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CXIX.

Judas' Betrayal and Peter's Denial Foretold.

(Jerusalem. Evening Before the Crucifixion.)

A Matt. XXVI. 21–25, 31–35; B Mark XIV. 18–21, 27–31; C Luke XXII. 21–23, 31–38;

D John XIII. 21–38.

b 18 And d 21 When Jesus had thus said, b as they sat and were eating, d he was troubled in the spirit, and b Jesus d testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say 652unto you, that one of you shall betray me. b even he that eateth with me. c 21 But behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. [The foreknowledge of Judas' crime did not relieve the Lord from the sting of it. By the use of the word “betray” Jesus revealed to Judas that he had perfect knowledge of the peculiar crime which he was about to commit. To induce repentance the enormity of the crime is pointed out in two ways: 1. It was the act of one, an act in which no other could be found willing to have a part. 2. It was the act of one whose hand rested on the table, who was admitted to the closest intercourse and fellowship.] d 22 The disciples looked one on another [in startled amazement], doubting of whom he spake. a 22 And they b began to be { a were} exceeding sorrowful [that the Lord should be betrayed was sorrow enough, but that one of the twelve should do the deed was an added grief], c 23 And they began to question among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. b and a began b to say unto him one by one, a every one, Is it I, Lord? [The form of the question in the Greek indicates that it expects “No” for an answer, so that it may be rendered, “Surely it is not I?”] 23 And he answered and said, b unto them, It is one of the twelve, a He that dipped { b dippeth} a his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. [According to Oriental custom, knives and forks were not used. One dish served to hold the sop for several people, that they might dip their bread into it. In so large a company, two or three bowls would be used for convenience' sake. The words of Jesus, therefore, limited the circle of accused ones from twelve to four or five, and also further emphasized the tender and close intimacy between the traitor and the Master.] b 21 For the Son of man goeth, c as it hath been determined: b even as it is written of him: but woe unto that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had not been born. [Jesus was following with unfaltering step the path of suffering marked out by the prophets. 653But this fact in no way exculpated the authors of his death. The prophecies referred to are many. As examples, see Ps. xxii., Isa. liii. The woe pronounced upon Judas was no vindictive or vengeful wish; it is the solemn announcement of the divine judgment. The words of Jesus stop the mouths of the apologists for Judas. When the judge thus speaks in condemnation, who shall presume to argue in extenuation?] d 23 There was at the table reclining in Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. [John thus speaks of himself. His couch was in front of that of the Lord, so that when he laid his head back it rested upon Jesus' bosom. See p. 513.] 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoneth to him, and saith unto him, Tell us who it is of whom he speaketh. 25 He leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus therefore answereth, He it is, for whom I shall dip the sop, and give it him. [It was a mark of special respect and courtesy to thus dip a sop and hand it to a guest.] So when he had dipped the sop, he taketh and giveth it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. [Thus Jesus advanced in his disclosure from twelve to three or four, and from three or four to one, and that one a friend most highly honored. But Judas was neither to be warned nor wooed from his purpose.] a 25 And Judas, who betrayed him, answered and said, Is it I, Rabbi? He saith unto him, Thou hast said. [It seems strange that the disciples showed no resentment toward Judas, and made no effort to interfere with this course, but their conduct is plain if we regard them as viewing the predictions of Jesus as referring to the indefinite future, and not the immediate present.] d 27 And after the sop, then entered Satan into him. [Exposure only hardened Judas and made him resign himself more fully to the influence of the devil.] Jesus therefore saith unto him, What thou doest, do quickly. [Jesus does not command the deed, but since it has already been determined upon, he dismisses Judas from his presence with words which fix the manner in which the deed should be done. Judas was still 654under divine command in a limited sense, for Satan himself is not beyond divine authority.] 28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. [Jesus had not fully and openly revealed Judas as the traitor. To have done so in the presence of the fiery Galilæans might have resulted in violence to the person of the betrayer.] 29 For some thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus said unto him, Buy what things we have need of for the feast [the feast on the evening of the first day of the festival of unleavened bread appears to have been both joyful and very bountiful]; or, that he should give something to the poor. [Probably to aid them in preparing for this feast.] 30 He then having received the sop went out straightway: and it was night. [Though this expression, “it was night,” is merely one which marks the time of day, nearly all commentators feel the weird force of it (Luke xxii. 53). Alford says, “I feel, with Meyer, that there is something awful in this termination—'it was night.'”] 31 When therefore he was gone out, Jesus saith, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him; 32 and God shall glorify him in himself, and straightway shall he glorify him. [The departure of Judas was the first step in the progress of the Lord's Passion, and in this moment of its beginning Jesus exults in the prospect of its end. Having just condemned the false pride and glory of men by washing his disciples' feet, Jesus rejoices that the true glory of God is about to be immediately manifested in himself—the glory of humility, charity, service, and self-sacrifice, which was realized to the utmost in the person of Jesus.] 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews [see pp. 447, 448], Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say unto you. 34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. [In the term of tenderness “my little children,” with which 655Jesus opens this paragraph, we see one of the marks of love referred to by John (John xiii. 1). It is found nowhere else in the Gospels. In the light of his near separation Jesus looked upon his apostles as about to be made orphan children. As to this new commandment, love had been commanded before (Lev. xix. 18), but the Christian love here commanded is different from that which the Jew was bade to feel for the Jew, just as the affection of a loving family differs from the mere broad and kindly spirit of neighborliness. A love which had Christ's heart as the standard would of necessity be new, and would distinguish those who possessed it from all men.] b 27 And a 31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended in me this night: for it is written [ Zech. xiii. 7], I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But b 28 Howbeit, after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee. [The scattering would take place after the return of the apostles to Galilee, and there after his resurrection, Jesus would gather them together as their shepherd.] d 36 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered, Whither I go, thou canst not follow now; but thou shalt follow afterwards. 37 Peter saith unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee even now? I will lay down my life for thee. [Peter, grieved at the prospect of separation, can see no reason why he should not follow, since he is willing to pass even through the portal of the grave that he may do so. Though perhaps prevented by no moral inability, he was prevented by the plan of life which God had designed for him. It was not in accordance with the divine will that he should die at this time.] 38 Jesus answereth, Wilt thou lay down thy life for me? c 31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: 32 but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not [The language here suggests a repetition, in some degree, of Satan's conduct in the case of Job. See Job i., ii. Jesus, having insight into what was going on in the spirit world, made supplication that Peter 656might be enabled to endure the trial]; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren. [The language sadly intimates that Satan's test would leave him in need of repentance. As the one who perhaps exercised the strongest influence over the other ten apostles, Peter is exhorted to use his own bitter experience for their benefit and strengthening.] 33 And he said unto him, Lord, with thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death. a 33 But Peter answered and said unto him, b Although, { a If} all shall be offended in thee, b yet will not I. a I will never be offended. [Thus Peter repudiates the idea that he could not stand the test.] b 30 And Jesus saith { a said} unto him, Verily I say unto thee, c I tell thee, Peter, b that thou to-day, even this night, before the cock crow twice, c thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. d Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, c this day, d till { c until} d thou hast denied me thrice. [Mark speaks of two cock-crowings and shows that the denial of Peter occurred between them (Mark xiv. 68–72). But Matthew, Luke, and John speak of but one cock-crowing and place the denial before it. The discrepancy is not an important one. Luke and John look upon the night in its entirety and speak of the cock-crowing at three in the morning, the signal of the dawning day. Mark looks at the night in its details, and shows that the denials of Peter began at midnight, the time of the first cock-crowing, and were finished before the last, or about three in the morning. Peter appears to have been thunderstruck at this prediction, which showed the nature, the details, and the nearness of his sin. He lapsed into silence, and we hear no more from him during the discourses which followed. But he did not yield without one final protest, as the sequel shows.] b 31 But a Peter b spake exceedingly vehemently, a saith unto him, Even b If I must die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner { a Likewise} also said all the disciples. [According to Matthew's account these accusations of our Lord and protestations of Peter were taken up again after 657Jesus left the upper room and was on his way to Gethsemane. The reader may therefore conceive of them as occurring again in the opening lines of Section CXXIII.] c 35 And he said unto them, When I sent you forth without purse, and wallet, and shoes, lacked ye anything? [See pp. 363, 364.] And they said, Nothing. 36 And he said unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet; and he that hath none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword. 37 For I say unto you, that this which is written [Isa. liii. 12] must be fulfilled in me, And he was reckoned with transgressors: for that which concerneth me hath fulfilment. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough. [In this passage our Lord draws a contrast between the favor with which his messengers had been received on their former mission and the trials and persecutions which awaited them in their future course. If they had prepared then to be received with joy, they were to prepare now to be opposed with bitterness; for the utter rejection of the Master would be followed by the violent persecution of the servants. The apostles took the words of Jesus literally, and showed two swords, and the Lord, for their future enlightenment, said, “It is enough,” thus intimating that he did not mean a literal arming with carnal weapons, for had he done so, two swords would not have sufficed for twelve men.]

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