All the evangelists, whatever they omit, give us a particular account
of the death and resurrection of Christ, because he died for our sins
and rose for our justification, this evangelist as fully as any, and
with many circumstances and passages added which we had not before. In
this chapter we have,
I. The plot to take Jesus, and Judas's coming into it,
II. Christ's eating the passover with his disciples,
III. The instituting of the Lord's supper,
IV. Christ's discourse with his disciples after supper, upon several
V. His agony in the garden,
VI. The apprehending of him, by the assistance of Judas,
VII. Peter's denying him,
VIII. The indignities done to Christ by those that had him in custody,
and his trial and condemnation in the ecclesiastical court,
The Treachery of Judas.
1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called
2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill
him; for they feared the people.
3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the
number of the twelve.
4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and
captains, how he might betray him unto them.
5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto
them in the absence of the multitude.
The year of the redeemed is now come, which had been from
eternity fixed in the divine counsels, and long looked for by them that
waited for the consolation of Israel. After the revolutions of many
ages, it is at length come,
And, it is observable, it is in the very first month of that
year that the redemption is wrought out, so much in haste was the
Redeemer to perform his undertaking, so was he straitened till
it was accomplished. It was in the same month, and at the same
time of the month (in the beginning of months,
that God by Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, that the Antitype might
answer the type. Christ is here delivered up, when the feast of
unleavened bread drew nigh,
About as long before that feast as they began to make preparation for
it, here was preparation making for our Passover's being offered for
us. Here we have,
I. His sworn enemies contriving it
the chief priests, men of sanctity, and the scribes, men of
learning, seeking how they might kill him, either by force of
fraud. Could they have had their will, it had been soon done, but they
feared the people, and the more for what they now saw of their
diligent attendance upon his preaching.
II. A treacherous disciple joining in with them, and coming to their
assistance, Judas surnamed Iscariot. He is here said to be of
the number of the twelve, that dignified distinguished number. One
would wonder that Christ, who knew all men, should take a
traitor into that number, and that one of that number,
who could not but know Christ, should be so base as to betray
him; but Christ had wise and holy ends in taking Judas to be a
disciple, and how he who knew Christ so well yet came to betray him we
are here told: Satan entered into Judas,
It was the devil's work, who thought hereby to ruin Christ's
undertaking, to have broken his head; but it proved only the bruising
of his heel. Whoever betrays Christ, or his truths or ways, it is Satan
that puts them upon it. Judas knew how desirous the chief priests were
to get Christ into their hands, and that they could not do it safely
without the assistance of some that knew his retirements, as he did.
He therefore went himself, and made the motion to them,
Note, It is hard to say whether more mischief is done to Christ's
kingdom by the power and policy of its open enemies, or by the
treachery and self-seeking of its pretended friends: nay, without the
latter its enemies could not gain their point as they do. When you see
Judas communing with the chief priests, be sure some mischief is
hatching; it is for no good that they are laying their heads
III. The issue of the treaty between them.
1. Judas must betray Christ to them, must bring them to a place
where they might seize him without danger of tumult, and this they
would be glad of.
2. They must give him a sum of money for doing it, and this he would
be glad of
They covenanted to give him money. When the bargain was made,
Judas sought opportunity to betray him. Probably, he slyly
enquired of Peter and John, who were more intimate with their Master
than he was, where he would be at such a time, and whither he would
retire after the passover, and they were not sharp enough to suspect
him. Somehow or other, in a little time he gained the advantage he
sought, and fixed the time and place where it might be done, in the
absence of the multitude, and without tumult.
The Keeping of the Passover.
7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must
8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the
passover, that we may eat.
9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the
city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water;
follow him into the house where he entereth in.
11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master
saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the
passover with my disciples?
12 And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there
13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they
made ready the passover.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve
apostles with him.
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat
this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until
it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this,
and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the
vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave
unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this
do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is
the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
What a hopeful prospect had we of Christ's doing a great deal of good
by his preaching in the temple during the feast of unleavened bread,
which continued seven days, when the people were every morning,
and early in the morning, so attentive to hear him! But here is
a stop put to it. He must enter upon work of another kind; in this,
however, he shall do more good than in the other, for neither Christ's
nor his church's suffering days are their idle empty days. Now here we
I. The preparation that was made for Christ's eating the passover with
his disciples, upon the very day of unleavened bread, when the
passover must be killed according to the law,
Christ was made under the law, and observed the ordinances of it,
particularly that of the passover, to teach us in like manner to
observe his gospel institutions, particularly that of the Lord's
supper, and not to neglect them. It is probable that he went to the
temple to preach in the morning, when he sent Peter and John another
way into the city to prepare the passover. Those who have
attendants about them, to do their secular business for them in a great
measure, must not think that this allows them to be idle;
it engages them to employ themselves more in spiritual
business, or service to the public. He directed those whom he
employed whither they should go
they must follow a man bearing a pitcher of water, and he must
be their guide to the house. Christ could have described the house to
them; probably it was a house they knew, and he might have said no more
than, Go to such a one's house, or to a house in such a street, with
such a sign, &c. But he directed them thus, to teach them to depend
upon the conduct of Providence, and to follow that, step by
step. They went, not knowing whither they went, nor whom
they followed. Being come to the house, they must desire the master
of the house to show them a room
and he will readily do it,
Whether it was a friend's house or a public house does not appear; but
the disciples found their guide, and the house, and the room, just as
he had said to them
for they need not fear a disappointment who go upon Christ's
word; according to the orders given them, they got every thing in
readiness for the passover,
II. The solemnizing of the passover, according to the law. When the
hour was come that they should go to supper he sat down,
probably at the head-end of the table, and the twelve apostles with
him, Judas not excepted; for it is possible that those whose hearts
are filled with Satan, and all manner of wickedness, may yet continue a
plausible profession of religion, and be found in the performance of
its external services; and while it is in the heart, and does not break
out into anything scandalous, such cannot be denied the external
privileges of their external profession. Though Judas has already been
guilty of an overt act of treason, yet, it not being publicly
known, Christ admits him to sit down with the rest at the passover. Now
1. How Christ bids this passover welcome, to teach us in like
manner to welcome his passover, the Lord's supper, and to come to it
with an appetite
"With desire I have desired, I have most earnestly desired, to
eat this passover with you before I suffer." He knew it was to
be the prologue to his sufferings, and therefore he desired it,
because it was in order to his Father's glory and man's redemption. He
delighted to do even this part of the will of God
concerning him as Mediator. Shall we be backward to any service
for him who was so forward in the work of our salvation? See the
love he had to his disciples; he desired to eat it with them,
that he and they might have a little time together, themselves, and
none besides, for private conversation, which they could not have in
Jerusalem but upon this occasion. He was now about to leave them, but
was very desirous to eat this passover with them before he
suffered, as if the comfort of that would carry him the more
cheerfully through his sufferings, and make them the easier to him.
Note, Our gospel passover, eaten by faith with Jesus Christ, will be an
excellent preparation for sufferings, and trials, and death itself.
2. How Christ in it takes his leave of all passovers, thereby
signifying his abrogating all the ordinances of the ceremonial law, of
which that of the passover was one of the earliest and one of
the most eminent
"I will not any more eat thereof, nor shall it by any more
celebrated by my disciples, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of
(1.) It was fulfilled when Christ our Passover was sacrificed for
1 Corinthians 5:7.
And therefore that type and shadow was laid aside, because now
in the kingdom of God the substance was come, which superseded
(2.) It was fulfilled in the Lord's supper, an ordinance of the
gospel kingdom, in which the passover had its accomplishment, and which
the disciples, after the pouring out of the Spirit, did frequently
celebrate, as we find
They ate of it, and Christ might be said to eat with them, because of
the spiritual communion they had with him in that ordinance. He is
said to sup with them and they with him,
(3.) The complete accomplishment of that commemoration of liberty will
be in the kingdom of glory, when all God's spiritual Israel shall be
released from the bondage of death and sin, and be put in possession of
the land of promise. What he had said of his eating of the paschal
lamb, he repeats concerning his drinking of the passover wine,
the cup of blessing, or of thanksgiving, in which all the
company pledged the Master of the feast, at the close of the passover
supper. This cup he took, according to the custom, and gave
thanks for the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, and the
preservation of their first-born, and then said, Take this, and
divide it among yourselves,
This is not said afterwards of the sacramental cup, which being
probably of much more weight and value, being the New Testament in
his blood, he might give into every one's hand, to teach them to
make a particular application of it to their own souls; but, as for the
paschal cup which is to be abolished, it is enough to say, "Take
it, and divide it among yourselves, do what you will with it,
for we shall have no more occasion for it,
I will not drink of the fruit of the vine any more, I will not
have it any more drank of, till the kingdom of God shall come,
till the Spirit be poured out, and then you shall in the Lord's
supper commemorate a much more glorious redemption, of which both
the deliverance out of Egypt and the passover commemoration of it were
types and figures. The kingdom of God is now so near being set up that
you will not need to eat or drink any more till it comes." Christ dying
next day opened it. As Christ with a great deal of pleasure took leave
of all the legal feasts (which fell of course with the passover) for
the evangelical ones, both spiritual and sacramental; so may good
Christians, when they are called to remove from the church militant to
that which is triumphant, cheerfully exchange even their spiritual
repasts, much more their sacramental ones, for the eternal feast.
III. The institution of the Lord's supper,
The passover and the deliverance out of Egypt were
typical and prophetic signs of a Christ to come, who
should by dying deliver us from sin and death, and the tyranny of
Satan; but they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, that brought us
up out of the land of Egypt; a much greater deliverance shall
eclipse the lustre of that, and therefore the Lord's supper is
instituted to be a commemorative sign or memorial of a Christ already
come, that has by dying delivered us; and it is his death that
is in a special manner set before us in that ordinance.
1. The breaking of Christ's body as a sacrifice for us is
here commemorated by the breaking of bread; and the sacrifices
under the law were called the bread of our God
This is my body which is given for you. And there is a feast
upon that sacrifice instituted, in which we are to apply it to
ourselves, and to take the benefit and comfort of it. This bread that
was given for us is given to us to be food for our souls, for
nothing can be more nourishing and satisfying to our
souls than the doctrine of Christ's making atonement for sin, and the
assurance of our interest in that atonement; this bread that was
broken and given for us, to satisfy for the guilt of our
sins, is broken and given to us, to satisfy the desire of
our souls. And this we do in remembrance of what he did for us,
when he died for us, and for a memorial of what we do, in
making ourselves partakers of him, and joining ourselves to him
in an everlasting covenant; like the stone Joshua set up for a
2. The shedding of Christ's blood, by which the atonement
was made (for the blood made atonement for the soul,
as represented by the wine in the cup; and that cup of wine is a sign
and token of the New Testament, or new covenant, made with us. It
commemorates the purchase of the covenant by the blood of
Christ, and confirms the promises of the covenant, which are all
Yea and Amen in him. This will be reviving and refreshing
to our souls, as wine that makes glad the heart. In all our
commemorations of the shedding of Christ's blood, we must have an eye
to it as shed for us; we needed it, we take hold of it, we hope to have
benefit by it; who loved me, and gave himself for me. And in all
our regards to the New Testament we must have an eye to the blood of
Christ, which gave life and being to it, and seals to us all the
promises of it. Had it not been for the blood of Christ, we had never
had the New Testament; and, had it not been for the New Testament, we
had never know the meaning of Christ's blood shed.
The Disciples Admonished; Peter's Frailty Predicted.
21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me
on the table.
22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but
woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!
23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it
was that should do this thing.
24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should
be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise
lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them
are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among
you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he
that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among
you as he that serveth.
28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath
appointed unto me;
30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit
on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired
to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and
when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both
into prison, and to death.
34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow
this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest
35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and
scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let
him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no
sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be
accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors:
for the things concerning me have an end.
38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he
said unto them, It is enough.
We have here Christ's discourse with his disciples after supper, much
of which is new here; and in St. John's gospel we shall find other
additions. We should take example from him to entertain and edify our
family and friends with such discourse at table as is good and to the
use of edifying, which may minister grace to the hearers; but
especially after we have been at the Lord's table, by Christian
conference to keep one another in a suitable frame. The matters Christ
here discoursed of were of weight, and to the present purpose.
I. He discoursed with them concerning him that should betray him, who
was now present.
1. He signifies to them that the traitor was now among them, and one of
By placing this after the institution of the Lord's supper, though in
Matthew and Mark it is placed before it, it seems plain that Judas did
receive the Lord's supper, did eat of that bread and drink of
that cup; for, after the solemnity was over, Christ said,
Behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the
table. There have been those that have eaten bread with Christ and
yet have betrayed him.
2. He foretels that the treason would take effect
Truly the Son of man goes as it was determined, goes to the
place where he will be betrayed; for he is delivered up by the counsel
and foreknowledge of God, else Judas could not have delivered him up.
Christ was not driven to his sufferings, but cheerfully went to
them. He said, Lo, I come.
3. He threatens the traitor: Woe to that man by whom he is
betrayed. Note, Neither the patience of the saints under their
sufferings, nor the counsel of God concerning their sufferings, will be
any excuse for those that have any hand in their sufferings, or that
persecute them. Though God has determined that Christ shall be
betrayed and he himself has cheerfully submitted to it, yet Judas's sin
or punishment is not at all the less.
4. He frightens the rest of the disciples into a suspicion of
themselves, by saying that it was one of them, and not naming which
They began to enquire among themselves, to interrogate
themselves, to put the question to themselves, who it was that
should do this thing, that could be so base to so good a Master.
The enquiry was not, Is it you? or, Is it such a one?
but, Is it I?
II. Concerning the strife that was among them for precedency or
1. See what the dispute was: Which of them should be accounted the
greatest. Such and so many contests among the disciples for dignity
and dominion, before the Spirit was poured upon them, were a sad
presage of the like strifes for, and affections of, supremacy in the
churches, after the Spirit should be provoked to depart from them. How
inconsistent is this with that in the
There they were enquiring which would be the traitor, and here which
should be the prince. Could such an instance of humility, and such an
instance of pride and vanity, be found in the same men, so near
together? This is like sweet waters and bitter proceeding
at the same time out of the same fountain. What a self-contradiction is
the deceitful heart of man!
2. See what Christ said to this dispute. He was not sharp upon them, as
might have been expected (he having so often reproved them for this
very thing), but mildly showed them the sin and folly of it.
(1.) This was to make themselves like the kings of the Gentiles,
who affect worldly pomp, and worldly power,
They exercise lordship over their subjects, and are ever and
anon striving to exercise lordship too over the princes that are
about them, though as good as themselves, if they think them not
so strong as themselves. Note, The exercising of lordship
better becomes the kings of the Gentiles than the ministers of
Christ. But observe, They that exercise authority, and take upon
themselves to bear sway, and give law, they are called
Benefactors--Euergetas, they call themselves so,
and so their flatterers call them, and those that set themselves to
serve their interests. It is pretended that they have been
benefactors, and upon that account they should be admitted to
have rule; nay, that in exercising authority they are
benefactors. However they may really serve themselves, they would be
thought to serve their country. One of the Ptolemies was
surnamed Euergetes--The Benefactor. Now our Saviour, by taking
notice of this, intimates,
[1.] That to do good is much more honourable than to look
great; for these princes that were the terror of the mighty
would not be called so, but rather the benefactors of the needy;
so that, by their own confession, a benefactor to his country is much
more valued than a ruler of his country.
[2.] That to do good is the surest way to be great, else they
that aimed to be rulers would not have been so solicitous to be
called Benefactors. This therefore he would have his disciples
believe, that their greatest honour would be to do all the good they
could in the world. They would indeed be benefactors to the
world, by bringing the gospel to it. Let them value themselves upon
that title, which they would indeed be entitled to, and then
they need not strive which should be the greatest, for they would all
be greater- treater blessings to mankind than the kings of the
earth, that exercise lordship over them. If they have that which is
confessedly the greater honour, of being benefactors, let them
despise the less, of being rulers.
(2.) It was to make themselves unlike the disciples of Christ, and
unlike Christ himself: "You shall not be so,"
"It was never intended that you should rule any otherwise than
by the power of truth and grace, but that you should serve."
When church-rulers affect external pomp and power, and bear up
themselves by secular interests and influences, they debase their
office, and it is an instance of degeneracy like that of Israel when
they would have a king like the nations that were round about them,
whereas the Lord was their King. See here,
[1.] What is the rule Christ gave to his disciples: He that is
greater among you, that is senior, to whom precedency is
due upon the account of his age, let him be as the younger, both
in point of lowness of place (let him condescend to sit with the
younger, and be free and familiar with them) and in point of
labour and work. We say, Juniores ad labores, seniores
ad honores--Let the young work, and the aged receive their honours.
But let the elder take pains as well as the younger; their age and
honour, instead of warranting them to take their ease, bind them to
double work. And he that is chief, ho
hegoumenos--the president of the college or assembly,
let him be as he that serves, hos ho
diakonon--as the deacon; let him stoop to the meanest
and most toilsome services for the public good, if there be occasion.
[2.] What was the example which he himself gave to this rule:
Whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat or he that serveth?
he that attendeth or he that is attended on? Now Christ was among his
disciples just like one that waited at table. He was so far from
taking state, or taking his ease, by commanding their
attendance upon him, that he was ready to do any office of kindness and
service for them; witness his washing their feet. Shall those
take upon them the form of princes who call themselves followers of him
that took upon him the form of a servant?
(3.) They ought not to strive for worldly honour and grandeur, because
he had better honours in reserve for them, of another nature, a
kingdom, a feast, a throne, for each of them,
wherein they should all share alike, and should have no occasion to
strive for precedency,
[1.] Christ's commendation of his disciples for their faithfulness to
him; and this was honour enough for them, they needed not to strive for
any greater. It is spoken with an air of encomium and applause: "You
are they who have continued with me in my temptations, you are they
who have stood by me and stuck to me when others have deserted me and
turned their backs upon me." Christ had his temptations; he was
despised and rejected of men, reproached and reviled, and endured
the contradiction of sinners. But his disciples continued with him,
and were afflicted in all his afflictions. It was but little help that
they could give him, or service that they could do him; nevertheless,
he took it kindly that they continued with him, and he here owns
their kindness, though it was by the assistance of his own grace that
they did continue. Christ's disciples had been very defective in their
duty. We find them guilty of many mistakes and weaknesses: they were
very dull and very forgetful, and often blundered, yet their Master
passes all by and forgets it; he does not upbraid them with their
infirmities, but gives them this memorable testimonial, You are they
who have continued with me. Thus does he praise at parting, to show
how willing he is to make the best of those whose hearts he knows to be
upright with him.
[2.] The recompence he designed them for their fidelity: I
appoint, diatithemai, I bequeath, unto you a
kingdom. Or thus, I appoint to you, as my Father has appointed a
kingdom to me, that you may eat and drink at my table. Understand
it, First, Of what should be done for them in this world. God
gave his Son a kingdom among men, the gospel church, of which he
is the living, quickening, ruling, Head. This kingdom he
appointed to his apostles and their successors in the ministry
of the gospel, that they should enjoy the comforts and privileges of
the gospel, help to communicate them to others by gospel ordinances,
sit on thrones as officers of the church, not only declaratively, but
exhortatively judging the tribes of Israel that persist in their
infidelity, and denouncing the wrath of God against them, and ruling
the gospel Israel, the spiritual Israel, by the instituted discipline
of the church, administered with gentleness and love. This is the
honour reserved for you. Or, Secondly, Of what should be done
for them in the other world, which I take to be chiefly meant. Let them
go on in their services in this world; their preferments shall be in
the other world. God will give them the kingdom, in which they
shall be sure to have,
1. The richest dainties; for they shall eat and drink at
Christ's table in his kingdom, of which he had spoken,
They shall partake of those joys and pleasures which were the
recompence of his services and sufferings. They shall have a full
satisfaction of soul in the vision and fruition of God; and herein they
shall have the best society, as at a feast, in the perfection of love.
2. The highest dignities: "You shall not only be provided for at
the royal table, as Mephibosheth at David's, but you shall be preferred
to the royal throne; shall sit down with me on my throne,
In the great day you shall sit on thrones, as assessors with
Christ, to approve of and applaud his judgment of the twelve tribes
of Israel." If the saints shall judge the world
(1 Corinthians 6:2),
much more the church.
III. Concerning Peter's denying him. And in this part of the discourse
we may observe,
1. The general notice Christ gives to Peter of the devil's design upon
him and the rest of the apostles
The Lord said, Simon, Simon, observe what I say; Satan hath
desired to have you, to have you all in his hands, that he may
sift you as wheat. Peter, who used to be the mouth of the
rest in speaking to Christ, is here made the ear of the rest;
and what is designed for warning to them all (all you shall be
offended, because of me) is directed to Peter, because he was
principally concerned, being in particular manner struck at by the
tempter: Satan has desired to have you. Probably Satan had
accused the disciples to God as mercenary in following Christ,
and aiming at nothing else therein but enriching and advancing
themselves in this world, as he accused Job. "No," saith God, "they are
honest men, and men of integrity." "Give me leave to try them," saith
Satan, "and Peter particularly." He desired to have them, that he
might sift them, that he might show them to be chaff, and not
wheat. The troubles that were now coming upon them were sifting,
would try what there was in them: but this was not all; Satan desired
to sift them by his temptations, and endeavoured by those troubles to
draw them into sin, to put them into a loss and hurry, as corn when it
is sifted to bring the chaff uppermost, or rather to shake out the
wheat and leave nothing but the chaff. Observe, Satan could not sift
them unless God gave him leave: He desired to have them, as he
begged of God a permission to try and tempt Job.
Exetesato--"He has challenged you, has undertaken
to prove you a company of hypocrites, and Peter especially, the
forwardest of you." Some suggest that Satan demanded leave to sift them
as their punishment for striving who should be greatest, in which
contest Peter perhaps was very warm: "Leave them to me, to sift them
2. The particular encouragement he gave to Peter, in reference to this
trial: "I have prayed for thee, because, though he desires to
have them all, he is permitted to make his strongest onset upon thee
only: thou wilt be most violently assaulted, but I have prayed for
thee, that thy faith fail not, that it may not totally and finally
(1.) If faith be kept up in an hour of temptation, though we may fall,
yet we shall not be utterly cast down. Faith will quench Satan's fiery
(2.) Though there may be many failings in the faith of true believers,
yet there shall not be a total and final failure of their faith. It is
their seed, their root, remaining in them.
(3.) It is owing to the mediation and intercession of Jesus Christ that
the faith of his disciples, though sometimes sadly shaken, yet is not
sunk. If they were left to themselves, they would fail; but they are
kept by the power of God and the prayer of Christ. The
intercession of Christ is not only general, for all that believe, but
for particular believers (I have prayed for thee), which
is an encouragement for us to pray for ourselves, and an engagement
upon us to pray for others too.
3. The charge he gives to Peter to help others as he should himself be
helped of God: "When thou art converted, strengthen thy
brethren; when thou art recovered by the grace of God, and brought
to repentance, do what thou canst to recover others; when thou hast
found they faith kept from failing, labour to confirm the faith of
others, and to establish them; when thou hast found mercy with God
thyself, encourage others to hope that they also shall find mercy."
(1.) Those that have fallen into sin must be converted from it;
those that have turned aside must return; those that have left
their first love must do their first works.
(2.) Those that through grace are converted from sin must do what they
can to strengthen their brethren that stand, and to prevent their
4. Peter's declared resolution to cleave to Christ, whatever it cost
Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death.
This was a great word, and yet I believe no more than he meant at this
time, and thought he should make good too. Judas never protested
thus against denying Christ, though often warned of it; for his heart
was as fully set in him to the evil as Peter's was against it. Note,
All the true disciples of Christ sincerely desire and design to
follow him, whithersoever he goes, and whithersoever he leads
them, though into a prison, though out of the world.
5. Christ's express prediction of his denying him thrice
"I tell thee, Peter (thou dost not know thine own heart, but
must be left to thyself a little, that thou mayest know it, and mayest
never trust to it again), the cock shall not crow this day before
thou even deny that thou knowest me." Note, Christ knows us better
than we know ourselves, and knows the evil that is in us, and will be
done by us, which we ourselves do not suspect. It is well for us that
Christ knows where we are weak better than we do, and therefore where
to come in with grace sufficient; that he knows how far a temptation
will prevail, and therefore when to say, Hitherto shall it come, and
IV. Concerning the condition of all the disciples.
1. He appeals to them concerning what had been,
He had owned that they had been faithful servants to him,
Now he expects, at parting, that they should acknowledge that he had
been a kind and careful Master to them ever since they left all to
follow him: When I sent you without purse, lacked you any thing?
(1.) He owns that he had sent them out in a very poor and bare
condition, barefoot, and with no money in their purses, because they
were not to go far, nor be out long; and he would thus teach them to
depend upon the providence of God, and, under that, upon the kindness
of their friends. If God thus send us out into the world, let us
remember that better than we have thus begun low.
(2.) Yet ye will have them own that, notwithstanding this, they had
lacked nothing; they then lived as plentifully and comfortably
as ever; and they readily acknowledged it: "Nothing, Lord; I
have all, and abound." Note,
[1.] It is good for us often to review the providences of God that have
been concerning us all our days, and to observe how we have got through
the straits and difficulties we have met with.
[2.] Christ is a good Master, and his service a good service; for
though his servants may sometimes be brought low, yet he will help
them; and though he try them, yet will he not leave them.
[3.] We must reckon ourselves well done by, and must not complain, but
be thankful, if we have had the necessary supports of life, though we
have had neither dainties nor superfluities, though we have lived from
hand to mouth, and lived upon the kindness of our friends. The
disciples lived upon contribution, and yet did not complain that their
maintenance was precarious, but owned, to their Master's honour, that
it was sufficient; they had wanted nothing.
2. He gives them notice of a very great change of their circumstances
now approaching. For,
(1.) He that was their Master was now entering upon his sufferings,
which he had often foretold
"Now that which is written must be fulfilled in me, and this
among the rest, He was numbered among the transgressors-- he
must suffer and die as a malefactor, and in company with some of the
vilest of malefactors. This is that which is yet to be
accomplished, after all the rest, and then the things concerning
me, the things written concerning me, will have an end; then I
shall say, It is finished." Note, It may be the comfort of
suffering Christians, as it was of a suffering Christ, that their
sufferings were foretold, and determined in the counsels of
heaven, and will shortly determine in the joys of heaven. They
were written concerning them, and they will have an end,
and will end well, everlastingly well.
(2.) They must therefore expect troubles, and must not think now to
have such an easy and comfortable life as they had had; no, the scene
will alter. They must now in some degree suffer with their
Master; and, when he is gone, they must expect to suffer like
him. The servant is not better than his Lord.
[1.] They must not now expect that their friends would be so kind and
generous to them as they had been; and therefore, He that has a
purse, let him take it, for he may have occasion for it, and for
all the good husbandry he can use.
[2.] They must now expect that their enemies would be more fierce upon
them than they had been, and they would need magazines as well as
stores: He that has no sword wherewith to defend himself against
robbers and assassins
(2 Corinthians 11:26)
will find a great want of it, and will be ready to wish, some time or
other, that he had sold his garment and bought one. This is intended
only to show that the times would be very perilous, so that no man
would think himself safe if he had not a sword by his side. But the
sword of the Spirit is the sword which the disciples of Christ
must furnish themselves with. Christ having suffered for us, we
must arm ourselves with the same mind
(1 Peter 4:1),
arm ourselves with an expectation of trouble, that it may not be a
surprise to us, and with a holy resignation to the will of God in it,
that there may be no opposition in us to it: and then we are better
prepared than if we had sold a coat to buy a sword. The disciples
hereupon enquire what strength they had, and find they had among them
of which one was Peter's. The Galileans generally travelled with
swords. Christ wore none himself, but he was not against his disciples'
wearing them. But he intimates how little he would have them depend
upon this when he saith, It is enough, which some think is
spoken ironically: "Two swords among twelve men! you are bravely armed
indeed when our enemies are now coming out against us in great
multitudes, and every one with a sword!" Yet two swords are sufficient
for those who need none, having God himself to be the shield of
their help and the sword of their excellency,
The Agony in the Garden.
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of
Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that
ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and
kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:
nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven,
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his
sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his
disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye
enter into temptation.
We have here the awful story of Christ's agony in the garden,
just before he was betrayed, which was largely related by the other
evangelists. In it Christ accommodated himself to that part of
his undertaking which he was now entering upon--the making of his
soul an offering for sin. He afflicted his own soul with grief for
the sin he was to satisfy for, and an apprehension of the wrath of God
to which man had by sin made himself obnoxious, which he was pleased as
a sacrifice to admit the impressions of, the consuming of a sacrifice
with fire from heaven being the surest token of its acceptance. In it
Christ entered the lists with the powers of darkness, gave them all the
advantages they could desire, and yet conquered them.
I. What we have in this passage which we had before is,
1. That when Christ went out, though it was in the night, and a long
walk, his disciples (eleven of them, for Judas had given them
the slip) followed him. Having continued with him hitherto in
his temptations, they would not leave him now.
2. That he went to the place where he was wont to be private,
which intimates that Christ accustomed himself to retirement, was often
alone, to teach us to be so, for freedom of converse with God and our
own hearts. Though Christ had no conveniency for retirement but a
garden, yet he retired. This should particularly be our practice after
we have been at the Lord's table; we have then work to do which
requires us to be private.
3. That he exhorted his disciples to pray that, though the
approaching trial could not be avoided, yet they might not in it
enter into temptation to sin; that, when they were in the
greatest fright and danger, yet they might not have any inclination to
desert Christ, nor take a step towards it: "Pray that you may be
kept from sin."
4. That he withdrew from them, and prayed himself; they had their
errands at the throne of grace, and he had his, and therefore it was
fit that they should pray separately, as sometimes, when they had joint
errands, they prayed together. He withdrew about a stone's cast
further into the garden, which some reckon about fifty of sixty paces,
and there he kneeled down (so it is here) upon the bare ground;
but the other evangelists say that afterwards he fell on his
face, and there prayed that, if it were the will of God,
this cup of suffering, this bitter cup, might be removed from
him. This was the language of that innocent dread of suffering
which, being really and truly man, he could not but have in his nature.
5. That he, knowing it to be his Father's will that he should suffer
and die, and that, as the matter was now settled, it was necessary for
our redemption and salvation, presently withdrew that petition, did not
insist upon it, but resigned himself to his heavenly Father's will:
"Nevertheless not my will be done, not the will of my human
nature, but the will of God as it is written concerning me in the
volume of the book, which I delight to do, let that be done,"
6. That his disciples were asleep when he was at prayer, and
when they should have been themselves praying,
When he rose from prayer, he found them sleeping,
unconcerned in his sorrows; but see what a favourable construction is
here put upon it, which we had not in the other evangelists--they were
sleeping for sorrow. The great sorrow they were in upon the
mournful farewells their Master had been this evening giving them had
exhausted their spirits, and made them very dull and heavy, which (it
being now late) disposed them to sleep. This teaches us to make the
best of our brethren's infirmities, and, if there be one cause better
than another, charitably impute them to that.
7. That when he awoke them, then he exhorted them to pray
"Why sleep ye? Why do you allow yourselves to sleep? Rise
and pray. Shake off your drowsiness, that you may be fit to
pray, and pray for grace, that you may be able to shake
off your drowsiness." This was like the ship-master's call to Jonah
in a storm
Arise, call upon thy God. When we find ourselves either by our
outward circumstances or our inward dispositions entering into
temptation, it concerns us to rise and pray, Lord, help me in
this time of need. But,
II. There are three things in this passage which we had not in the
1. That, when Christ was in his agony, there appeared to him
an angel from heaven, strengthening him,
(1.) It was an instance of the deep humiliation of our Lord Jesus that
he needed the assistance of an angel, and would admit it.
The influence of the divine nature withdrew for the present, and then,
as to his human nature, he was for a little while lower than the
angels, and was capable of receiving help from them.
(2.) When he was not delivered from his sufferings, yet he was
strengthened and supported under them, and that was
equivalent. If God proportion the shoulders to the burden, we
shall have no reason to complain, whatever he is pleased to lay upon
us. David owns this a sufficient answer to his prayer, in the
day of trouble, that God strengthened him with strength in his
soul, and so does the son of David,
(3.) The angels ministered to the Lord Jesus in his sufferings. He
could have had legions of them to rescue him; nay, this one could have
done it, could have chased and conquered the whole band of men that
came to take him; but he made use of his ministration only to
strengthen him; and the very visit which this angel made him now
in his grief, when his enemies were awake and his friends asleep, was
such a seasonable token of the divine favour as would be a very great
strengthening to him. Yet this was not all: he probably said
something to him to strengthen him; put him in mind that his
sufferings were in order to his Father's glory, to his own glory, and
to the salvation of those that were given him, represented to him the
joy set before him, the seed he should see; with these and the like
suggestions he encouraged him to go on cheerfully; and what is
comforting is strengthening. Perhaps he did something to
strengthen him, wiped away his sweat and tears, perhaps ministered some
cordial to him, as after his temptation, or, it may be, took him by the
arm, and helped him off the ground, or bore him up when he was ready to
faint away; and in these services of the angel the Holy Spirit was
enischyon auton--putting strength into him; for so
the word signifies. It pleased the Lord to bruise him indeed;
yet did he plead against him with his great power? No, but he
put strength in him
as he had promised,
Isa. xlix. 8; l. 7.
2. That, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly,
As his sorrow and trouble grew upon him, he grew more importunate in
prayer; not that there was before any coldness or indifferency in his
prayers, but there was now a greater vehemency in them, which was
expressed in his voice and gesture. Note, Prayer, though never out of
season, is in a special manner seasonable when we are in an agony; and
the stronger our agonies are the more lively and frequent our prayers
should be. Now it was that Christ offered up prayers and
supplications with strong crying and tears, and was heard in that he
and in his fear wrestled, as Jacob with the angel.
3. That, in this agony, his sweat was as it were great drops of
blood falling down to the ground. Sweat came in with sin, and was a
branch of the curse,
And therefore, when Christ was made sin and a curse for us, he
underwent a grievous sweat, that in the sweat of his face we
might eat bread, and that he might sanctify and sweeten all our trials
to us. There is some dispute among the critics whether this
sweat is only compared to drops of blood, being
much thicker than drops of sweat commonly are, the pores of the
body being more than ordinarily opened, or whether real blood
out of the capillary veins mingled with it, so that it was in colour
like blood, and might truly be called a bloody sweat; the matter
is not great. Some reckon this one of the times when Christ shed his
blood for us, for without the shedding of blood there is no
remission. Every pore was as it were a bleeding wound, and his
blood stained all his raiment. This showed the travail of his
soul. He was now abroad in the open air, in a cool season, upon the
cold ground, far in the night, which, one would think, had been enough
to strike in a sweat; yet now he breaks out into a sweat, which
bespeaks the extremity of the agony he was in.
The Treachery of Judas.
47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was
called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near
unto Jesus to kiss him.
48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of
man with a kiss?
49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they
said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and
cut off his right ear.
51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he
touched his ear, and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the
temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out,
as against a thief, with swords and staves?
53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth
no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of
Satan, finding himself baffled in his attempts to terrify our Lord
Jesus, and so to put him out of the possession of his own soul, betakes
himself (according to his usual method) to force and arms, and brings a
party into the field to seize him, and Satan was in them. Here
I. The marking of him by Judas. Here a numerous party appears, and
Judas at the head of them, for he was guide to them that took
Jesus; they knew not where to find him, but he brought them
to the place: when they were there, they knew not which was he, but
Judas told them that whomsoever he should kiss, that same was he; so he
drew near to him to kiss him, according to the wonted freedom
and familiarity to which our Lord Jesus admitted his disciples. Luke
takes notice of the question Christ asked him, which we have not in the
other evangelists: Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a
kiss? What! Is this the signal?
Must the Son of man be betrayed, as if any thing could be
concealed from him, and a plot carried on against him unknown to him?
Must one of his own disciples betray him, as if he had been a hard
Master to them, or deserved ill at their hands? Must he be betrayed
with a kiss? Must the badge of friendship be the instrument of
treachery? Was ever a love-token so desecrated and abused? Note,
Nothing can be a greater affront or grief to the Lord Jesus than to be
betrayed, and betrayed with a kiss, by those that profess relation to
him and an affection for him. Those do so who, under pretence of zeal
for his honour, persecute his servants, who, under the cloak of a
seeming affection for the honour of free grace, give a blow to the root
of holiness and strictness of conversation. Many instances there are of
Christ's being betrayed with a kiss, by those who, under the form of
godliness, fight against the power of it. It were well if their own
consciences would put this question to them, which Christ here puts to
Judas, Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? And will he
not resent it? Will he not revenge it?
II. The effort which his disciples made for his protection
When they saw what would follow, that those armed men were come
to seize him, they said, "Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
Thou didst allow us to have two swords, shall we now make use of
them? Never was there more occasion; and to what purpose should we have
them if we do not use them?" They asked the question as if they would
not have drawn the sword without commission from their Master, but they
were in too much haste and too much heat to stay for an
answer. But Peter, aiming at the head of one of the servants of the
high priest, missed his blow, and cut off his right ear.
As Christ, by throwing them to the ground that came to take him, showed
what he could have done, so Peter, by this exploit, showed what he
could have done too in so good a cause if he had had leave. The other
evangelists tell us what was the check Christ gave to Peter for it.
Luke here tells us,
1. How Christ excused the blow: Suffer ye thus far,
Dr. Whitby thinks he said this to his enemies who came to take him, to
pacify them, that they might not be provoked by it to fall upon the
disciples, whom he had undertaken the preservation of: "Pass by
this injury and affront; it was without warrant from me, and there
shall not be another blow struck." Though Christ had power to have
struck them down, and struck them dead, yet he speaks them fair,
and, as it were, begs their pardon for an assault made upon them
by one of his followers, to teach us to give good words even to our
2. How he cured the wound, which was more than amends sufficient for
the injury: He touched his ear, and healed him; fastened his ear
on again, that he might not so much as go away stigmatized,
though he well deserved it. Christ hereby gave them a proof,
(1.) Of his power. He that could heal could destroy if he
pleased, which should have obliged them in interest to submit to him.
Had they returned the blow upon Peter, he would immediately have healed
him; and what could not a small regiment do that had such a surgeon to
it, immediately to help the sick and wounded?
(2.) Of his mercy and goodness. Christ here gave an illustrious example
to his own rule of doing good to them that hate us, as
afterwards he did of praying for them that despitefully use us.
Those who render good for evil do as Christ did. One would have thought
that this generous piece of kindness should have overcome them, that
such coals, heaped on their heads, should have melted them, that
they could not have bound him as a malefactor who had approved himself
such a benefactor; but their hearts were hardened.
III. Christ's expostulation with the officers of the detachment that
came to apprehend him, to show what an absurd thing it was for them to
make all this rout and noise,
Matthew relates it as said to the multitude. Luke tells us that
it was said to the chief priests and captains of the temple the
latter commanded the several orders of the priests, and therefore are
here put between the chief priests and the elders, so
that they were all ecclesiastics, retainers to the temple, who were
employed in this odious piece of service; and some of the first rank
too disparaged themselves so far as to be seen in it. Now see here,
1. How Christ reasons with them concerning their proceedings.
What occasion was there for them to come out in the dead of the night,
and with swords and staves?
(1.) They knew that he was one that would not resist, nor raise
the mob against them; he never had done any thing like this. Why then
are ye come out as against a thief?
(2.) They knew he was one that would not abscond, for he was
daily with them in the temple, in the midst of them, and never sought
to conceal himself, nor did they offer to lay hands on him. Before his
hour was come, it was folly for them to think to take him; and when his
hour was come it was folly for them to make all this ado to take
2. How he reconciles himself to their proceedings; and this we had not
before: "But this is your hour, and the power of darkness. How
hard soever it may seem that I should be thus exposed, I submit, for so
it is determined. This is the hour allowed you to have your will
against me. There is an hour appointed me to reckon for it. Now
the power of darkness, Satan, the ruler of the darkness of
this world, is permitted to do his worst, to bruise the heel of the
seed of the woman, and I resolve to acquiesce; let him do his worst.
The Lord shall laugh at him, for he sees that his day, his hour,
Let this quiet us under the prevalency of the church's enemies; let it
quiet us in a dying hour, that,
(1.) It is but an hour that is permitted for the triumph of our
adversary, a short time, a limited time.
(2.) It is their hour, which is appointed them, and in which
they are permitted to try their strength, that omnipotence may be the
more glorified in their fall.
(3.) It is the power of darkness that rides master, and
darkness must give way to light, and the power of darkness be made to
truckle to the prince of light. Christ was willing to wait for his
triumphs till his warfare was accomplished, and we must be so too.
The Fall of Peter.
54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the
high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off.
55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall,
and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and
earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art
also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently
affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for
he is a Galilæan.
60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And
immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter
remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before
the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
We have here the melancholy story of Peter's denying his Master, at the
time when he was arraigned before the high priest, and those that were
of the cabal, that were ready to receive the prey, and to
prepare the evidence for his arraignment, as soon as it was day,
before the great sanhedrim,
But notice is not taken here, as was in the other evangelists, of
Christ's being now upon his examination before the high priest, only of
his being brought into the high priest's house,
But the manner of expression is observable. They took him, and led
him, and brought him, which methinks is like that concerning Saul
(1 Samuel 15:12):
He is gone about, and passed on, and gone down; and intimates
that, even when they had seized their prey, they were in confusion,
and, for fear of the people, or rather struck with inward terror upon
what they had seen and heard, they took him the furthest way about, or,
rather, knew not which way they hurried him, such a hurry were they in
in their own bosoms. Now observe,
I. Peter's falling.
1. It began in sneaking. He followed Christ when he was
had away prisoner; this was well, and showed a concern for his Master.
But he followed afar off, that he might be out of danger. He
thought to trim the matter, to follow Christ, and so to satisfy
his conscience, but to follow afar off, and so to save his
reputation, and sleep in a whole skin.
2. It proceeded in keeping his distance still, and associating himself
with the high priest's servants, when he should have been at his
master's elbow. The servants kindled a fire in the midst of the
hall and sat down together, to talk over their
night-expedition. Probably Malchus was among them, and Peter sat
down among them, as if he had been one of them, at least would be
thought to be so. His fall itself was disclaiming all acquaintance with
Christ, and relation to him, disowning him because he was now in
distress and danger. He was charged by a sorry simple maid, that
belonged to the house, with being a retainer to this Jesus,
about whom there was now so much noise. She looked wistfully
upon him as he at by the fire, only because he was a stranger,
and one whom she had not seen before; and concluding that at this time
of night there were no neuters there, and knowing him not to be any of
the retinue of the high priest, she concludes him to be one of the
retinue of this Jesus, or perhaps she had been some time or other
looking about her in the temple, and had seen Jesus there and Peter
with him, officious about him, and remembered him; and this man was
with him, saith she. And Peter, as he had not the courage to
own the charge, so he had not the wit and presence of mind to
turn it off, as he might have done many ways, and therefore
flatly and plainly denies it: Woman, I know him not.
4. His fall was repeated a second time
After a little while, before he had time to recollect himself,
another saw him, and said, "Even thou art one of them, as
slyly as thou sittest here among the high priest's servants." Not
I, saith Peter; Man, I am not. And a third time,
about the space of an hour after (for, saith the tempter, "When
he is down, down with him; let us follow the blow, till we get him past
recovery"), another confidently affirms, strenuously
asserts it, "Of a truth this fellow also was with him, let him
deny it if he can, for you may all perceive he is a Galilean."
But he that has once told a lie is strongly tempted to persist in it;
the beginning of that sin is as the letting forth of
water. Peter now not only denies that he is a disciple of Christ,
but that he knows any thing of him
"Man, I know not what thou sayest; I never heard of this
II. Peter's getting up again. See how happily he recovered
himself, or, rather, the grace of God recovered him. See how it was
1. The cock crew just as he was the third time denying that he
knew Christ, and this startled him and put him upon thinking. Note,
Small accidents may involve great consequences.
2. The Lord turned and looked upon him. This circumstance we had
not in the other evangelists, but it is a very remarkable one. Christ
is here called the Lord, for there was much of divine knowledge,
power, and grace, appearing in this. Observe, Though Christ had now
his back upon Peter, and was upon his trial (when, one would think, he
had something else to mind), yet he knew all that Peter said. Note,
Christ takes more notice of what we say and do than we think he does.
When Peter disowned Christ, yet Christ did not disown him, though he
might justly have cast him off, and never looked upon him more, but
have denied him before his Father. It is well for us that Christ does
not deal with us as we deal with him. Christ looked upon Peter,
not doubting but that Peter would soon be aware of it; for he knew
that, though he had denied him with his lips, yet his eye would still
be towards him. Observe, Though Peter had now been guilty of a very
great offence, and which was very provoking, yet Christ would not
call to him, lest he should shame him or expose
him; he only gave him a look which none but Peter would
understand the meaning of, and it had a great deal in it.
(1.) It was a convincing look. Peter said that he did not
know Christ. Christ turned, and looked upon him, as if he
should say, "Dost thou not know me, Peter? Look me in the face, and
tell me so."
(2.) It was a chiding look. We may suppose that he looked upon
him and frowned, or some way signified his displeasure. Let us
think with what an angry countenance Christ justly looks upon us when
we have sinned.
(3.) It was an expostulating upbraiding look: "What, Peter, art
thou he that disownest me now, when thou shouldest come and witness for
me? What thou a disciple? Thou that wast the most forward to confess me
to be the Son of God, and didst solemnly promise thou wouldest never
(4.) It was a compassionate look; he looked upon him with
tenderness. "Poor Peter, how weak is thine heart! How art thou fallen
and undone if I do not help thee!"
(5.) It was a directing look. Christ guided him with his
eye, gave him a wink to go out from that sorry company, to
retire, and bethink himself a little, and then he would soon see
what he had to do.
(6.) It was a significant look: it signified the conveying of
grace to Peter's heart, to enable him to repent; the crowing of the
cock would not have brought him to repentance without this look, nor
will the external means without special efficacious grace. Power went
along with this look, to change the heart of Peter, and to bring him to
himself, to his right mind.
3. Peter remembered the words of the Lord. Note, The grace of
God works in and by the word of God, brings that to mind,
and sets that home upon the conscience, and so gives the soul a happy
turn. Tolle et lege--Take it up, and read.
4. Then Peter went out, and wept bitterly. One look from Christ
melted him into tears of godly sorrow for sin. The candle was newly put
out, and then a little thing lighted it again. Christ looked upon the
chief priests, and made no impression upon them as he did on Peter, who
had the divine seed remaining in him to work upon. It was not the look
from Christ, but the grace of God with it, that recovered Peter, and
brought him to-rights.
Christ Abused and Insulted.
63 And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.
64 And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the
face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?
65 And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.
66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the
chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into
their council, saying,
67 Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I
tell you, ye will not believe:
68 And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me
69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the
power of God.
70 Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he
said unto them, Ye say that I am.
71 And they said, What need we any further witness? for we
ourselves have heard of his own mouth.
We are here told, as before in the other gospels,
I. How our Lord Jesus was abused by the servants of the high
priest. The abjects, the rude and barbarous servants,
gathered themselves together against him. They that held
Jesus, that had him in custody till the court sat, they mocked
him, and smote him
they would not allow him to repose himself one minute, though he
had had no sleep all night, nor to compose himself, though he
was hurried to his trial, and no time given him to prepare for it. They
made sport with him: this sorrowful night to him shall be a merry night
to them; and the blessed Jesus, like Samson, is made the fool in the
play. They hood-winked him, and then, according to the common
play that young people have among them, they struck him on the
face, and continued to do so till he named the person that smote
intending hereby an affront to his prophetical office, and that
knowledge of secret things which he was said to have. We are not told
that he said any thing, but bore every thing; hell was
let loose, and he suffered it to do its worst. A greater indignity
could not be done to the blessed Jesus, yet this was but one instance
of many; for many other things blasphemously spoke they against
They that condemned him for a blasphemer were themselves the vilest
blasphemers that ever were.
II. How he was accused and condemned by the great sanhedrim, consisting
of the elders of the people, the chief priests, and the scribes,
who were all up betimes, and got together as soon as it was day,
about five of the clock in the morning, to prosecute this matter. They
were working this evil upon their beds, and, as soon as ever the
morning was light, practised it,
They would not have been up so early for any good work. It is but a
short account that we have here of his trial in the ecclesiastical
1. They ask him, Art thou the Christ? He was generally believed
by his followers to be the Christ, but they could not prove it upon him
that he had ever said so totidem verbis--in so many words, and
therefore urge him to own it to them,
If they had asked him this question with a willingness to admit that he
was the Christ, and to receive him accordingly if he could give
sufficient proof of his being so, it had been well, and might
have been for ever well with them; but they asked it with a
resolution not to believe him, but a design to ensnare him.
2. He justly complained of their unfair and unjust usage of him,
They all, as Jews, professed to expect the Messiah, and to expect him
at this time. No other appeared, or had appeared, that pretended
to be the Messiah. He had no competitor, nor was he likely to have any.
He had given amazing proofs of a divine power going along with him,
which made his claims very well worthy of a free and impartial enquiry.
It had been but just for these leaders of the people to have taken him
into their council, and examined him there as a candidate for
the messiahship, not at the bar as a criminal. "But," saith he,
(1.) "If I tell you that I am the Christ, and give you ever such
convincing proofs of it, you are resolved that you will not
believe. Why should the cause be brought on before you who have
already prejudged it, and are resolved, right or wrong, to run it down,
and to condemn it?"
(2.) "If I ask you what you have to object against the proofs I
produce, you will not answer me." Here he refers to their
silence when he put a question to them, which would have led them to
own his authority,
They were neither fair judges, nor fair disputants; but, when they were
pinched with an argument, would rather be silent than own their
conviction: "You will neither answer me nor let me go; if I be
not the Christ, you ought to answer the arguments with
which I prove that I am; if I be, you ought to let me go; but
you will do neither."
3. He referred them to his second coming, for the full proof of his
being the Christ, to their confusion, since they would not now admit
the proof of it, to their conviction
"Hereafter shall the Son of man sit, and be seen to sit, on
the right hand of the power of God, and then you will not need to
ask whether he be the Christ or no."
4. Hence they inferred that he set up himself as the Son of God, and
asked him whether he were so or no
Art thou then the Son of God? He called himself the Son of
man, referring to Daniel's vision of the Son of man that
came near before the Ancient of days,
But they understood so much as to know that if he was that Son
of man, he was also the Son of God. And art thou so? By this it
appears to have been the faith of the Jewish church that the Messiah
should be both Son of man and Son of God.
5. He owns himself to be the Son of God: Ye say that I am; that
is, "I am, as ye say." Compare
Jesus said, I am. This confirms Christ's testimony concerning
himself, that he was the Son of God, that he stood to it, when he knew
he should suffer for standing to it.
6. Upon this they ground his condemnation
What need we any further witness? It was true, they needed not
any further witness to prove that he said he was the Son of God,
they had it from his own mouth; but did they not need proof that
he was not so, before they condemned him as a blasphemer for saying
that he was so? Had they no apprehension that it was possible he might
be so, and then what horrid guilt they should bring upon themselves in
putting him to death? No, they know not, neither will they
understand. They cannot think it possible that he should be the
Messiah, though ever so evidently clothed with divine power and grace,
if he appear not, as they expect, in worldly pomp and grandeur. Their
eyes being blinded with the admiration of that, they rush on in this
dangerous prosecution, as the horse into the battle.
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Luke' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".