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Ver. 1. Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh , etc.] Which lasted seven days; during which the Jews eat their bread without leaven, in commemoration of the haste in which they went out of Egypt; being such, that they had not time to leaven their dough, but took it with their kneadingtroughs along with them, as it was; and as figurative of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, with which the Gospel feast is to be kept; (see Exodus 12:34, 1 Corinthians 5:8). Which is called the passover ; because the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites, when he slew all the firstborn in Egypt; now the time of this feast drew near, when the conspiracy was formed against the life of Christ:
Ver. 2. And the chief priests and Scribes , etc.] Matthew adds, “and the elders of the people”; which made up the great sanhedrim and council of the nation; these met together, not in their usual place the temple, but at the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest; (see Matthew 24:3). And sought how they might kill him ; that is, “Jesus”, as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read; they had determined before, upon the advice of Caiaphas, to put him to death, and very likely had fixed what kind of death he should die; (see John 11:49,50,53) and now they consult together, of the manner of bringing it about, and at what time; and the majority were not for doing it on a feast day, when there was a great concourse of people, but with more privacy: for they feared the people : which were now in great multitudes with him, who came along with him, from Galilee, and other parts; and had hosanna'd him into the city, and still abode with him, and their numbers were increasing; and the sanhedrim were aware, that at the passover there would be still a greater company of people from all parts of the land; and they might conclude, that he would have a large number of his friends come out of Galilee, where he had been for the most part teaching, and working miracles; and they were afraid, should they lay hold on him publicly, the people would rise and stone them; at least would rescue him out of their hands, and disappoint them of their designs.
Ver. 3. Then entered Satan into Judas , etc.] At the same time that the sanhedrim were sitting, and consulting about the death of Christ, Satan, or the adversary, as the word signifies, the devil, who is the enemy of the Messiah, the woman's seed, entered into Judas; not corporeally, as he did into those that were possessed by him; but he entered “into his heart”, as the Ethiopic version renders it; he put it into his heart to betray him, as it is said in ( John 13:2) he stirred up, and worked upon the corruptions of his heart; suggested evil things to his mind, and baited his temptations agreeable to his malice and covetousness: and this man was surnamed Iscariot ; to distinguish him from another apostle of the same name; concerning this his surname, (see Gill on “ Matthew 10:4”), (see Gill on “ John 13:2”). Being of the number of the twelve ; apostles, or disciples of Jesus, as the Persic version reads, and which is an aggravation of his sin: now this being two days before the passover, shows, that the sop which Judas took, after which the devil entered into him, ( John 13:27) could not be the passover sop, but was the sop he ate at the supper in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, so long before it.
Ver. 4. And he went his way , etc.] From Christ, and the rest of the apostles, out of Bethany; and when it was night, about two miles from Jerusalem, whither he went directly: and communed with the chief priests and captains ; that is, of the temple, as in ( Luke 22:52) and so the Persic version reads, “the militia of the temple”; and the Syriac version renders it, “the captains of the militia of the temple”; instead of captains, the Ethiopic version, reads “Scribes”, and so does the Arabic, and which, adds, “and the soldiers”; but these captains were not Roman officers, or soldiers, but ecclesiastical persons, who presided in the temple, and were heads and governors, over bodies of men employed there, of which sort were the following f653 : “there were fifteen, ˆynwmm , presidents, or governors in the sanctuary, and so they were appointed for ever over each of these fifteen things, one governor; and they are these: one was over the times, or solemn seasons; the second, over the shutting of the gates: the third, over those that kept watch; the fourth, over the singers; the fifth, over the cymbal, with the rest of the singing instruments; the sixth, over the lots; the seventh over the nests (of doves); the eighth, over the seals, or tickets; the ninth, over the drink offerings; the tenth, over the sick (priests); the eleventh, over the waters; the twelfth, over the business of the shewbread; the thirteenth, over the business of the incense; the fourteenth, over the business of the vail; and the fifteenth, over the business of the priests' garments; and every one of these governors had under him “abundance of men”, that so they might prepare the business they presided over.”
These seem rather to be meant, than the watch in the temple; which, though kept in several places, there was but one single person that presided over it; as appears from the above account, and from what follows; and who was called the man of the mountain of the house, or the governor of the temple f654 : “in three places the priests kept watch in the sanctuary, in the house of Abtines, and in the house of Nitzotz, and in the house of Moked, and the Levites in twenty and one places — the man of the mountain of the house, went round every ward with torches burning before him, and every one that was not standing, he said unto him, peace be on thee; and if he found he was asleep, he struck him with his staff, and had power to burn his garments.”
Whence it does not appear to me, that there were heads or captains over every ward, as Dr. Lightfoot suggests, but one over them all; perhaps these captains may be the same with the governors of the temple, as in 1 Esdras:
And Helkias, Zacharias, and Syelus, the governors of the temple, gave to the priests for the passover two thousand and six hundred sheep, and three hundred calves. (1 Esdras 1:8) Did very carefully oversee the holy works, assisting the ancients of the Jews and governors of the temple. (1 Esdras 7:2) But be these who they will, Judas it seems was informed where, and upon what they were met together, and he went to them, and conversed with them: how he might betray him unto them ; in the most secret manner, and with, the least noise and disturbance.
Ver. 5. And they were glad , etc.] For nothing could be more opportune and agreeable to them, than that one of his disciples should meet them at this juncture, and offer to put him into their hands in the most private manner; and covenanted to give him money . The Ethiopic version read, “thirty pieces of silver”; which was the sum they agreed to give him, and he accepted of; (see Matthew 26:15).
Ver. 6. And he promised , etc.] He undertook to deliver him into their hands; he laid himself under obligation to do it; he faithfully promised he would. The Arabic version renders it, he gave thanks; for the money he received, being well pleased he had made such a bargain; and so the word here used sometimes signifies; and indeed commonly either to confess; or to give thanks, in which latter sense it is used, in ( Matthew 11:25) but here rather it is to be understood in the sense of promising: and sought opportunity ; the two days following before the passover: to betray him unto them in the absence of the people : when they were gone from him, and he was alone; but found no opportunity of doing it this way, which they had agreed upon with him, and he had promised, until the night of the passover, when he was alone in the garden with his disciples.
Ver. 7. Then came the day of unleavened bread , etc.] The first of them, the fourteenth day of the month Nisan: when the passover must be killed ; that is, the passover lamb, as the Persic version renders it; and which, according to the law in ( Exodus 12:6) was to be done between the two evenings; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:17”).
Ver. 8. And he sent Peter and John , etc.] That is, Jesus sent them, as the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions express it; these were two favourite disciples of Christ, and were now sent by him from Bethany to Jerusalem: saying, go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat ; it together; so servants used to be sent, to go and prepare the passover for their masters; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:17”).
Ver. 9. And they said unto him, where wilt thou that we prepare ?] Meaning, not in what village, town, or city, for it was a fixed and determined thing, that the passover should be eaten at Jerusalem, and nowhere else; (see Deuteronomy 16:2), but in what house in Jerusalem?
Ver. 10. And he said unto them, behold , etc.] Giving them a sign, whereby they should know the very house, where he would keep the passover: when ye are entered into the city ; that is, the city of Jerusalem; for Christ and his disciples were now at Bethany, from whence he sent Peter and John thither, where only the passover was to be killed and eaten: there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water ; the Persic version adds, “upon his back”; for which he had been to some well, or fountain in the city, in order to mix with wine at the passover: follow him into the house where he entereth in ; so that it seems they were to return, and go after him into the house, where he went with his pitcher of water; this was a trial of the faith and obedience of the disciples, and, as the sequel shows, a proof of the omniscience and deity of Christ.
Ver. 11. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house , etc.] The master of it; for the man bearing the pitcher of water seems to be a servant only: the master saith unto thee : by these his two disciples, Peter and John; it looks as if the word “master”, as peculiar to Christ, and by way of eminency belonging to him, ( Matthew 23:10) was well known to those who believed, and were followers of him, as the man of this house might be; (see John 11:28). The Syriac and Persic versions read, “our master saith”, and leave out the other phrase, to thee: where is the guest chamber ; or dining room: the word properly signifies an inn, or place to wait at; so called, from travellers unloosing their burdens there, either from themselves, or their beasts; the Arabic version renders it, “the place of my rest”: a place for refreshment and feasting: where I shall eat the passover with my disciples ? who were a sufficient number to eat the passover lamb by themselves; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:18”).
Ver. 12. And he shall show you a large upper room furnished , etc.] With all things necessary, to eat and drink out of, at the passover; there make ready . The Ethiopic version adds, “for us”, as in ( Mark 14:15). The Persic version renders it, “there prepare a place”; but this was prepared already; the words design the preparation of the passover, and every thing proper for it.
Ver. 13. And they went , etc.] From Bethany to Jerusalem: and found as he had said unto them ; they met the man with the pitcher of water, and by following him, found the house Christ meant to keep the passover at; they told the master of it, what Christ ordered them, who immediately showed them a very convenient room, as he had described to them: and they made ready the passover ; provided a lamb, and got it killed and dressed, and prepared every thing necessary for the keeping of the feast, according to divine appointment; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:19”).
Ver. 14. And when the hour was come , etc.] When it was evening, the last of the two evenings, when it was dark, at least after six o'clock; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:20”). he sat down ; or lay along on a couch, as was the custom; see the note, as before: and the twelve apostles with him ; for Judas, after he had made his bargain with the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, came and took his place with the rest of the apostles, both to cover his sin, and to watch the best opportunity of betraying his master.
Ver. 15. And he said unto them , etc.] The twelve apostles, as they were eating the passover, it being usual to talk and converse much at such a time; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:21”). With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer ; not for the sake of eating; for though he was traduced as a glutton, and did often eat and drink in a free and familiar way, both at the tables of Pharisees, and of publicans and sinners; yet he was not a man given to appetite; witness his fast of forty days and forty nights, and his great negligence of himself, which sometimes obliged his disciples to pray him to eat; (see John 4:31,34). Indeed, according to the Jewish canons, it was not judged proper that a man should eat much on the day before the passover, that he might be hungry, and eat the passover, ˆwbatb , “with desire” f655 , or with an appetite. Our Lord may allude to this; but this was not the thing he meant; nor merely does he say this on account of the passover, as it was God's ordinance; though as he was made under the law, and that was in his heart, he had a great regard to it, and a delight in it, which he had shown in his frequent and constant attendance on it from his youth: but though he had kept many passovers, yet of none of them did he say what he does of this, which was his fourth passover from his entrance on his public ministry, and his last: two reasons are suggested in the text why he so greatly desired to eat this passover; the one is, because he should eat it “with” his disciples; an emphasis lies on the phrase, “with you”, to whom, and not so much to the passover, and the eating of that, was his desire; as it is to all his people: it was so from everlasting, when he desired them as his spouse and bride; and in time, when he became incarnate, suffered, died, and gave himself for them: his desire is towards them whilst in unregeneracy, that they may be converted; and to them when converted, notwithstanding all their backslidings and revoltings. His desire is to their persons, and the comeliness and beauty of them, which he himself has put upon them; and to their graces, and the exercise of them, with which he is ravished; and to their company and communion with them, which he chooses and delights in: and his desire is towards their being with him to all eternity, and which he delighted in the fore views of from eternity; and is the joy set before him, and which carried him through his sufferings and death; and is the amount and accomplishment of all his prayers and intercession: and the other reason of this his strong desire in the text is, that this was the last passover, and that his sufferings and death were just at hand, and which he longed to have over; not that he desired these sufferings, for the sake of them, which could not be agreeable to, and desirable by his human nature; but because of the effects of them; since hereby justice would be satisfied, the law would be fulfilled, sin atoned for, and the salvation of his elect obtained; for whom he bore the strongest affection, and whom he loved with a love of complacency, and whose salvation he most earnestly desired, and even sufferings for the sake of it.
Ver. 16. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof , etc.] Of the passover, and which now, with the rest of the ceremonial law, was to be abolished: until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God ; signifying, not that he should eat of it in the kingdom of God, where it would be fulfilled; seeing the passover was never more to take place, neither in the Gospel dispensation, nor in the heavenly glory; both which may be meant by the kingdom of God; but that he should never eat more of it in this ceremonial way, since it would have its accomplishment in each of those states: and it has been already fulfilled under the Gospel dispensation, which is often meant by the kingdom of God; in himself, who is the passover sacrificed for us, ( Corinthians 5:7) for the passover lamb was a type of Christ, and he is the sum and substance of that shadow, and the fulfilling end of that type; it had its accomplishment in him; of which (see Gill on “ 1 Corinthians 5:7”) and it will also be fulfilled in the kingdom of heaven, or eternal glory, when there will be a perfect deliverance of the saints from sin, Satan, and the world; which the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt was typical of, commemorated in the passover; and therefore then will be sung the song of Moses, and the Lamb; and then will Christ, and his true followers, eat and drink together in his Father's kingdom, and spend an endless eternity in never fading joys and pleasures.
Ver. 17. And he took the cup and gave thanks , etc.] There were four cups of wine drank at the passover, which the poorest man in Israel was obliged to drink; and over each of which a blessing was pronounced f656 : and this was one of them, and seems to be the first; for the passover was begun by mixing a cup of wine, and blessing it, or giving thanks over it f657 ; and which was usually done in the following manner f658 : “blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, the King of the world, who hast created “the fruit of the vine”: blessed art thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who hath chosen us above all people, and hath exalted us above every tongue, and hath sanctified us by his commandments; and thou hast given unto us, O Lord our God, in love, the stated festivals for joy, and the feasts and seasons for rejoicing; this day of the feast of unleavened bread, this time of our freedom, a holy convocation, in remembrance of the going out of Egypt; for thou hast chosen us, and thou hast sanctified us, above all people; and the feasts of thine holiness with joy and rejoicing thou hast made us to inherit: blessed art thou, O Lord, who hast sanctified Israel, and the seasons: blessed art thou, O Lord our God, who hath kept us alive, and preserved us, and hast brought us to this time.”
After this every one drank of his cup, and put it on the table: accordingly it follows, and said, take this and divide it among yourselves ; that is, every one drink of it.
Ver. 18. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine , etc.] That is, wine; see the blessing at the passover cup in the notes on the preceding verse: until the kingdom of God shall come ; with power, as in ( Mark 9:1) in the resurrection of Christ from the dead; in his exaltation and session at God's right hand; in the pouring forth of the Spirit on the apostles; in the conversion of great multitudes, both in Judea, and in the Gentile world; in the destruction of the Jews; in the latter day glory; and in the ultimate state of happiness and bliss in the world to come. The Ethiopic version reads, “until I drink it new in the kingdom of God”; as in ( Mark 14:25 (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:29”)).
Ver. 19. And he took bread and gave thanks , etc.] Or blessed it, as in ( Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22). Here begins the account of the Lord's supper after the passover was eaten; and brake it, and gave unto them ; the disciples, as is expressed in ( Matthew 26:26) saying, this is my body ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:26”) which is given for you ; or will be given for you, as an offering for sin in your room and stead; and accordingly it was given into the hands of men, and of justice, and unto death. The phrase denotes the substitution and sacrifice of Christ in the room of his people, and the voluntariness of it; and is only mentioned by Luke in this account: the Apostle Paul writes, which is broken for you, ( 1 Corinthians 11:24) alluding to the breaking of the bread in the ordinance, and as expressing the bruises, wounds, sufferings, and death of Christ: the Ethiopic version here adds, “for the redemption of many”. This do in remembrance of me ; that is, eat this bread in remembrance of my love to you, and in commemoration of my body being offered up for you. Observe this ordinance in the manner I now institute it, in time to come, in memory of what I am about to do for you; for this direction does not only regard the present time and action, but is intended as a rule to be observed by the churches of Christ in all ages, to his second coming: and it is to be observed, that the Lord's supper is not a reiteration, but a commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ. This phrase is only mentioned by Luke here, and by the Apostle Paul, who adds it also at the drinking of the cup, ( 1 Corinthians 11:24,25). The Persic version here reads, “do this perpetually in remembrance of me”.
Ver. 20. Likewise also the cup after supper , etc.] Both after the passover, and the Lord's supper; that is, he took the cup after they had eaten the bread, and gave thanks over it, and gave it to his disciples, bidding them drink of it, as in ( Matthew 26:27), (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:27”): saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you .
Ver. 21. But behold the hand of him that betrayeth me , etc.] By the “hand” is meant, not figuratively the counsel, contrivance, and conspiracy of Judas to betray him, as the word is used in ( 2 Samuel 14:19) but literally the hand of Judas, which was then dipping in the dish with Christ, ( Matthew 26:23) and it follows here, is with me on the table ; and is an aggravation of his sin, that one that sat with him at his table, ate bread with him, and dipped his morsel in the same dish, should be the betrayer of him, according to the prophecy in ( Psalm 41:9) as well as describes and points at the person that should do this action, even one of his disciples; for which disciples, he had just now said, his body is given, and his blood is shed. The phrase, “with me”, is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions. From Luke's account it appears most clearly, that Judas was not only at the passover, but at the Lord's supper, since this was said when both were over.
Ver. 22. And truly the son of man goeth , etc.] That is, dies, which is going the way of all the earth, ( Joshua 23:14) as it was determined ; in the counsels and purposes of God, and agreed to by Christ in the covenant of grace; (see Acts 2:23, 4:28) the death of Christ, the manner of it, and the means by which it was brought about, were all predetermined by God; yet this did not, in the least, excuse the sin of those concerned in it, nor exempt them from punishment: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed ; who not only came to an untimely end, and died an infamous death by his own hands, but went to his own place, the place of everlasting torments allotted him: wherefore in ( Matthew 26:24) it is added, “it had been good for that man if he had not been born”; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:24”).
Ver. 23. And they began to inquire among themselves , etc.] Two days before, at the supper in Bethany, when the same thing was hinted to them, they looked at one another, ( John 13:22) as persons in the utmost surprise and consternation, not being able, for a while, either to speak to Christ, or one another; but now they inquired among themselves, and of Christ likewise, ( Matthew 26:21) which of them it was that should do this thing ; so barbarous, shocking, and horrible.
Ver. 24. And there was also a strife among them , etc.] The Persic version reads, “at a certain time there was a contention among the apostles”; and some think, that this refers to the time when the mother of Zebedee's two sons asked the favour of Christ, to set one of them at his right hand, and the other at his left, in his kingdom; which greatly incensed the other disciples, and occasioned a dispute about precedence; when our Lord interposed, and used much the same arguments as here; and which, it is thought, Luke here inserts out of the proper place. The Ethiopic version renders it, “then his disciples disputed among themselves”; pinning it down to this very time: and what might give occasion to the present dispute, may be what Christ had said concerning the kingdom of God, ( Luke 22:16,18) which they understanding of the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, and fancying, by his words, that it was near at hand, began to strive among themselves who should be the greatest in it; or it might be brought on by their inquiry among themselves, who should betray him, which might lead them on each one to throw off the imputation from himself, and to commend himself as a steady follower of Jesus, and to express his hopes of being his chief favourite, and principal minister in his kingdom: for the strife was, which of them should be accounted the greatest ; by Christ; or that should be so in his kingdom. Perhaps the contention might be chiefly between Peter, James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, and who were the favourite disciples of Christ; and Peter might urge his seniority, and what Christ had said to him, ( Matthew 16:18,19) and the rather, since it is certain Satan was now busy about him; wherefore Christ calls him by name, and singles him out among the rest, ( Luke 22:31).
Ver. 25. And he said unto them , etc.] The disciples; that is, Jesus said to them, as the Syriac and Persic versions express: the kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them ; by which our Lord would dissuade his disciples from seeking to introduce a superiority over one another, since this was the practice of the Heathens, of the men of the world, of ignorant Gentiles; whereas Christ's kingdom was a spiritual kingdom, and not of this world, and therefore, not to be managed in such a way. And they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors ; either by themselves, or by their court flatterers, to cover their ambition, tyranny, and cruelty. Two of the King's of Egypt were called by the name Euergetes f659 ; the word that is here used, and translated “benefactors”; and it was commonly given to other kings, princes, and men in power: so Cyrus was called by the Armenians; Antigonus by the Greeks; and Phylacus among the Persians: the same name was given to Mithridates king of Pontus, to Titus Aelius Hadrianus, to Menander, to Marcus Aurelius Severus, and to Cato Uticensis, and others f660 .
Ver. 26. But ye shall not be so , etc.] (See Gill on “ Matthew 20:26”) but he that is greatest among you ; in age or gifts, or would be thought to be the greatest, who is most ambitious of grandeur and authority, which perhaps might be Peter's case, who was the oldest man: let him be as the younger ; as John, the beloved disciple, who was the youngest of them; and be as modest, and as humble as he, and reckon himself as in his place, and condescend to men of low estates, and esteem each other, even the youngest, better than himself. So the phrase, ary[zkyh abrkyh f661 , “both greater and lesser”, is used of the elder and younger. And he that is chief ; that is, a spiritual ruler and governor in the church of God, as all the disciples were: as he that doth serve ; for the apostles and ministers of the word, though they are over others in the Lord, and have the rule over them, yet they are servants for Jesus' sake, and so ought to reckon themselves; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:27”).
Ver. 27. For whether is greater , etc.] Christ appeals to themselves, and puts a case that is plain and obvious to any one, who is the greater, and more honourable person; he that sitteth at meat ; that sits, or lies down at table, and another waits on him: or he that serveth ? that stands behind, observes orders, and ministers to those that sit down: is not he that sitteth at meat ? you, and every one must own, that he is the greatest, and most honourable person: but I am among you as he that serveth ; Christ took upon him the form of a servant, and instead of being ministered unto, ministered to others; and had very lately, but two days before, gird himself, and took a basin and a towel, and washed and wiped the feet of his disciples: now our Lord, by his own example throughout the whole of his conduct among them, as well as by such a single action, would dissuade from their ambitious views of superiority over each other, and learn of him who was meek and lowly, and by love serve one another.
Ver. 28. Ye are they which have continued with me , etc.] From the beginning of his ministry, to that very time, they abode by him, and never departed from him, when others withdrew and walked no more with him: in my temptations : not in the wilderness by Satan; for they were not with him then, not being as yet called to be his disciples and followers: but in his afflictions, by the reproaches, and cavils, and ensnaring questions of the Scribes and Pharisees, and their attempts upon him to take away his life by stoning, etc. which were trials and temptations to him. So the Ethiopic version renders it, “in my affliction”: now, since they had stood their ground, and firmly adhered to him in all his trials, he would have them still continue with him, and in his interest, though they should not have that temporal glory and grandeur they expected; but, on the contrary, fresh troubles and exercises, reproach, persecution, and death itself; and, for their encouragement, he promises both pleasure and honour, though of another sort, than what they were seeking after.
Ver. 29. And I appoint unto you a kingdom , etc.] Not a temporal one, but a spiritual one; and either intends that they should have in the government of the church, peculiar to them, as apostles, they being set in the first, and highest place, and office, in the church; and have the keys of the kingdom of heaven, or the Gospel dispensation, and church state, committed to them, whereby they should open the door of faith to men, both to Jews and Gentiles; and have the power of binding and loosing, or of pronouncing things to be lawful or unlawful to be retained and used, and even of remitting sins in a ministerial and declarative way; and not only of rebuking and reproving for sin with authority, but even of inflicting corporeal punishment on delinquents, and that in a very severe way, as in the cases of Ananias and Sapphira, Elymas the sorcerer, the incestuous person at Corinth, and Hymenaeus and Philetus: or the kingdom of grace, which they had in common with all the saints, which lies not in outward things, but in righteousness, peace, and joy, and which can never be moved, or taken away; by virtue of which Christ reigns in the hearts of his people, and they are kings, and priests to God, and have power, as princes, with God and men, and overcome, and reign over their own lusts, and the world and Satan: or that kingdom, and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom, which shall be given to the saints of the Most High, ( Daniel 7:27) in the latter day glory and kingdom state of Christ on earth, when the saints shall reign with him; or the kingdom of glory prepared from the foundation of the world; a gift of our heavenly Father's, which the saints are called unto, made meet for, and have a right unto, in Christ, and are heirs of, and into which he will introduce them at the last day: and indeed, all these senses may be taken into the account of this text: as my Father hath appointed unto me ; a kingdom, not of nature and providence, which he has in right of nature, being of the same essence, and having the same perfections with his Father; and in right of creation, all being made by him; for this is not given, or appointed to him; nor is he accountable for it to any, since he receives it not from any: but his mediatorial kingdom, which is given him, and which he will deliver up the account of to his Father another day; (see Daniel 7:14, 1 Corinthians 15:24) which took place here on earth in the days of his flesh; though it was not of this world, nor came with observation, or with worldly pomp and splendour; and became more visible upon his resurrection from the dead, his exaltation at the right hand of God, the effusion of the Spirit, the great conversions among men, and the destruction of the Jewish nation.
This kingdom takes in the whole Gospel dispensation, reaching from the times of Christ being in the flesh, to his second coming; and comprehends all the elect of God, who are a kingdom of priests, or a royal priesthood, in whose hearts Christ reigns by his Spirit, and grace; it includes the whole visible Gospel church state on earth, which is God's holy hill of Sion, over which he has set Christ, as king, and which he governs by laws of his own enacting, and by governors appointed under him, among whom he will reign; first more spiritually in the latter day, when the Gospel shall be spread all over the world, and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and next personally with all his saints together, for the space of a thousand years; and last of all triumphantly to all eternity, in the ultimate glory and kingdom of his Father.
Ver. 30. That ye may eat, and drink, at my table, in my kingdom , etc.] In the Gospel dispensation, or Gospel church state, in which Christ has a table, called the table of the Lord, ( 1 Corinthians 10:21) which is the Lord's supper, and is a table well furnished with the best of provisions, his flesh and blood, of which believers may eat and drink with a hearty welcome; Christ himself being present to sup with them: and in his personal reign on earth, where will be the marriage supper of the Lamb, to which all the saints will be called; and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and be regaled with joys and pleasures not to be expressed: and in the ultimate glory, when the Lamb shall feed them, and shall lead them to fountains of water; and they shall never hunger nor thirst more, but shall have fulness of joy, and be satiated with pleasures that will never fade nor end: and sit on thrones ; expressive of the great honour and dignity they were raised to, both in this, and the other world, from a low and mean estate, being before as beggars on the dunghill, now among princes, and on thrones, even on the same throne with Christ; (see 1 Samuel 2:8, Revelation 3:21) judging the twelve tribes of Israel ; doctrinally and ministerially; accusing the Jews, and arraigning them for the crucifixion of Christ; passing sentence upon them, and condemning them, and declaring that they should be damned for their disbelief and rejection of him; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:28”).
Ver. 31. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon , etc.] Peter is particularly, and by name, spoken to, either because he might be a principal person in the debate and contention about superiority, mentioned in the context; or because he was chiefly to suffer in the following temptation of Satan; or because he was generally the mouth of the rest of the apostles; and he is addressed, not by the name of Peter, the name Christ gave him, when he first called him, signifying his future solidity, firmness, and steadfastness; because in this instance, he would not give any proof of it; but by his former name, Simon, and which is repeated, partly to show the earnestness of Christ in the delivery of what follows, and partly to express his affectionate concern for him; so the Jews observe concerning God's calling, “Moses, Moses”, ( Exodus 3:4) that hbj ˆwçl lwpk , “the doubling of the word”, is expressive “of love”, and finding grace and favour; even as it is said, “Abraham, Abraham”, ( Genesis 22:11) or it may be to excite attention to what Christ was about to say. Though the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read the first of these, “to Simon”, thus: Jesus said to Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you ; not only Peter, but all the apostles; for the word umav , “you”, is plural: Satan, the enemy of the woman's seed, the accuser of the brethren, the wicked one, and the tempter, desired, asked leave of God, for he can do nothing without permission; that he might have these disciples under his power, and in his hand; just as he got leave to have the goods, and even the body of Job in his hand, and fain would have had his life, and soul too, could he have obtained it; and he would have the lives and souls of others; for he goes about, seeking to devour whom he may; and he had now an evil eye upon the apostles, and wanted an opportunity to gratify his malice and envy: his end in desiring to have them in his power was, that he may sift you as wheat ; not to separate the chaff from the wheat, but to make them look like all chaff, by covering the wheat of grace with the chaff of sin and corruption; or to destroy the wheat, was it possible; or to toss them to and fro as wheat is in a sieve; that is, to afflict and distress them; (see Amos 9:9) by scattering them both from Christ, and one another; by filling them with doubts about Jesus being the Messiah and Redeemer: and by frightening them with the fears of enemies and of death, which end he obtained; (see Matthew 26:56, Luke 24:31, John 20:19).
Ver. 32. But I have prayed for thee , etc.] Christ prayed for all the apostles; but particularly for Peter, because he was in the greatest danger: whether the prayer Christ refers to was that in ( John 17:1-26) in which are many passages relating to the preservation, sanctification, final perseverance and glorification of the apostles, as well as of other saints, as in ( John 17:9,11,15,17,20,24) and so these words might be spoken a little after that prayer was ended, which was about this same time; or whether it was any other, and only mental, and not vocal, is not certain: however, the petition was, that thy faith fail not ; Satan in his temptations strikes principally at the faith of God's people; that being a grace which gives much glory to God, and in the exercise of which believers have much peace, joy, and comfort; both which he envies and grudges; and it is also a shield which keeps off, and quenches his fiery darts, and is a piece of armour he is sadly harassed with, and therefore endeavours all he can to weaken and destroy it, or wrest it out of their hands: but though, through the power of sin, and the force of temptation, it may fail as to some degree of the steadfastness of it, as to the acting and exercise of it, and as to the sense believers may have of it; yet never as to its principle, it being an irrevocable gift of God's grace; a work of his almighty power; a solid and substantial grace, even the substance of things hoped for; an immortal and incorruptible seed, and of which Christ is the author and finisher; and to nothing more is its security owing, than to the prayers of Christ, which are always heard, and to his powerful mediation, and prevalent intercession; Christ is the advocate of his people; he prays that they might have faith, and then he prays, that it may not fail; and it shall not, notwithstanding all the opposition of hell, and earth, unto it: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren : Peter was now a converted man, and had been for some years; but whereas he would fall by temptation into a very great sin of denying his Lord, and which was attended with such circumstances as made him look like an unconverted, and an unregenerate man; his recovery by the fresh exercise of faith in Christ, and repentance for his sins, is called conversion: and which was not his own act, but owing to the power and efficacy of divine grace; (see Jeremiah 31:18). Some versions render it in the imperative, “in time, convert, turn, or return, and strengthen thy brethren”; as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions: as he afterwards did: for whereas all the disciples forsook Christ, and fled, some one way, and some another, Peter, after his recovery, got them together again, and returned with them to Jerusalem; when they with him assembled together, till the third day Christ was risen: he strengthened their faith in the Messiah, and put them upon filling up the place of Judas, by choosing another apostle; and on the day of “Pentecost” preached a most excellent sermon, which as it was made useful for the conversion of three thousand sinners, was, doubtless, a means of confirming the minds of the disciples; and he has left two exceeding useful epistles for the strengthening of his brethren in all ages of time; the design of which is to establish the saints in faith and holiness, that they may not be drawn aside, and fall from the steadfastness of their faith, either by the lusts of the flesh, or by the persecutions of men, or by the error of the wicked.
Ver. 33. And he said unto him , etc.] That is, Simon, or Simeon, said unto him, as the Syriac and Persic versions express it; he made a reply to Jesus, saying, as one fearless of danger, and confident in himself: I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death ; he suggests, that he was not afraid of Satan, nor of his temptations, of being sifted, shaken, and tossed by him: he was not to be frightened out of his faith by him, or to be scared with a prison, and death itself; he was ready for both; and they were welcome, come when they would; and rather than part from, or deny his Lord, he was then prepared to go with him, at once, to either of them.
The phrase, to go, is not in the Syriac version.
Ver. 34. And he said , etc.] “To him”, as all the Oriental versions add; to Peter, as what is said shows; that is, Jesus said to him, as the Syriac and Persic versions express: I tell thee , Peter; who knew him, and his heart, better than he did himself, as well as knew what was to come, and what would befall him; and therefore declares it, as he does with the greatest assurance and certainty, and which might be depended on, and accordingly came to pass: the cock shall not crow this day ; in this night, as in ( Mark 14:30) or this night, as in ( Matthew 26:34) for it was now night; a natural day includes both night and day; a like way of speaking, see in ( Luke 2:8,11) before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me ; as he did, ( Luke 22:57,58,60). (See Gill on “ Matthew 26:34”).
Ver. 35. And he said unto them , etc.] To the disciples, as the Persic version reads; not to Peter only, but to them all: when I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes ; without the necessaries of life, without proper accommodations for a journey, without provisions, or money, to buy any with: so aneu balantiou , “without a purse”, is, by the Scholiast on Aristophanes f663 , interpreted by aneu arguriou kai dapanhv , “without money and expense”: Christ here refers to his mission of them in ( Matthew 10:5,9,10) lacked ye any thing? any of the common blessings of life, food to eat, or raiment to wear? and they said, nothing ; they lacked nothing at all; wherever they came, they had friendly accommodations; they were provided with every thing necessary for them; they had both food and raiment, and good lodgings in every place; the houses and hearts of men were opened by Christ to receive them, though they were sent out by him so empty and destitute.
Ver. 36. Then said he unto them , etc.] That is, Jesus said unto them, as the Persic version expresses it: but now he that hath a purse let him take it, and likewise his scrip ; signifying hereby, that from this time forward, immediately after his departure from them, after his death, resurrection, and ascension, when they should be sent into all the world to preach the Gospel, it would be otherwise with them than before; that they should be reduced to great penury and distress, should neither have food, nor money to buy any with; and that they should suffer hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and have no certain dwellingplace, as was their case; (see 1 Corinthians 4:11) and that they would not be received, and entertained in the manner they had been; and therefore it would be advisable, if they had any provisions, to take them with them in their scrips; or if they had any money, to carry it with them in their purses; for glad would they be to provide themselves with necessaries at any rate: and he that hath no sword ; the word “sword” is not in this clause, but in the next; it is only in the original, “he that hath not”; which, at first sight; looks as if the sense was, he that hath not a purse, or a scrip, to sell, and buy a sword with, let him sell his garment, and buy one: but, as Deuteronomy Dieu observes, the phrase, “he that hath not”, is the same with “he that has nothing”; who is a poor man, and has no money to buy a sword with, let him part with his garment, which rich men, who had money, had no need to do; though the Syriac, Persic, and Arabic versions put the word sword, in both clauses; he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy a sword ; that is, if he could get one no other way. Christ here uses the common dialect of the nation, as Dr. Lightfoot observes. So on the feast of dedication of the temple, “if a man had not any thing to eat, but what he had by alms, he must beg, or wtwsk rkwm , “sell his garment”, and take oil, and lamps, and light them f664 .”
These words of Christ are not to be understood literally, that he would have his disciples furnish themselves with swords at any rate, since he would never have said, as he afterwards does, that two were sufficient; which could not be enough for eleven men; or have forbid Peter the use of one, as he did in a very little time after this: but his meaning is, that wherever they came, and a door was opened for the preaching of the Gospel, they would have many adversaries, and these powerful, and would be used with great violence, and be followed with rage and persecution; so that they might seem to stand in need of swords to defend them: the phrase is expressive of the danger they would be exposed to, and of their need of protection; and therefore it was wrong in them to be disputing and quarrelling about superiority, or looking out for, and expecting temporal pomp and grandeur, when this would be their forlorn, destitute, and afflicted condition; and they would quickly see the affliction and distress begin in himself. In “seven” ancient copies of Beza's, it is read in the future tense, “he shall take, he shall sell, he shall buy”.
Ver. 37. For I say unto you, that this that is written , etc.] In ( Isaiah 53:12) must yet be accomplished ; it having not been as yet; at least not so perfectly fulfilled: and he was reckoned among the transgressors . The Syriac and Arabic versions read in the first person, “and I shall be reckoned”, etc. and so the Persic version, “that I may be numbered”, etc. and the Ethiopic renders it, “and the Lord Jesus is numbered with sinners”; neither right: for the words are a proper citation from ( Isaiah 53:12) which, as the whole prophecy belongs to the Messiah, was fulfilled in Jesus; who, though he was no transgressor, yet being in the likeness of sinful flesh, and dwelling among, and conversing with sinners, was traduced as one, and was joined with Barabbas, a murderer, a thief, and a robber, and put up with him for the people to choose which of the two they would have released; and was at last crucified between two thieves; and more than this, being in the legal place, and stead of his people, and having their sins laid upon him, and imputed to him, he was made and accounted, by imputation, not only a sinner, but sin itself; and as such, was considered in the eye of the law, and by the justice of God, and was treated accordingly; (see Gill on “ Mark 15:28”) for the things concerning me have an end . The Syriac version renders it, “all of them”; or “the whole of it”, as the Ethiopic version; all that were concerning him; all the counsels, purposes, and decrees of God, relating to his sufferings and death; to the manner in which his death was brought about, by one of his disciples betraying him; to the several indignities he should be used with, by Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Jews, and Roman soldiers; and to his death itself; all which were by the determinate counsel, and foreknowledge of God, and now were about to have, and quickly had their fulfilling end; as also all his own covenant engagements and agreements he entered into with his Father, to bear the sins of many, to make his soul an offering for sin, to be numbered with transgressors, and pour out his soul unto death; and likewise all the types and shadows of the law, all sacrifices in general, and the daily sacrifice in particular, with the passover, brazen serpent, and other things, even the whole law, both moral and ceremonial, had their full and final accomplishment in him; together with all the prophecies of the Old Testament relating to this matter, particularly ( Genesis 3:15 Psalm 22:12 Isaiah 53:5-12 Daniel 9:26 Zechariah 12:10 13:6,7).
Ver. 38. And they said, Lord, behold here are two swords , etc.] That is, the disciples said so, as the Persic version expresses it; for they understood Christ's words literally; and two swords being among them, and which they might bring with them from Galilee, to defend themselves from thieves, and robbers, which infested the roads between that country and Jerusalem; and one of these, as appears afterwards, belonged to Peter; they mention them with a desire of knowing they were sufficient, or whether they must provide themselves with more: and he said unto them, it is enough ; or, “they are sufficient”, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions render it; which must be understood either ironically; yes, two swords, to be sure, are sufficient for eleven men, and against many and powerful enemies: or his meaning is, they were sufficient to answer his purpose, and be an emblem of what he designed by the sword: or this was a short way of speaking, suggesting their stupidity and ignorance: it is enough, it is very well, I perceive you do not understand my meaning, and I shall say no more at present.
Ver. 39. And he came out , etc.] That is, “Christ”, as the Persic version; or the “Lord Jesus”, as the Ethiopic version expresses; he came out of the guestchamber, or upper room, and out of the house where he had been keeping the passover with his disciples; and he came out of the city of Jerusalem, to begin his sorrows and sufferings without the camp, where he was to end them: and went, as he was wont, to the Mount of Olives . This had been his practice and custom for several nights past, as appears from ( Luke 21:37). Hence Judas knew the place he now went to, and could direct the soldiers and officers where to go, and apprehend him; and this shows the willingness of Christ to be taken, in order to suffer and die; otherwise he would have gone to another place, and not this. The Ethiopic version adds, “to pray”, as he did; and, as very likely he was used; for he would sometimes continue a whole night in prayer on a mountain; (see Luke 6:12) and his disciples also followed him ; eleven of them, for Judas was now gone to the chief priests to inform them where Christ was going, that they might seize him: but the other disciples followed him, which was so ordered, that they might be witnesses of his sorrows and agonies in the garden, and of his being betrayed by Judas, and apprehended by the Jews; though upon this they forsook him and fled.
Ver. 40. And when he was at the place , etc.] In the garden, at Gethsemane, which was at the foot of the Mount of Olives; he said unto them ; to the disciples, as the Persic version reads; pray that ye enter not into temptation . This, according to the Evangelists Matthew and Mark, was said to them after he had prayed the first time, and returned to the disciples, and found them sleeping; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:41”).
Ver. 41. And he was withdrawn from them , etc.] That is, from the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, whom he took along with him, leaving the rest at some further distance; and from these he removed, about a stone's cast ; fifty, or sixty feet from the place where they were: and kneeled down and prayed ; the following prayer.
Ver. 42. Saying, Father, if thou be willing , etc.] If it be consistent with thy will of saving sinners, and which thou hast declared to me, and I have undertook to perform: the other evangelists say, “if it be possible”; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:39”) remove this cup from me ; meaning, either his present sorrows and distress, or his approaching sufferings and death, which he had in view, or both: nevertheless not my will ; as man, for Christ had an human will distinct from, though not contrary to his divine will: but thine be done ; which Christ undertook, and came into this world to do; and it was his meat and drink to do it, and was the same with his own will, as the Son of God; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:39”), and (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:42”).
Ver. 43. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven , etc.] Whether this was Michael the archangel, as some have conjectured, or Gabriel, or what particular angel, is not for us to know, nor is it of any importance: it is certain, it was a good angel: “an angel of God”, as the Ethiopic version reads; since he came from heaven, and was one of the angels of heaven, sent by God on this occasion; and it is clear also, that he was in a visible form, and was seen by Christ, since he is said to appear to him: strengthening him ; under his present distress, against the terrors of Satan, and the fears of death, by assuring him of the divine favour, as man, and of the fulfilment of the promises to him to stand by him, assist, strengthen, and carry him through what was before him; and by observing to him the glory and honour he should be crowned with, after his sufferings and death, find the complete salvation of his people, which would be obtained hereby, and which was the joy set before him; and which animated him, as man, to bear the cross, and despise the shame with a brave and heroic Spirit. Now, though God the Father could have strengthened the human nature of Christ, without making use of an angel; and Christ could have strengthened it himself, by his divine nature, to which it was united; but the human nature was to be brought into so low a condition, and to be left to itself, as to stand in need of the assistance of an angel: and this shows not only the ministration of angels to Christ, as man, but that he was at this present time made a little lower than the angels, who was the Creator and Lord of them; as he afterwards more apparently was, through the sufferings of death.
Ver. 44. And being in an agony , etc.] Or in a conflict, and combat; that is, with thee devil, who now appeared visibly to him, in an horrible form: after his temptations in the wilderness Satan left him for a season, till another opportunity should offer; and now it did; now the prince of this world came to him; (see Luke 4:13, John 14:30) and attacked him in a garden, where the first onset on human nature was made: and now began the battle between the two combatants, the serpent, and the seed of the woman; which issued in the destruction of Satan, and thee recovery of mankind. The Arabic version leaves out this clause; and the Syriac version renders it, “being in fear”; and to the same purpose are the Persic and Ethiopic versions; that is, of death; and must be understood of a sinless fear of death in his human nature, to which death, being a dissolution of it, must be disagreeable; though not death, barely considered, was the cause of this fear, distress, and agony he was in; but as it was to be inflicted on him for the sins of his people, which he bore, and as it was the curse of the law, and the effect of divine wrath and displeasure: he prayed more earnestly ; repeating the words he had said before with great eagerness and importunity, with intenseness of mind, and fervour of Spirit, with strong crying, and tears to him that was able to save him from death, ( Hebrews 5:7) and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground .
This account of Christ's bloody sweat is only given by Luke, who being a physician, as is thought, more diligently recorded things which belonged to his profession to take cognizance of; nor should it be any objection to the truth and credibility of this fact, that it is not mentioned by the other evangelists, since it is no unusual thing with them for one to record that which is omitted by another; nor that this is wanting in some Greek and Latin copies, as Jerom and Hilary observe; since it was expunged, as is supposed, either by some orthodox persons, who weakly thought it might seem to favour the Arians, who denied that Christ was of the same impassible nature with the Father; or rather by the Armenians, or by a set of men called “Aphthartodocetae”, who asserted the human nature of Christ to be incorruptible: but certain it is, that it is in the most ancient and approved copies, and in all the Oriental versions, and therefore to be retained; to which may be added, that it is taken notice of, not to mention others, by those two early writers, Justin Martyr f667 , and Irenaeus f668 ; nor should its being so strange and unusual a sweat at all discredit the history of it, since there have been instances of this kind arising from various causes; and if there had been none, since the case of our Lord was singular, it ought to be credited. This bloody sweat did not arise from a cachexy, or ill state of body, which has sometimes been the cause of it, as Aristotle observes, who says f669 , that the blood sometimes becomes sanious, and so serous, insomuch that some have been covered with a “bloody sweat”: and in another place he says f670 , that through an ill habit of body it has happened to some, that they have sweat a bloody excrement. Bartholinus produces instances in plagues and fevers f671 ; but nothing of this kind appears in Christ, whose body was hale and robust, free from distempers and diseases, as it was proper it should, in order to do the work, and endure the sufferings he did; nor did it arise from any external heat, or a fatiguing journey. The above writer a relates, from Actuarius, a story of a young man that had little globes of blood upon his skin, by sweat, through the heat of the sun, and a laborious journey. Christ's walk from Jerusalem to the garden was but a short one; and it was in the night when he had this sweat, and a cold night too; (see John 18:18), it rather arose from the agony in which he was, before related: persons in an agony, or fit of trembling, sweat much, as Aristotle observes f673 ; but to sweat blood is unusual. This might be occasioned by his vehement striving and wrestling with God in prayer, since the account follows immediately upon that; and might be owing to his strong cries, to the intenseness and fervour of his mind, and the commotion of the animal spirits, which was now very great, as some have thought; or, as others, to the fear of death, as it was set before him in so dreadful a view, and attended with such horrible circumstances. Thuanus f674 , a very grave and credible historian, reports of a governor of a certain garrison, who being, by a stratagem, decoyed from thence, and taken captive, and threatened with an ignominious death, was so affected with it, that he sweat a “bloody sweat” all over his body. And the same author relates of a young man of Florence, who being, by the order of Pope Sixtus the Fifth, condemned, as he was led along to be executed, through the vehemence of his grief discharged blood instead of sweat, all over his body: and Maldonate, upon this passage, reports, that he had heard it from some who saw, or knew it, that at Paris, a man, robust, and in good health, hearing that a capital sentence was pronounced upon him, was, at once, all over in a bloody sweat: which instances show, that grief, surprise, and fear, have sometimes had such an effect on men; but it was not mere fear of death, and trouble of mind, concerning that, which thus wrought on our Lord, but the sense he had of the sins of his people, which were imputed to him, and the curse of the righteous law of God, which he endured, and especially the wrath of God, which was let into his soul: though some have thought this was owing to the conflict Christ had with the old serpent the devil; who, as before observed, now appeared to him in a frightful forth: and very remarkable is the passage which Dr.
Lightfoot, and others, have cited from Diodorus Siculus, who reports of a certain country, that there are serpents in it, by whose bites are procured very painful deaths; and that grievous pains seize the person bitten, and also “a flow of sweat like blood”. And other writers make mention of a kind of asp, or serpent, called “Haemorrhois”; which, when it bites a man, causes him to sweat blood: and such a bloody sweat it should seem was occasioned by the bite of the old serpent Satan, now nibbling at Christ's heel, which was to be bruised by him: but of all the reasons and causes of this uncommon sweat, that of Clotzius is the most strange, that it should arise from the angels comforting and strengthening him, and from the cheerfulness and fortitude of his mind. This writer observes, that as fear and sorrow congeal the blood, alacrity and fortitude move it; and being moved, heat it, and drive it to the outward parts, and open a way for it through the pores: and this he thinks may be confirmed from the fruit and effect of Christ's prayer, which was very earnest, and was heard, as is said in ( Hebrews 5:7) when he was delivered from fear; which deliverance produced joy, and this joy issued in the bloody sweat. Some think the words do not necessarily imply, that this sweat was blood, or that there was blood in it; only that his sweat, as it came out of his body, and fell on the ground, was so large, and thick, and viscous, that it looked like drops, or clots of blood; but the case rather seems to be this, that the pores of Christ's body were so opened, that along with sweat came out blood, which flowed from him very largely; and as it fell on the ground, he being fallen on his face to the earth, it was so congealed by the cold in the night season, that it became really, as the word signifies, clots of blood upon the earth. The Persic version, different from all others, reads, “his tears, like blood, fell by drops upon the ground”. This agony, and bloody sweat of Christ, prove the truth of his human nature; the sweat shows that he had a true and real body, as other men; the anxiety of his mind, that he had a reasonable soul capable of grief and sorrow, as human souls are; and they also prove his being made sin and a curse for us, and his sustaining our sins, and the wrath of God: nor could it be at all unsuitable to him, and unworthy of him, to sweat in this manner, whose blood was to be shed for the sins of his people, and who came by blood and water, and from whom both were to flow; signifying, that both sanctification and justification are from him.
Ver. 45. And when he rose from prayer , etc.] The Syriac version reads, “from his prayer”, having finished it; and the Persic and Ethiopic versions read, “from the place of prayer”, or where he prayed: and was come to his disciples ; to the three, which he had left about the distance of a stone's cast: he found them sleeping for sorrow ; on his account; for he had signified unto them, how exceeding sorrowful he was; and they might perceive by his looks and gestures, the anxiety and distress of mind he was in, which must needs affect them; and besides, he had given them some intimations of his being to be betrayed by one of them, and of his sufferings and death, and speedy departure from them; and because of these things, sorrow had filled their hearts, and this had induced heaviness and sleep upon them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:40”).
Ver. 46. And said unto them, why sleep ye ? etc.] The Arabic version prefaces this with these words, “and he awaked them”; and then rebuked them for sleeping, adding, rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation ; together with words recorded in ( Matthew 26:45,46).
Ver. 47. And while he yet spake , etc.] The above words to his disciples, behold a multitude . The Persic version adds, “of Jews, with arrows, swords, and spears”; but the multitude consisted partly of Roman soldiers, and partly of the officers of the chief priests: and he that was called Judas : and sometimes Iscariot, to distinguish him from another Judas, who also was of the number of the apostles: one of the twelve ; disciples of Christ, whom he had chosen, called, and ordained: went before them ; as their guide, to show them where Jesus was, and to point him out unto them; (see Acts 1:16) and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him ; that being the signal he had given them, by which they should know him. The Syriac version here adds, “for this sign he had given to them, whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is he”: and so likewise the Persic and Ethiopic versions, adding also this, “lay hold upon him”; but the whole seems to be transcribed from ( Matthew 26:48).
Ver. 48. But Jesus said unto him, Judas , etc.] Calling him by his name, that he might know he knew him, and to aggravate his sin; what, Judas, my apostle, my friend, my familiar friend, in whom I trusted, or with whom I trusted all my worldly affairs, betrayest thou the son of man with a kiss ! who assumed human nature for the good of mankind, who is the Messiah spoken of by the prophets, under the character of the son of man, and who is holy, harmless, and never did any mortal man any hurt or injury; and what, betray such an one into the hands of his most implacable adversaries, and in such an hypocritical and deceitful way! all which Christ said, to show he was no stranger to what he was about to do.
Ver. 49. When they which were about him , etc.] That is, the eleven disciples that were about Christ, and with him in the garden: saw what would follow ; that their Lord and master was about to be betrayed by Judas, and would be seized, and carried away by the multitude, that were with him: they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword ? or “swords”, as the Syriac and Persic versions read; with the two swords which they had along with them. This they said, not being thoroughly acquainted with the mind of Christ in this matter, whether they should use the temporal sword or not; and might choose to show this forwardness to stand by him, and defend him, remembering how lately they had said, that though they died with him, they would not deny him: and might, no doubt, be thoroughly exasperated and provoked to see Judas at the head of such a mob, with swords and staves, and burned with true zeal for their Lord and master; and might be the more spirited up to this, by observing, that the men fell backwards to the ground, upon Christ's saying that he was the person they sought; at least their dependence was upon the exertion of his almighty power; for they could never otherwise imagine that eleven men, with two swords only, would be able to defend him, and rescue him out of the hands of such a multitude.
Ver. 50. And one of them smote the servant of the high priest , etc.] The person that drew his sword, and performed this daring action, not waiting for an answer from Christ, was Peter, and the high priest's servant, that he smote, was Malchus; both which we learn from ( John 18:10) and cut off his right ear ; he aimed, no doubt, at his head, but missing his blow, took off his right ear. It is very likely, that this servant was very busy and forward to lay hold on Christ, and showed much virulence, and great malignity; and therefore Peter singled him out, and levelled his blow at him.
Ver. 51. And Jesus answered and said , etc.] Not to the question of the disciples, but either to Peter, who had done this rash action; and so the Persic and Ethiopic versions add, “to him”; or else to the multitude, suffer ye thus far ; or to them both, to Peter to stop his hand, to proceed no further, but put up his sword; and so the Arabic version reads, “refrain thyself”; and to the multitude to be easy, and not revenge the affront that was given them: and in order to pacify them, “he went to the wounded man”, as the Persic version inserts, and he touched his ear and healed him ; which shows, that though the human nature of Christ was in a very low condition, yet he still retained the power of doing miracles; and also his great humanity, by which example be confirmed his precept of doing good to enemies; and likewise hereby gave full proof of his willingness to be apprehended by them; for otherwise, he that wrought such a miracle as this, could easily have delivered himself out of their hands; and one would have thought this would have put a stop to them, and have convinced them of the truth of his being a divine person, and the Messiah.
Ver. 52. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests , etc.] After he had wrought this miracle, and had quieted the mob, and restrained them from falling upon the apostles, and cutting them to pieces, which in all likelihood they would otherwise have done; he addressed himself to “the chief priests”, who were members of the Jewish sanhedrim, and the captains of the temple ; (see Gill on “ Luke 22:4”). And the elders which were come to him ; which came along with Judas and the multitude, in order to see things done to their mind, and to animate both Judas and the soldiers and their officers, by their presence, lest they should come without him, as they had before done, ( John 7:45). Be ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves ? (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:55”).
Ver. 53. When I was daily with you in the temple , etc.] As he had been for some days past, teaching the people, and disputing with them, the chief priests, etc. ye stretched forth no hands against me ; to lay hold upon him, and kill him; the reason was, because his time was not come, and they had no licence or permission to hurt him, or any power given them against him from above: but this is your hour ; the time was now come for the betraying of him by Judas; for the seizing and apprehending him by the Roman soldiers and officers; and for the delivery of him into the hands of the “chief” priests and elders; and for them to insult, mock, buffet, scourge him, and spit upon him: and for the crucifixion of him, and putting him to death: the hour fixed for this was now come; it was now, and not before, and therefore they could not lay hold on him, and do to him what they listed, but now they might; yet this was but an hour, a short time that they had to triumph over him, in Caiaphas's palace, and Pilate's hall, upon the cross, and in the grave; for on the third day he arose again, notwithstanding all the precautions they took, and is ascended to heaven, and is received there, and is out of their reach: and since then, it has been his hour to take vengeance on them; on their nation, city, and temple, for their disbelief, rejection, and ill usage of him; and it will be likewise his hour at the day of judgment, when they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn; and hide their faces from him, and call to the mountains to cover them, and when they will be punished with everlasting destruction from his presence: he adds, and the power of darkness . The Persic version reads, “the power of your darkness”; that is, either the power granted to them, who were darkness itself, born and brought up in darkness; were walking in darkness, and in the ignorance of their minds; and did works of darkness, and shunned the light, because their deeds were evil; and for which reason they now chose the night, to execute their black designs upon Christ: or rather, the power of the prince of darkness is here meant; that power which he usurped, and was now permitted him to exercise against Christ: and so the Ethiopic version renders it, “the power of the lord of darkness”; who was, once an angel of light, but now full of darkness, and who darkens the minds of men, and for whom blackness of darkness is reserved: the Jews were used to call the evil angels by this name; for so they say f677 , “the destroying angels are called, hlpaw Æçj , “darkness, and thick darkness”.”
The sense of the whole passage is, that now was the time come, that Christ should be delivered up into the hands of wicked men and devils; that the former should have him in their power, and triumph over him for a season; and that hell was now let loose, and all the infernal powers were about him, throwing their poisoned arrows and fiery darts at him; all which Christ endured, to deliver his people from the present evil world, from the wrath of God, the curses of the law, and from the power of darkness.
Ver. 54. Then took they him, and led him , etc.] The band of soldiers, the captain, and the officers of the Jews, laid hold on Jesus, and bound him, ( John 18:12) and led him out of the garden; notwithstanding the miracle he had wrought, and the humanity he had shown in healing the servant's ear; and notwithstanding his moving address to the chiefs of them; and indeed, this was a confirmation of his last words; for by this it appeared, that now was their time, and power was given to them, as the emissaries of Satan, to act against him: and brought him into the high priest's house ; where the sanhedrim were assembled; but this was not in the temple where they used to sit: it is true, indeed, that the chamber in the temple, called the chamber “Parhedrin”, or “Palhedrin”, was, hryd tyb , “the dwelling house” of the high priest, seven days before the day of atonement f678 ; and this was also called the “chamber of the counsellors” f679 ; so that had the time of year agreed, it might have been thought that this was the place that Jesus was led to; but here the high priest did not usually dwell, and it is manifestly distinguished from his own house: for it is said f680 , “seven days before the day of atonement, they separate, or remove the high priest, wtybm , “from his house”, to the chamber of “Palhedrin”;” (See Gill on “ Matthew 26:3”). And Peter followed afar off ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:58”).
Ver. 55. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall , etc.] It being cold in the night time, though it was at the passover, and the beginning of harvest, the servants and officers of the high priest made a fire in the middle of the hall, whilst Jesus was examining before the sanhedrim, at the other end of it: and were sat down together ; about it, as the Syriac version adds, to warm themselves: Peter sat down among them ; for the same purpose, and as if he was one of them; and which he might do, not only to warm himself, but to prevent his being taken notice of, and suspected; as he might have been, had he been loitering about.
Ver. 56. But a certain maid beheld him , etc.] Looked upon him, and took notice of him, and observed his countenance and gesture: as he sat by the fire; or light; (see Gill on “ Mark 14:54”). And both by the light of the fire, and other lights, which were doubtless in the hall, she discovered something in him, which made her look at him again with some earnestness; and earnestly looked upon him, and said, this man was also with him ; that fellow, that vile and contemptible wretch, now examining before the high priest; thus in a contemptuous manner, as was the custom and style of that nation, she disdained to mention the name of Jesus; though the Persic version here expresses it; and her sense was, that Peter was one of that clan, a disciple of his, and was only come hither as a spy.
Ver. 57. And he denied him, saying, woman, I know him not .] Startled at the maid's positive assertion, and knowing not how to clear himself any other way, roundly, and at once, denied that Jesus was his master; or that he was a disciple of his; or that he knew any thing of him, or had any acquaintance with him: and thus he that had said he would die with him, rather than deny him, is frighten at a servant maid, and denies him upon the first attack upon him.
Ver. 58. And after a little while , etc.] A quarter, or half an hour after, within an hour at least: another saw him ; not another maid, but another man, as appears from the answer; though the Syriac and Persic versions leave out the word man, it may be because Matthew and Mark represent the person, on account of whose words Peter denied Christ a second time, to be another maid; but then it is to be observed, that that maid did not speak directly to Peter, as this person did, but to those that were present, or that stood by: and one of these taking the hint from her, looked at him, and said, thou art also of them ; of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth; thou belongest to that company; thou art certainly one of his followers; and Peter said, man, I am not . This was after he had been out into the porch, and had mused upon it, and was come in again, but had not courage enough to withstand the temptation, and especially now, being attacked by a man; and so a second time denies that Christ was his master, or that he was a disciple of his.
Ver. 59. And about the space of one hour after , etc.] After the first assault, or rather after the second: another confidently affirmed ; who was one of them that stood by the fireside, and heard what had passed; and not only so, but was a kinsman to him, whose ear Peter had cut off, and who had seen him in the garden with Christ, and therefore with all assurance asserted it, as a matter of fact, as an unquestionable truth, and beyond all doubt: saying of a truth, this fellow also was with him ; a disciple and follower of Jesus, and was with him when he was apprehended; I saw him there, and it may be depended on as a truth; and then added this reason, for he is a Galilean ; you may be assured of this yourselves, his speech betrays him; you may know him by his language, and which confirms my assertion.
Ver. 60. And Peter said, man, I know not what thou sayest , etc.] Suggesting, that he was so far from being a follower of Jesus, or a disciple of his, and from having any personal acquaintance with him, that he did not know what he was talking of, or at least could not understand what he meant by this harangue, or by talking after this manner about him; and then began to curse and swear, and wish the most dreadful things to befall him, if he knew any thing of Jesus of Nazareth: and immediately while he yet spake : in this shocking manner, with his mouth full of oaths, curses, and imprecations: the cock crew ; the second time, ( Mark 14:72).
Ver. 61. And the Lord turned , etc.] Himself, his back being to Peter, whilst he was examining before the high priest; but he knew full well what was doing, what had been said to Peter, and how often he had denied him: and looked upon Peter ; with his bodily eyes, with great earnestness, expressing in his looks concern and pity for him; for it was a look, not of wrath and resentment, but of love and mercy, and power went along with it; it was not only a signal to Peter, to put him in remembrance of what he had said, but it was a melting look to him, and a means of convincing and humbling him, and of bringing him to repentance: and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, before the cock crow, thou shall deny me thrice ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:75”).
Ver. 62. And Peter went out and wept bitterly .] (See Gill on “ Matthew 26:75”).
Ver. 63. And the men that held Jesus , etc.] Whilst he was before the sanhedrim; and were either the Roman soldiers, or the servants of the high priest, who kept hold of him all the while, lest he should get away; though there was no reason for it; his time was come, nor would he escape out of their hands, though he could easily have rescued himself: mocked him ; insulted him, and gave him very opprobrious language, and used him in a very scurrilous way, and even spit upon him; and smote him . This clause is left out in the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions; the word used, signifies plucking off the skin; they pinched him, and tore off his flesh with their nails; they plucked the hairs of his beard, and the skin of his cheeks along with them, and so fulfilled ( Isaiah 50:6).
Ver. 64. And when they had blindfolded him , etc.] Or put a veil, or linen cloth over his eyes, as children do at play, to make themselves some sport with him: they struck him on the face ; on that part of it which was not covered, either with their hands, or with rods: and asked him, saying, prophesy, who is it that smote thee ? hereby deriding his prophetic office, and using such language as children do at blindman's buff; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:68”).
Ver. 65. And many other things blasphemously spake they , etc.] As denying and ridiculing his deity, and divine sonship; mocking at, and burlesquing his offices, of prophet, priest, and king; asserting him to be a mere man, and a very wicked one; a profane sinner, a glutton, and a winebibber; a sabbath breaker, a blasphemer, and a seditious person; and one that had a devil, or dealt with familiar spirits: and thus spake they against him ; his person, office, and character.
Ver. 66. And as soon as it was day , etc.] (See Gill on “ Matthew 27:1”). The elders of the people ; or “the presbytery of the people”, that were chosen from among the people to sit in the sanhedrim; the Israelites, as distinct from priests and Levites, and the doctors: and the chief priests and the Scribes came together ; which made up the great sanhedrim, or council of the nation: and led him into their council ; or sanhedrim, the place where the sanhedrim sat, which was in the temple, and in the chamber called tyzgh tkçl , “the paved stone chamber” f681 ; here they usually met, and so the Persic version renders it, “where their congregation was daily there”.
Ver. 67. Saying, art thou the Christ , etc.] The Messiah, promised and prophesied of by Moses, and all the prophets, and long expected by us: “tell us”. The Ethiopic version adds, openly; tell us frankly, freely, plainly, as in ( John 10:24). And he said unto them, if I tell you, you will not believe . The Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, “will not believe me”; neither what he said, nor that he was the Messiah; they were determined not to believe in him, and receive him as such; their unbelief was wilful, obstinate, and invincible: they were proof against all arguments, evidence, and demonstration itself.
Ver. 68. And if I also ask you , etc.] Or enter into a discourse on this subject, and require an answer to the arguments, proving me to be the Messiah, or desire to know what objections can be made thereunto: you will not answer me : fairly and directly, or go into a serious and sober conversation on this head: nor let me “go”; or dismiss me, though I should appear to be the Messiah, or ever so free from the charge of blasphemy and sedition; you are resolved, right or wrong, to detain me in bonds, and take away my life; so that it signifies nothing saying any thing to you.
Ver. 69. Hereafter shall the son of man , etc.] Meaning himself, who was truly man, and then in a low and mean form, and thought by the Jews to be a mere man; though this character was known by them to belong to the Messiah, especially what follows; as that he should sit on the right hand of the power of God : as he did after his resurrection, and ascension, and which was manifest by the destruction of their nation, city, and temple; (see Gill on “ Matthew 27:64”).
Ver. 70. Then said they all , etc.] The whole sanhedrim, with one voice, being greedy to lay hold on, and improve these words, that they might have something to lay to his charge: art thou the Son of God? for they knew that the Messiah, or the son of man, that was to sit at the right hand of God, and come in the clouds of heaven, was the Son of God: and he said unto them, ye say that I am ; or rather the words may be rendered, “ye say it”, and ye say right; it is the very truth: “for I am”; that is, “the Son of God”, as the Ethiopic version here adds; which sense agrees with ( Mark 14:62) and the following words seem to require this sense and version.
Ver. 71. And they said , etc.] That is, the council, as the Persic version reads; some of the members of the sanhedrim, or the whole body of them: what need we any further witness ? or give any further trouble in getting witnesses, and hearing them: for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth : his blasphemy, and what amounts to a sufficient charge of that kind; upon which they all pronounced him worthy of death, and determined to deliver him into the hands of Pilate the Roman governor, in order to pass sentence on him, and put him to death.