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between sinking human nature and the prospect of deep and overwhelming calamities. Great drops of blood. Luke xxii. 44. The word here rendered great drops does not mean drops gently falling on the ground, but rather thick and clammy masses of gore, pressed by inward agony through the skin, and, mixing with the sweat, falling thus to the ground. It has been doubted, by some, whether the sacred writer meant to say that there was actually blood in this sweat, or only that the sweat was in the form of great drops. The natural meaning is, doubtless, that the blood was mingled with his sweat; that it fell profusely-falling masses of gore; that it was pressed out by his inward anguish; and that this was caused in some way in view of his approaching death. This effect of extreme sufferings, of mental anguish, has been known in several other instances. Bloody sweats have been mentioned by many writers as caused by extreme suffering. Dr Doddridge says (Note on Luke xxii. 44), that "Aristotle and Diodorus Siculus both mention bloody sweats as attending some extraordinary agony of mind; Loti, in his life of Pope Sextus V., and Sir John Chardin, in his history of Persia, mentions a like phenomenon, to which Dr Jackson adds another from Thuanus." Several other instances have happened in modern times.
Various opinions have been given of the probable causes of these sorrows of the Saviour. have thought it was a strong shrinking from the manner of dying on the cross, or from an apprehension of being forsaken there by the Father; others, that Satan was permitted in a peculiar manner to try him, and to fill his mind with horrors, having departed from him at the beginning of his ministry for a season (Luke iv. 12), only to renew his temptations in a more dreadful manner now; and others, that these sufferings were sent upon him as the wrath of God manifested against sin, that God inflicted them directly upon him by his own hand, to show his abhorrence of the sins of men, for which he was about to die. Where the Scriptures are silent about the cause, it does not become us confidently to express an opinion. We may suppose, perhaps, without presumption, that a part or all these things were combined to produce this awful suffering. There is no need of supposing that there was a single thing that produced it; but it is rather probable that this was a rush of feeling from every quarter-his situation, his approaching death, the temptations of the enemy, and the awful suffering on account of men's sins, and God's hatred of it about to be manifested in his own death-all coming upon his soul at once-sorrow flowing in from every quarter-the concentration of the sufferings of the atonement pouring together upon him, and filling him with unspeakable anguish.
Sleep on now, and take your rest (ver. 45). Most interpreters have supposed that this should be translated as a question, rather than a command. "Do you sleep now, and take your rest? Is this a time, amidst so much danger and so many enemies, to give yourselves to sleep?" This construction is strongly countenanced by Luke xxii. 46, where the expression, Why sleep ye? evidently refers to the same point of time. There is no doubt that the Greek will bear this construction, and in this way the apparent inconsistency will be removed between this command to sleep, and that in the next verse, to rise and be going. Others suppose that, his agony being over, and the necessity of watching with him being now past, he kindly permitted them to seek repose till they should be roused by the coming of the traitor; that, while they slept, Jesus continued still awake; that some considerable time elapsed between what was spoken here and in the next verse; and that Jesus suffered them to sleep until he saw Judas coming, and then aroused them. Others have supposed that he spoke this in irony: Sleep on now, if you can; take rest, if possible, in such dangers, and at such a time. But this supposition is unworthy the Saviour and the occasion. Mark adds, "It is enough." That is, sufficient time has been given to sleep. It is time to arise and be going. 47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; 'and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, "Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 And, behold, 'one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: "for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest
9 Mark xiv. 43; Luke xxii. 47; John xviii. 3; Acts i. 18.
2 Sam. xx. 9. s Psal. xli. 9, lv, 13.
t John xviii. 10.
thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the 'scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
2 Kings vi. 17; Dan. vii. 10. y Isa. liii. 7; Ver. 24; Luke xxvi. 25, 44, 46. z Lam. iv. 20; Ver. 54. a See John xviii. 15. We are here told how the blessed Jesus was seized, and taken into custody. This followed immediately upon his agony, while he yet spake; for, from the beginning to the close of his passion, he had not the least intermission or breathing-time, but "deep called unto deep."
Judas, one of the twelve, &c. Judas was guide to them that took Jesus (Acts i. 16); without his help they could not have found him in this retirement. Behold, and wonder; the first that appears with his enemies, is one of his own disciples, who an hour or two ago was eating bread with him! There was with him a great multitude; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!" Psal. iii. 1. This multitude was made up partly of a detachment out of the guards that were posted in the tower of Antonia by the Roman governor; these were Gentiles-sinners, as Christ calls them, ver. 45. The rest were the servants and officers of the high priest, and they were Jews. They that were at variance with each other, agreed against Christ. From the chief priests and elders of the people (ver. 47), this armed multitude was sent by them upon this errand. He was taken up by a warrant from the great sanhedrim, as a person obnoxious to them. Pilate, the Roman governor, gave them no warrant to search for him-he had no jealousy of him; but they were men who pretended to religion, and presided in the affairs of the Church, that were active in this prosecution, and were the most spiteful enemies Christ had. It was a sign that he was supported by a divine power; for by all earthly powers he was not only deserted, but opposed. Pilate upbraided him with it-"Thine own nation and the chief priests delivered thee to me." John xviii. 35.
He gave them a sign (ver. 48); as commander of the party in this action, Judas gives the word or signal. He gave them a sign, lest by mistake they should seize one of the disciples instead of him, the disciples having so lately said, in Judas' hearing, that they would be willing to die for him. What abundance of caution was here, not to miss him-That same is he; and when they had him in their hands, not to lose him-Hold him fast; for he had sometimes escaped from those who thought to secure him, as Luke iv. 30. Though the Jews who frequented the temple could not but know him, yet the Roman soldiers perhaps had never seen him, and the sign was to direct them; and Judas by his kiss intended not only to distinguish him, but to detain him, while they came behind him and laid hands on him.
He said, Hail, Master; and kissed him, ver. 49. It should seem, our Lord Jesus had been wont to admit his disciples to such a degree of familiarity with him, as to give them his cheek to kiss after they had been any while absent, which Judas villanously used to facilitate this treason. A kiss is a token of allegiance and friendship. Psal. ii. 12. But Judas, when he broke all the laws of love and duty, profaned this sacred sign to serve his purpose.-There are many that betray Christ with a kiss, and Hail, Master; who, under pretence of doing him honour, betray and undermine the interests of his kingdom.
Wherefore art thou come? Ver. 50. Is it peace, Judas? Explain thyself; if thou come as an enemy, what means this kiss? If as a friend, what means these swords and staves? Wherefore art thou come? What harm have I done thee? Wherein have I wearied thee? Why hadst thou not so much shame left thee, as to keep out of sight, which thou mightest have done, and yet have given the officers notice where I was? This was an instance of great impudence, for him to be so forward and barefaced in this wicked transaction. But it is usual for apostates from religion to be the most bitter enemies to it; witness Julian. Thus Judas did his part. Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. We may well imagine what rude and cruel hands they were which this barbarous multitude laid on Christ; and now, it is probable, they handled him the more roughly for their being so often disappointed when they sought to lay hands on him. They could not have taken him, if he had not surrendered himself, and been delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Acts ii. 23. He who said concerning his anointed servants, "Touch them not," and "Do them no harm” (Psal. cv. 14, 15), spared not his anointed Son, but
delivered him up for us all; and again, gave his strength into captivity, the glory into his enemies'
hands. Psal. Ixxviii. 61.
One of them which were with Jesus in the garden. In John xviii. 10, we are told that it was Peter who signalized himself upon this occasion. He drew his sword. They had but two swords among them all (Luke xxii. 38), and one of them, it seems, fell to Peter's share; and now he thought it was time to draw it, and he laid about him as if he would have done some great matter; but all the execution he did was the cutting off an ear from a servant of the high priest, designing, it is likely, to cleave him down the head, because he saw him more forward than the rest in laying hands on Christ, he missed his blow. Peter had talked much of what he would do for his Master. He would lay down his life for him; yea, that he would; and now he would be as good as his word, and venture his life to rescue his Master: and thus far was commendable, that he had a great zeal for Christ, and his honour and safety; but it was not according to knowledge, nor guided by discretion-for he did it without warrant. Some of the disciples asked indeed, "Shall we smite with the sword?" Luke xxii. 49. But Peter struck before they had an answer. We must see not only our cause good, but our call clear, before we draw the sword; we must show by what authority we do it, and who gave us that authority. He indiscreetly exposed himself and his fellow-disciples to the rage of the multitude; for what could they with two swords do against a band of men?
Put up again thy sword into its place, ver. 52. He does not command the officers and soldiers to put up their swords that were drawn against him; he left them to the judgment of God, who judges them that are without. But he commands Peter to put up his sword; does not chide him indeed for what he had done, because done out of good will, but stops the progress of his arms, and provides that it should not be drawn into a precedent. Christ's errand into the world was to make peace.
They that take the sword, shall perish with the sword, ver. 52. They that use violence, fall by violence. They that take the sword before it is given them, that use it without warrant or call, expose themselves to the sword of war, or public justice. Had it not been for the special care and providence of the Lord Jesus, Peter and the rest of them had, for aught I know, been pieces immediately. Grotius gives another and a probable sense of this blow, making th take the sword to be, not Peter, but the officers and soldiers that come with swords to take they shall perish with the sword. "Peter, thou needest not draw thy sword to punish them. God will certainly, shortly, and severely reckon with them." They took the Roman sword to seize Christ with, and by the Roman sword, not long after, they and their place and nation were destroyed. Therefore we must not avenge ourselves, because God will repay (Rom. xii. 19); and therefore we must suffer with faith and patience, because persecutors will be paid in their own coin. See Rev. xiii. 10.
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall send (ver. 53) from heaven effectual succours? Peter, if I would put by these sufferings, I could easily do it without thy hand or thy sword. God has no need of us, of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes; and it argues our distrust and disbelief of the power of Christ, when we go out of the way of our duty to serve his interests. God can do his work without us; if we look into the heavens, and see how he is attended there, we may easily infer that, though we be righteous, he is not beholden to us. Job xxxv. 5, 7. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was a voluntary weakness; he submitted to death, not because he could not, but because he would not contend with it. This takes off the offence of the cross, and proves Christ crucified the power of God; even now, in the depth of his sufferings, he could call in the aid of legions of angels.
But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? Ver. 54. It was written, that Christ should be "led as a lamb to the slaughter." Isa. liii. 7. Should he summon the angels to his assistance, he would not be led to the slaughter at all; should he permit his disciples to fight, he would not be led as a lamb, quietly and without resistance; therefore he and his disciples must yield to the accomplishment of the predictions. In all difficult cases, the, Word of God must be conclusive against our own counsels; and nothing must be done, nothing attempted, against the fulfilling of the Scripture. If the easing of our pains, the breaking of our bonds, the saving of our lives, will not consist with the fulfilling of the Scripture, we ought to say, "Let God's word and will take place-let his law be magnified and made honourable, whatever becomes of us."
Are ye come out as against a thief (ver. 55), as if I were an enemy to the public safety, and deservedly suffered this? I sat daily with you in the temple teaching. He had given them no occasion to look upon him as a thief, for he had taught in the temple. And such were the matter, and such the manner of his teaching, that he was manifested in the consciences of all that heard him not to be a bad man. Such gracious words as came from his mouth, were not the words of
thief, nor of one that had a devil. Nor had he given them occasion to look upon him as one that fled from justice, that they should come in the night to seize him; if they had any thing to say to him, they might find him every day in the temple, ready to answer all challenges, all charges, and they might do as they pleased with him; for the chief priests had the custody of the temple, and the command of the guards about it; but to come upon him thus clandestinely, in the place of his retirement, was base and cowardly. Thus the greatest hero may be villanously assassinated in a corner, by one that in open field would tremble to look him in the face.
But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled, ver. 56. It is hard to say, whether these are the words of the sacred historian, as a comment upon this story, and a direction to the Christian reader to compare it with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which pointed at it; or, whether they are the words of Christ himself, as a reason why, though he could not but resent this base treatment, he yet submitted to it, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled, to which he had just now referred himself, ver. 54.
They all forsook him, and fled, ver. 56. This was their sin; and it was a great sin for them who had left all to follow him, now to leave him for they knew not what. There was unkindness in it, considering the relation they stood in to him, the favours they had received from him, and the melancholy circumstances he was now in. There was unfaithfulness in it; for they had solemnly promised to adhere to him, and never to forsake him. He had indented for their safe conduct (John xviii. 8); yet they could not rely upon that, but shifted for themselves by an inglorious flight. What folly was this, for fear of death, to flee from him whom they themselves knew and had acknowledged to be the Fountain of life? John vi. 67, 68. "Lord, what is man!"
57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. 59 Now the chief priest, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came "two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 'And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, 'Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, "He is guilty of death. 67 "Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
b Mark xiv. 53; Luke xxii. 54; John xviii. 12, 13, 24. c Psal. xxvii. 12, xxxv. 11; Mark xiv. 55; Acts vi. 13. d Deut. xix. 15. e Chap. xxvii. 40; John ii. 19. f Mark xiv. 60. g Isa. liii. 7; Chap. xxvii. 12, 14. h Lev. v. 1; 1 Sam. xiv. 24, 26. i Dan. vii. 13; Chap. xvi. 27, xxiv. 30; Luke xxi. 27, xxv. 31: John i. 51; Rom. xiv. 10; 1 Thess. iv. 16; Rev. i. 7. Psal. cx. 1; Acts vii. 55. 2 Kings xviii. 37, xix. 1. m Lev. xxiv. 16; John xix. 7. n Isa. 1. 6, liii. 3; Chap. xxvii. 30. o Luke xxii. 63; John xix. 3. Or, rods. p Mark xiv. 65; Luke xxii. 64.
This passage contains the arraignment of our Lord Jesus in the ecclesiastical court, before the great sanhedrim. The scribes and the elders were assembled, though it was in the dead time of the night, when other people were fast asleep in their beds; yet, to gratify their malice against Christ, they denied themselves that natural rest, and sat up all night, to be ready to fall upon the prey which Judas and his men, they hoped, would seize. The scribes, the principal teachers, and elders, the principal rulers, of the Jewish Church; these were the most bitter enemies to Christ our great teacher and ruler, on whom they had a jealous eye, as one that eclipsed them. Now the Scripture was fulfilled (Psal. xxii. 16), "The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me." In the palace of
Caiphas the high priest; there they assembled two days before, to lay the plot (ver. 3), and there they now convened again, to prosecute it.
But Peter followed afar off, ver. 58. This comes in here, with an eye to the following story of his denying him. He forsook him as the rest did, when he was seized, and what is here said of his following him is easily reconcilable with his forsaking him; such following was no better than forsaking him. He followed him, but it was afar off. Some sparks of love and concern for his Master there were in his breast, and therefore he followed him; but fear and concern for his own safety prevailed, and therefore he followed afar off, and went in, and sat with the servants. He should have gone up to the court, and attended on his Master, and appeared for him; but he went in where there was a good fire, and sat with the servants, not to silence their reproaches, but to screen himself. It was presumption in Peter thus to thrust himself into temptation; he that does so, throws himself out of God's protection. Christ had told Peter that he could not follow him now, and had particularly warned him of his danger this night; and yet he would venture into the midst of this wicked crew. It helped David to walk in his integrity, that he hated the congregation of evil doers, and would not sit with the wicked. To see the end-led more by his curiosity than by his conscience; he attended as an idle spectator rather than a disciple, a person concerned. It is not unlikely that Peter went in, expecting that Christ would have made his escape miraculously out of the hands of his persecutors; that, having so lately struck them down, who came to seize him, he would now have struck them dead who sat to judge him; and this he had a mind to see: if so, it was folly for him to think of seeing any other end than what Christ had foretold, that he should be put to death.
They sought false witness against him. They had seized him, bound him, abused him, and after all have to seek for something to lay to his charge, and can show no cause for his commitment. They tried if any of them could allege, seemingly from their own knowledge, any thing against him; and suggested one calumny and then another, which, if true, might touch his life. Thus evil men dig up mischief. Prov. xvi. 27. They made proclamation that, if any one could give information against the prisoner at the bar, they were ready to receive it, and presently many bore false witness against him, ver. 60. In several attempts they were baffled; they sought false testimonies among themselves, others came in to help them, and yet they found none; they could make nothing of it—could not take the evidence together, or give it any colour of truth or consistency with itself-no, not they themselves being judges. But at last they met with two witnesses (two were required by the law to establish a charge), who, it seems, agreed in their evidence, and therefore were hearkened to, in hopes that now the point was gained. The words they swore against him were, that he had said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days, ver. 61. By this they designed to accuse him as an enemy to the temple, and one that sought for the destruction of it, which they could not bear to hear of; for they valued themselves by the temple of the Lord (Jer. vii. 4), and, when they abandoned other idols, made a perfect idol of that. Stephen was accused for speaking against this holy place. Acts vi. 13, 14. They designed also to accuse him as one that dealt in witchcraft, or some such unlawful arts, by the help of which he could rear such a building in three days; they had often suggested that he was in league with Beelzebub. As to this charge, First, The words were mis-recited; he said, Destroy this temple (John ii. 19), plainly intimating that he spoke of a temple which his enemies would seek to destroy; they come, and swear that he said, I am able to destroy this temple, as if the design against it were his. Secondly, The words were misunderstood; he spoke of the temple of his body (John ii. 21), and perhaps when he said, this temple, pointed to, or laid his hand upon, his own body; but they swore that he said the temple of God, meaning this holy place. Thirdly, Make the worst they could of it, it was no capital crime, even by their own law; if it had been, no question but he had been prosecuted for it, when he spoke the words in a public discourse some years before.
“Answerest thou nothing? Ver. 62. Come, you the prisoner at the bar, you hear what is sworn against you; what have you now to say for yourself? What defence can you make?" But Jesus held his peace (ver. 63), not as one sullen, or as one self-condemned, or as one astonished and in confusion--not because he wanted something to say, or knew not how to say it, but that the Scripture might be fulfilled (Isa. liii. 7), "As the sheep is dumb before the shearer, so he opened not his mouth." He was silent, because his hour was come; he would not deny the charge, because he was willing to submit to the sentence; otherwise, he could as easily have put them to silence and shame now, as he had done many a time before. If God had entered into judgment with us, we had been speechless (chap. xxii. 12), not able to answer for one of a thousand. Job. ix. 3. Therefore, when Christ was made sin for us, he was silent, and left it to his blood to speak. Heb. xii. 24. He stood mute at this bar, that we might have something to say at God's bar.
They examined our Lord Jesus himself upon an oath. Since they could not accuse him, they