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    CHAPTER 18


    1-3. over the brook Kedron--a deep, dark ravine, to the northeast of Jerusalem, through which flowed this small storm brook or winter torrent, and which in summer is dried up.
    - where was a garden--at the foot of the Mount of Olives, "called Gethsemane; that is, olive press (Mt 26:30, 36).

    2. Judas . . . knew the place, for Jesus ofttimes--see Joh 8:1; Lu 21:37.
    - resorted thither with his disciples--The baseness of this abuse of knowledge in Judas, derived from admission to the closest privacies of his Master, is most touchingly conveyed here, though nothing beyond bare narrative is expressed. Jesus, however, knowing that in this spot Judas would expect to find Him, instead of avoiding it, hies Him thither, as a Lamb to the slaughter. "No man taketh My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself" (Joh 10:18). Besides, the scene which was to fill up the little breathing-time, the awful interval, between the Supper and the Apprehension--like the "silence in heaven for about the space of half an hour" between the breaking of the Apocalyptic Seals and the peal of the Trumpets of war (Re 8:1) --the AGONY--would have been too terrible for the upper room; nor would He cloud the delightful associations of the last Passover and the first Supper by pouring out the anguish of His soul there. The garden, however, with its amplitude, its shady olives, its endeared associations, would be congenial to His heart. Here He had room enough to retire--first, from eight of them, and then from the more favored three; and here, when that mysterious scene was over, the stillness would only be broken by the tread of the traitor.

    3. Judas then--"He that was called Judas, one of the Twelve," says Luke (Lu 22:47), in language which brands him with peculiar infamy, as in the sacred circle while in no sense of it.
    - a band of men--"the detachment of the Roman cohort on duty at the festival for the purpose of maintaining order" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
    - officers from the chief priests and Pharisees--captains of the temple and armed Levites.
    - lanterns and torches--It was full moon, but in case He should have secreted Himself somewhere in the dark ravine, they bring the means of exploring its hiding-places--little knowing whom they had to do with. "Now he that betrayed Him had given them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He, hold Him fast" (Mt 26:48). The cold-bloodedness of this speech was only exceeded by the deed itself. "And Judas went before them [Lu 22:47], and forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master, and kissed Him" (Mt 26:49; compare Ex 4:27; 18:7; Lu 7:45). The impudence of this atrocious deed shows how thoroughly he had by this time mastered all his scruples. If the dialogue between our Lord and His captors was before this, as some interpreters think it was, the kiss of Judas was purely gratuitous, and probably to make good his right to the money; our Lord having presented Himself unexpectedly before them, and rendered it unnecessary for any one to point Him out. But a comparison of the narratives seems to show that our Lord's "coming forth" to the band was subsequent to the interview of Judas. "And Jesus said unto him, Friend"--not the endearing term "friend" (in Joh 15:15), but "companion," a word used on occasions of remonstrance or rebuke (as in Mt 20:13; 22:12) --"Wherefore art thou come?" (Mt 26:50). "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss"--imprinting upon the foulest act the mark of tenderest affection? What wounded feeling does this express! Of this Jesus showed Himself on various occasions keenly susceptible--as all generous and beautiful natures do.

    4-9. Jesus . . . knowing all things that should come--were coming.
    - upon him, went forth--from the shade of the trees, probably, into open view, indicating His sublime preparedness to meet His captors.
    - Whom seek ye?--partly to prevent a rush of the soldiery upon the disciples [BENGEL]; and see Mr 14:51, 52, as showing a tendency to this: but still more as part of that courage and majesty which so overawed them. He would not wait to be taken.

    5. They answered . . . Jesus of Nazareth--just the sort of blunt, straight forward reply one expects from military men, simply acting on their instructions.
    - I am He--(See on Joh 6:20).
    - Judas . . . stood with them--No more is recorded here of his part of the scene, but we have found the gap painfully supplied by all the other Evangelists.

    6. As soon then as he said unto them, I am He, they went backward--recoiled.
    - and fell to the ground--struck down by a power such as that which smote Saul of Tarsus and his companions to the earth (Ac 26:14). It was the glorious effulgence of the majesty of Christ which overpowered them. "This, occurring before His surrender, would show His power over His enemies, and so the freedom with which He gave Himself up" [MEYER].

    7. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye?--Giving them a door of escape from the guilt of a deed which now they were able in some measure to understand.
    - Jesus of Nazareth--The stunning effect of His first answer wearing off, they think only of the necessity of executing their orders.

    8. I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way--Wonderful self-possession, and consideration for others, in such circumstances!

    9. That the saying might be fulfilled which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none--The reference is to such sayings as Joh 6:39; 17:12; showing how conscious the Evangelist was, that in reporting his Lord's former sayings, he was giving them not in substance merely, but in form also. Observe, also, how the preservation of the disciples on this occasion is viewed as part that deeper preservation undoubtedly intended in the saying quoted.

    10, 11. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus--None of the other Evangelists mention the name either of the ardent disciple or of his victim. John being "known to the high priest" (Joh 18:15), the mention of the servant's name by him is quite natural, and an interesting mark of truth in a small matter. As to the right ear, specified both here and in Luke (Lu 22:50), the man was "likely foremost of those who advanced to seize Jesus, and presented himself in the attitude of a combatant; hence his right side would be exposed to attack. The blow of Peter was evidently aimed vertically at his head" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].

    11. Then said Jesus--"Suffer ye thus far" (Lu 22:51).
    - Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?--This expresses both the feelings which struggled in the Lord's breast during the Agony in the garden--aversion to the cup viewed in itself, but, in the light of the Father's will, perfect preparedness to drink it. (See on Lu 22:39-46). Matthew adds to the address to Peter the following:--"For all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword" (Mt 26:52) --that is, 'Those who take the sword must run all the risks of human warfare; but Mine is a warfare whose weapons, as they are not carnal, are attended with no such hazards, but carry certain victory.' "Thinkest thou that I cannot now"--even after things have proceeded so far--"pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me"--rather, "place at My disposal"--"more than twelve legions of angels"; with allusion, possibly, to the one angel who had, in His agony, "appeared to Him from heaven strengthening Him" (Lu 22:43); and in the precise number, alluding to the twelve who needed the help, Himself and His eleven disciples. (The full complement of a legion of Roman soldiers was six thousand). "But how then shall the scripture be fulfilled that thus it must be?" (Mt 26:53, 54). He could not suffer, according to the Scripture, if He allowed Himself to be delivered from the predicted death. "And He touched his ear and healed him" (Lu 22:51); for "the Son of man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Lu 9:56), and, even while they were destroying His, to save theirs.

    12. Then the band . . . took Jesus--but not till He had made them feel that "no man took His life from Him, but that He laid it down of Himself."

    13. And led him away--"In that hour," says Matthew (Mt 26:55, 56), and probably now, on the way to judgment, when the crowds were pressing upon Him, "said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves, for to take Me"--expressive of the indignity which He felt to be thus done to Him--"I sat daily with you in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me. But this" (adds Lu 22:53) "is your hour and the power of darkness." Matthew continues--"But all this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled" (Mt 26:56) --thus fulfilling His prediction (Mr 14:27; Joh 16:32).


    13, 14. And led him away to Annas first--(See on Lu 3:2, and Mt 26:57). (Also see on Mr 14:53.)

    14. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people--(Also see on Mr 14:53.)

    15-18. Simon Peter followed Jesus--Natural though this was, and safe enough, had he only "watched and prayed that he enter not into temptation," as his Master bade him (Mt 26:41), it was, in his case, a fatal step.
    - and . . . another disciple--Rather, "the other disciple"--our Evangelist himself, no doubt.
    - known unto the high priest--(See on Joh 18:10).
    - went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.

    16. But Peter stood at the door without--by preconcerted arrangement with his friend till he should get access for him.
    - Then went out that other . . . and spake to her that kept the door, and brought in Peter--The naturalness of these small details is not unworthy of notice. This other disciple first made good his own entrance on the score of acquaintance with the high priest; this secured, he goes forth again, now as a privileged person, to make interest for Peter's admission. But thus our poor disciple is in the coils of the serpent. The next steps will best be seen by inverting Joh 18:17 and Joh 18:18.

    17. Then saith the damsel that kept the door--"one of the maids of the high priest," says Mark (Mr 14:66). "When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him and said" (Mr 14:67). Luke is more graphic (Lu 22:56) --She "beheld him as he sat by the fire (literally, 'the light'), and earnestly looked on him (fixed her gaze upon him), and said." "His demeanor and timidity, which must have vividly showed themselves, as it so generally happens, leading to the recognition of him" [OLSHAUSEN].
    - Art thou not also one of this man's disciples?--that is, thou as well as "that other disciple," whom she knew to be one, but did not challenge, perceiving that he was a privileged person.
    - He saith, I am not--"He denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest" (Mt 26:70) --a common form of point blank denial; "I know [supply 'Him'] not, neither understand I what thou sayest" (Mr 14:68); "Woman, I know Him not" (Lu 22:57). This was THE FIRST DENIAL. "And he went out into the porch [thinking, perhaps, to steal away], and the cock crew," (Mr 14:68).

    18. And the servants and officers--the menials and some of the "band" that "took Jesus." (Also see on Mr 14:54.)
    - stood there, who had made--"having made."
    - a fire of coals, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves--"John alone notices the material (charcoal) of which the fire was made, and the reason for a fire--the coldness of the night" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. "Peter went in and sat with the servants to see the end (Mt 26:58), and warmed himself at the fire" (Mr 14:54). These two statements are extremely interesting. His wishing to "see the end," of issue of these proceedings, was what led him into the palace, for he evidently feared the worst. But once in, the serpent coil is drawn closer; it is a cold night, and why should not he take advantage of the fire as well as others? Besides, in the talk of the crowd about the all-engrossing topic, he may pick up something which he would like to hear. "And as Peter was beneath in the palace" (Mr 14:66). Matthew (GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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