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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 21: Matthew 26:31-27:36, by Kevin M. Williams

From Pneuma Review Summer 2006

An examination of Messiah’s night-time trial before the Sanhedrin, pointing to the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy and the travesty of justice that took place.


Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee” (Matthew 26:31-32).

As we shall soon see, Peter rejected that he would be “scattered,” rather than taking the comfort Yeshua2 offered that even though He would be struck down, He would rise again. To further His comfort, the Messiah tried to help them see that this scattering would fulfill the words of the prophet Zechariah (13:7). The coming execution was—as Yeshua had attempted to help them see before—an inevitable part of the noble plan God had ordained before the foundation of the world.

We also see here in Yeshua, a man who is fully prepared to step through the doors of destiny, without flinching, and still filled with compassion for His disciples.

But Peter answered and said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too (Matthew 26:33-35).

We can learn this much from Peter, at least: it can be all too easy to boast in the flesh, even with the best of intentions. What Peter—and subsequently the other disciples—were saying, was that the prophetic promise of Zechariah and the affirmation of God’s Messiah could be overthrown by their own human strength.

oil pressThis example of human arrogance and lack of spiritual discernment—even from those closest to the Redeemer—leads to a precarious path upon which we may all stumble if we do not constantly test our hearts and our deeds against the Word and the Word made flesh.

To say, “I would never …” is tantamount to throwing down the gauntlet to the Enemy of our souls, an invitation for Satan to test our resolve. How many times have you heard the words, “Well, I’d never” do such-and-such, only to see that very vow overturned in their life. We are all, in some way or another, like Peter.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed (Matthew 26:26-37).

Yeshua takes with him Peter, James and John to Gat-Sh’manim in the Hebrew, Gethsemane in its English approximation: the oil press.

In Job 24, we read about the wicked and their sins, and that they produce oil within their walled cities, as at Gethsemane, but in verse 13 we find that they, “rebel against the light; They do not want to know its ways, Nor abide in its paths.”

Here, in the place of the oil press, the Light of the World would feel squeezed. In one hand he held the unswerving loyalty of a heavenly host, and in the other, the impending doom of anguish and humiliation for being nothing other than a healer, a teacher, and a restorer of the Scriptures. God’s unrivaled ambassador, heralding the kingdom of heaven with all its glories, was to face such torture and pain as our modern sensitivities can scarcely imagine.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Summer 2006

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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