1And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
1 CHAPTER XXVI.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXVI.
Verse 1. When Jesus had finished all these sayings] He began
these sayings on Mount Olivet, , and continued them till
be entered into Bethany, whither he was going.
2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
2 Verse 2. The passover] A feast instituted in Egypt, to
commemorate the destroying angel's passing over the houses of the
Israelites, when he slew the firstborn of the Egyptians. See the
whole of this business largely explained in the Notes on
. This feast began on the fourteenth day of the first
moon, in the first month, Nisan, and it lasted only one day; but
it was immediately followed by the days of unleavened bread, which
were seven, so that the whole lasted eight days, and all the eight
days are sometimes called the feast of the passover, and sometimes
the feast or days of unleavened bread. See .
The three most signal benefits vouchsafed to the Israelites were,
1. The deliverance from the slavery of Egypt; to commemorate
which they kept the feast of unleavened bread, and the passover.
2. The giving of the law; to commemorate which, they kept the
feast of weeks.
3. Their sojourning in the wilderness, and entrance into the
promised land; to commemorate which, they kept the feast of
See these largely explained, ; .
The Son of man is betrayed, (rather delivered up,) to be
crucified.] With what amazing calmness and precision does our
blessed Lord speak of this awful event! What a proof does he here
give of his prescience in so correctly predicting it; and of his
love in so cheerfully undergoing it! Having instructed his
disciples and the Jews by his discourses, edified them by his
example, convinced them by his miracles, he now prepares to redeem
them by his blood! These two verses have no proper connection
with this chapter, and should be joined to the preceding.
3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
3 Verse 3. Then assembled together the chief priests] That is,
during the two days that preceded the passover.
The high priest, who was called Caiaphas] Caiaphas succeeded
Simon, son of Camith, about A. D. 16, or, as Calmet thinks, 25.
He married the daughter of Annas, who was joined with him in the
priesthood. About two years after our Lord's crucifixion,
Caiaphas and Pilate were both deposed by VITELLIUS, then governor
of Syria, and afterwards emperor. Caiaphas, unable to bear this
disgrace, and the stings of his conscience for the murder of
Christ, killed himself about A. D. 35. See Joseph. Ant. b. xviii.
4And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
4 Verse 4. And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty]
The providence of God frustrated their artful machinations; and
that event which they wished to conduct with the greatest privacy
and silence was transacted with all possible celebrity, amidst the
thousands who resorted to Jerusalem, at this season, for the
keeping of the passover. It was, doubtless, of the very first
importance that the crucifixion of Christ, which was preparatory
to the most essential achievement of Christianity, viz. his
resurrection from the grave, should be exhibited before many
witnesses, and in the most open manner, that infidelity might not
attempt, in future, to invalidate the evidences of the Christian
religion, by alleging that these things were done in a corner.
See WAKEFIELD in loco.
5But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
5 Verse 5. Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar] It was
usual for the Jews to punish criminals at the public festivals;
but in this case they were afraid of an insurrection, as our Lord
had become very popular. The providence of God directed it thus,
for the reason given in the preceding note.
He who observes a festival on motives purely human violates it
in his heart, and is a hypocrite before God. It is likely they
feared the Galileans, as being the countrymen of our Lord, more
than they feared the people of Jerusalem.
6 ¶ Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
6 Verse 6. In Bethany] For a solution of the difficulties in
this verse, about the time of the anointing, see the observations
at the end of this chapter.
Simon the LEPER] This was probably no more than a surname, as
Simon the CANAANITE, ,
and Barsabas JUSTUS, , and several others. Yet it might
have been some person that Christ had healed of this disease.
7There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
7 Verse 7. There came unto him a woman] There is much contention
among commentators about the transaction mentioned here, and in
; some supposing them to be different, others to be
the same. Bishop Newcome's view of the subject I have placed at
the end of the chapter.
Some think that the woman mentioned here was Mary, the sister of
Lazarus; others Mary Magdalene; but against the former opinion it
is argued that it is not likely, had this been Mary the sister of
Lazarus, that Matthew and Mark would have suppressed her name.
Besides, say they, we should not confound the repast which is
mentioned here, with that mentioned by John, . This one
was made only two days before the passover, and that one six days
before: the one was made at the house of Simon the leper, the
other at the house of Lazarus, . At this, the woman
poured the oil on the head of Christ; at the other, Mary anointed
Christ's feet with it. ,
8But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
8 Verse 8. His disciples] One of them, viz. Judas. This mode of
speaking was common among the Hebrews. So, ,
the thieves also, i.e. one of them. So, ,
some doubted, i.e. one, Thomas.
See also ; ; , &c.
By a figure called among rhetoricians enallage, the plural is put
for the singular; it is, however, possible that Judas, who made
the objection, was followed in the sentiment by the rest of the
9For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
9 Verse 9. And given to the poor.] How often does charity serve
as a cloak for covetousness! God is sometimes robbed of his right
under the pretence of devoting what is withheld to some charitable
purpose, to which there was no intention ever to give it.
10When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
10 Verse 10. Why trouble ye the woman?] Or, Why do ye put the
woman to pain? See this sense of κοπουςπαρεχειν, established by
Kypke in loco. A generous mind is ever pained when it is denied
the opportunity of doing good, or when its proffered kindness is
11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
11 Verse 11. Ye have the poor always with you] And,
consequently, have the opportunity of doing them good at any time;
but me ye have not always; my bodily presence is about to be
removed from you for ever. The woman, under a presentiment of my
death is preparing me for my burial.
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
12 Verse 12. She did it for my burial.] Or, She hath done it to
embalm me-ενταφιασαιμε. The Septuagint use ενταφιαστης for the
person whose office it was to embalm, , and ενταφιαζω for
the Hebrew which signifies to prepare with spices, or
aromatics, . Our Lord took this opportunity to tell them,
once more, that he was shortly to die.
13Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
13 Verse 13. Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached] Another
remarkable proof of the prescience of Christ. Such a matter as
this, humanly speaking, depended on mere fortuitous circumstances,
yet so has God disposed matters, that the thing has continued,
hitherto, as firm and regular as the ordinances of heaven.
For a memorial of her.] As embalming preserves the body from
corruption, and she has done this good work to embalm and preserve
this body, so will I order every thing concerning this transaction
to be carefully recorded, to preserve her memory to the latest
ages. The actions which the world blames, through the spirit of
envy, covetousness, or malice, God takes delight to distinguish
14 ¶ Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
14 Verse 14. Then-Judas] After this supper at Bethany, Judas
returned to Jerusalem, and made his contract with the chief
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
15 Verse 15. Thirty pieces of silver.] τριακοντααργυρια, thirty
silverlings; but στατηρας, staters, is the reading of the Codex
Bezae, three copies of the Itala, Eusebius, and Origen sometimes;
and στατηραςαργυριου, silver staters, is the reading of the
famous Basil MS. No. 1, in Griesbach, and one copy of the Itala.
A stater was the same as the shekel, and worth about 3s. English
money, according to Dean Prideaux: a goodly price for the Saviour
of the world! Thirty staters, about 4l. 10s. the common price
for the meanest slave! See . The rabbins say, thirty
selain of pure silver was the standard price for a slave,
whether good or bad, male or female. See tract Erachin,
fol. 14, and Shekalim, cap. 1. Each selaa weighed 384
barley-corns; the same number was contained in a shekel; and
therefore the shekel and the selaa were the same.
16And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
16 Verse 16. He sought opportunity] ευκαιριαν, a convenient or
fit opportunity. Men seldom leave a crime imperfect: when once
sin is conceived, it meets, in general, with few obstacles, till
it brings forth death. How deceitful, how deeply damning, is the
love of money! Well might a heathen exclaim, while contemplating
the grave of a person who was murdered for the sake of his
"O! cursed lust of gold! what wilt thou not compel the human
heart to perpetrate?." Judas is deservedly considered as one of
the most infamous of men, his conduct base beyond description, and
his motives vile. But how many, since his time, have walked in
the same way! How many, for the sake of worldly wealth, have
renounced the religion of their Lord and Master, and sold Jesus,
and their interest in heaven, for a short-lived portion of secular
good! From , we learn that Judas, who was treasurer to
our Lord and his disciples, (for he carried the bag,) was a thief,
and frequently purloined a portion of what was given for the
support of this holy family. Being disappointed of the prey he
hoped to have from the sale of the precious ointment, , he
sold his Master to make up the sum. A thorough Jew!
17 ¶ Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
17 Verse 17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread]
As the feast of unleavened bread did not begin till the day after
the passover, the fifteenth day of the month, ;
this could not have been, properly, the first day of that
feast; but as the Jews began to eat unleavened bread on the
this day was often termed the first of unleavened bread. The
evangelists use it in this sense, and call even the paschal day by
this name. See ; .
Where wilt thou that we prepare] How astonishing is this, that
HE who created all things, whether visible or invisible, and by
whom all things were upheld, should so empty himself as not to be
proprietor of a single house in his whole creation, to eat the
last passover with his disciples! This is certainly a mystery,
and so, less or more is every thing that God does. But how
inveterate and destructive must the nature of sin be, when such
emptying and humiliation were necessary to its destruction! It is
worthy of note what the Talmudists say, that the inhabitants of
Jerusalem did not let out their houses to those who came to the
annual feasts; but afforded all accommodations of this kind
gratis. A man might therefore go and request the use of any room,
on such an occasion, which was as yet unoccupied. The earthen
jug, and the skin of the sacrifice, were left with the host. See
Lightfoot, vol. ii. p. 21.
18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
18 Verse 18. Go-to such a man] τονδεινα It is probable that
this means some person with whom Christ was well acquainted, and
who was known to the disciples. Grotius observes that the Greeks
use this form when they mean some particular person who is so well
known that there is no need to specify him by name. The
circumstances are more particularly marked in , &c.
My time is at hand] That is, the time of my crucifixion. Kypke
has largely shown that καιρος is often used among the Greeks for
affliction and calamity. It might be rendered here, the time of
my crucifixion is at hand.
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
19 Verse 19. And the disciples did] The disciples that were sent
on this errand were Peter and John. See .
They made ready the passover] That is, they provided the lamb,
&c., which were appointed by the law for this solemnity. Mr.
Wakefield justly observes, "that the Jews considered the passover
as a sacrificial rite; Josephus calls it θυσιαν, A SACRIFICE; and
Trypho, in Justin Martyr, speaks of προβατοντουπασχαθυειν,
SACRIFICING the paschal lamb. But what comes nearer to the point
is this, that Maimonides, one of the most eminent of the Jewish
rabbins, has a particular treatise on the paschal sacrifice; and
throughout that piece, speaks of the lamb as a victim, and of the
solemnity itself as a sacrifice. And R. Bechai, in his commentary
says that the paschal sacrifice was of a piacular nature, in order
to expiate the guilt contracted by the idolatrous practices of the
Israelites In Egypt." It was highly necessary that this should be
considered as an expiatory sacrifice, as it typified that Lamb of
God who takes away the sin of the world. For much more on this
important subject than can, with propriety, be introduced into
these notes, see a Discourse on the Eucharist, lately published by
the author of this work.
20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
20 Verse 20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the
twelve.] It is a common opinion that our Lord ate the passover
some hours before the Jews ate it; for the Jews, according to
custom, ate theirs at the end of the fourteenth day, but Christ
ate his the preceding even, which was the beginning of the same
sixth day, or Friday; the Jews begin their day at sunsetting, we
at midnight. Thus Christ ate the passover on the same day with
the Jews, but not on the same hour. Christ kept this passover the
beginning of the fourteenth day, the precise day and hour in which
the Jews had eaten their first passover in Egypt.
See . And in the same part of the same day in which
the Jews had sacrificed their first paschal lamb, viz. between
the two evenings, about the ninth hour, or 3 o'clock, Jesus Christ
our passover was sacrificed for us: for it was at this hour that
he yielded up his last breath; and then it was that, the sacrifice
being completed, Jesus said, IT IS FINISHED. See , &c.,
and , &c.
, and the Treatise on the
Eucharist, referred to ; and
and following verses.
21And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
21 Verse 21. One of you shall betray me.] Or, will deliver me up.
Judas had already betrayed him, , and he was now about to
deliver him into the hands of the chief priests, according to the
agreement he had made with them.
22And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
22 Verse 22. They were exceeding sorrowful] That is, the eleven
who were innocent; and the hypocritical traitor, Judas,
endeavoured to put on the appearance of sorrow. Strange! Did he
not know that Christ knew the secrets of his soul! Or had his
love of money so far blinded him, as to render him incapable of
discerning even this, with which he had been before so well
23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
23 Verse 23. He that dippeth his hand] As the Jews ate the
passover a whole family together, it was not convenient for them
all to dip their bread in the same dish; they therefore had
several little dishes or plates, in which was the juice of the
bitter herbs, mentioned , on different parts of the table;
and those who were nigh one of these, dipped their bread in it.
As Judas is represented as dipping in the same dish with Christ,
it shows that he was either near or opposite to him. If this
man's heart had not been hardened, and his conscience seared
beyond all precedent, by the deceitfulness of his sin, would he
have showed his face in this sacred assembly, or have thus put the
seal to his own perdition, by eating of this sacrificial lamb? Is
it possible that he could feel no compunction? Alas! having
delivered himself up into the hands of the devil, he was capable
of delivering up his Master into the hands of the chief priests;
and thus, when men are completely hardened by the deceitfulness of
sin, they can outwardly perform the most solemn acts of devotion,
without feeling any sort of inward concern about the matter.
24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
24 Verse 24. The Son of man goeth] That is, is about to die.
Going, going away, departing, &c., are frequently used in the best
Greek and Latin writers, for death, or dying. The same words are
often used in the Scriptures in the same sense.
It had been good for that man] Can this be said of any sinner,
in the common sense in which it is understood, if there be any
redemption from hell's torments? If a sinner should suffer
millions of millions of years in them, and get out at last to the
enjoyment of heaven, then it was well for him that he had been
born, for still he has an eternity of blessedness before him. Can
the doctrine of the non-eternity of hell's torments stand in the
presence of this saying? Or can the doctrine of the annihilation
of the wicked consist with this declaration? It would have been
well for that man if he had never been born! Then he must be in
some state of conscious existence, as non-existence is said to be
better than that state in which he is now found. It was common
for the Jews to say of any flagrant transgressor, It would have
been better for him had he never been born. See several examples
in Schoettgen. See the case of Judas argued at the end of Acts 1.
25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
25 Verse 25. Judas-said, Master, is it I?] What excessive
impudence! He knew, in his conscience, that he had already
betrayed his Master, and was waiting now for the servants of the
chief priests, that he might deliver him into their hands; and yet
he says, (hoping that he had transacted his business so privately
that it had not yet transpired,) Master, is it I? It is worthy of
remark, that each of the other disciples said κυριε, LORD, is it
I? But Judas dares not, or will not, use this august title, but
simply says ραββι, TEACHER, is it I?
Thou hast said.] συειπας, or atun amaritun,
"Ye have said," was a common form of expression for YES. IT IS
so. "When the Zipporenses inquired whether Rabbi Judas was dead?
the son of Kaphra answered, Ye have said," i.e. He is dead.
See Schoettgen. Hor. Hebr. p. 225.
26 ¶ And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
26 Verse 26. Jesus took bread] This is the first institution of
what is termed the LORD's SUPPER. To every part of this ceremony,
as here mentioned, the utmost attention should be paid.
To do this, in the most effectual manner, I think it necessary
to set down the text of the three evangelists who have transmitted
the whole account, collated with that part of St. Paul's First
Epistle to the Corinthians which speaks of the same subject, and
which, he assures us, he received by Divine revelation. It may
seem strange that, although () mentions all the
circumstances preceding the holy supper, and, from
the circumstances which succeeded the breaking of the bread, and
in chapters 15, 16, and 17, the discourse which followed the
administration of the cup; yet he takes no notice of the Divine
institution at all. This is generally accounted for on his
knowledge of what the other three evangelists had written; and on
his conviction that their relation was true, and needed no
additional confirmation, as the matter was amply established by
the conjoint testimony of three such respectable witnesses.
V. 26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it
(ευλογησας and blessed God) and brake it, and gave it to the
disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body.
V. 22. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread and blessed
(ευλογησας, blessed God) and brake it, and to them, and said,
Take, eat, this is my body.
V. 19. And he took bread and gave thanks, (ευχαριστησας, i.e.
to God,) and gave brake it, and gave unto them, saying:
This is my body which is given for you: This do in remembrance of
1 COR. XI.
V. 23. The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was
betrayed, took bread;
V. 24. And when he had given thanks (καιευχαριστησος, i.e. to
God) he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my body, which is
broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After giving the bread, the discourse related, ,
inclusive, is supposed by Bishop Newcome to have been delivered by
our Lord, for the comfort and support of his disciples under their
present and approaching trials.
V. 27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks (ευχαριστησας,) and
gave it to them, saying: Drink ye all of it.
V. 28. For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed
for many or the remission of sins.
V. 29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this
fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in
my Father's kingdom.
V. 23. And he took the cup; and when he had given thanks,
(ευχαριστησας,) he gave it to them; and they all drank of it.
V. 24. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the New
Testament, which is shed for many.
V. 25. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit
of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of
V. 20. Likewise also the cup, after supper, saying: This cup is
the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
1 COR XI.
V. 25. After the same manner also, he took the cup, when he had
supped, saying: This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do
ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
After this, our Lord resumes that discourse which is found in
the 15th, 16th, and 17th chapters of John, beginning with the last
verse of chap. 14, Arise, let us go hence. Then succeed the
following words, which conclude the whole ceremony.
V. 30. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the
Mount of Olives.
V. 26. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the
Mount of Olives.
V. 39. And he came out, and went as he was wont to the Mount of
Olives. And his disciples also followed him.
V. 1. When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his
disciples over the brook Kedron.
From the preceding harmonized view of this important
transaction, as described by three EVANGELISTS and one APOSTLE, we
see the first institution, nature, and design of what has been
since called THE LORD'S SUPPER. To every circumstance, as set
down here, and the mode of expression by which such circumstances
are described, we should pay the deepest attention.
Verse 26. As they were eating] Either an ordinary supper, or
the paschal lamb, as some think. See the observations at the end
of this chapter.
Jesus took bread] Of what kind? Unleavened bread, certainly,
because there was no other kind to be had in all Judea at this
time; for this was the first day of unleavened bread, (,)
i.e. the 14th of the month Nisan, when the Jews, according to the
command of God, (,) were to purge away
all leaven from their houses; for he who sacrificed the passover,
having leaven in his dwelling, was considered to be such a
transgressor of the Divine law as could no longer be tolerated
among the people of God; and therefore was to be cut off from the
congregation of Israel. Leo of Modena, who has written a very
sensible treatise on the customs of the Jews, observes, "That so
strictly do some of the Jews observe the precept concerning the
removal of all leaven from their houses, during the celebration of
the paschal solemnity, that they either provide vessels entirely
new for baking, or else have a set for the purpose, which are
dedicated solely to the service of the passover, and never brought
out on any other occasion."
To this divinely instituted custom of removing all leaven
previously to the paschal solemnity, St. Paul evidently alludes,
Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge
out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are
unleavened. For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with
the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the UNLEAVENED bread
of sincerity and truth.
Now, if any respect should be paid to the primitive institution,
in the celebration of this Divine ordinance, then, unleavened,
unyeasted bread should be used. In every sign, or type, the thing
signifying or pointing out that which is beyond itself should
either have certain properties, or be accompanied with certain
circumstances, as expressive as possible of the thing signified.
Bread, simply considered in itself, may be an emblem apt enough of
the body of our Lord Jesus, which was given for us; but the design
of God was evidently that it should not only point out this, but
also the disposition required in those who should celebrate both
the antetype and the type; and this the apostle explains to be
sincerity and truth, the reverse of malice and wickedness.
The very taste of the bread was instructive: it pointed out to
every communicant, that he who came to the table of God with
malice or ill-will against any soul of man, or with wickedness, a
profligate or sinful life, might expect to eat and drink judgment
to himself, as not discerning that the Lord's body was sacrificed
for this very purpose, that all sin might be destroyed; and that
sincerity, ειλικρινεια, such purity as the clearest light can
discern no stain in, might be diffused through the whole soul; and
that truth, the law of righteousness and true holiness, might
regulate and guide all the actions of life. Had the bread used on
these occasions been of the common kind, it would have been
perfectly unfit, or improper, to have communicated these uncommon
significations; and, as it was seldom used, its rare occurrence
would make the emblematical representation more deeply impressive;
and the sign, and the thing signified, have their due
correspondence and influence.
These circumstances considered, will it not appear that the use
of common bread in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is highly
improper? He who can say, "This is a matter of no importance,"
may say with equal propriety, the bread itself is of no
importance; and another may say, the wine is of no importance; and
a third may say, "neither the bread nor wine is any thing, but as
they lead to spiritual references; and, the spiritual reference
being once understood, the signs are useless." Thus we may,
through affected spirituality, refine away the whole ordinance of
God; and, with the letter and form of religion, abolish religion
itself. Many have already acted in this way, not only to their
loss, but to their ruin, by showing how profoundly wise they are
above what is written. Let those, therefore, who consider that
man shall live by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God,
and who are conscientiously solicitous that each Divine
institution be not only preserved, but observed in all its
original integrity, attend to this circumstance. The Lutheran
Church makes use of unleavened bread to the present day.
And blessed it] Both St. Matthew and St. Mark use the word
ευλογησας, blessed, instead of ευχαριστησας, gave thanks,
which is the word used by St. Luke and St. Paul. But instead of
ευλογησας, blessed, ευχαριστησας, gave thanks, is the reading
of ten MSS. in uncial characters, of the Dublin Codex rescriptus,
published by Dr. Barrett, and of more than one hundred others, of
the greatest respectability. This is the reading also of the
Syriac and Arabic, and is confirmed by several of the primitive
fathers. The terms, in this case, are nearly of the same import,
as both blessing and giving thanks were used on these occasions.
But what was it that our Lord blessed? Not the bread, though many
think the contrary, being deceived by the word IT, which is
improperly supplied in our version. In all the four places
referred to above, whether the word blessed or gave thanks is
used, it refers not to the bread, but to God, the dispenser of
every good. Our Lord here conforms himself to that constant
Jewish custom, viz. of acknowledging God as the author of every
good and perfect gift, by giving thanks on taking the bread and
taking the cup at their ordinary meals. For every Jew was
forbidden to eat, drink, or use any of God's creatures without
rendering him thanks; and he who acted contrary to this command
was considered as a person who was guilty of sacrilege. From this
custom we have derived the decent and laudable one of saying grace
(gratas thanks) before and after meat. The Jewish form of
blessing, probably that which our Lord used on this occasion, none
of my readers will be displeased to find here, though it has been
mentioned once before. On taking the bread they say:-
The Mohammedans copy their example, constantly saying before and
No blessing, therefore, of the elements is here intended; they
were already blessed, in being sent as a gift of mercy from the
bountiful Lord; but God the sender is blessed, because of the
liberal provision he has made for his worthless creatures.
Blessing and touching the bread are merely Popish ceremonies,
unauthorized either by Scripture or the practice of the pure
Church of God; necessary of course to those who pretend to
transmute, by a kind of spiritual incantation, the bread and wine
into the real body and blood of Jesus Christ; a measure the
grossest in folly, and most stupid in nonsense, to which God in
judgment ever abandoned the fallen spirit of man.
And brake it] We often read in the Scriptures of breaking
bread, but never of cutting it. The Jewish people had nothing
similar to our high-raised loaf: their bread was made broad and
thin, and was consequently very brittle, and, to divide it, there
was no need of a knife.
The breaking of the bread I consider essential to the proper
performance of this solemn and significant ceremony: because this
act was designed by our Lord to shadow forth the wounding,
piercing, and breaking of his body upon the cross; and, as all
this was essentially necessary to the making a full atonement for
the sin of the world, so it is of vast importance that this
apparently little circumstance, the breaking of the bread, should
be carefully attended to, that the godly communicant may have
every necessary assistance to enable him to discern the Lord's
body, while engaged in this most important and Divine of all God's
ordinances. But who does not see that one small cube of
fermented, i.e. leavened bread, previously divided from the mass
with a knife, and separated by the fingers of the minister, can
never answer the end of the institution, either as to the matter
of the bread, or the mode of dividing it? Man is naturally a
dull and heedless creature, especially in spiritual things, and
has need of the utmost assistance of his senses, in union with
those expressive rites and ceremonies which the Holy Scripture,
not tradition, has sanctioned, in order to enable him to arrive at
spiritual things, through the medium of earthly similitudes.
And gave it to the disciples] Not only the breaking, but also
the DISTRIBUTION, of the bread are necessary parts of this rite.
In the Romish Church, the bread is not broken nor delivered to the
people, that THEY may take and eat; but the consecrated wafer is
put upon their tongue by the priest; and it is generally
understood by the communicants, that they should not masticate,
but swallow it whole.
"That the breaking of this bread to be distributed," says Dr.
Whitby, "is a necessary part of this rite is evident, first, by
the continual mention of it by St. Paul and all the evangelists,
when they speak of the institution of this sacrament, which shows
it to be a necessary part of it. 2dly, Christ says, Take, eat,
this is my body, BROKEN for you, . But when the
elements are not broken, it can be no more said, This is my body
broken for you, than where the elements are not given. 3dly, Our
Lord said, Do this in remembrance of me: i.e. 'Eat this bread,
broken in remembrance of my body broken on the cross:' now, where
no body broken is distributed, there, nothing can be eaten in
memorial of his broken body. Lastly, The apostle, by saying, The
bread which we BREAK, is it not the communion of the body of
Christ? sufficiently informs us that the eating of his broken body
is necessary to that end, . Hence it was that this
rite, of distributing bread broken, continued for a thousand
years, and was, as Humbertus testifies, observed in the Roman
Church in the eleventh century." WHITBY in loco. At present, the
opposite is as boldly practised as if the real Scriptural rite had
never been observed in the Church of Christ.
This is my body.] Here it must be observed that Christ had
nothing in his hands, at this time, but part of that unleavened
bread which he and his disciples had been eating at supper, and
therefore he could mean no more than this, viz. that the bread
which he was now breaking represented his body, which, in the
course of a few hours, was to be crucified for them. Common
sense, unsophisticated with superstition and erroneous creeds,-and
reason, unawed by the secular sword of sovereign authority, could
not possibly take any other meaning than this plain, consistent,
and rational one, out of these words. "But," says a false and
absurd creed, "Jesus meant, when he said, HOC EST CORPUS MEUM,
This is my body, and HIC EST CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, This is the
chalice of my blood, that the bread and wine were substantially
changed into his body, including flesh, blood, bones, yea, the
whole Christ, in his immaculate humanity and adorable divinity!"
And, for denying this, what rivers of righteous blood have been
shed by state persecutions and by religious wars! Well it may be
asked, "Can any man of sense believe, that, when Christ took up
that bread and broke it, it was his own body which he held in his
own hands, and which himself broke to pieces, and which he and his
disciples ate?" He who can believe such a congeries of
absurdities, cannot be said to be a volunteer in faith; for it is
evident, the man can neither have faith nor reason, as to this
27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
27 Verse 27. And he took the cup] μετατοδειπνησαι, after having
supped, , and . Whether the supper was on the
paschal lamb, or whether it was a common or ordinary meal, I
shall not wait here to inquire: see at the end of this chapter.
In the parallel place, in Luke 22, we find our Lord taking the
cup, , and again ; by the former of which was
probably meant the cup of blessing, kos haberakah,
which the master of a family took, and, after blessing God, gave
to each of his guests by way of welcome: but this second taking
the cup is to be understood as belonging to the very important
rite which he was now instituting, and on which he lays a very
remarkable stress. With respect to the bread, he had before
simply said, Take, eat, this is my body; but concerning the cup
he says, Drink ye all of this: for as this pointed out the very
essence of the institution, viz. the blood of atonement, it was
necessary that each should have a particular application of it;
therefore he says, Drink ye ALL of THIS. By this we are taught
that the cup is essential to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper;
so that they who deny the cup to the people sin against God's
institution; and they who receive not the cup are not partakers of
the body and blood of Christ. If either could without mortal
prejudice be omitted, it might be the bread; but the cup, as
pointing out the blood poured out, i.e. the life, by which alone
the great sacrificial act is performed, and remission of sins
procured, is absolutely indispensable. On this ground it is
demonstrable, that there is not a priest under heaven, who denies
the cup to the people, that can be said to celebrate the Lord's
Supper at all; nor is there one of their votaries that ever
received the holy sacrament. All pretension to this is an
absolute farce, so long as the cup, the emblem of the atoning
blood, is denied. How strange is it, that the very men who plead
so much for the bare literal meaning of this is my body, in the
preceding verse, should deny all meaning to drink YE ALL of this
cup, in this verse! And though Christ has in the most positive
manner enjoined it, they will not permit one of the laity to taste
it! O, what a thing is man-a constant contradiction to reason and
I have just said that our blessed Lord lays remarkable stress on
the administration of the cup, and on that which himself assures
us is represented by it. As it is peculiarly emphatic, I beg
leave to set down the original text, which the critical reader
will do well minutely to examine: τουτογαρεστιτοαιμαμουτο
αμαρτιων. The following literal translation and paraphrase do not
exceed its meaning:-
For THIS is THAT blood of mine which was pointed out by all the
sacrifices under the Jewish law, and particularly by the shedding
and sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb. THAT blood of
the sacrifice slain for the ratification of the new covenant. THE
blood ready to be poured out for the multitudes, the whole Gentile
world as well as the Jews, for the taking away of sins; sin,
whether original or actual, in all its power and guilt, in all its
internal energy and pollution.
And gave thanks] See the form used on this occasion, on
and see the MISHNA, TRACT Beracoth.
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
28 Verse 28. For this is my blood of the New Testament] This is
the reading both here and in St. Mark; but St. Luke and St. Paul
say, This cup is the New Testament in my blood. This passage has
been strangely mistaken: by New Testament, many understand nothing
more than the book commonly known by this name, containing the
four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, apostolical Epistles, and book
of the Revelation; and they think that the cup of the New
Testament means no more than merely that cup which the book called
the New Testament enjoins in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
As this is the case, it is highly necessary that this term should
be explained. The original, ηκαινηδιαθηκη, which we translate,
The New Testament, and which is the general title of all the
contents of the book already described, simply means, the new
COVENANT. Covenant, from con, together, and venio, I come,
signifies an agreement, contract, or compact, between two parties,
by which both are mutually bound to do certain things, on certain
conditions and penalties. It answers to the Hebrew berith,
which often signifies, not only the covenant or agreement, but
also the sacrifice which was slain on the occasion, by the blood
of which the covenant was ratified; and the contracting parties
professed to subject themselves to such a death as that of the
victim, in case of violating their engagements. An oath of this
kind, on slaying the covenant sacrifice, was usual in ancient
times: so in Homer, when a covenant was made between the Greeks
and the Trojans, and the throats of lambs were cut, and their
blood poured out, the following form of adjuration was used by the
Our blessed Saviour is evidently called the διαθηκη,
berith, or covenant sacrifice, ; . And
to those Scriptures he appears to allude, as in them the Lord
promises to give him for a covenant (sacrifice) to the Gentiles,
and to send forth, by the blood of this covenant (victim) the
prisoners out of the pit. The passages in the sacred writings
which allude to this grand sacrificial and atoning act are almost
innumerable. See the Preface to Matthew.
In this place, our Lord terms his blood the blood of the NEW
covenant; by which he means that grand plan of agreement, or
reconciliation, which God was now establishing between himself and
mankind, by the passion and death of his Son, through whom alone
men could draw nigh to God; and this NEW covenant is mentioned in
contradistinction from the OLD covenant, ηπαλαιαδιαθηκη,
, by which appellative all the books of the Old Testament
were distinguished, because they pointed out the way of
reconciliation to God by the blood of the various victims slain
under the law; but now, as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world, was about to be offered up, a NEW and LIVING way
was thereby constituted, so that no one henceforth could come unto
the Father but by HIM. Hence all the books of the New Testament,
which bear unanimous testimony to the doctrine of salvation by
faith through the blood of Jesus, are termed, ηκαινηδιαθηκη, The
NEW covenant. See the Preface.
Dr. Lightfoot's Observations on this are worthy of serious
notice. "This is my blood of the New Testament. Not only the
seal of the covenant, but the sanction of the new covenant. The
end of the Mosaic economy, and the confirming of a new one. The
confirmation of the old covenant was by the blood of bulls and
goats, Ex 24, Heb 9, because blood was still to be shed: the
confirmation of the new was by a cup of wine, because under the
new covenant there is no farther shedding of blood. As it is here
said of the cup, This cup is the New Testament in my blood; so it
might be said of the cup of blood, Ex 24, That cup was the Old
Testament in the blood of Christ: there, all the articles of that
covenant being read over, Moses sprinkled all the people with
blood, and said, This is the blood of the covenant which God hath
made with you; and thus the old covenant or testimony was
confirmed. ln like manner, Christ, having published all the
articles of the new covenant, he takes the cup of wine, and gives
them to drink, and saith. This is the New Testament in my blood;
and thus the new covenant was established."-Works, vol. ii. p.
Which is shed (εκχυνομενον, poured out) for many] εκχεω
and εκχυω, to pour out, are often used in a sacrificial sense in
the Septuagint, and signify to pour out or sprinkle the blood of
the sacrifices before the altar of the Lord, by way of atonement.
and in various other places. Our Lord, by this very remarkable
mode of expression, teaches us that, as his body was to be broken
or crucified, υπερημων, in our stead, so here the blood was to be
poured out to make an atonement, as the words, remission of sins,
sufficiently prove for without shedding of blood there was no
remission, , nor any remission by shedding of blood, but
in a sacrificial way. See the passages above, and on .
The whole of this passage will receive additional light when
collated with .
By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify MANY, for he
shall bear their iniquities-because he hath POURED OUT his soul
unto death, and he bare the sin of MANY. The pouring out of the
soul unto death, in the prophet, answers to, this is the blood of
the new covenant which is poured out for you, in the evangelists;
and the , rabbim, multitudes, in Isaiah, corresponds to the
MANY, πολλων, of Matthew and Mark. The passage will soon appear
plain, when we consider that two distinct classes of persons are
mentioned by the prophet. 1. The Jews. .
Surely he hath borne OUR griefs, and carried OUR sorrows.
But he was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was bruised for OUR
iniquities, the chastisement of OUR peace was upon him.
All WE like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid upon
him the iniquity of US all. 2. The GENTILES. .
By his knowledge, bedaato, i.e. by his being made
known, published as Christ crucified among the Gentiles, he shall
justify rabbim, the multitudes, (the GENTILES,) for he
shall (also) bear THEIR offences, as well as OURS, the Jews,
, &c. It is well known that the Jewish dispensation,
termed by the apostle as above, ηπαλαιαδιαθηκη, the OLD
covenant, was partial and exclusive. None were particularly
interested in it save the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob:
whereas the Christian dispensation, ηκαινηδιαθηκη, the NEW
covenant, referred to by our Lord in this place, was universal;
for as Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for EVERY
and is that Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the WORLD,
who would have ALL MEN to be saved, and come to the knowledge of
the truth, ,
even that knowledge of Christ crucified, by which they are to be
justified, , therefore he has commanded his disciples to
go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to EVERY CREATURE,
The reprobate race, those who were no people, and not beloved,
were to be called in; for the Gospel was to be preached to all the
world, though it was to begin at Jerusalem, . For this
purpose was the blood of the new covenant sacrifice poured out for
the multitudes, that there might be but one fold, as there is but
one Shepherd; and that God might be ALL and in ALL.
For the remission of sins.] ειςαφεσιςαμαρτιων, for (or, in
reference to) the taking away of sins. For, although the blood is
shed, and the atonement made, no man's sins are taken away until,
as a true penitent, he returns to God, and, feeling his utter
incapacity to save himself, believes in Christ Jesus, who is the
justifier of the ungodly.
The phrase, αφεσιςτωναμαρτιων, remission of sins, (frequently
used by the Septuagint,) being thus explained by our Lord, is
often used by the evangelists and the apostles; and does not mean
merely the pardon of sins, as it is generally understood, but the
removal or taking away of sins; not only the guilt, but also the
very nature of sin, and the pollution of the soul through it; and
comprehends all that is generally understood by the terms
justification and sanctification. For the use and meaning of the
phrase αφεσιςαμαρτοων, see ; ;
; ; .
Both St. Luke and St. Paul add, that, after giving the bread,
our Lord said, Do this in remembrance of me. And after giving the
cup, St. Paul alone adds, This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in
remembrance of me. The account, as given by St. Paul, should be
carefully followed, being fuller, and received, according to his
own declaration, by especial revelation from God. See ,
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto
you, &c. See the harmonized view above.
29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
29 Verse 29. I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the
vine] These words seem to intimate no more than this: We shall
not have another opportunity of eating this bread and drinking
this wine together; as in a few hours my crucifixion shall take
Until that day when I drink it new with you] That is, I shall
no more drink of the produce of the vine with you; but shall drink
new wine-wine of a widely different nature from this-a wine which
the kingdom of God alone can afford. The term new in Scripture is
often taken in this sense. So the NEW heaven, the NEW earth, the
NEW covenant, the NEW man-mean a heaven, earth, covenant, man, of
a very different nature from the former. It was our Lord's
invariable custom to illustrate heavenly things by those of earth,
and to make that which had last been the subject of conversation
the means of doing it. Thus he uses wine here, of which they had
lately drunk, and on which he had held the preceding discourse, to
point out the supreme blessedness of the kingdom of God. But
however pleasing and useful wine may be to the body and how
helpful soever, as an ordinance of God. It may be to the soul in
the holy sacrament; yet the wine of the kingdom, the spiritual
enjoyments at the right hand of God, will be infinitely more
precious and useful. From what our Lord says here, we learn that
the sacrament of his supper is a type and a pledge, to genuine
Christians, of the felicity they shall enjoy with Christ in the
kingdom of glory.
30And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
30 Verse 30. And when they had sung a hymn] υμνησαντες means,
probably, no more than a kind of recitative reading or chanting.
As to the hymn itself, we know, from the universal consent of
Jewish antiquity, that it was composed of Psalms 113, 114, 115,
116, 117, and 118, termed by the Jews halel, from
halelu-yah, the first word in Psalm 113. These six Psalms were
always sung at every paschal solemnity. They sung this great
hillel on account of the five great benefits referred to in it;
See Schoettgen, Hor. Hebr. p. 231, and my Discource on the
nature and design of the Eucharist, 8vo. Lond. 1808.
31Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
31 Verse 31. All ye shall be offended] Or rather, Ye will all be
stumbled-παντεςυμειςσκανδαλισθησεσθε-ye will all forsake me, and
lose in a great measure your confidence in me.
This night] The time of trial is just at hand.
I will smite the shepherd] It will happen to you as to a flock
of sheep, whose shepherd has been slain-the leader and guardian
being removed, the whole flock shall be scattered, and be on the
point of becoming a prey to ravenous beasts.
32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
32 Verse 32. But after I am risen again] Don't lose your
confidence; for though I shall appear for a time to be wholly left
to wicked men, and be brought under the power of death, yet I will
rise again, and triumph over all your enemies and mine.
I will go before you] Still alluding to the case of the
shepherd and his sheep. Though the shepherd has been smitten and
the sheep scattered, the shepherd shall revive again, collect the
scattered flock, and go before them, and lead them to peace,
security, and happiness.
33Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
33 Verse 33. Peter-said unto him, Though all men shall be
offended-yet will I never] The presumptuous person imagines he
can do every thing, and can do nothing: thinks he can excel all,
and excels in nothing: promises every thing, and performs nothing.
The humble man acts a quite contrary part. There is nothing we
know so little of as ourselves-nothing we see less of than our own
weakness and poverty. The strength of pride is only for a moment.
Peter, though vainly confident, was certainly sincere-he had never
been put to a sore trial, and did not know his own strength. Had
this resolution of his been formed in the strength of God, he
would have been enabled to maintain it against earth and hell.
This most awful denial of Christ, and his abandoning him in the
time of trial, was sufficient to have disqualified him for ever
from being, in any sense, head of the Church, had such a supremacy
been ever designed him. Such a supremacy was never given him by
Christ; but the fable of it is in the Church of Rome, and the mock
Peter, not Peter the apostle, is there and there only to be found.
34Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
34 Verse 34. Jesus said] Our Lord's answer to Peter is very
emphatic and impressive. Verily-I speak a solemn weighty truth,
thou wilt not only be stumbled, fall off, and forsake thy Master,
but thou wilt even deny that thou hast, or ever had, any
knowledge of or connection with me; and this thou wilt do, not by
little and little, through a long process of time, till the
apostasy, daily gathering strength, shall be complete; but thou
wilt do it this very night, and that not once only, but thrice;
and this thou wilt do also in the earlier part of the night,
before even a cock shall crow. Was not this warning enough to
him not to trust in his own strength, but to depend on God?
35Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
35 Verse 35. Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny
thee.] He does not take the warning which his Lord gave him-he
trusts in the warm, sincere attachment to Christ which he now
feels, not considering that this must speedily fail, unless
supported by the power of God.
36 ¶ Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
36 Verse 36. A place called Gethsemane] A garden at the foot of
the mount of Olives. The name seems to be formed from gath, a
press, and shemen, oil; probably the place where the produce
of the mount of Olives was prepared for use. The garden of the
oilpress, or olive-press.
Sit ye here] Or, stay in this place, while I go and pray
yonder: and employ ye the time as I shall employ it-in watching
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
37 Verse 37. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of
Zebedee] That is, James and John; the same persons who had beheld
his transfiguration on the mount-that they might contemplate this
agony in the light of that glory which they had there seen; and so
be kept from being stumbled by a view of his present humiliation.
Began to be sorrowful] λυπεισθαι, from λυω, to
dissolve-exquisite sorrow, such as dissolves the natural vigour,
and threatens to separate soul and body.
And very heavy.] Overwhelmed with anguish-αδημονειν. This
word is used by the Greeks to denote the most extreme anguish
which the soul can feel-excruciating anxiety and torture of spirit.
38Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
38 Verse 38. Then saith he] Then saith-Jesus:-I have added the
word Jesus, οιησους, on the authority of a multitude of eminent
MSS. See them in Griesbach.
My soul is exceeding sorrowful, (or, is surrounded with
exceeding sorrow,) even unto death.] This latter word explains
the two former: My soul is so dissolved in sorrow, my spirit is
filled with such agony and anguish, that, if speedy succour be not
given to my body, death must be the speedy consequence.
Now, the grand expiatory sacrifice begins to be offered: in this
garden Jesus enters fully into the sacerdotal office; and now, on
the altar of his immaculate divinity, begins to offer his own
body-his own life-a lamb without spot, for the sin of the world.
St. Luke observes, , that there appeared unto him an
angel from heaven strengthening him; and that, being in an agony,
his sweat was like great drops of blood falling to the ground.
How exquisite must this anguish have been, when it forced the very
blood through the coats of the veins, and enlarged the pores in
such a preternatural manner as to cause them to empty it out in
large successive drops! In my opinion, the principal part of the
redemption price was paid in this unprecedented and indescribable
Bloody sweats are mentioned by many authors; but none was ever
such as this-where a person in perfect health, (having never had
any predisposing sickness to induce a debility of the system,) and
in the full vigour of life, about thirty-three years of age,
suddenly, through mental pressure, without any fear of death,
sweat great drops of blood; and these continued, during his
wrestling with God to fall to the ground.
To say that all this was occasioned by the fear he had of the
ignominious death which he was about to die confutes itself-for
this would not only rob him of his divinity, for which purpose it
is brought, but it deprives him of all excellency, and even of
manhood itself. The prospect of death could not cause him to
suffer thus, when he knew that in less than three days he was to
be restored to life, and be brought into an eternity of
blessedness. His agony and distress can receive no consistent
explication but on this ground-He SUFFERED, the JUST for the
UNJUST, that he might BRING us to GOD. O glorious truth! O
infinitely meritorious suffering! And O! above all, the eternal
love, that caused him to undergo such sufferings for the sake of
39And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
39 Verse 39. Fell on his face] .
This was the ordinary posture of the supplicant when the favour was
great which was asked, and deep humiliation required. The head
was put between the knees, and the forehead brought to touch the
earth-this was not only a humiliating, but a very painful posture
This cup] The word cup is frequently used in the Sacred
Writings to point out sorrow, anguish, terror, death. It seems to
be an allusion to a very ancient method of punishing criminals. A
cup of poison was put into their hands, and they were obliged to
drink it. Socrates was killed thus, being obliged by the
magistrates of Athens to drink a cup of the juice of hemlock. To
death, by the poisoned cup, there seems an allusion in ,
Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, TASTED death for every man.
The whole world are here represented as standing guilty and
condemned before the tribunal of God; into every man's hand the
deadly cup is put, and he is required to drink off the
poison-Jesus enters, takes every man's cup out of his hand, and
drinks off the poison, and thus tastes or suffers the death which
every man otherwise must have undergone.
Pass from me] Perhaps there is an allusion here to several
criminals standing in a row, who are all to drink of the same cup;
but, the judge extending favour to a certain one, the cup passes
by him to the next.
Instead of προελθωνμικρον, going a little forward, many eminent
MSS. have προσελθων, coming a little forward-but the variation is
of little moment. At the close of this verse several MSS. add the
clause in ,
There appeared an angel, &c.
40And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
40 Verse 40. He-saith unto Peter] He addressed himself more
particularly to this apostle, because of the profession he had
made, ; as if he had said: "Is this the way you testify
your affectionate attachment to me? Ye all said you were ready to
die with me; what, then, cannot you watch ONE hour?"
Instead of ουκισχυσατε, could YE not, the Codex
Alexandrinus, the later Syriac in the margin, three of the Itala,
and Juvencus, read ουκισχυσας, couldst THOU not-referring
the reproach immediately to Peter, who had made the promises
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
41 Verse 41. That ye enter not into temptation] If ye cannot
endure a little fatigue when there is no suffering, how will ye do
when the temptation, the great trial of your fidelity and courage,
cometh? Watch-that ye be not taken unawares; and pray-that when
it comes ye may be enabled to bear it.
The spirit-is willing, but the flesh is weak] Your
inclinations are good-ye are truly sincere; but your good
purposes will be overpowered by your timidity. Ye wish to
continue steadfast in your adherence to your Master; but your
fears will lead you to desert him.
42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
42 Verse 42. O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me]
If it be not possible-to redeem fallen man, unless I drink this
cup, unless I suffer death for them; thy will be done-I am content
to suffer whatever may be requisite to accomplish the great
design. In this address the humanity of Christ most evidently
appears; for it was his humanity alone that could suffer; and if
it did not appear that he had felt these sufferings, it would have
been a presumption that he had not suffered, and consequently made
no atonement. And had he not appeared to have been perfectly
resigned in these sufferings, his sacrifice could not have been a
free-will but a constrained offering, and therefore of no use to
the salvation of mankind.
43And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
43 Verse 43. Their eyes were heavy.] That is, they could not keep
them open. Was there nothing preternatural in this? Was there no
influence here from the powers of darkness?
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
44 Verse 44. Prayed the third time] So St. Paul-I besought the
Lord THRICE that it might depart from me, .
This thrice repeating the same petition argues deep earnestness of
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
45 Verse 45. Sleep on now, and take your rest] Perhaps it might
be better to read these words interrogatively, and paraphrase them
thus: Do ye sleep on still? Will no warnings avail? Will no
danger excite you to watchfulness and prayer? My hour-in which I
am to be delivered up, is at hand; therefore now think of your own
The Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.]
αμαρτωλων, viz. the Gentiles or heathens, who were generally
distinguished by this appellation from the Jews. Here it probably
means the Roman cohort that was stationed on festivals for the
defence of the temple. By the Romans he was adjudged to death;
for the Jews acknowledged that they had no power in capital cases.
See the note on .
46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
46 Verse 46. Rise, let us be going] That is, to meet them, giving
thereby the fullest proof that I know all their designs, and might
have, by flight or otherwise, provided for my own safety; but I go
willingly to meet that death which their malice designs me, and,
through it, provide for the life of the world.
47 ¶ And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
47 Verse 47. Judas, one of the twelve] More deeply to mark his
base ingratitude and desperate wickedness-HE was ONE of the
TWELVE-and he is a TRAITOR, and one of the vilest too that ever
disgraced human nature.
A great multitude with swords and staves] They did not come as
officers of justice, but as a desperate mob. Justice had nothing
to do in this business. He who a little before had been one of
the leaders of the flock of Christ is now become the leader of
ruffians and murderers! What a terrible fall!
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
48 Verse 48. Gave them a sign] How coolly deliberate is this dire
apostate! The man whom I shall kiss-how deeply hypocritical!
That is he, hold him fast, seize him-how diabolically malicious!
Hail, Master] A usual compliment among the Jews. Judas
pretends to wish our Lord continued health while he is meditating
his destruction! How many compliments of this kind are there in
the world! Judas had a pattern in Joab, who, while he pretends to
inquire tenderly for the health of Amasa, thrust him through with
his sword; but the disciple here vastly outdoes his master, and
through a motive, if possible, still more base. Let all those who
use unmeaning or insidious compliments rank for ever with Joab
And kissed him.] And tenderly kissed him-this is the proper
meaning of the original word κατεφιλησεν, he kissed him again and
again-still pretending the most affectionate attachment to him,
though our Lord had before unmasked him.
49And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
50 Verse 50. Jesus said-Friend] Rather, companion, εταιρε,
(not FRIEND,) wherefore, rather, against whom (εφδ, the
reading of all the best MSS.) art thou come? How must these words
have cut his very soul, if he had any sensibility left! Surely, thou,
who hast so long been my companion, art not come against me, thy
Lord, Teacher and Friend! What is the human heart not capable of,
when abandoned by God, and influenced by Satan and the love of
Laid hands on Jesus] But not before they had felt that proof of
his sovereign power by which they had all been struck down to the
earth, . It is strange that, after this, they should
dare to approach him; but the Scriptures must be fulfilled.
51And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
51 Verse 51. One of them which were with Jesus] This was
Peter-struck a servant of the high priest's, the servant's name
was Malchus, ,
and smote off his ear. In ,
it is said, Jesus touched and healed it. Here was another
miracle, and striking proof of the Divinity of Christ. Peter did
not cut the ear, merely, he cut it OFF, αφειλεν. Now to heal it,
Jesus must either take up the ear and put it on again, or else
create a new one-either of these was a miracle, which nothing less
than unlimited power could produce.
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
52 Verse 52. Put up again thy sword into his place] Neither
Christ nor his religion is to be defended by the secular arm. God
is sufficiently able to support his ark: Uzzah need not stretch
out his hand on the occasion. Even the shadow of public justice
is not to be resisted by a private person, when coming from those
in public authority. The cause of a Christian is the cause of
God: sufferings belong to one, and vengeance to the other. Let
the cause, therefore, rest in his hands, who will do it ample
Shall perish with the sword] Instead of απολουνται, shall
perish, many excellent MSS., versions, and fathers, have
αποθανουνται, shall die. The general meaning of this verse is,
they who contend in battle are likely, on both sides, to become
the sacrifices of their mutual animosities. But it is probably a
prophetic declaration of the Jewish and Roman states. The Jews
put our Lord to death under the sanction of the Romans-both took
the sword against Christ, and both perished by it. The Jews by
the sword of the Romans, and the Romans by that of the Goths,
Vandals, &c. The event has verified the prediction-the Jewish
government has been destroyed upwards of 1700 years, and the Roman
upwards of 1000. Confer with this passage, .
But how came Peter to have a sword? Judea was at this time so
infested with robbers and cut-throats that it was not deemed safe
for any person to go unarmed. He probably carried one for his
mere personal safety.
53 Thinkest thou that I can not now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
53 Verse 53. More than twelve legions of angels?] As if he had
said, Instead of you twelve, one of whom is a traitor, my Father
can give me more than twelve legions of angels to defend me. A
legion, at different times, contained different numbers; 4,200,
5,000, and frequently 6,000 men; and from this saying, taking the
latter number, which is the common rate, may we not-safely believe
that the angels of God amount to more than 72,000?
54But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
54 Verse 54. But how then] Had I such a defence-shall the
Scriptures be fulfilled, which say, that thus it must be? That
is, that I am to suffer and die for the sin of the world.
Probably the Scriptures to which our Lord principally refers are
Psa 22, 69, and especially Isa 53, and . Christ shows
that they had no power against him but what he permitted; and that
he willingly gave up himself into their hands.
55In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
55 Verse 55. Are ye come out as against a thief] At this time
Judea was much infested by robbers, so that armed men were obliged
to be employed against them-to this our Lord seems to allude.
I sat daily with you] Why come in this hostile manner? Every
day, for four days past, ye might have met with me in the temple,
whither I went to teach you the way of salvation.
56But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
56 Verse 56. But all this was done] This is probably the
observation of the evangelist. .
Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.] O what is man!
How little is even his utmost sincerity to be depended on! Jesus
is abandoned by all!-even zealous Peter and loving John are among
the fugitives! Was ever master so served by his scholars? Was
ever parent so treated by his children? Is there not as much zeal
and love among them all as might make one martyr for God and
truth? Alas! no. He had but twelve who professed inviolable
attachment to him; one of these betrayed him, another denied him
with oaths, and the rest run away and utterly abandon him to his
implacable enemies! Are there not found among his disciples
still, 1st. Persons who betray him and his cause? 2dly. Persons
who deny him and his people? 3dly. Persons who abandon him, his
people, his cause, and his truth? Reader! dost thou belong to any
of these classes?
57 ¶ And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
57 Verse 57. They-led him away to Caiaphas] John says,
that they led him first to Annas; but this appears to have been
done merely to do him honour as the father-in-law of Caiaphas, and
his colleague in the high priesthood. But as the Sanhedrin was
assembled at the house of Caiaphas, it was there he must be
brought to undergo his mock trial: but .
58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
58 Verse 58. Peter followed him afar off] Poor Peter! this is the
beginning of his dreadful fall. His fear kept him from joining
the company, and publicly acknowledging his Lord; and his
affection obliged him to follow at a distance that he might see
And sat with the servants, to see the end.] When a man is weak
in faith, and can as yet only follow Christ at a distance, he
should avoid all dangerous places, and the company of those who
are most likely to prove a snare to him. Had not Peter got to the
high priest's palace, and sat down with the servants, he would
not thus have denied his Lord and Master.
Servants-officers, υπηρετων. Such as we term serjeants,
59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
59 Verse 59. All the council sought false witness] What a
prostitution of justice!-they first resolve to ruin him, and then
seek the proper means of effecting it: they declare him criminal,
and after that do all they can to fix some crime upon him, that
they may appear to have some shadow of justice on their side when
they put him to death. It seems to have been a common custom of
this vile court to employ false witness, on any occasion, to
answer their own ends. See this exemplified in the case of
60But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
60 Verse 60. Though many false witnesses came] There is an
unaccountable confusion in the MSS. in this verse: without stating
the variations, which may be seen in Griesbach, I shall give that
which I believe to be the genuine sense of the evangelist. Then
the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false
witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but they found it not,
though many false witnesses came up. At last two false witnesses
came up, saying; This man said, &c. It is the property of falsity
to be ever inconsistent, and to contradict itself; therefore they
could not find two consistent testimonies, without which the
Jewish law did not permit any person to be put to death. However,
the hand of God was in this business: for the credit of Jesus, and
the honour of the Christian religion, he would not permit him to
be condemned on a false accusation; and, therefore, at last they
were obliged to change their ground, and, to the eternal confusion
of the unrighteous council, he is condemned on the very evidence
of his own innocence, purity, and truth!
61And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
61 Verse 61. I am able to destroy the temple of God] 1st. These
words were not fairly quoted. Jesus had said, ,
Destroy this temple, and I will build it again in three days.
2dly. The inuendo which they produce, applying these words to a
pretended design to destroy the temple at Jerusalem, was utterly
unfair; for these words he spoke of the temple of his body. It is
very easy, by means of a few small alterations, to render the most
holy things and innocent persons odious to the world, and even to
take away the life of the innocent.
62And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
62 Verse 62. Answerest thou nothing?] The accusation was so
completely frivolous that it merited no notice: besides, Jesus
knew that they were determined to put him to death, and that his
hour was come; and that therefore remonstrance or defence would be
of no use: he had often before borne sufficient testimony to the
63耶稣却不作声。大祭司又对他说：“我指着永生的 神要你起誓，告诉我们你是不是基督、 神的儿子。”
63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
63 Verse 63. I adjure thee by the living God] I put thee to thy
oath. To this solemn adjuration Christ immediately replies,
because he is now called on, in the name of God, to bear another
testimony to the truth. The authority of God in the most
worthless magistrate should be properly respected. However
necessary our Lord saw it to be silent, when the accusations were
frivolous, and the evidence contradictory, he felt no disposition
to continue this silence, when questioned concerning a truth, for
which he came into the world to shed his blood.
64Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
64 Verse 64. Thou hast said] That is, I am the Christ, the
promised Messiah, (;) and you and this whole
nation shall shortly have the fullest proof of it: for hereafter,
in a few years, ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right
hand of power, fully invested with absolute dominion, and coming
in the clouds of heaven, to execute judgment upon this wicked
race. See . Our Lord appears to refer to :
One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, &c. This
may also refer to the final judgment.
65Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
65 Verse 65. The high priest rent his clothes] This rending of
the high priest's garments was expressly contrary to the law,
. But it was a common method of expressing
violent grief, ; ,
and horror at what was deemed blasphemous or impious.
All that heard a blasphemous speech were obliged to rend their
clothes, and never to sew them up again. See Lightfoot.
He hath spoken blasphemy] Quesnel's note on this is worthy of
notice. "See here a false zeal, a mask of religion, and a
passionate and seditious way of proceeding, tending only to
incense and stir up others, all which are common to those who
would oppress truth by cabal, and without proof. By crying out,
'heresy, blasphemy, and faction,' though contrary to all
appearance, men fail not to stir up those in power, to gain the
simple, to give some shadow of authority to the ill-disposed, to
cast devout but ignorant people into scruples, and thereby to
advance the mystery of iniquity, which is the mystery of all
ages." This was the very plan his Catholic brethren adopted in
this country, in the reign of Queen Mary, called the bloody queen,
because of the many murders of righteous men which she sanctioned
at the mouth of her Catholic priesthood.
66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
66 Verse 66. He is guilty of death.] ενοχοςθανατουεστι, he is
liable to death. All the forms of justice are here violated. The
judge becomes a party and accuser, and proceeds to the verdict
without examining whether all the prophecies concerning the
Messiah, and the innumerable miracles which he wrought, did not
justify him. Examination and proof are the ruin of all calumnies,
and of the authors of them, and therefore they take care to keep
off from these two things. See Quesnel.
67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
67 Verse 67. Then did they spit in his face] This was done as a
mark of the most profound contempt.
See ; ; .
The judges now delivered him into the hands of the mob.
And buffeted him] Smote him with their fists, εκολαφισαν. This
is the translation of Theophylact. κολαφιζειν, says he, means,
"to beat with the hand, the fingers being clenched. συγκαμτομενων
τωνδακτυλων, or, to speak more briefly, to buffet with the fist."
Smote him with the palms of their hands] ερραπισανραπιζω,
says Suidas, means "παταξαιτηνγναθοναπλητηχειρι, to smite the
cheek with the open hand." Thus they offered him indignity in all
its various and vexatious forms. Insults of this kind are never
forgiven by the world: Jesus not only takes no revenge, (though it
be completely in his power,) but bears all with meekness, without
even one word of reply.
68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
68 Verse 68. Prophesy unto us, thou Christ] Their conduct toward
him now was expressly prophesied of, by a man whose Divine mission
they did not pretend to deny; see . It appears that,
before they buffeted him, they bound up his eyes, See .
69 ¶ Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
69 Verse 69. A damsel came unto him] A maid servant, παιδισκη.
See this translation vindicated by Kypke.
Thou also wast with Jesus] What a noble opportunity had Peter
now to show his zeal for the insulted cause of truth, and his
attachment to his Master. But, alas! he is shorn of his strength.
Constables and maid servants are no company for an apostle, except
when he is delivering to them the message of salvation. Evil
communications corrupt good manners. Had Peter been in better
company, he would not have had so foul a fall.
70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
70 Verse 70. But he denied before them all] So the evil principle
gains ground. Before, he followed at a distance, now he denies;
this is the second gradation in his fall.
71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
71 Verse 71. Unto them that were there] Instead of λεγειτοις
εκει. και, more than one hundred MSS., many of which are of the
first authority and antiquity, have λεγειαυτοις. εκεικαι, she
saith unto them, this man was THERE also. I rather think this is
the genuine reading. τοις might have been easily mistaken for
αυτοις, if the first syllable αυ were but a little faded in a
MS. from which others were copied: and then the placing of the
point after εκει. instead of after αυτοις. would naturally follow,
as placed after τοις, it would make no sense. Griesbach approves
of this reading.
72And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
72 Verse 72. And again he denied with an oath] This is a third
gradation of his iniquity. He has told a lie, and he swears to
support it. A liar has always some suspicion that his testimony
is not credited, for he is conscious to his own falsity, and is
therefore naturally led to support his assertions by oaths.
73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
73 Verse 73. Thy speech] Thy manner of speech, ηλαλιασου,
that dialect of thine-his accent being different from that of
Jerusalem. From various examples given by Lightfoot and
Schoettgen, we find that the Galileans had a very corrupt
pronunciation, frequently interchanging and , and so
blending or dividing words as to render them unintelligible, or
cause them to convey a contrary sense.
Bewrayeth thee.] δηλουσεποιει, maketh thee manifest, from
the Anglo-saxon [Anglo-Saxon], to accuse, betray; a word long
since lost from our language.
74Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
74 Verse 74. Then began he to curse and to swear] Rather, Then he
began positively to affirm-καταθεματιζειν, from κατα intensive,
and τιθημι, I lay down, place, affirm. But the common reading is
καταναθεματιζειν, which signifies to wish curses on himself.
The former reading is supported by almost every MS. of value, and
is, beyond dispute, the true reading, and has been received by
Griesbach into the text. The business is bad enough, but the
common reading makes it worse. In , Peter is said to
deny with an oath; here, he positively affirms and swears,
probably by the name of God, for this is the import of the word
ομνυειν. This makes the fourth and final gradation in the
climax of Peter's fall. From these awful beginnings it is not
unfair to conclude that Peter might have gone almost as far as
Judas himself, had not the traitorous business been effected
before. Yet all this evil sprung simply from the fear of man.
How many denials of Christ and his truth have sprung since, from
the same cause!
The cock crew] This animal becomes, in the hand of God, the
instrument of awaking the fallen apostle, at last, to a sense of
his fall, danger, and duty. When abandoned of God, the smallest
thing may become the occasion of a fall; and, when in the hand of
God, the smallest matter may become the instrument of our
restoration. Let us never think lightly of what are termed little
sins: the smallest one has the seed of eternal ruin in it. Let us
never think contemptibly of the feeblest means of grace: each may
have the seed of eternal salvation in it. Let us ever remember
that the great Apostle Peter fell through fear of a servant maid,
and rose through the crowing of a cock.
75And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
75 Verse 75. Peter remembered the word of Jesus] St. Luke says,
The Lord turned and looked upon Peter. So it appears he was nigh
to our Lord, either at the time when the cock crew, or shortly
after. The delicacy of this reproof was great-he must be reproved
and alarmed, otherwise he will proceed yet farther in his
iniquity; Christ is in bonds, and cannot go and speak to him; if
he call aloud, the disciple is discovered, and falls a victim to
Jewish malice and Roman jealousy; he therefore does the whole by a
look. In the hand of Omnipotence every thing is easy, and he can
save by a few, as well as by many.
He went out] He left the place where he had sinned, and the
company which had been the occasion of his transgression.
And wept bitterly.] Felt bitter anguish of soul, which
evidenced itself by the tears of contrition which flowed
plentifully from his eyes. Let him that standeth take heed lest
he fall! Where the mighty have been slain, what shall support the
feeble? Only the grace of the ALMIGHTY God.
This transaction is recorded by the inspired penmen, 1st. That
all may watch unto prayer, and shun the occasions of sin. 2dly.
That if a man be unhappily overtaken in a fault, he may not
despair, but cast himself immediately with a contrite heart on the
infinite tenderness and compassion of God.
See the notes on .
I have touched on the subject of our Lord's anointing but
slightly in the preceding notes, because the controversy upon this
point is not yet settled; and, except to harmonists, it is a
matter of comparatively little importance. Bishop Newcome has
written largely on this fact, and I insert an extract from his