Matthew 26:1-5

Mat 26:1 (KJB)
And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

Then when Jesus had completed His remarks in the last two chapters, He basically implies that there will be no more teachings because His time of suffering is very near and the events are going to unfold very rapidly and that means no time for words. The only disciple who would be with Jesus was John at the cross because the rest will have been temporarily scattered. (Mat 26:31 KJV) Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Mat 26:2 (KJB)
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Here Jesus gives His fourth and final announcement about His coming crucifixion in Jerusalem. It will come on the heels of the Passover. At this time the Sanhedrin was plotting the final assault on Jesus which led to His crucifixion. However, they may have thought they were in control but this was God’s plan all along. (Acts 2:23 KJV) Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  The disciples had much trouble understanding what the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking about when He mentioned His coming crucifixion but all things would become clear once all the events had passed.

Mat 26:3 (KJB)
Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

The leaders knew that Jesus was coming to the Passover and now was their chance to arrest Him and accuse Him of crimes which could be used to sway Pilate to crucify Him. Now the Sanhedrin were together in their fullness in the palace of Caiaphas and this would have been considered an official meeting. It contained both the religious leaders and also the legal arm which was the civil magistrates. The enemies of Jesus were not taking any chances as they wanted this to look like an official gathering of the leadership and not some type of secret meeting of just a few.

Mat 26:4 (KJB)
And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.

The word “subtlety” carries with it the meaning of “deceit or craftiness.” So they were not going to take Jesus by legitimate means, instead they had to entrap Him or create some type of heinous accusations against Him, so bad that even the Romans would not hesitate in crucifying Him as a malefactor. The word ”consulted” carries with it the meaning of “ taking counsel together.” They needed to come up with some type of strategy and that is why both the ecclesiastical arm and the legal arm of the Sanhedrin was present.

Mat 26:5 (KJB)
But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

Since the Passover feast was approaching, they decided not to take Jesus on that day. It was not because they feared taking Him on the Passover, but they had fear from the immense amount of pilgrims which would be in Jerusalem at that time. Josephus estimates that there were above 250,000 in Jerusalem for this Passover. They had feared that the crowd would defend Jesus and their plans would have to be put on hold again. Not only was this the Passover but it was also the Sabbath where they could do no work. If they took Jesus, it would have to be before the Sabbath begins at evening on Friday.