RPM, Volume 17, Number 36, August 30 to September 5, 2015

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical
Part 18

By Albert Barnes

Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Baker Book House, 1949.



Verses 1-16. See also Mr 14:1-11; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-7


Verse 2. After two days is the feast of the Passover. See Barnes "Mt 12:1-8".

The festival of the passover was celebrated to preserve among the Jews the memory of their liberation from Egyptian servitude, and of the safety of their firstborn in that night when the firstborn of the Egyptians perished, Ex 12:1. The name passover was given to the feast because the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites without slaying their firstborn, while the Egyptians were cut off, Ex 12:13. It was celebrated seven days, viz., from the 15th to the 21st of the month ABIB, or NISAN, (April,) Ex 12:15-20. During all this period the people ate unleavened bread, and hence the festival was sometimes called the feast of unleavened bread, Ex 12:18; Le 23:6. On the evening of the fourteenth day, all the leaven or yeast in the family was removed with great care, as it is to the present time--a circumstance to which the apostle alludes in 1 Co 5:7. On the 10th day of the month the master of a family separated a lamb or a goat of a year old from the flock, (Ex 12:1-6,) which he slew on the 14th day before the altar, De 16:2,5,6.

The lamb was commonly slain at about 3 o'clock, P.M . The blood of the paschal lamb was, in Egypt, sprinkled on the doorposts of the houses; afterwards it was poured by the priests at the foot of the altar, Ex 12:7. The lamb thus slain was roasted whole, with two spits thrust through it ---one lengthwise, and one transversely--crossing each other near the fore legs; so that the animal was, in a manner, crucified. Not a bone of it might be broken--a circumstance strongly representing the sufferings of our Lord Jesus, the Passover slain for us, Joh 19:36; 1 Co 5:7. Thus roasted, the lamb was served up with wild and bitter herbs. Not fewer than ten, nor more than twenty persons, were admitted to these sacred feasts. At first it was observed with the loins girt about, with sandals on their feet, and with all the preparations for an immediate journey. This, in Egypt, was significant of the haste with which they were about to depart from the land of bondage. The custom was afterwards retained.

The order of the celebration of this feast was as follows: The ceremony commenced with drinking a cup of wine mingled with water, after having given thanks to God for it. This was the first cup. Then followed the washing of hands, with another short form of thanksgiving to God. The table was then supplied with the provisions, viz., the bitter salad, the unleavened bread, the lamb, and a thick sauce composed of dates, figs, raisins, vinegar, etc. They then took a small quantity of salad, with another thanksgiving, and ate it. After which, all the dishes were removed from the table, and a second cup of wine set before each guest as at first. The dishes were removed, it is said, to excite the curiosity of children, and to lead them to make inquiry into the cause of this observance. See Ex 12:26,27. The leading person at the feast then began and rehearsed the history of the servitude of the Jews in Egypt, the manner of their deliverance, and the reason of instituting the passover. The dishes were then returned to the table, and he said, "This is the passover which we eat, because that the Lord passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt;" and then holding up the salad and the unleavened bread, he stated the design, viz., that the one represented the bitterness of the Egyptian bondage, and the other the suddenness of their deliverance. This done, he repeated the 113th and 114th Psalms, offered a short prayer, and all the company drank the wine that had been standing some time before them. This was the second cup. The hands were then again washed, and the meal then eaten, with the usual forms and solemnities. After which they washed the hands again, and then drank another cup of wine, called the cup of blessing, because the leader was accustomed in a particular manner, over that cup, to offer thanks to God for his goodness. This is the cup which our Saviour is supposed to have taken when he instituted the Lord's Supper, called by Paul the cup of blessing, 1 Co 10:16. There was still another cup, which was drunk when they were about to separate, called the Hallel, because in connexion with it they were accustomed to repeat the lesser Hallel, or the 115th, 116th, 117th, 118th Psalms. In accordance with this, our Saviour and his disciples sang a hymn, as they were about to go to the Mount of Olives, Mt 26:30. It is probable that our Saviour complied with these rites according to the custom of the Jews. While doing it, he signified that the typical reference of the passover was about to be accomplished, and he instituted in place of it the Supper--the communion--and of course the obligation to keep the passover then ceased.

The Son of man is betrayed. Will be betrayed. He did not mean to say that they then knew that he would be betrayed, for it does not appear that they had been informed of the precise time. But they knew that the passover was at hand, and he then informed them that he would be betrayed.

To be crucified. To be put to death on the cross. See Barnes "Mt 27:35".

{r} "Ye know" Mr 14:1; Lu 22:1; Joh 13:1


Verse 3. Then assembled, etc. This was a meeting of the great council or sanhedrim. See Barnes "Mt 5:22".

The palace. The original word properly denotes the hall or large area in the centre of the dwelling, called the court. See Barnes "Mt 9:2".

It may be understood, however, as referring to the palace itself.

The High Priest. Holding the office that was first conferred on Aaron, Ex 28:1 and following. The office was at first hereditary, descending on the eldest son Nu 3:10. Antiochus Epiphanes, (B. C. 160) when he had possession of Judea, sold the office to the highest bidder. In the year 152 B.C., Alexander, king of Syria, conferred the office on JONATHAN, 1 Mac 10:18-20, whose brother Simon was afterwards created by the Jews both prince and high priest, 1 Mac 14:35-47. His posterity, who at the same time sustained the office of kings, occupied the station of high priest till the time of Herod, who changed the incumbents of the office at pleasure: a liberty which the Romans ever afterwards exercised without any restraint. The office was never more fluctuating than in the time of our Saviour. Hence it is said that Caiaphas was high priest for that year, Joh 11:51. Persons who had been high priests, and had been removed from office, still retained the name. Hence more than one high priest is sometimes mentioned, though strictly there was but one who held the office.


Verse 4. By subtilty. By guile, deceit, or in some secret manner, so that the people would not know it. Jesus was regarded by the people as a distinguished prophet, and by most of them probably, as the Messiah; and the sanhedrim did not dare to take him away openly, lest the people should rise and rescue him. They were probably aware that he had gone out to Bethany, or to some of the places adjacent to the city; and as he passed his nights there, and not in the city, there was need of guile to ascertain the place where he remained, and to take him.

{v} "And consulted" Ps 2:2


Verse 5. Not on the feast day. Not during the feast. The feast lasted seven days. A vast multitude attended from all parts of Judea. Jerusalem is said to have contained at such times three millions of people. Amidst such a multitude there were frequent tumults and seditions; and the sanhedrim was justly apprehensive there would be now, if in open day, and in the temple, they took away a teacher so popular as Jesus, and put him to death. They therefore sought how they might do it secretly, and by guile.


Verse 6. In Bethany. See Barnes "Mt 21:1".

Simon the leper Simon who had been a leper.

Leper. See Barnes "Mt 8:2".

It was unlawful to eat with persons that had the leprosy; and it is more than probable, therefore, that this Simon had been healed--perhaps by our Lord himself. Mt 12:1 says, that this was the house where Lazarus was, who had been raised from the dead. Probably Lazarus was a relative of Simon's, and was living with him. He farther says that they made Jesus a supper, and that Martha served. John says that this was six days before the passover. From the order in which Matthew and Mark mention it, it would have been supposed that it was but two days before the passover, and after the cleansing of the temple. But it is to be observed,

(1.) that Matthew and Mark often neglect the exact order of the events that they record.

(2.) That they do not affirm at what time this was. They leave it indefinite, saying that while Jesus was in Bethany he was anointed by Mary.

(3.) That Matthew introduced it here for the purpose of giving a connected account of the conduct of Judas. Judas murmured at the waste of the ointment, Joh 12;4 and one of the effects of his indignation, it seems, was to betray his Lord.


Verse 7. There came unto him a woman. This woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, Joh 12:3.

Having an alabaster box. The alabaster is a species of marble, distinguished for being light, and of a beautiful white colour, almost transparent. It was much used by the ancients for the purpose of preserving various kinds of ointment in.

Of very precious ointment. That is, of ointment of much value; that was rare, and difficult to be obtained. Mark (Mr 14:3) and John (Joh 12:3) say, that it was ointment of spikenard. In the original it is nard. It was procured from an herb growing in the Indies, chiefly obtained from the root--though sometimes also from the bark. It was liquid, so as easily to flow when the box or phial was open, and was distinguished particularly for an agreeable smell. See So 1:12. The ancients were much in the habit of anointing or perfuming their bodies, and the nard was esteemed one of the most precious perfumes. John says there was a pound of this, (Joh 12:3.) The pound in use among them was the Roman, of twelve ounces, answering to our Troy weight. That there was a large quantity is farther evident from the fact that Judas says it might have been sold for three hundred pence, (forty dollars,) [or -L-9,] and that the house was filled with the odour of the ointment, (John.)

And poured it on his head. They were accustomed chiefly to anoint the head, or hair. John says (Joh 12:3) that she poured it on the feet of Jesus, and wiped them with her hair. There is, however, no contradiction. She probably poured it both on his head and his feet. Matthew and Mark having recorded the former, John, who wrote his gospel in part to record events omitted by them, relates that the ointment was also poured on the feet of the Saviour. To pour ointment on the head was common. To pour it on the feet was an act of distinguished humility and attachment to the Saviour, and therefore deserved to be particularly recorded.

As he sat at meat. That is, at supper. In the original, as he reclined at supper. The ancients did not sit at their meals, but reclined at length on couches. See Barnes "Mt 23:6".

She came up, therefore, behind him, as he lay reclined at the table; and bending down over the couch, poured the ointment on his head and his feet; and probably kneeling at his feet, wiped them with her hair.

{t} "Then came" Joh 11:1,2; 12:3


Verse 8. They had indignation. John says that Judas expressed indignation. Probably some of the others felt indignation, but Judas only gave vent to his feelings. The reason why Judas was indignant was that he had the bag, (Joh 12:6;) i.e., the purse, or repository of articles given to the disciples and to the Saviour. He was a thief; and was in the habit, it seems, of taking out and putting to his own use what was put in for them in common. The leading trait of Judas' character was avarice; and no opportunity was suffered to pass without attempting by base and wicked means, to make money. In his example, an avaricious man may learn the true nature and the effect of that grovelling and wicked passion. It led him to commit the enormous crime of betraying his Lord to death; and it will always lead its possessor to guilt. No small part of the sins of the men of the world can be traced to avarice; and many and many a time since the days of Judas has the Lord Jesus been betrayed among his professed friends by the same base propensity.

Is this waste. This loss or destruction of property. They could see no use in it, and they therefore supposed it was lost.


Verse 9. Sold for much. Mark and John say for 300 pence; that is, for about 40 dollars, [about -L- 9.] This, to them, was a large sum. Mark says, they murmured against her. There was also an implied murmuring against the Saviour for suffering it to be done. The murmuring was, however, without cause. It was the property of Mary. She had a right to dispose of it as she pleased, answerable not to them, but to God. They had no right over it, and no cause of complaint ff it had been wasted. So Christians now are at liberty to dispose of their property as they please, either in distributing the Bible, in supporting the gospel, in sending it to heathen nations, or in aiding the poor. The world, like Judas, esteems it to be wasted. Like Judas, they are indignant. They say it might be disposed of in a better way. Yet, like Judas, they are interfering in that which concerns them not. Like other men, Christians have a right to dispose of their property as they please, answerable only to God. And though an avaricious world esteems it to be waste, yet if their Lord commands it, it will be found to be the only way in which it was right for them to dispose of that property, and will be found not to have been in vain.


Verse 10. Trouble ye the woman. That is disturb her mind by insinuations, as if she had done wrong.

A good work upon me. She has done it with a mind grateful, and full of love to me. The work was good, also, as it was preparative to his death, Mt 26:12.


Verse 11. For ye have the poor, etc. Mark adds, "Whensoever ye will ye may do them good." It was right that they should regard the poor. It was a plain precept of religion, (see Ps 41:1; Pr 14:21; Pr 29:7; Ga 2:10,) and our Saviour would not prohibit it, but do all that was possible to excite his followers to the duty. But every duty should be done in its place, and the duty then incumbent was that which Mary had performed. They would afterwards have abundant occasion to show their regard for the poor.

Me ye have not always. He alludes here to his dying, and his going away to heaven. He would be their Friend and their Saviour, but he would not be bodily present with them always, so that they could show kindness in this way to him.

{u} "For ye have the poor" De 15:11

{v} "me ye have not" Joh 14:19; 17:11


Verse 12. She did it for my burial. It is not to be supposed that Mary understood clearly that he was then about to die, for the apostles, it seems, did not fully comprehend it, or that she intended it for his burial; but she had done it as an act of kindness and love, to show her regard for her Lord. He said that it was a proper preparation for his burial. Anciently, bodies were anointed and embalmed for the purpose of the sepulchre. Jesus said that this was really a preparation for that burial, as fitting him in a proper manner for the tomb.


Verse 13. A memorial. Anything to produce remembrance. This should be told to her honour and credit, as a memorial of her piety and self-denial; and it is right that the good deeds of the pious should be recorded and had in recollection.


Verse 14. Then one of the twelve, etc. Luke says that Satan entered into Judas. That is, Satan tempted or instigated him to do it. Probably he tempted Judas by appealing to his avarice, his ruling passion, and by suggesting that now was a favourable opportunity to make money rapidly, by selling his Lord.

Judas Iscariot. See Barnes "Mt 10:4".

Unto the Chief Priests. The high priest, and those who had been high priests. The ruling men of the sanhedrim. Luke adds, that he went also to the captains, (Mt 22:4.) It was necessary, on account of the great wealth deposited there, and its great sacredness, to guard the temple by night. Accordingly, men were stationed around it, whose leaders or commanders were caned captains, Ac 4:1. These men were commonly of the tribe of the Levites, were closely connected with the priests, were men of influence; and Judas went to them, therefore, as well as to the priests, to offer himself as a traitor. Probably his object was to get as much money as possible; and he might therefore have attempted to make a bargain with several of them apart from each other.

{w} "of the twelve" Mt 10:4


Verse 15. And they covenanted with him. Made a bargain with him. Agreed to give him. Mark says they promised to give him money. They did not pay it to him then, lest he should deceive them. When the deed was done, and before he was made sensible of its guilt, they paid him. See Mt 27:3; Ac 1:18.

Thirty pieces of silver. Mark and Luke do not mention the sum. They say that they promised him money--in the original, silver. In Matthew, in the original, it is thirty silvers, or silverlings. This was the price of a slave. See Ex 21:32. And it is not unlikely that this sum was fixed on by them to show their contempt of Jesus, and that they regarded him as of little value. There is no doubt, also, that they understood that such was the anxiety of Judas to obtain money, that he would betray his Lord for any sum. The money usually denoted by pieces of silver, when the precise sum is not mentioned, is a shekel --a silver Jewish coin, amounting to about fifty cents, [or 2s. 3d.] The whole sum, therefore, for which Judas committed this crime, was fifteen dollars, [or 3l 7s. 6d.]

{x} "covenanted" Zec 11:12,13; Mt 27:3


Verse 16. Sought opportunity to betray him. Luke adds, "in the absence of the multitude." This was the chief difficulty, to deliver him into the hands of the priests so as not to have it known by the people, or so as not to excite tumult. The opportunity which he sought, therefore, was one in which the multitude would not see him, or could not rescue the Saviour.

To betray him. The word means to deliver into the hands of an enemy by treachery or breach of trust; to do it while friendship or faithfulness is professed. All this took place in the case of Judas. But the word in the original does not necessarily imply this. It means simply to deliver up, or to give into their hands. He sought opportunity how he might deliver him up to them, agreeably to the contract.


Verses 17-19. See also Mr 14:12-16; Lu 22:7-13

Verse 17. The first day, etc. The feast continued eight days, including the day on which the paschal lamb was killed and eaten, Ex 12:15. That was the fourteenth day of the month Abib, answering to parts of our March and April.

Of unleavened bread. Called so because, during those eight days, no bread made with yeast or leaven was allowed to be eaten. Luke says, "when the Passover must be killed." That is, in which the paschal lamb, or the lamb eaten on the occasion, must be killed. The word in the original, translated passover, commonly means, not the feast itself, but the lamb that was killed on the occasion.

See Ex 12:43; Nu 9:11; Joh 18:28; 1 Co 5:7, where Christ our Passover, is said to be slain for us; i.e. our Paschal Lamb, so called on account of his innocence, and his being offered as a victim, or sacrifice, for our sins.

{y} "Now the first day" Ex 12:6,18


Verse 18. Go into the city to such a man. That is, Jerusalem, called the city, by way of eminence. Luke says that the disciples whom he sent were Peter and John. The man to whom they were to go, it seems, he did not mention by name, but he told them that when they came into the city, a man would meet them bearing a pitcher of water. See Mark and Luke. Him they were to follow, and in the house which he entered they would find a room prepared. The name of the man was not mentioned. The house in which they were to keep the passover was not mentioned. The reason of this probably was, that Christ was desirous of concealing from Judas the place where they would keep the passover. He was acquainted with the design of Judas to betray him. He knew that if Judas was acquainted with the place beforehand, he could easily give information to the chief priests, and it would give them a favourable opportunity to surprise them, and apprehend him without making a tumult. Though it was certain that he would not be delivered up before the time appointed by the Father, yet it was proper to use the means to prevent it. There can be but little doubt that Jesus was acquainted with this man, and that he was a disciple. The direction which he gave his disciples most clearly proves that he was omniscient. Amidst so great a multitude going at that time into the city, it was impossible to know that a particular man would be met a man bearing a pitcher of water--unless Jesus had all knowledge, and was therefore Divine.

The Master saith. This was the name by which Jesus was probably known among the disciples, and one which he directed them to give him. See Mt 23:8,10. It means, literally, the teacher, as opposed to the disciple, or learner; not the master, as opposed to the servant or slave. The fact that they used this name as if the man would know whom they meant, and the fact that he understood them, and made no inquiries about him, shows that he was acquainted with Jesus, and was probably himself a disciple.

My time is at hand. That is, is near. By his time here may be meant, either his time to eat the passover, or the time of his death. It has been supposed by many, that Jesus, in accordance with a part of the Jews who rejected traditions, anticipated the usual observance of the passover, or kept it one day sooner. The Pharisees had devised many forms of ascertaining when the month commenced. They placed witnesses around the heights of the temple to observe the first appearance of the new moon; they examined the witnesses with much formality, and endeavoured also to obtain the exact time by astronomical calculations. Others held that the month properly commenced when the moon was visible. Thus it is said a difference arose between them about the time of the passover, and that Jesus kept it one day sooner than most of the people. The foundation of the opinion that Jesus anticipated the usual time of keeping the passover is the following:

(1.) In Joh 18:28, it is said that on the day on which our Lord was crucified, and of course the day after he had eaten the passover, the chief priests would not go into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover, evidently meaning that it was to be eaten that day.

(2.) In Joh 19:14, the day on which he was crucified is called the preparation of the passover; that is, the day on which it was prepared to be eaten in the evening.

(3.) In John 19:31, the day in which our Lord lay in the grave was called the great day of the Sabbath, "an high day." That is, the day after the passover was killed, the Sabbath occurring on the first day of the feast properly, and therefore a day of peculiar solemnity. Yet our Saviour had partaken of it two days before, and therefore the day before the body of the people. If this opinion be true, then the phrase "my time is at hand" means, my time for keeping the passover is near. Whether the opinion be true or not, there may be a reference also to his death. This was probably a disciple of his, though perhaps a secret one. Jesus might purpose to keep the passover at his house, that he might inform him more particularly respecting his death, and prepare him for it. He sent therefore to him, and said, "I will keep the passover at thy house."

Mark and Luke add, that he would show them "a large upper room, furnished and prepared." Ancient writers remark, that at the time of the great feasts the houses in Jerusalem were all open to receive guests; that the houses were in a manner common to the people of Judea; and there is no doubt, therefore, that the master of a house would have it ready on such occasions for company. It is possible also that there might have been an agreement between this man and our Lord, that he would prepare his house for him, though this was unknown to the disciples. The word rendered furnished means, literally, spread; that is, spread with carpets, and with couches, on which to recline as the table, after the manner of the East. See Barnes "Mt 23:6".


Verse 19. They made ready the Passover. That is, they procured a paschal lamb, multitudes of which were kept for sale in the temple; they procured it to be killed and flayed by the priests, and the blood to be poured at the altar; they roasted the lamb, and prepared the bitter herbs, the sauce, and the unleavened bread. This was done, it seems, while our Lord was absent, by the two disciples.


Verse 20. When the even was come. The lamb was killed between the evenings, Ex 12:6, (Hebrew) that is, between three o'clock P.M. and nine in the evening. The Jews reckoned two evenings, one from three o'clock P.M. to sunset, the other from sunset to the close of the first watch in the night, or nine o'clock. The paschal supper was commonly eaten after the setting of the sun, and often in the night, Ex 12:8.

He sat down. At first, the supper was eaten standing, with the loins girded and their staff in their hand, denoting the haste with which they were about to flee from Egypt. Afterwards, however, they introduced the practice, it seems, of partaking of this as they did of their ordinary meals. The original word is, he reclined; i.e., he placed himself on the couch in a reclining posture, in the usual manner in which they partook of their meals. See Barnes "Mt 23:6".

While sitting there at the supper, the disciples had a dispute which should be the greatest. See Barnes "Lu 22:24" and Lu 22:25-30. At this time also, before the institution of the Lord's Supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, to teach them humility. See Barnes "Joh 13:1" and Joh 13:2-20.


Verses 21-24. As they did eat, etc. The account contained in these verses is also recorded in Mr 14:18-21; Lu 22:21-23; Joh 13:21-22.

John 13:21, 22. John says, that before Jesus declared that one of them should betray him, he was troubled in spirit, and testified. That is, he felt deeply the greatness of the crime that Judas was about to commit, and anticipated with much feeling the sufferings that he was to endure.

He testified. He bore witness, or he declared.


Verse 22. They were exceeding sorrowful. John says, they looked on one another, like men in anxiety, conscious each one, except Judas, of no such intention, and each one beginning to examine himself, to find whether he was the person intended. This showed their innocence, and their attachment to Jesus. It showed how sensitive they were to the least suspicion of the kind. It showed that they were willing to know themselves; thus evincing the spirit of the true Christian. Judas only was silent, and was the last to make the inquiry, and that after he had been plainly indicated, Mt 26:25. Thus showing,

(1.) that guilt is slow to suspect itself;

(2.) that it shrinks from the light;

(3.) that it was his purpose to conceal his intention; and,

(4.) that nothing but the consciousness that his Lord knew it could induce him to make inquiry. The guilty would, if possible, always conceal their crimes. The innocent are ready to suspect that they may have done wrong. Their feelings are tender, and they inquire with solicitude whether there may not be something in their bosoms unknown to themselves, that may be a departure from right feeling.


Verse 23. He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish. The Jews, at the observance of this ordinance, used a bitter sauce, made of bunches of raisins, mixed with vinegar and other seasoning of the like kind, which they said represented the clay which their fathers were compelled to use in Egypt, in making brick; thus reminding them of their bitter bondage there. This was probably the dish to which reference is made here. It is not improbable that Judas reclined near to our Saviour at the feast; and by his saying it was one that dipped with him in the dish, he meant one that was near to him, designating him more particularly than he had done before. John adds, (Joh 13:23-30); See Barnes "Joh 13:23"

and following, that a disciple (i.e. John himself) was reclining on Jesus' bosom; that Simon Peter beckoned to him to ask Jesus more particularly who it was; that Jesus signified who it was, by giving Judas a sop; i.e., a piece of bread or meat, dipped in the thick sauce; and that Judas, having received it, went out to accomplish his wicked design of betraying him. Judas was not, therefore, present at the institution of the Lord's Supper.

{z} "He that" Ps 41:9; 55:12-15


Verse 24. The Son of man goeth. That is, the Messiah; the Christ. See Barnes "Mt 8:20.

Goeth. Dies, or will die. The Hebrews often spoke in this manner of death, Ps 39:13; Ge 15:2.

As it is written of him. That is, as it is written or prophesied of him in the Old Testament. Compare Ps 41:9, with Joh 13:18. See also Da 9:26,27; Isa 53:4-9.

Luke Lu 22:22 says, "as it was determined." In the Greek, as it was marked out by a boundary; that is, in the Divine purpose. It was the previous intention of God to give him up to die for sin, or it could not have been certainly predicted. It is also declared to have been by his "determinate counsel and foreknowledge," Ac 2:23.

Woe unto that man, etc. The crime is great and awful, and he will be punished accordingly. He states the greatness of his misery in the phrase following.

It had been good, etc. That is, it would have been better for him if he had not been born; or it would be better now for him if he was to be as if he had not been born, or if he was annihilated. This was a proverbial mode of speaking among the Jews in frequent use. In relation to Judas it proves the following things:

(1.) that the crime which he was about to commit was exceedingly great;

(2.) that the misery or punishment due to it would certainly come upon him;

(3.) that he would certainly deserve that misery, or it would not be threatened or inflicted; and,

(4.) that his punishment would be eternal. If there should be any period when the sufferings of Judas should end, and he be restored and raised to heaven, the blessings of that happiness without end would infinitely overbalance all the sufferings he will endure in a limited time; and consequently it would not be true that it would be better for him not to have been born. Existence to him would be a blessing. It follows that, in relation to one wicked man, the sufferings of hell will be eternal. If of one, then it is equally certain and proper that all the wicked will perish for ever.

If it be asked how this crime of Judas could be so great, or could be a crime at all, when it was determined beforehand that the Saviour should be betrayed and die in this manner, it may be answered:

(1.) That the crime was what it was in itself, apart from any determination of God. It was a violation of all the duties he owed to God, and to the Lord Jesus; awful ingratitude, detestable covetousness, and most base treachery. As such it deserved to be punished.

(2.) The previous purpose of God did not force Judas to do this. In it he acted freely. He did just what his wicked heart prompted him to do.

(3.) A previous knowledge of a thing, or a previous purpose to permit a thing, does not alter its nature, or cause it to be a different thing from what it is.

(4.) God, who is the best judge of the nature of crime, holds all that was done in crucifying the Saviour, though it was by his determinate counsel and foreknowledge, "to be by wicked hands," "Ac 2:23".

This punishment of Judas proves also that sinners cannot take shelter for their sins in the decrees of God, or plead them as an excuse. God will punish crimes for what they are in themselves. His own deep and inscrutable purposes in regard to human actions will not change the nature of those actions, or screen the sinner from the punishment which he deserves.

{a} "written of him" Ps 22:1 and following; Isa 53:1-12


Verse 25. Thou hast said. That is, thou hast said the truth. It is so. Thou art the man. Compare Mt 26:64, with Mr 14:62.


Verses 26-30. See also Mr 14:22-26; Lu 22:15-20; 1 Co 11:23-25

Verse 26. As they were eating. As they were eating the paschal supper, near the close of the meal. Luke adds, that he said, just before instituting the sacramental Supper, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." This is a Hebrew manner of expression, signifying, I have greatly desired, he had desired it, doubtless,

(1.) that he might institute the Supper, to be a perpetual memorial of him;

(2.) that he might strengthen them for their approaching trials;

(3.) that he might explain to them the true nature of the passover; and,

(4.) that he might spend another season with them in the duties of religion, of worship. Every Christian about to die will also seek opportunities of drawing specially near to God, and of holding communion with him, and with his people.

Jesus took bread. That is, the unleavened bread which they used at the celebration of the passover, made into thin cakes, easily broken and distributed.

And blessed it. Or sought a blessing on it; or gave thanks to God for it. The word rendered blessed not unfrequently means, to give thanks. Compare Lu 9:16; Joh 6:11. It is also to be remarked, that some manuscripts have the word rendered gave thanks, instead of the one translated blessed. It appears, from the writings of Philo and the Rabbins, that the Jews were never accustomed to eat without giving thanks to God, and seeking his blessing. This was especially the case in both the bread and the wine used at the passover.

And brake it. This breaking of the bread represented the sufferings of Jesus about to take place--his body broken or wounded for sin. Hence Paul 1 Co 11:24 adds, "This is my body, which is broken for you." That is, which is about to be broken for you by death, or wounded, pierced, bruised, to make atonement for your sins.

This is my body. This represents my body. This broken bread shows the manner in which my body will be broken; or this will serve to call my dying sufferings to your remembrance. It is not meant that his body would be literally broken as the bread was, but that the bread would be a significant emblem or symbol to recall to their remembrance his sufferings. It is not improbable that our Lord pointed to the broken bread, or laid his hands on it, as if he had said, "Lo, my body! or, Behold my body! that which represents my broken body to you." This could not be intended to mean, that that bread was literally his body. It was not. His body was then before them living. And there is no greater absurdity than to imagine his living body there changed at once to death, and then the bread to be changed into that dead body, and all the while the living body of Jesus was before them. Yet this is the absurd and impossible doctrine of the Roman Catholics, holding that the bread and wine were literally changed into the body and blood of our Lord. This was a common mode of speaking among the Jews, and exactly similar to that used by Moses at the institution of the passover, (Ex 12:11) "It," i.e., the lamb, "is the Lord's passover." That is, the lamb and the feast represent the Lord's passing over the houses of the Israelites. It serves to remind you of it. It surely cannot be meant that that lamb was the literal passing over their houses a palpable absurdity--but that it represented it. So Paul and Luke say of the bread, "This is my body, which is broken for you: this do IN REMEMBRANCE of me." This expresses the whole design of the sacramental bread. It is to call to remembrance in a vivid manner the dying sufferings of our Lord. The sacred writers, moreover, often denote that one thing is represented by another by using the word is. See Mt 13:37: He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; i.e., represents the Son of man. Ge 41:26: The seven good kine ARE seven years; i.e., represent or signify seven years. See also Joh 15:1,5; Ge 17:10.

The meaning of this important passage may be thus expressed: "As I give this broken bread to you, to eat, so will I deliver my body to be afflicted and slain for your sins."

{b} "And as they" 1 Co 11:23

{1} "blessed it", "Many Greek copies have gave thanks.


Verse 27. And he took the cup. That is, the cup of wine which they used at the feast of the passover, called the cup of Hallel, or praise, because they commenced then repeating the psalms with which they closed the passover. See Mt 26:30. This cup, Luke says, he took after supper. That is, after they had finished the ordinary celebration of eating the passover. The bread was taken while they were eating, the cup after they had done eating.

And gave thanks. See Barnes "Mt 26:26".

Drink ye all of it. That is, "all of you, disciples, drink of it;" not, "drink all the wine."


Verse 28. For this is my blood. This represents my blood: as the bread did his body. Luke and Paul vary the expression, adding what Matthew and Mark have omitted. "This cup is the new testament in my blood." By this cup, he meant the wine in the cup, and not the cup itself. Pointing to it, probably, he said, "This--wine represents my blood about to be shed." The phrase, "new testament," should have been rendered new covenant, referring to the covenant or compact that God was about to make with men through a Redeemer. The old covenant was that which was made with the Jews by the sprinkled of the blood of sacrifices. See Ex 24:8. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you, etc. In allusion to that, Jesus says, this cup is the NEW covenant in my blood; that is, ratified, or sealed and sanctioned by my blood. Anciently, covenants or contracts were ratified by slaying an animal; by the shedding of its blood; imprecating similar vengeance if either party failed in the compact. So Jesus says the covenant which God is about to form with men, the new covenant, or the gospel economy, is sealed or ratified with his blood.

Which is shed for many for the remission of sins. In order that sins may be remitted, or forgiven. That is, this is the appointed way by which God will pardon transgressions. That blood is efficacious for the pardon of sin:

(1.) Because it is the life of Jesus; the blood being used by the sacred writers as representing life itself, or as containing the elements of life, Ge 9:4; Le 17:14. It was forbidden, therefore, to eat blood, because it contained the life, or was the life, of the animal. When, therefore, Jesus says his blood was shed for many, it is the same as saying that his life was given for many. See Barnes "Ro 3:25".

(2.) His life was given for sinners, or he died in the place of sinners, as their substitute. By his death on the cross, the death or punishment due to them in hell may be removed, and their souls be saved. He endured so much suffering, bore so much agony, that God was pleased to accept it in the place of the eternal torments of all the redeemed. The interests of justice, the honour and stability of his government, would be as secure in saving them in this manner, as if the suffering were inflicted on them personally in hell. God, by giving his Son to die for sinners, has shown his infinite abhorrence of sin: since, according to his view, and therefore according to truth, nothing else would show its evil nature, but the awful sufferings of his own Son. That he died in the stead or place of sinners, is abundantly clear from the following passages of Scripture: Joh 1:29; Ep 5:2; Heb 7:27; 1 Jo 2:2; 4:10; Isa 53:10; Ro 8:32; 2 Co 5:15.

{c} "new testament" Jer 31:31


Verse 29. But I say unto you, etc. That is, the observance of the passover, and of the rites shadowing forth future things, here end. I am about to die. The design of all these types and shadows is about to be accomplished. This is the last time that I shall partake of them with you. Hereafter, when my Father's kingdom is established in heaven, we will partake together of the thing represented by these types and ceremonial observances; the blessings and triumphs of redemption.

Fruit of the vine. Wine, the fruit or produce of the vine, made of the grapes of the vine.

Until that day. Probably the time when they should be received to heaven. It does not mean here on earth, farther than that they would partake with him in the happiness of spreading the gospel, and the triumphs of his kingdom.

When I drink it new with you. Not that he would partake with them of literal wine there, but in the thing represented by it. Wine was an important part of the feast of the passover, and of all feasts. The kingdom of heaven is often represented under the image of a feast. It means that he will partake of joy with them in heaven; that they will share together the honours and happiness of the heavenly world.

New. In a new manner; or, perhaps, afresh.

In my Father's kingdom. In heaven. The place where God shah reign in a kingdom fully established and pure.

{d} "my Father's kingdom" Isa 25:6


Verse 30. And when they had sung an hymn. The passover was observed by the Jews by singing, or chanting, the 113th, 114th, 115th, 116th, 117th, and 118th psalms. These they divided into two parts. The 118th and 114th psalms they sung during the observance of the passover, and the others at the close. There can be no doubt that our Saviour, and the apostles also, used the same psalms in their observance of the passover. The word rendered sung a hymn, is a particle, literally meaning hymning, not confined to a single hymn, but admitting many.

Mount of Olives. See Barnes "Mt 21:1".

{1} "hymn" or, "Psalm"


Verses 31-35. Jesus foretells the fall of Peter. This is also recorded in Mr 14:27-31; Lu 21:31-34; Joh 13:36-38.

Verse 31. Then saith Jesus unto them, etc. The occasion of his saying this was Peter's bold affirmation that that he was ready to die with him, Joh 13:37. Jesus had told them that he was going away; i.e., was about to die. Peter asked him whither he was going. Jesus replied, that he could not follow then, but should afterwards. Peter, not satisfied with that, said that he was ready to lay down his life for him. Jesus then distinctly informed them that all of them would leave him that night.

All ye shall be offended because of me. See Barnes "Mt 5:29".

It means, here, you will all stumble at my being taken, abused, and set at naught; you will be ashamed to own me as a teacher, and to acknowledge yourselves as my disciples. Or, my being betrayed will prove a snare to you all, so that you shall be guilty of the sin of forsaking me, and by your conduct of denying me.

For it is written, etc. See Zec 13:7. This is affirmed here to have reference to the Saviour, and to be fulfilled in him.

I will smite. This is the language of God the Father. I will smite, means either that I will give him up to be smitten, (compare Ex 4:21; 8:16, etc.,), or that I will do it myself. Both of thrum things were done. God gave him up to the Jews and Romans, to be smitten for the sins of the world, (Ro 8:32;) and he himself left him to deep and awful sorrows, to bear "the burden of the world's atonement" alone. See Mr 15:34.

The shepherd. The Lord Jesus--the Shepherd of his people, Joh 10:11,14; comp. See Barnes "Isa 11:11".

The sheep. This means here particularly the apostles. It also refers sometimes to all the followers of Jesus, the friends of God, Joh 10:16; Ps 100:3.

Shall be scattered abroad. This refers to their fleeing, and was fulfilled in that. See Mt 26:66.

{e} "is written" Zec 13:7


Verse 32. But after I am risen, etc. This promise was given them to encourage and support them, and also to give them an indication where he might be found. He did not mean that he would first appear to some of them, but that he would meet them all in Galilee. This was done. See Mr 16:7; Mt 28:16.

Galilee. See Barnes "Mt 2:22".

{f} "I will go before you" Mt 28:7,10,16


Verse 33. Peter answered--though all, etc. The word men is improperly inserted here by the translators. Peter meant only to affirm this of the disciples. This confidence of Peter was entirely characteristic. He was ardent, sincere, and really attached to his Master. Yet this declaration was made, evidently:

(1.) From true love to Jesus.

(2.) From too much reliance on his own strength.

(3.) From ignorance of himself, and of the trials which he was soon to pass through. And it most impressively teaches us:

(1.) That no strength of attachment to Jesus can justify such confident promises of fidelity, made without dependence on him.

(2.) That all promises to adhere to him, should be made relying on him for aid.

(3.) That we little know how feeble we are, till we are tried.

(4.) That Christians may be left to great and disgraceful sins to show them their weakness. Luke adds, that Jesus said to Peter, that Satan had desired to have him, that he might sift him as wheat; that he might thoroughly try him. But Jesus says that he had prayed for him, that his faith should not fail, and charged him when he was converted, i.e., when he was turned from this sin, to strengthen his brethren, i.e., by teaching them to take warning by his example.

See Barnes "Lu 22:31-33".


Verse 34. This night. This was in the evening when this was spoken, after the observance of the passover, and we may suppose near nine o'clock.

Before the cock crow. Mark and Luke add, before the cock crow twice. The cock is accustomed to crow twice, once at midnight, and once in the morning, at break of day. The latter was commonly called cock-crowing. See Mr 13:35. This was the time familiarly known as the cock-crowing; and of this Matthew and John speak, without referring to the other. Mark and Luke speak of the second crowing, and mean the same time; so that there is no contradiction between them.

Deny me thrice. That is, as Luke adds, deny that thou knowest me. See Mt 26:74.


Verse 35. Will I not deny thee. Will not deny my connexion with thee, or that I knew thee. All the disciples said the same thing, and all fled at the approach of danger, forsaking their Master and Friend, and practically denying that they knew him, Mt 26:56.


Verses 36-45. Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. This account is also recorded in Mr 14:32-42; Lu 22:39-46; Joh 18:1.

Verse 36. Then cometh, etc. After the institution of the Supper, in the early part of the night, he went out to the Mount of Olives. In his journey he passed over the brook Cedron, (Joh 18:1,) which bounded Jerusalem on the east.

Unto a place. John calls this a garden. This garden was evidently on the western side of the Mount of Olives, a short distance from Jerusalem, and commanding a full view of the city. It is doubted whether the word rendered garden means a villa or country seat, or a garden, properly so called. It is probable that it might include both: a cluster of houses, or a small village in which was a garden. The word here means not properly a garden for the cultivation of vegetables, but a place planted with the olive and other trees, perhaps with a fountain of waters, and with walks and groves--a proper place of refreshment in a hot climate, and of retirement from the noise of the adjacent city. Such places were doubtless common in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Messrs. Fisk and King, American missionaries, were there in 1823. They tell us that the garden is about a stone's cast from the brook of Cedron; that it now contains eight large and venerable-looking olives, whose trunks show their great antiquity. The spot is sandy and barren, and appears like a forsaken place. A low broken wall surrounds it. Mr. K. sat down beneath one of the trees, and read Isa 53:1-12, and also the gospel history of our Redeemer's sorrow during that memorable night in which he was there betrayed; and the interest of the association was heightened by the passing through the place of a party of Bedouins, armed with spears and swords. Jesus, in the silence of the night, free from interruption, made it a place of retirement and prayer.

Luke says, he went as he was wont, i.e., accustomed, to the Mount of Olives. Probably he had been in the habit of retiring from Jerusalem to that place for meditation and prayer; thus enforcing by his example what he had so often done by his precepts, the duty of retiring from the noise and bustle of the world to hold communion with God.

Gethsemane. This word is made up either of two Hebrew words, signifying valley of fatness, i.e., a fertile valley; or of two words, signifying an olive press, given to it probably because the place was filled with olives.

Sit ye here. That is, in one part of the garden, to which they first came.

While I go and pray yonder. That is, at the distance of a stone's cast, Lu 22:41. Luke adds, that when he came to the garden, he charged them to pray that they might not enter into temptation--i, e., into deep trials and afflictions--or, more probably, into scenes and dangers that would tempt them to deny him.

{g} "Then cometh Jesus" Mr 14:32; Lu 22:39; Joh 18:1


Verse 37. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. That is, James and John, Mt 10:2. On two other occasions he had favoured these disciples in a particular manner, suffering them to go with him to witness his power and glory, viz., at the healing of the ruler's daughter, (Lu 8:51,) and at his transfiguration on the mount, Mt 17:1.

Sorrowful. Affected with grief.

Very heavy. The word in the original is much stronger than the one translated sorrowful. It means, to be pressed down, or overwhelmed with great anguish. This was produced, doubtless, by a foresight of his great sufferings on the cross in making an atonement for the sins of men.


Verse 38. My soul is exceeding sorrowful. His human nature-his soul- -was much and deeply affected and pressed down.

Even unto death. This denotes extreme sorrow and agony. The sufferings of death are the greatest of which we have any knowledge; they are the most feared and dreaded by man; and those sufferings are, therefore, put for extreme and indescribable anguish. The meaning may be thus expressed: My sorrows are so great, that under their burden I am ready to die; such is the anxiety of mind, that I seem to bear the pains of death!

Tarry ye here, and watch with me. The word rendered watch, means, literally, to abstain from sleep; then to be vigilant--to guard against danger. Here it seems to mean, to sympathize with him; to unite with him in seeking Divine support; and to prepare themselves for approaching dangers.

{h} "My soul" Ps 116:3; Is 53:3,10; Joh 12:27


Verse 39. And he went a little farther. That is, at the distance that a man could conveniently cast a stone, (Luke.)

Fell on his face. Luke says, he "kneeled doom." He did both. He first kneeled, and then in the fervency of his prayer, and the depth of his sorrow, he fell with his face on the ground, denoting the deepest anguish, and the most earnest entreaty. This was the usual posture of prayer in times of great earnestness. See Nu 16:22; 2 Ch 20:18; Ne 8:6.

If it be possible. That is, if the world can be redeemed; if it be consistent with justice, and with maintaining the government of the universe, that men should be saved without this extremity of sorrow, let it be done. There is no doubt that if it had been possible, it would have been done; and the fact that these sufferings were not removed, that the Saviour went forward and bore them without mitigation, shows that it was not consistent with the justice of God, and with the welfare of the universe, that men should be saved without the awful sufferings of such an atonement.

Let this cup. These bitter sufferings. These approaching trials. The word cup is often used in this sense, denoting sufferings. See Barnes "Mt 20:22".

Not as I will, but as thou wilt. As Jesus was man, as well as God, there is nothing inconsistent in supposing that, like a man, he was deeply affected in view of these sorrows. When he speaks of his will, he expresses what human nature, in view of such great sufferings, would desire. It naturally shrunk from them, and sought deliverance. Yet he sought to do the will of God. He chose rather that the high purpose of God should be done, than that that purpose should be abandoned, and regard be shown to the fears of his human nature. In this he has left a model of prayer in all times of affliction. It is right, in times of calamity, to seek deliverance. Like the Saviour also, in such seasons, we should, we must submit cheerfully to the will of God, confident that, in all these trials, he is wise, and merciful, and good.

{i} "and prayed" Heb 5:7

{k} "let this cup" Mt 20:22

{l} "nevertheless" Joh 5:30; 6:38; Ro 15:3; Php 2:8


Verse 40. And findeth them asleep. It may seem remarkable that, in such circumstances, with a suffering, pleading Redeemer near, surrounded by danger, and having received a special charge to watch, i.e., not to sleep, they should so soon have fallen asleep. It is frequently supposed that this was proof of wonderful stupidity, and indifference to their Lard's sufferings. The truth is, however, that it was just the reverse; it was proof of their great attachment, and their deep sympathy in his sorrows. Luke has added, that he found them sleeping FOR SORROW. That is, on account of their sorrow: their grief was so great that they naturally fell asleep. Multitudes of facts might be brought to show that is in accordance with the regular effects of grief: Dr. Bush says, "There is another symptom of grief, which is not often noticed, and that is profound sleep. I have often witnessed it even in mothers, immediately after the death of a child. Criminals; we are told by Mr. Akerman, the keeper of Newgate in London, often sleep soundly the night before their execution. The son of General Custine slept nine hours the night before he was led to the guillotine in Paris." Diseases of the Mind, p. 319.

Saith unto Peter, etc. This reproof was administered to Peter particularly, in account of his warm professions, his rash zeal, and his self-confidence. If he could not keep awake and watch with the Saviour for one hour, how little probability was there that he would adhere to him in all the trials through which he was soon to pass!


Verse 41. Watch. See Mt 26:38. Greater trials are coming on. It is necessary, therefore, still to be on your guard.

And pray. Seek aid from God by supplication in view of the thickening calamities.

That ye enter not into temptation. That ye be not overcome and oppressed with these trials of your faith, so as to deny me. The word temptation here properly means, what would try their faith in the approaching calamities his rejection and death. It would try their faith, because though they supposed he was the Messiah, they were not very clearly aware of the necessity of his death; they did not fully understand that he was to rise again. They had cherished the belief that he was to establish a kingdom while he lived. When they should see him, therefore rejected, tried, crucified, dead; when they should see him submit to all this, as if he had not power to deliver himself, then would be the trial of their faith; and in view of it, he exhorted them to pray that they might not so enter temptation as to be overcome by it, and fall.

The spirit indeed is willing, etc. The mind, the disposition is ready, and disposed to bear these trials; but the flesh, the natural feelings, through the fear of danger, is weak, and will be likely to lead you astray when the trial comes. Though you may have strong faith, and believe now that you will not deny me, yet human nature is weak, shrinks at trials, and you should, therefore seek strength from on high. This was not intended for an apology for their sleeping, but to excite them, notwithstanding he knew that they loved him, to be on guard, lest the weakness of human nature should be insufficient to sustain them in the hour of their temptation.

{m} "Watch" Mr 13:33; 14:38; Lu 22:40; Eph 6:18; Re 16:15

{n} "ye enter" Pr 4:14,15

{o} "into temptation" Re 3:10

{p} "spirit indeed" Isa 26:8,9; Ro 7:18-25; Ga 5:17


Verses 42-44. It is probable that our Lord spent considerable time in prayer, and that the evangelists have recorded rather the substance of his petitions than the very words. He returned repeatedly to his disciples, doubtless to caution them against danger; to show the deep interest which he had in their welfare; and to show them the extent of his sufferings on their behalf. Each time that he returned, these sorrows deepened. Again he sought the place of prayer; and as his approaching sufferings overwhelmed him, this was the burden of his prayer, and he prayed the same words. Luke adds, that amidst, his agonies an angel appeared from heaven, strengthening him. His human nature began to sink, as unequal to his sufferings, and a messenger from heaven appeared, to support him in these heavy trials. It may seem strange, that since Jesus was Divine, (Joh 1:1,) the Divine nature did not minister strength to the human, and that he that was God should receive strength from an angel. But it should be remembered that Jesus came in his human nature, not only to make an atonement, but to be a perfect example of a holy man; that as such, it was necessary to submit to the common conditions of humanity, that he should live as other men, be sustained as other men, suffer as other men, and be strengthened as other men; that he should, so to speak, take no advantage in favour of his piety from his Divinity, but submit, in all things, to the common lot of pious men. Hence he supplied his wants, not by his being Divine, but in the ordinary way of human life. Hence he preserved himself from danger, not as God, but by seeking the usual ways of human prudence and precaution. Hence he met trials as a man; he received comfort as a man; and there is no absurdity in supposing that, in accordance with the condition of his people, his-human nature should be strengthened, as they are, by those who are set forth to be ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation, Heb 1:14.

Luke farther adds, (Mt 22:44) that being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The word agony is taken from the anxiety, fear, effort, and strong emotion of the wrestlers in the Greek games, about to engage in a mighty struggle. Here it denotes the extreme anguish of mind; the strong conflict produced between sinking human nature and the prospect of deep and overwhelming calamities.

Great drops of blood, Lu 22:44. 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 22:44,) that "Aristotle and Diodorus Siculus both mention bloody sweats, as attending some extraordinary agony of mind; and I find Loti, in his life of Pope Sextus V, and Sir John Chardin, in his history of Persia, mentioning a like phenomenon, to which Dr. Jackson adds another from Thuanus. It has been objected to this account, that it is improbable, and that such an event could not occur. The instances, however, which are referred to by Doddridge and others, show sufficiently that the objection is unfounded. In addition to these, I may observe, that Voltaire has himself narrated a fact which ought for ever to stop the mouths of infidels. Speaking of Charles IX, of France, in his Universal History, he says, "He died in his thirty-fifth year; his disorder was of a very remarkable kind; the blood oozed out of all his pores. This malady, of which there have been other instances, was owing to either excessive fear, or violent agitation, or to a feverish and melancholy temperament."

Various opinions have been given of the probable causes of these sorrows of the Saviour. Some 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 4:13) 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 at the concentration of the sufferings of the atonement pouring together upon him, and filling him with unspeakable anguish.


Verse 43. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes on "Mt 26:42"


Verse 44. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes on "Mt 26:42"

{q} "the third" 2 Co 12:8


Verse 45. Sleep on now, and take your rest. 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, Lu 22:46,) 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 passed, 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 of 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.

The hour is at hand. The time when the Son of man is to be betrayed is near.

Sinners. Judas, the Roman soldiers, and the Jews.


Verse 46. Rise, let us be going. That is, probably, with them. Let us go wheresoever they shall lead us. The time when I must die is come. It is no longer proper to attempt an escape.


Verses 47-57. The account of Jesus' being betrayed by Judas is recorded by all the evangelists. See Mr 14:43-52; Lu 22:47-53; Joh 18:2-12.

Verse 47. Judas, one of the twelve, came. This was done while he was addressing his disciples. John informs us that Judas knew the place, because Jesus was in the habit of going there with his disciples. Judas had passed the time, after he left Jesus and the other disciples at the passover, in arranging matters with the Jews, collecting the band, and preparing to go. Perhaps, also, on this occasion they gave him the money which they had promised.

A great multitude with swords and staves. John says, that he had received a band of men and officers from the chief priests, etc. Josephus says, (Ant. xx. ch. iv.) that at the festival of the Passover, when a great multitude of people came to observe the feast, lest there should be any disorder, a band of men was commanded to keep watch at the porches of the temple, to repress a tumult, if any should be excited. This band, or guard, was at the disposal of the chief priests, Mt 27:65. It was composed of Roman soldiers, and was stationed chiefly at the tower of Antonia, at the north-west side of the temple. In addition to this, they had constant guards stationed around the temple, composed of Levites. The Roman soldiers were armed with swords. The other persons that went out carried probably whatever was accessible as a weapon. These were the persons sent by the priests to apprehend Jesus. Perhaps other desperate men might have joined them.

Staves. In the original, "wood;" used here in the plural number. It means rather clubs or sticks, than spears. It does not mean staves. Probably it means any weapon at hand, such as a mob can conveniently collect. John says, that they had lanterns and torches. The passover was celebrated at the full moon. But this night might have been cloudy. The place to which they were going was also shaded with trees; and lights, therefore, might be necessary.

{r} "Judas" Ac 1:16


Verse 48. Gave them a sign. That is, told them of a way by which they might know whom to apprehend, i.e., by his kissing him. It was night. Jesus was, besides, probably personally unknown to the Romans, perhaps to the others also. Judas, therefore, being well acquainted with him, to prevent the possibility of mistake, agreed to designate him by one of the tokens of friendship.

John tells us, that Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him, when they approached him, asked them whom they sought? and that they replied, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus informed them that he was the person they sought. They, when they heard it, overawed by his presence, and smitten with the consciousness of guilt, went backward, and fell to the ground. He again asked them whom they sought. They made the same declaration--Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus then, since they professed to seek only him, claimed the right that his disciples should be suffered to escape;-- "that the saying might be fulfilled which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none," Joh 18:9. See also Joh 17:12.

{s} "saying" Ps 38:12


Verse 49. Hail, Master. The word translated hail, here means, to rejoice, to have joy; and also to have cause of joy. It thus expresses the joy which one friend has when he meets another, especially after an absence. It was used by the Jews and Greeks as a mode of salutation among friends. It would here seem to express the joy of Judas at finding his Master, and again being with him.

Master. In the original, Rabbi. See Barnes "Mt 23:7".

Kissed him. Gave him the common salutation of friends, when meeting after absence. This mode of salutation was more common among eastern nations than with us.

{t} "kissed him" 2 Sa 3:27; 20:9; Ps 28:3


Verse 50. And Jesus said unto him, Friend. It seems strange to us that Jesus should give the endeared name friend to a man that he knew was his enemy, and that was about to betray him. It should be remarked, however, that this is the fault of our language, not of the original. In the Greek there are two words which our translators have rendered friend: one implying affection and regard, the other not. One is properly rendered friend, the other expresses more nearly what we mean by companion. It is this latter word which is given to the disaffected labourer in the vineyard: "Friend, I do thee no wrong," (Mt 20:13) to the guest which had not on the wedding garment, in the parable of the marriage feast, (Mt 22:12) and to Judas in this place.

Wherefore art thou come? This was said, not because he was ignorant why he had come, but probably to fill the mind of Judas with the consciousness of his crime, and by a striking question to compel him to think of what he was doing.

{u} "Friend" Ps 41:9; 55:13


Verse 51. One of them which were with Jesus. John informs us that this was Peter. The other evangelists concealed the name, probably because they wrote while Peter was living, and it might have endangered Peter to have it known.

And drew his sword. The apostles were not commonly armed. On this occasion they had provided two swords, Lu 22:38. In seasons of danger, when travelling through the country, they were under the necessity of providing means of defending themselves against the robbers that infested the country. This will account for their having any swords in their possession. See Barnes "Lu 10:30".

These swords, Josephus informs us, the people were accustomed to carry under their garments, as they went up to Jerusalem.

A servant of the High Priest's. His name, John informs us, was Malchus. Luke adds, that Jesus touched the ear, and healed it; thus showing his benevolence to his foes when they sought his life, and giving them proof that they were attacking Him that was sent from heaven.


Verse 52. Thy sword into his place. Into the sheath.

For all they that take the sword, etc. This passage is capable of different significations.

(1.) They who resist by the sword the civil magistrate, shall be punished; and it is dangerous, therefore, to oppose those who come with the authority of the civil ruler.

(2.) These men, Jews and Romans, who have taken the sword against the innocent, shall perish by the sword. God will take vengeance on them. But,

(3.) the most satisfactory interpretation is that which regards it as a caution to Peter. Peter was rash. Alone he had attacked the whole band. Jesus told him that his unseasonable and imprudent defence might be the occasion of his own destruction. In doing it, he would endanger his life, for they who took the sword perished by it. This was probably a proverb, denoting that they who engaged in wars commonly perished there.

{v} Ge 9:6; Eze 35:5,6; Re 13:10


Verse 53. Thinkest thou, etc. Jesus says, that not only would Peter endanger himself, but his resistance implied a distrust of the protection of God, and was an improper resistance of his will. If it had been proper that they should be rescued, God could easily have furnished far more efficient aid than that of Peter--a mighty host of angels.

Twelve legions. A legion was a division of the Roman army amounting to more than six thousand men. See Barnes "Mt 8:29".

The number twelve was mentioned, perhaps, in reference to the number of his apostles, and himself. Judas being away, but eleven disciples remained. God could guard him, and each disciple, with a legion of angels; that is, God could easily protect him, if he should pray to him, and if it was his will.

{w} "angels" 2 Ki 6:17; Da 7:10; Mt 4:11


Verse 54: But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, etc. That is, the scriptures which foretold of his dying for the world. In some way that must be accomplished; and the time had come when, having finished the work which the Father gave him to do, it was proper that he should submit to a cruel death. This was said doubtless to comfort his disciples; to show them that his death was not a matter of surprise or disappointment to him; and that they, therefore, should not be offended and forsake him.

{x} "that thus" Lu 24:26,46


Verse 55. Against a thief. Rather, a robber. This was the manner in which they would have sought to take a highwayman of desperate character, and armed to defend his life. It adds not a little to the depth of his humiliation, that he consented to be hunted down thus by wicked men, and to be treated as if he had been the worst of mankind.

Daily with you teaching in the temple. For many days before the passover, as recorded in the previous chapter.


Verse 56. Scriptures of the prophets. The writings of the prophets-- for this is the meaning of the word scriptures. He alludes to those parts of the prophets which foretold his sufferings and death.

Then all the disciples, etc. Overcome with fear, when they saw their Master actually taken; alarmed with the terrific appearance of armed men, and torches in a dark night; and forgetting their promises not to forsake him, they all left their Saviour to go alone. Alas! how many, when attachment to Christ would lead them to danger, leave him, and also flee! Mark adds, that after the disciples had fled, a young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body, attempted to follow him. Probably he was the owner of the garden, and a friend of Jesus. Aroused by the noise from his repose, he came to defend the Saviour. He cast, in his hurry, a garment at hand round his body, and came to him. The young men among the Romans and Jews attempted to secure him also; but he escaped from them, and fled. See Barnes "Mr 14:50,51.

{y} "Scriptures" Ge 3:15; Ps 22:1-31; 69:1-36; Isa 53:1-12; La 4:20

Da 9:24,26; Zec 13:7; Ac 1:16


Verses 57-75. The trial of our Lord before the council, and the denial of Peter happening at the same time, might be related one before the other, according to the evangelists' pleasure. Accordingly, Matthew and Mark relate the trial first, and Peter's denial afterwards; Luke mentions the denial first, and John has probably observed the natural order. The parallel places are recorded in Mr 14:53-72; Lu 22:54-71; Joh 18:13-27.

Verse 57. To Caiaphas. John says, that they led him first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. This was done, probably, as a mark of respect, he having been high priest, and perhaps distinguished for prudence, and capable of advising his son-in-law in a difficult case; and the Saviour was detained there probably until the chief priests and elders were assembled.

The High Priest. See Barnes "Mt 26:3".

John says, he was high priest for that year. Annas had been high priest some years before, in the time of our Saviour the office was frequently changed by the civil ruler. This Caiaphas had prophesied that it was expedient that one should die for the people. See Barnes "Joh 11:49,50.

The Scribes and the elders. The men composing the great council of the nation or sanhedrim. See Barnes "Mt 5:22.

It is not probable that they could be immediately assembled; and some part of the transaction respecting the denial of Peter probably took place while they were collecting.

{z} "And they" Mr 14:53; Lu 22:54; Joh 18:12


Verse 58. Peter followed him afar off. By this he evinced two things:

1st. Real attachment to his Master; a desire to be near him, and to witness his trial.

2nd. Fear respecting his personal safety. He therefore kept so far off as to be out of danger, and yet so near as that he might witness the transactions respecting his Master. Perhaps he expected to be lost and unobserved in the crowd. Many, in this, Imitate Peter. They are afraid to follow the Saviour closely. They fear danger, ridicule, or persecution. They follow him--but it is at a great distance; so far that it is difficult to discern that they are in the train, and are his friends at all. Religion requires us to be near to Christ. We may measure our piety by our desire to be with him; to be like him; and by our willingness to follow him always--through trials, contempt, persecution, and death. John says, that another disciple went with Peter. By that other disciple is commonly supposed, as he did not mention his name, that he meant himself. He was acquainted with the high priest, and went immediately into the hall.

Unto the High Priest's palace. The word rendered palace, means rather the hall, or middle court or area of his house. It was situated in the centre of the palace, and was commonly uncovered. See Barnes "Mt 9:2".

And went in. John informs us that he did not go immediately in. But the other disciple, being known to the high priest, went in first, while Peter remained at the gate, or entrance. The other disciple then went out, and brought in Peter. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have omitted this circumstance. John recorded it, probably, because they had omitted it, and because he was the "other disciple" concerned in it.

Sat with the servants, to see the end. That is, the end of the trial; or to see how it would go with his Master. The other evangelists say, that he stood with the servants warming himself. John says; it being cold, they had made a fire of coals, and warmed themselves. It was then probably not far from midnight. The place where they were was uncovered; and travellers say, that though the days are warm in Judea at that season of the year, yet that the nights are often uncomfortably cold. This fire was made in the hall, (Luke:) The fire was not in a fireplace, as we commonly suppose, but was probably made of coals laid on the pavement. At this place and time was Peter's first denial of his Lord, as is recorded afterwards. See Mt 26:69.


Verse 59. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

See Barnes on "Mt 26:57"


Verse 60. False witnesses. Witnesses that would accuse him of crime; of violation of the laws of the land or of God. We are not to suppose that they wished them to be false witnesses. They were indifferent, probably, whether they were true or false, if they could succeed in condemning him. The evangelist calls it false testimony, Before these witnesses were sought, we learn from Joh 18:19-23 that the high priest asked Jesus of his disciples, and his doctrine. Jesus replied, that he had taught openly in the temple, and in secret had said nothing; that is, he had no secret doctrines which he had not been willing openly to teach, and he referred them to those who had heard him. In a firm, dignified manner, he put himself on trial, and insisted on his rights. "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?" This conversation took place probably before the council was assembled, and during this time the denials by Peter occurred. Luke informs us, Lu 22:66 that the council came together as soon as it was day; that is, probably near the morning, or not far from break of day--after Peter had denied him, and gone out.

Found they none. That is, they found none on whose testimony they could with any show of reason convict him. The reason was, as Mark says, Mr 14:56 that "their witness agreed not together." They differed about facts, times, and circumstances, as all false witnesses do. Two witnesses were required by their law, and they did not dare to condemn him without conforming, in appearance at least, to the requirements of the law.

{a} "the last" Ps 27:12; 35:11


Verse 61. And said, This fellow said, etc. Mark has recorded this testimony differently. According to him, they said, "We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands." Probably both forms of giving in the testimony were used on the trial, and Matthew has recorded it as it was given at one time, and Mark at another; so that there is no contradiction. Mark adds, "But neither so did their witness agree together." That which they attempted to accuse him of, is what he had said respecting his body, and their destroying it. Joh 2:19, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." This he spoke of his body; they perverted it, endeavouring to show that he meant the temple at Jerusalem. They neither stated it as it was, nor did they state correctly its meaning: nor did they agree about the words used. It was, therefore, very little to their purpose.

{b} "I am able" Joh 2:19-21


Verses 62,63. Jesus held his peace. Was silent. He knew that the evidence did not even appear to amount to anything worth a reply. He knew that they were aware of that, and that feeling that, the high priest attempted to draw something from him, on which they could condemn him.

I adjure thee by the living God. I put thee upon thy oath before God. This was the usual form of putting an oath among the Jews. It implies, calling God to witness the truth of what was said. The law respecting witnesses also made it a violation of an oath to conceal any part of the truth; and though our Saviour might have felt that such a question, put in such a manner, was very improper, or was unlawful, yet he also knew that to be silent would be construed into a denial of his being the Christ. The question was probably put in anger. They had utterly failed in their proof. They had no way left to accomplish their purpose of condemning him, but to draw it from his own lips. This cunning question was therefore proposed. The difficulty of the question consisted in this: If he confessed that he was the Son of God, they stood ready to condemn him for blasphemy; if he denied it, they were prepared to condemn him for being an impostor, for deluding the people under the pretence of being the Messiah.

The living God. Jehovah is called the living God, in opposition to idols, which were without life.

The Christ. The Messiah, the Anointed. See Barnes "Mt 1:1".

The Son of God. The Jews uniformly expected that the Messiah would be the Son of God. In their view it denoted also that he would be Divine, or equal to the Father, Joh 10:31-36. To claim that title was, therefore, in their view, blasphemy; and as they had determined beforehand, in their own minds, that he was not the Messiah, they were ready at once to accuse him of blasphemy.


Verse 63. No notes from Barnes on this verse. See Barnes on "Mt 26:62"

{e} "But Jesus" Isa 53:7; Mt 27:12,14


Verse 64. Thou hast said. This is a form of assenting or affirming. Thou hast said the truth; or, as Lu 22:70 has it, "Ye say that I am." This was not, however, said immediately. Before Jesus acknowledged himself to be the Messiah, he said to them, Lu 22:67-69 "If I tell you, ye will not believe: and if I also ask you" --i.e., propose the proofs of my mission, and require you to give your opinion of them--" ye will not answer me, nor let me go."

Nevertheless. This word should have been translated moreover, or furthermore. What follows is designed to explain and give confirmation to what he had said.

Sitting on the right hand of power. That is, of God, called here the Power; equivalent to the Mighty, or the Almighty. It denotes dignity and majesty; for, to sit at the right hand of a prince was the chief place of honour. See Barnes "Mt 20:21".

Coming in the clouds of heaven. See Barnes Mt 24, Mt 25. The meaning of this is, You shall see the sign from heaven which you have so often demanded; even the Messiah returning himself as the sign, with great glory, to destroy your city, and to judge the world.

{f} "shall ye" Da 7:13; Joh 1:51; 1 Th 4:16; Re 1:7

{g} "hand of power" Ps 110:1; Ac 7:55


Verse 65. Then the High Priest rent his clothes. The Jews were accustomed to rend their clothes, as a token of grief. This was done often as a matter of form, and consisted in tearing a particular part of the garment reserved for this purpose. It was not lawful for the high priest to rend his clothes, Le 10:6; 21:10. By that was probably intended the robes of his priestly office. The garment which he now rent was probably his ordinary garment, or the garments which he wore as president of the sanhedrim--not those in which he officiated as high priest in the things of religion. This was done on this occasion to denote the great grief of the high priest, that so great a sin as blasphemy had been committed in his presence.

He hath spoken blasphemy. That is, he has, under oath, arrogated to himself what belongs to God. In claiming to be the Messiah; in asserting that he was the Son of God, and therefore equal in dignity with the Father; and that he would yet sit at His right hand--he has claimed what belongs to no man, and what is therefore an invasion of the Divine prerogative. If he had not been the Messiah, the charge would have been true. But the question was, whether he had not given evidence that he was the Messiah, and that therefore his claims were just. This point, the only proper point of inquiry, they never examined. They assumed that he was an impostor; and that point being assumed, everything like a pretension to being the Messiah was, in their view, proof that he deserved to die.


Verse 66. What think ye? What is your opinion? What sentence do you pronounce? As president of the sanhedrim he demanded their judgment.

He is guilty of death. This was the form which was used when criminal was condemned to die. The meaning is, he is found guilty of a crime to which the law annexes death. This sentence was used before the Jews became subject to the Romans, when they had the power of inflicting death. After they were subject to the Romans, though the power of inflicting capital punishment was taken away, yet they retained the form, when they expressed their opinion of the guilt of an offender. The law under which they condemned him was that recorded in Le 24:10-16, which sentenced him that was guilty of blasphemy to death by stoning. The chief priests, however, were unwilling to excite a popular tumult by stoning him, and they therefore consulted to deliver him to the Romans to be crucified, under the authority of the Roman name, and thus to prevent say excitement among the people.

{h} "death" Le 24:16; Joh 19:7


Verse 67. They spit in his face. This, among the Jews, as among us, was significant of the highest contempt and insult, Nu 12:14; Isa 1:6; Job 30:10.

And buffeted him. That is, they struck him with their hands closed, or with the fist.

Others smote him with the palms of their hands. The word used in the original here means, literally to strike with rods. It also means, to strike the mouth with the open hand, as if to prevent a person's speaking, or to evince abhorrence of what he had spoken.

{i} "Then did" Isa 1:6

{1} "with the palms" or "rods"


Verse 68. Saying, Prophesy unto us, etc. Mark informs us, that before they said this they had blindfolded him. Having prevented his seeing, they ridiculed his pretensions of being the Messiah. If he was the Christ, they supposed he could tell who smote him. As he bore it patiently, and did not answer, they doubtless supposed they had discovered another reason to think he was an impostor; The word prophesy does not mean only to foretell future events--although that is the proper meaning of the word; but also to declare anything that is unknown, or anything which cannot be known by natural knowledge, or without revelation. Luke adds, "And many other things blasphemously spake they against him." There is something very remarkable in this expression. They had charged him with blasphemy in claiming to be the Son of God. This charge they were not able to prove, But the evangelist fixes the charge of blasphemy on them, because he really was the Son of God, and they denied it.


Verse 69. Now Peter sat without in the palace. Mark says, the first denial took place while Peter was "beneath in the palace." This palace was the large hall or court belonging to the residence of the high priest. The part of it where Jesus and the council were was elevated, probably, above the rest, for a tribunal. Peter was beneath, or in the lower part of the hall, with the servants, at the fire. Yet, as Matthew says, he sat without in the palace--i.e., out of the palace where they were trying Jesus--to wit, in the lower part of the hall with the servants--both narratives are therefore consistent.

And a damsel came unto him. Joh 18:17 says, that this damsel was one that kept the door.

Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. Probably she suspected him from his being in company with John. This was in the early part of the trial of Jesus.

{k} "Now Peter" Mr 14:66; Lu 22:55; Joh 18:16


Verse 70. But he denied before them all, etc. He denied that he was a disciple; he denied that he knew Jesus; he denied (Mark) that he understood what was meant---i. e., he did not see any reason why this question was asked. All this was palpable falsehood; and Peter must have known that it was such. This is remarkable, because Peter had just before been so confident. It is more remarkable, because the edge of the charge was taken off by the insinuation that John was known to be a disciple--thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.


Verse 71. When he was gone out into the porch. The entrances or the small apartment between the outer door and the large hall in the centre of the building. See plan of a house, See Barnes "Mt 9:2".

Peter was embarrassed and confused by the question; and to save his confusion attracting notice, he went away from the fire into the porch, where he expected to be unobserved. Yet in vain. By the very movement to avoid detection, he came into contact with another who knew him, and repeated the charge. How clearly does it prove that our Lord was omniscient, that all these things were foreseen!

Another maid saw him. Mark simply says that a maid saw him, From Luke, it would appear that a man spoke to him, Lu 22:58. The truth probably is, that both were done. When he first went out, a maid charged him with being a follower of Jesus. He was probably there a considerable time. To this charge he might have been silent, thinking, perhaps, that he was concealed, and there was no need of denying Jesus then. Yet it is very likely that the charge would he repeated. A man also might have repeated it; and Peter, irritated, provoked, perhaps thinking that he was in danger, then denied his Master the second time. This denial was in a stronger manner, and with an oath. While in the porch, Mark says, the cock crew; that is, the first crowing, or not far from midnight.


Verse 72. No notes from Barnes on this verse.


Verse 73. And after a while. That is, about an hour after, (Luke.) Peter, by this time, had returned into the palace or hall, and stood warming himself by the fire, Joh 18:25.

Thy speech betrayeth thee. Your language makes it manifest that you are of his company. That is, as Mark adds, he was a Galilean; and in this way his speech betrayed him. It is probable that the Galileans were distinguished for some peculiarity of pronunciation, perhaps some peculiar rusticity or coarseness in their manner of speaking, that distinguished them from the refinement of the capital, Jerusalem. This charge, John says, Joh 18:26 was supported by the express affirmation of a kinsman of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, that he had seen him in the garden.


Verse 74. Then began he to curse, etc. Peter was now irritated beyond endurance. He could no longer resist the evidence that he was known. It had been repeatedly charged on him. His language had betrayed him, and there was a positive witness who had seen him. He felt it necessary, therefore, to be still more decided; and he accordingly added to the sin of denying his Lord, the deep aggravation of profane cursing and swearing; affirming, what he must have known was false, that he knew not the man. Immediately then the cock crew; that is, the second crowing, or not far from three in the morning.


Verse 75. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, etc. Luke has mentioned a beautiful and touching circumstance omitted by the other evangelists, that when the cock crew "Jesus turned and looked upon Peter," and that then he remembered his words. They were in the same room--Jesus at the upper end of the hall, elevated for a tribunal, and Peter below with the servants; so that Jesus could look down upon Peter standing near the fire. By a tender and compassionate look--a single glance of his eye--the injured Saviour brought to remembrance all Peter's promises, his own predictions, and the great guilt of the disciple; he overwhelmed him with the remembrance of his sin, and pierced his heart through with many sorrows. The consciousness of deep and awful guilt rushed over Peter's soul; he flew from the palace, he went alone in the darkness of the night, and wept bitterly.

The fall of Peter is one of the most melancholy instances of depravity ever committed in our world. But a little while before so confident; seated at the table of the Lord; distinguished, throughout the ministry of Christ, with peculiar favours; cautioned against this very thing; yet so soon denying him, forgetting his promises; and profanely calling on God to witness what he knew to be false, that he did not know him! Had it been but once, it would have been awful guilt--guilt deeply piercing the Redeemer's soul in the day of trial; but it was three times repeated, and at last with profane cursing and swearing. Yet, while we weep over Peter's fall, and seek not to palliate his crime, we should draw from it important practical uses:

1st. The danger of self-confidence. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." True Christian confidence is that which relies on God for strength, and feels safety only in the belief that He is able and willing to keep from temptation.

2nd. The highest favours, the most exalted privileges, do not secure us from the danger of falling into sin. Few men were ever so highly favoured as Peter; few ever so dreadfully departed from the Saviour, and brought so deep a scandal on religion.

3rd. When a man begins to sin, his fall from one act to another is easy--perhaps almost certain. At first Peter's sin was only simple denial; then it increased to more violent affirmation, and ended with open profaneness. So the downward road of crime is easy. When sin is once indulged, the way is open for a whole deluge of crime; nor is the course easily stayed till the soul is overwhelmed in awful guilt.

4th. True repentance is deep, thorough, bitter. Peter wept bitterly. It was sincere sorrow--sorrow proportioned to the nature of the offence he had committed.

5th. A look from Jesus--a look of mingled affection, pity, and reproof-- produces bitter sorrow for sin. Him we injure by our crimes, and his tender look, when we err, pierces the soul through with many sorrows, opens fountains of tears in the bosom, and leads us to weep with bitterness over our transgressions.

6th. When we sin--when we fall into temptation--let us retire from the world, seek the place of solitude, and pour out our sorrows before God. He will mark our groans; he will hear our sighs; he will pity his children; and he will receive them; like weeping Peter, to his arms again.

7th. Real Christians may be suffered to go far astray. To show them their weakness, to check self-confidence, and to produce dependence on Jesus Christ, they may be able to show how weak, and feeble, and rash they are. Peter was a real believer. Jesus had prayed for him that his faith should fail not, Lu 22:32. Jesus was always heard in his prayer, Joh 11:42. He was heard, therefore, then. Peter's faith did not fail; that is, his belief in Jesus, his real piety, his true attachment to Jesus. He knew, during the whole transaction, that Jesus was the Messiah, and that he himself was well acquainted with him. But he was suffered to declare that which he knew was not true. And in this consisted his sin. Yet,

8th. though a Christian may be suffered to go astray---may fall into sin--yet he who should, from this example of Peter, think he might lawfully do it, or who should resolve to do it, thinking that he might, like Peter, weep and repent, would give evidence that he knew nothing of the grace of God. He that resolves to sin under the expectation of repenting hereafter, cannot be a Christian.

It is worthy of further remark, that the fact that the fall of Peter is recorded by all the evangelists is high proof of their honesty. They were willing to tell the truth as it was; to conceal no fact, even if it made much against themselves; and to make mention of their own faults without attempting to appear to be better than they were. And it is worthy of special observation, that Mark has recorded this with all the circumstances of aggravation, perhaps even more so than the others. Yet, by the universal belief of antiquity, the Gospel of Mark was written under Peter's direction, and every part of it submitted to him for examination. Higher proof of the honesty and candour of the evangelists could not be demanded.

{l} "word of Jesus" Mt 26:34; Lu 22:31-34

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