crisis the High Priest was Joseph Caiaphas, a remarkable man and allied with a remarkable family. He was son-in-law to old Annas, who not only has held the high priesthood from AD 6 to 15 but enjoyed this unique distinction, that after his deposition by the governor Valerius Gratus his four sons and his son-in-law held the sacred office. Such good fortune, remarks the historian, “has fallen to the lot of no other of our High Priests.” Yet it was in no wise to the credit of Annas and his family. In those days the high-priesthood was at the disposal of the Roman governors and the Herodian princes, and went commonly to the highest bidder; and the prolonged ascendancy of the house of Annas is an evidence no less of their corruption than of their astuteness. — Pentecost, pages 411-412.