The Fourfold Gospel
14:1 Now after two days was [the feast of] the passover and the unleavened bread1: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him with subtlety, and kill him2:
JESUS PREDICTS, THE RULERS PLOT FOR, AND JUDAS BARGAINS FOR HIS
(Mount of Olives, Bethany, and Jerusalem. Tuesday after sunset,
which Jews regarded as the beginning of Wednesday.)
Matthew 26:1-5,14-16; Mark 14:1,2,10,11; Luke 22:1-6
- Now after two days was [the feast of] the passover and the unleavened bread. We may regard Jesus as having entered the temple
Tuesday morning, and as having taught there until the evening.* He then
retired to the slopes of Olivet and delivered the discourse which
occupies Sections 113-115. The discourse finished, it is likely that he
arose about or a little after sunset (which the Jews reckoned as
Wednesday) and proceeded on his way to Bethany, where he remained until
late Thursday afternoon. On his way to Bethany he spoke the words of
this section. The two days mentioned are Wednesday and Thursday. The
Passover was eaten Thursday night after sunset, which the Jews reckoned
as Friday. For a full discussion of the time when the Passover was
eaten, see Andrews' "Life of Christ", pp. 423-460. On the feast,
- And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him with subtlety, and kill him. See Mark 14:2.
*NOTE.--If this had been Tuesday, he would have said "after three
days", as is the case of the resurrection. In all such expressions the
remaining part of the present day was counted as one.--J. W. McGarvey
14:2 for they said, Not during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult of the people1.
- Not during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult of the people. They knew that there were many at the feast from Galilee, and
other sections of the country where Jesus ministered; and, judging by
the demonstration made at the triumphal entry, they felt that there
were plenty to take arms in Jesus' behalf. The sense of the council,
therefore, seemed to be that if Jesus could be taken by subtlety--that
is, arrested privately--he might be taken during the feast. But if he
had to be arrested publicly, then it was better to postpone his
apprehension until after the feast. The treachery of Judas caused them
to adopt the former course.
14:3 And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper2, as he sat at meat, there came a woman3 having an alabaster cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly4; [and] she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head5.
JESUS ARRIVES AND IS FEASTED AT BETHANY.
(From Friday afternoon till Saturday Night, March 31 and April 1,
Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 11:55-12:11
- And being in Bethany. At this place Matthew and Mark insert the account of the supper given to Jesus in the house of Simon the leper
(Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9). They do this because the treacherous
determination of Judas was formed at it and dates from it. The rebuke
of the Lord then administered, or the desire to reimburse himself for
the price of the ointment, which Mary expended, and which he felt that
he ought to have had, or some other reasons, evidently induced him at
that time to decide upon our Lord's betrayal. Since then he had been
seeking opportunity to betray the Master.
- In the house of Simon the leper. Who Simon the leper was is not known. It is not unlikely that he was one whom Jesus had healed, and
that he united with the household of Lazarus (John 12:2) in a joint
effort to show gratitude unto the Lord for his goodness to this group
of his friends.
- There came a woman. Mary, the sister of Lazarus. See John 12:3.
- Having an alabaster cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly. Nard was a liquid perfume distilled from some odorous plant or plants and
mingled with oil. It was sealed in flasks or alabaster boxes and
imported from the Far East.
- [And] she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head. The cruse seems to have been a long-necked flask sealed with wax so tightly as to
necessitate its being broken to extract the nard. These flasks were
tasteful and costly objects such as women delight to possess. Many of
them were so delicate that Pliny compares them to closed rosebuds.
14:4 But there were some that had indignation among themselves1, [saying], To what purpose hath this waste of the ointment been made?
- But there were some that had indignation among themselves. The disciples. See Matthew 26:8.
14:5 For this ointment might have been sold for above three hundred shillings1, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her2.
- For this ointment might have been sold for above three hundred shillings. The price of the pound of nard would be about $51 of our
money, but the purchasing power of money was then nearly ten times as
great as it is now. The price here named agrees almost exactly with the
figures which Pliny rates the most costly nard.
- And given to the poor. And they murmured against her. It seems very likely that this murmuring was started by Judas Iscariot, for the
murmurers fall in with his notions that the price of the ointment
should be deposited in the poor fund (John 12:4,5).
14:6 But Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
- But Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. See John 12:7. The words of Jesus about
the ointment (Matthew 26:10-12; Mark 14:6-8; John 12:7-8) taken as a whole
may be construed thus: "The sorrows of my coming passion oppress me
(Matthew 26:38), and Mary, conscious of that sorrow, wishes to cheer me
with the evidence of love and gratitude. She sympathizes with me as I
approach the shadow of death, and anoints me beforehand for the burial.
You do not begrudge what is given to the dead. You do not censure as
extravagant what is spent for the embalming of a dear one. You
yourselves would be ready enough to anoint me in this same manner after
I am dead. So do not censure her because in the fullness of her
sympathy she has anticipated the coming catastrophe and has anointed me
14:7 For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good1: but me ye have not always2.
- For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good. There would be plenty of opportunities in which to do
good to the poor.
- But me ye have not always. The time for conferring a personal benefit upon Christ in the flesh was now limited to seven days.
Thereafter gifts could only be given to Christ by bestowing them upon
14:9 And verily I say unto you, Wheresoever the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world1, that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
- Wheresoever the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world,
- that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Jesus here makes prominent the different estimates which God
and man place upon the same acts. That which the disciples had censured
as a waste and that which they had regarded as worthy of rebuke was in
his sight an action fit to be kept in everlasting remembrance as a
model for the conduct of future generations throughout the whole earth,
and he accordingly decreed that it be so kept in mind.
14:10 And Judas Iscariot, he that was one of the twelve1, went away unto the chief priests, that he might deliver him unto them2.
- Judas Iscariot, he that was one of the twelve. See Mark 3:19 and see John 6:71.
- Went away unto the chief priests, that he might deliver him unto them. It is probable that the proposal to sell his Master was made by
Judas to individual members of the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:4), and that this
proposal was one of the moving causes leading to the assembling of the
council. The language at Matthew 26:15 implies that Judas appeared before
the council and bargained openly with it.
14:11 And they, when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money1. And he sought how he might conveniently deliver him [unto them]2.
- And they, when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money. The amount paid him was about $15 of our money. It was indeed
a low price for so base a deed, but from the language used it may be
fairly implied that it was but the earnest money of a larger sum.
See Matthew 26:15.
- And he sought how he might conveniently deliver him [unto them]. He soon found his opportunity. He bargained on Tuesday night and
fulfilled his contract on Thursday night. Or, as the Jews reckoned
time, he agreed in the beginning of Wednesday and fulfilled his
covenant on the beginning of Friday. Judas evidently hardened himself,
and shut out all thought as to anything save the "actual labor
involved". Viewed thus, his task was neither difficult nor dangerous.
14:12 And on the first day of unleavened bread1, when they sacrificed the passover, his disciples say unto him2, Where wilt thou that we go and make ready that thou mayest eat the passover3?
PREPARATION FOR PASSOVER. DISCIPLES CONTEND FOR PRECEDENCE.
(Bethany to Jerusalem. Thursday afternoon and, after sunset,
beginning of Friday.)
Matthew 26:17-20; Mark 14:12-17; Luke 22:7-18,24-30
- And on the first day of unleavened bread. See Luke 2:43. Leaven was to the Jew a symbol of corruption and impurity, because it
causes bread to become stale. The feast of unleavened bread began
properly on the fifteenth of Nisan, and lasted seven days, but this was
the fourteenth Nisan, the day on which the paschal lamb was slain.
However, it was common to blend the slaying of the passover, the
passover feast, and the feast of the unleavened bread, and to look upon
all three as one great festival, and to use the names passover and
unleavened bread interchangeably to describe the entire eight days.
This appears from the writings of Josephus, who sometimes reckons the
feast as beginning on the fifteenth (Ant. 3:10.5) and again as
beginning on the fourteenth (Wars 5:3.1). He also sometimes reckons the
feast as lasting seven days (Ant. 3:10.5) and again he reckons it as
lasting eight days (Ant. 3:15.1). The Rabbinists say that all the
leaven was carefully removed from the houses on the evening before the
fourteenth Nisan. To the present day leaven is removed from the houses
of the Jews on the night between the thirteenth and fourteenth. Hence
the day could be very fittingly called "the first day of unleavened
- His disciples say unto him. As the head of the household.
- Where wilt thou that we go and make ready that thou mayest eat the passover? It required considerable preparation. The lamb must be slain
in the temple, roasted, and unleavened loaves, wine, and bitter herbs,
etc., must be provided (Exodus 12:8), and a room for the feast must be
14:13 And he sendeth two of his disciples1, and saith unto them, Go into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him;
- And he sendeth two of his disciples. It is not improbable that Jesus let Peter and John (Luke 22:8) thus find the place that Judas might not
know its whereabouts in time to bring the officers of the Sanhedrin so
as to interrupt the feasts which meant so much to him and to his
14:14 and wheresoever he shall enter in, say to the master of the house1, The Teacher saith, Where is my guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
- Say to the master of the house, etc. It was customary for the residents of Jerusalem to open their houses for guests during this
feast, and therefore Jesus might have presumed on the hospitality of
almost anyone; but the probability is that the man to whom he sent this
message was an acquaintance and a friend.
14:17 And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve1.
- And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve. The law required that the paschal lamb should be slain "between the evenings". The Jews
reckoned the two evenings as from three o'clock to sunset, and from
sunset to nine o'clock, which was the end of the first watch. But
Josephus tells us that the lambs were killed from the ninth to the
eleventh hours, or between the hours of three and five. It would take
some time to dress the lamb and to roast it, so that it must have been
about sundown or shortly afterward when Jesus and his disciples sat
down to the feast.
14:18 And as they sat and were eating, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you shall betray me, [even] he that eateth with me1.
JUDAS' BETRAYAL AND PETER'S DENIAL FORETOLD.
(Jerusalem. Evening before the crucifixion.)
Matthew 26:21-25,31-35; Mark 14:18-21,27-31; Luke 22:21-23,31-38
- One of you shall betray me, [even] he that eateth with me. The foreknowledge of Judas' crime did not relieve the Lord from the sting
of it. By the use of the word "betray" Jesus revealed to Judas that he
had perfect knowledge of the peculiar crime which he was about to
commit. To induce repentance the enormity of the crime is pointed out
in two ways: (1) It was the act of one, an act in which no other could
be found willing to have a part. (2) It was the act of one who hand
rested on the table, who was admitted to the closest intercourse and
14:19 They began to be sorrowful1, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I2?
- They began to be sorrowful. That the Lord should be betrayed was sorrow enough, but that one of the twelve should do the deed was an
- Is it I? The form of the question in the Greek indicates that it expects "no" for an answer, so that it may be rendered, "Surely it is
14:20 And he said unto them, [It is] one of the twelve, he that dippeth with me in the dish1.
- [It is] one of the twelve, he that dippeth with me in the dish. According to Oriental custom, knives and forks were not used. One dish
served to hold the sop for several people, that they might dip their
bread into it. In so large a company, two or three bowls would be used
for convenience' sake. The words of Jesus, therefore, limited the
circle of accused ones from twelve to four or five, and also further
emphasized the tender and close intimacy between the traitor and the
14:21 For the Son of man goeth1, even as it is written of him2: but woe unto that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had not been born3.
- For the Son of man goeth. Jesus was following with unfaltering step the path of suffering marked out by the prophets. But this fact in no
way exculpated the authors of his death.
- Even as it is written of him. The prophecies referred to are many. As examples, see Psalms 22:1; Isaiah 53:1-12.
- But woe unto that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had not been born. The woe pronounced upon
Judas was no vindictive or vengeful wish; it is the solemn announcement
of divine judgment. The words of Jesus stop the mouths of the
apologists for Judas. When the judge thus speaks in condemnation, who
shall presume to argue in extenuation?
14:22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them1, and said, Take ye: this is my body2.
THE LORD'S SUPPER INSTITUTED.
(Jerusalem. Evening before the crucifixion.)
Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
- And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them. As only unleavened bread was eaten during
the paschal supper, that kind of bread must have been used by our Lord,
and it is fitting that it should still be used by us in keeping the
Lord's Supper, not only for propriety's sake, but because that bread
which is emblematic of purity is most suitable to represent the body of
the sinless Christ.
- And said, Take ye: this is my body. The Catholics and some few others take our Lord's words literally when he says, "This is my body".
On this they found the doctrine of transubstantiation, that is, that
the bread and the wine become literal body and blood when blessed by
the priest. There are many weighty arguments "against" such a
doctrine, but the main one "for" it is found in the words of our Lord.
But Jesus could not have meant them literally, for his body was
untouched and his blood unshed on this occasion when he spoke them.
Moreover, in Mark 14:25. Jesus calls the wine "the fruit of the vine",
when, according to the theory of transubstantiation, it had been
turned into blood and hence was not wine at all.
14:23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it.
- And he took the cup. Wine, mingled with water, was drunk during the paschal supper. Jesus took a cup of this for his new institution. But
the word "wine" is nowhere used in any of the accounts of the Lord's
Supper, the terms "cup" and "fruit of the vine" being employed in its
stead. Those, therefore, who choose to use unfermented grape juice are
guilty of no irregularity. See Luke 22:20.
14:24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the covenant1, which is poured out for many2.
- This is my blood of the covenant. See Jeremiah 31:31-34. It was the practice of Eastern peoples to use blood in making any pact or covenant
(Exodus 24:6-8). Christ represents himself as the victim from whence
the blood was to be taken to ratify or seal the new covenant, and he
makes the cup the symbol of that blood. A full discussion of the old
and new covenants will be found in the Book of Hebrews. We may,
however, sum them up by saying that the old covenant promised the land
of Canaan and Christ in the flesh to the Israelites, while the new
covenant promises heaven and Christ in glory to the Christian.
- Which is poured out for many. It is explicitly stated elsewhere that Christ died for "all" (2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Hebrews 2:9), and the word "many"
is used, not to contradict, but to emphasize the fact. When the persons
included are contemplated individually, the term "many" is employed on
account of the vast number of them; for no man can number the
individuals for whom Christ died. But when they are contemplated under
the feebler conception of the whole, the term "all" is employed.
14:25 Verily I say unto you, I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine1, until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God2.
- I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine. In speaking of this future drinking of the fruit of the vine Jesus does not mean literal
wine, for he does not drink literal wine with his disciples in the
kingdom as it now it, nor will he do so in the eternal kingdom. The
term "drink", therefore, is used figuratively for that communion which
Jesus has with his disciples while they are drinking the wine of the
- Until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. The term "new" is most naturally understood as modifying "wine", but as the wine
of the supper is not necessarily "new wine", we think it rather
indicates the "new method" of drinking wine just described.
14:26 And when they had sung a hymn1, they went out unto the mount of Olives.
GOING TO GETHSEMANE, AND AGONY THEREIN.
(A garden between the brook Kidron and the Mount of Olives. Late
Matthew 26:30,36-46; Mark 14:26,32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
- And when they had sung a hymn. The shadow of the cross did not quench the spirit of praise in Christ.
14:27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad1.
- All ye shall be offended: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad. See Zechariah 13:7.
The scattering would take place after the return of the apostles to
Galilee, and there after his resurrection, Jesus would gather them
together as their shepherd.
14:29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I1.
- Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. Thus Peter repudiates the idea that he could not stand the test.
14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that thou to-day, [even] this night, before the cock crow twice, shalt deny me thrice1.
- Verily I say unto thee, that thou to-day, [even] this night, before the cock crow twice, shalt deny me thrice. Mark speaks of two cock-
crowings and shows that the denial of Peter occurred between them
(Mark 14:68-72). But Matthew, Luke, and John speak of but "one" cock-
crowing and place the denial before it (Matthew 26:74; Luke 22:60; John 18:27).
The discrepancy is not an important one. Matthew, Luke, and John look
upon the night in its entirety and speak of the cock-crowing at three
in the morning, the signal of the dawning day. Mark looks at the night
in its details, and shows that the denials of Peter began at midnight,
the time of the first cock-crowing, and were finished before the last,
or about three in the morning. Peter appears to have been thunderstruck
at this prediction, which showed the nature, the details, and the
nearness of his sin. He lapsed into silence, and we hear no more from
him during the discourses which followed. But he did not yield without
one final protest, as the sequel shows.
14:31 But he spake exceedingly vehemently, If I must die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner also said they all.
- If I must die with thee, will not deny thee. According to Matthew's account these accusations of our Lord and protestations of Peter were
taken up again after Jesus left the upper room and was on his way to
Gethsemane. The reader may therefore conceive of them as occurring
again in the opening lines of Section 123. See Mark 14:26.
14:32 And they come unto a place which was named Gethsemane1: and he saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I pray.
- And they come unto a place which was named Gethsemane. The name Gethsemane means "a place of oil-presses", and hence it accords well
with the name of the mountain at whose base it was situated. But the
place was now a garden. It was about half a mile from the city, and
from what Luke says (Luke 22:39; Luke 21:37), it seems that Jesus often
resorted to it while in Jerusalem at the festivals. Compare also
- Sit ye here, while I shall pray. As the hour of trial and temptation came upon Jesus he fortified himself against it by prayer. And he bade
his disciples do likewise (Luke 22:40), for his arrest would involve
them also in temptations which he foresaw that they would not be able
14:33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled1.
- And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled. While seeking heavenly aid in this
hour of extremity, our Lord also manifested his desire for human
sympathy. All the eleven apostles were with him in the garden, and the
three most capable of sympathizing with him were stationed nearer to
him than the rest.
14:34 And he saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death1: abide ye here, and watch2.
- My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. The sequel shows that the phrase "to death" was no figure of rhetoric.
- Abide ye here, and watch. The nervous prostration of Jesus was such as to endanger his life, and the watching of the apostles may have been
doubly needful. Not only did he require their sympathy, but he may also
have looked to them to render him assistance in the case of a physical
14:35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed1 that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him.
- And fell on the ground, and prayed. This posture was expressive of the most intense supplication.
14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee1; remove this cup from me2: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt3.
- Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee. Reminding the Father of the limitless range of his power, he petitions him to change
his counsel as to the crucifixion of the Son, if his gracious purposes
can be in any other way carried out. Much of mystery is found in all
life, so it is small wonder if the dual nature of Jesus presents
insoluble problems. It perplexes many to find that the divine in Jesus
did not sustain him better during his trial in the garden. But we must
remember that it was appointed unto Jesus to die, and that the divine
in him was not to interfere with this appointment, or the approaches to
it. For want, therefore, of a better expression, we may say that from
the time Jesus entered the garden until he expired on the cross, the
human in him was in the ascendant; and "being found in fashion as a
man" (Philippians 2:8), he endured these trials is if wholly human. His
prayer, therefore, is the cry of his humanity for deliverance.
- Remove this cup from me. Jesus uses the words "cup" and "hour" (Mark 13:35) here interchangeably. They are both words of broad compass,
intended to include all that he would undergo from that time until his
resurrection. They embrace all his mental, moral, physical, and
spiritual suffering which we can discover, together with an infinite
volume of a propitiatory and vicarious nature which lies beyond the
reach of our understanding.
- Howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt. The submission of Jesus was no new fruitage of his character; the prayer of the garden
had been the inner purpose of his entire life (John 5:30; John 6:38).
14:37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest thou not watch one hour?
- Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Peter, having boasted of his loyalty (Mark 14:29), has his weakness pointed
out and is further warned to be on his guard, since the weakness of his
nature will not stand the coming strain. The slumber of the disciples
was not through indifference, but was caused by the prostration of
grief. When we remember the excitement which they had endured that
night, the tender words spoken by Jesus, the sadness of which was
intensified by the atmosphere of mystery which pervaded them, the
beautiful and touching prayer, and lastly this agony in the garden, it
is not to be wondered at that the apostles, spurred by no sense of
danger, should succumb to the long-borne tension and fall asleep. Had
they comprehended how much the Lord needed their "wakeful" sympathy as
he came again and again seeking for it, they would probably have kept
14:39 And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words1.
- And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words. See Matthew 26:42.
14:40 And again he came, and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they knew not what to answer him1.
- And they knew not what to answer him. They were ashamed of the stupor which had come upon them and knew not what apology to make for
14:41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest1: it is enough; the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
- Sleep on now, and take your rest, etc. Our Lord's words are paradoxical. In our judgment the saying is best understood by regarding
the first part of it spoken from the disciple's viewpoint. It is as if
he said, "So far as I am concerned, you may sleep on and take your
rest, for the time to be of comfort or assistance to me has wholly
passed. But so far as you yourselves are concerned, you must arise and
be going, because Judas with his band of temple police is upon us".
14:43 And straightway, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve1, and with him a multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders2.
JESUS BETRAYED, ARRESTED, AND FORSAKEN.
(Gethsemane. Friday, several hours before dawn.)
Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-11
- Cometh Judas, one of the twelve. The presence of Judas is mentioned by each Evangelist. His treachery made a deep impression upon them.
- And with him a multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. The arresting party which
accompanied Judas consisted of the band of officers and men from the
temple guard or Levitical police, Pharisees, scribes, servants, chief
priests, captains of the temple, and elders.
14:44 Now he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he; take him, and lead him away safely1.
- Now he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he; take him, and lead him away safely. Some
place this event before John 18:2-9. It comports better with the
fitness of things to place it after. Jesus made Judas feel his utter
nothingness, and his worthlessness even as a betrayer. Before Judas can
in any way identify Jesus, the Lord had twice declared himself to be
the party whom they sought (John 18:6,8). On the betrayal kiss, also
see Luke 7:45.
14:45 And when he was come, straightway he came to him, and saith, Rabbi; and kissed him1.
- And kissed him. See Luke 22:48.
14:46 And they laid hands on him, and took him.
- And they laid their hands on him, and took him. The sight of Judas touching him no doubt reassured them, and they laid hands on Jesus.
14:47 But a certain one of them1 that stood by drew his sword2, and smote the servant of the high priest3, and struck off his ear4.
- But a certain one of them. Peter (John 18:10).
- That stood by drew his sword. We have seen that the apostles were but scantily armed, there being only two swords in their possession
(Luke 22:38). Peter evidently carried one of these, and stood ready
to make good his boast that he would suffer, and, if need be, die in
his Lord's service (Mark 14:31).
- And smote the servant of the high priest. Malchus (John 18:10).
- And struck off his ear. Peter evidently struck a downward blow at Malchus' head, and Malchus would have been killed had he not dodged.
14:48 And Jesus answered and said unto them1, Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me2?
- And Jesus answered and said unto them. The party which came to arrest Jesus was large. See Luke 22:52. The word "band" used by John
(John 18:3) to describe part of it is "speira", which is the Greek
name for the cohort, a division of the Roman army which in the time of
Augustus contained fibe hundred fifty-five men. Ten cohorts, or a
legion, were usually quartered in the castle Antonia, at the northwest
corner of the temple enclosure. That the whole cohort was present is
not likely (Matthew 27:27), but there was a large enough body to represent
it. The Evangelists therefore properly style it a great multitude
(Matthew 26:47; Mark 14:43; Luke 22:47). Its strength and diversity suggest
the fear that Jesus might miraculously defend himself. Each part of the
crowd found courage in the strength of the other, the priests relying
upon the solidity of the soldiers, the soldiers superstitiously
trusting to some spiritual power residing in the priests, etc.
- Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me? Now, because of these fears, the preparation was as great
as if some band of robbers was to be taken. The questions of Jesus,
therefore, show two facts: (1) By their extensive preparation the
rulers bore an unintentional testimony to his divine power. (2) By
their failure to arrest him openly in the temple (Mark 14:49), they
bore witness to his innocence.
14:49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not1: but [this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled2.
- I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not. With his divinity and innocence, therefore, Jesus challenges them,
referring to their own conduct for testimony thereto.
- But [this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled. In conclusion, he cites them to the Scriptures which they were fulfilling
(Psalms 22:6; Isaiah 53:7). Our Lord's dual reference to the Old Testament
at this sacred time should cause us to handle them with awe and
14:50 And they all left him, and fled1.
- And they all left him, and fled. All the predictions of Jesus had failed to prepare the apostles for the terrors of his arrest. Despite
all his warnings, each apostle sought his own safety.
14:51 And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over [his] naked [body]1: and they lay hold on him;
- And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over [his] naked [body]. The young man who fled naked is
usually presumed to be Mark himself, and it is thought that he thus
speaks impersonally after the manner of Matthew and John. The manner of
his description shows that he was not an apostle. As Mark's mother
resided in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12,25), Canon Cook advances the theory
that the Lord's Supper was eaten in the upper room of her house, and
that when the disciples retired with Jesus from thence to Gethsemane,
Mark slipped from his bed, threw his sindon about him, and followed
after them. The sindon, or linen vestment, was very costly, not being
worn even by the middle classes: no apostle would be thus attired.
14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and there come together with him all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
SECOND STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS CONDEMNED BY CAIAPHAS AND THE
(Palace of Caiaphas. Friday.)
Matthew 26:57,59-68; Mark 14:53,55-65; Luke 22:54,63-65; John 18:24
14:54 And Peter had followed him afar off, even within1, into the court of the high priest2; and he was sitting with the officers3, and warming himself in the light [of the fire]4.
PETER THRICE DENIES THE LORD.
(Court of the high priest's residence. Friday before and about
Matthew 26:58,69-75; Mark 14:54,66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18,25-27
- And Peter had followed him afar off, even within. Leaving Jesus in the palace of the high priest, we now turn back to the garden of
Gethsemane at the time when Jesus left it under arrest, that we may
follow the course of Simon Peter in his threefold denial of the Master.
- Into the court of the high priest. For courts of houses, see Mark 2:2.
- And he was sitting with the officers. Though his faith in Christ was shaken, Peter still loved him enough to see what would become of
- And warming himself in the light [of the fire]. They were gathered around a little smokeless fire (John 18:18).
14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands1.
- We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands. What
Jesus had really said will be found at John 2:19-22. Though his words
were misunderstood at that time, being applied, not to his body, but to
Herod's temple, yet it is not unlikely that the Jewish rulers, hearing
our Lord's prediction that he would rise from the dead after three days
(Matthew 27:62,63), came to understand the import of his words. If so, the
record itself shows the willingness of the Sanhedrin to receive false
witnesses against Christ (Matthew 26:59; Mark 14:55), for its judges received
testimony which they knew to be utterly immaterial if rightly
construed. The accounts of the two Evangelists, moreover, show how the
witnesses failed to agree (Matthew 26:60; Mark 14:56). A man could only be
condemned on the testimony of two witnesses as to some fact or facts
constituting a ground for condemnation (Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15).
14:60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
- Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these testify against thee? While the testimony then before the court might be used to show that
Jesus was recklessly boastful, it was insufficient to justify a
sentence of blasphemy. A threat to destroy the temple might be thus
construed (Jeremiah 26:9-11; Acts 6:13,14); but a promise to rebuild the
temple, if destroyed, was altogether different. The high priest,
knowing this, sought to extort from Jesus some additional evidence.
With great cunning and effrontery he assumes that the testimony is all
that could be possibly desired, and demands of Jesus what he has to say
in answer to it.
14:61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing1. Again the high priest asked him, and saith unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed2?
- But he held his peace, and answered nothing. But our Lord did not suffer himself to seem so easily deceived. He gave no explanation,
since the future would explain his meaning, and speak the real truth to
all who had ears to hear it.
- Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? Seeing that Jesus was not to be lured into an answer, and well knowing his perfect frankness,
Caiaphas resolved, in his desperation, to question Jesus plainly and
bluntly. His question is twofold: (1) Art thou Christ? (2) Art thou the
Son of God? The latter of these would constitute blasphemy, and the
former, by showing a boastful spirit would tend to confirm the charge.
Perhaps, too, Caiaphas anticipated the future, and foresaw how useful
this claim to be Messiah would prove when a hearing was had before
Pilate (Luke 23:2). Originally the Messiah was recognized as the Son
of God (Psalms 2:7), but if the Jews had ever generally entertained such
an idea, they had lost it before Jesus' day, The Messiah might of
course be called the Son of God in that secondary sense in which Adam
was thus called (John 1:49; Luke 3:38). But Jesus had used the term in
an entirely different sense, and his usage had been extremely offensive
to the Jews (Matthew 22:41-46; John 5:17,18; John 10:30-39). Caiaphas evidently
wished Jesus to answer this question in that new sense which the Lord
had given to the words. Caiaphas had no legal right to ask either of
these questions. No man can be compelled to testify against himself,
but he knew the claims of Jesus, and realized that if Jesus repudiated
them he would be shamed forever, and if he asserted them he could be
charged with blasphemy. Taking advantage, therefore, of the situation,
Caiaphas put the question with the usual formula of an oath, thus
adding moral power to it, for, under ordinary circumstances, one was
held guilty if he refused to answer when thus adjured (Leviticus 5:1).
When their own witnesses failed, these rulers called the "faithful
witness" (1 Timothy 6:13; Revelation 1:5).
14:62 And Jesus said, I am1: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power2, and coming with the clouds of heaven.
- And Jesus said, I am. Jesus freely confessed the truth which his church is called upon to confess.
- And ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power. Jesus brings the present state of humiliation into contrast with his
future state of glory. "On the right hand of power" was commonly
understood to mean the right hand of God. As hard as it might be for
them to believe it, the day would come when he should sit in judgment
and they should stand on trial before him.
14:63 And the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have we of witnesses1?
- And the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have we of witnesses? Though Jesus had given the very answer which the
high priest was longing to hear, yet he hypocritically pretends to be
shocked at it, and rends his clothes and feigns horror. Evidently he
feared the effect of the clear, calm answer of Jesus and sought to
counteract its influence on his colleagues.
14:64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be worthy of death1.
- And they all condemned him to be worthy of death. This was not the final, formal sentence, but the mere determination of the council at
the preliminary hearing.
14:65 And some began to spit on him1, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him2, Prophesy: and the officers received him with blows of their hands.
- And some began to spit on him. To spit in the face has been an insult in all ages and in all lands. See Numbers 12:14; Deuteronomy 25:9; Job 30:10.
- And to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him,
- Prophesy. Jesus, having stood out for examination, is now given back to the officers to be led away into the council chamber. These
officers received Jesus with many indignities. They seek to make his
high claims contemptible, and to make it appear that instead of being
divine he is hardly worthy to be regarded as human.
14:71 But he began to curse, and to swear1, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
- But he began to curse, and to swear. Exasperated by the repeated accusations, Peter loses his temper and begins to emphasize his denial
by profanity. Desire to make good his denial is now supreme in his
thoughts and the Lord whom he denies is all but forgotten.
14:72 And straightway the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word, how that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept1.
- And when he thought thereon, he wept. When Peter remembered the loving tenderness of Jesus manifested when he foretold Peter's crime,
it formed a background against which the sin appeared in all its