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22. Last Supper, Betrayal, Arrest

Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. 2And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

3Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. 6And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

7Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. 8And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 9And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 14And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! 23And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.

24And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. 35And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

39And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

47And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 48But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? 49When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

50And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. 52Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

54Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 60And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

63And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. 64And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? 65And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.

66And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, 67Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: 68 And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. 69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. 70Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. 71And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.

As Luke mentions that the cup was twice presented by Christ, we must inquire, in the first place, if it be a repetition, (as the Evangelists are wont frequently to say the same thing twice,) or if Christ, after having tasted the cup, repeated the same thing a second time. This latter conjecture appears to me to be probable; for we know that the holy fathers, during sacrifices, observed the solemn rite of tasting the cup; 188188     “Que les saincts peres ont observé ceste ceremonie solennelle de prendre la coupe, et gouster un peu de ce qui estoit dedans;” — “that the holy fathers observed this ceremony of taking the cup, and tasting a little of what was within it.” and hence those words of the Psalmist,

I will take the cup of salvation,
and will call on the name of the Lord, (Psalm 116:13.)

I have no doubt, therefore, that Christ, according to the ancient custom, tasted the cup in the holy feast, which otherwise could not have been correctly observed; and Luke expressly mentions this, before coming to give an account of the new mystery, which was a totally different institution from the paschal lamb. It was in compliance also with received and ordinary custom, that he is expressly said to have given thanks, after having taken the cup. For at the commencement of the supper, I have no doubt, he prayed, as he was accustomed never to sit down at table without calling on God; but now he wished to discharge once more the same duty, that he might not leave out a ceremony which, I have just now shown, was connected with the sacred act of taking the cup and tasting it. 189189     “De prende la coupe, et en gouster.”

Luke 22:19. Which is given for you. The other two Evangelists leave out this clause, which, however, is far from being superfluous; for the reason why the flesh of Christ becomes bread to us is, that by it salvation was once procured for us. And as the crucified flesh itself is of no advantage but to those who eat it by faith, so, on the other hand, the eating of it would be unmeaning, and of hardly any value, were it not in reference to the sacrifice which was once offered. Whoever then desires that the flesh of Christ should afford nourishment to him, let him look at it as having been offered on the cross, that it might be the price of our reconciliation with God. But what Matthew and Mark leave out in reference to the symbol of bread, they express in reference to the cup, saying, that the blood was to be shed for the remission of sins; and this observation must be extended to both clauses. So then, in order that we may feed aright on the flesh of Christ, we must contemplate the sacrifice of it, because it was necessary that it should have been once given for our salvation, that it might every day be given to us.

Luke 22:28. You are they who have continued with me. Although Luke appears to relate a different discourse of Christ, and one which was delivered at a different time, yet I have no doubt that it refers to the same time. For it is not a continued discourse of Christ that is here related, but detached sentences, without any regard to the order of time, as we shall shortly afterwards have occasion to state. But he employs more words than Matthew; for he declares that, as the apostles had accompanied him, and had remained steadfastly in his temptations, they would also be partakers of his glory. It is asked, in what sense does he call them his temptations? I think that he means the contests by which God tried him and the apostles in common. And properly did he use the word temptations; for, according to the feeling of human nature, his faith and patience were actually tried.

Luke 21:28. And when these things begin to take place. Luke expresses more clearly the consolation by which Christ animates the minds of his followers; for, though this sentence contains nothing different from the words of Matthew, which we have just now explained, yet it shows better for what purpose the angels will come, as we are told, to gather the elect. For it was necessary to contrast the joy of the godly with the general sorrow and distress of the world, and to point out the difference between them and the reprobate, that they might not view with horror the coming of Christ. We know that Scripture, when it speaks not only of the last judgment, but of all the judgments which God executes every day, describes them in a variety of ways, according as the discourse is addressed to believers or to unbelievers.

To what purpose is the day of the Lord to you?
says the prophet Amos, (5:18.)

It is a day of darkness and gloominess, 154154     Our author — quoting from memory, as he frequently does — appears to have incorporated the words of the prophet Amos, (5:18,) To what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light, with a parallel passage in Joel, (2:1, 2) for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.Ed. not of light; of sorrow, not of joy; of destruction, not of salvation. On the other hand, Zechariah (9:9) bids the daughter of Zion rejoice on account of the coming of her King; and justly, for—as Isaiah (35:4) tells us—the same day which brings wrath and vengeance to the reprobate brings good-will and redemption to believers.

Christ therefore shows that, at his coming, the light of joy will arise on his disciples, that they may rejoice in the approaching salvation, while the wicked are overwhelmed with terror. Accordingly, Paul distinguishes them by this mark, that they wait for the day or coming of the Lord, (1 Corinthians 1:7) for that which is their crown, and perfect happiness, and solace, is delayed till that day, (2 Timothy 4:8.) It is therefore called here (as in Romans 8:23) redemption; because we shall then obtain truly and perfectly the consequences of the deliverance obtained through Christ. Let our ears therefore be awake to the sound of the angel’s trumpet, which will then sound, not only to strike the reprobate with the dread of death, but to arouse the elect to a second life; that is, to call to the enjoyment of life those whom the Lord now quickens by the voice of his Gospel; for it is a sign of infidelity, to be afraid when the Son of God comes in person for our salvation.

29. And I appoint to you the kingdom. Here he makes them not only judges, but kings; for he shares with them the kingdom which he received from the Father There is an emphasis in the word appoint, that they may not, by warmth and vehemence of desire, hasten too eagerly to possess the kingdom of which he alone has the lawful right to dispose. By his own example, also, he exhorts them to patience; for, though he was ordained by the Father to be a King, yet he was not immediately raised to his glory, but even emptied Himself, (Philippians 2:7,) and by the ignominy of the cross obtained kingly honor. To eat and drink at his table is put metaphorically for being made partakers of the same glory.

Luke 22:31. Lo, Satan hath desired. The other two Evangelists relate more briefly and simply, that our Lord foretold to his disciples their fall. But the words of Luke contain more abundant instruction; for Christ does not speak of the future trouble in the way of narrative, but expressly declares, that they will have a contest with Satan, and, at the same time, promises to them victory. It is a highly useful admonition, whenever we meet with any thing that gives us offense, to have always before our eyes the snares of Satan; as Paul also teaches, that

we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual armies,
(Ephesians 6:12.)

The meaning of the words therefore is: “When, a short time hence, you shall see me oppressed, know that Satan employs these arms to fight against you, and that this is a convenient opportunity for destroying your faith.” I have said that this is a useful doctrine, because it frequently happens that, from want of consideration, we are overcome by disregarding temptations, which we would regard as formidable, if we reflected that they are the fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) of a vigorous and powerful enemy. And though he now speaks of that singularly fierce attack, by which the disciples, at one time, received dreadful shocks, so that their faith was well nigh extinguished, yet he manifestly conveys a more extensive doctrine, that Satan continually goes about, roaring for his prey. As he is impelled by such furious madness to destroy us, nothing is more unreasonable than that we should give ourselves up to drowsiness. Before there is apparent necessity for fighting, let us already prepare ourselves; for we know that Satan desires our destruction, and with great skill and assiduity seizes on every method of injuring us. And when we come to the conflict, let us know that all temptations, from whatever quarter they come, were forged in the workshop of that enemy.

That he may sift you as wheat. The metaphor of sifting is not in every respect applicable; for we have elsewhere seen that the Gospel is compared to a winnowing-fan or sieve, by which the wheat is purified from the chaff (Matthew 3:12;) but here it simply means to toss up and down, or to shake with violence, because the apostles were driven about with unusual severity by the death of Christ. This ought to be understood, because there is nothing in which Satan takes less delight than the purification of believers. Yet though it be for a different purpose that he shakes them, it is nevertheless true, that they are driven and tossed about in every direction, just as the wheat is shaken by the winnowing-fan. But we shall shortly afterwards see that a still more disastrous fulfillment of these words was experienced by the disciples. And this is what is meant by the words of our Lord, as related by Matthew and Mark: you will all be offended at me. They mean that the disciples will not only be attacked, but will nearly give way; because the ignominious treatment of Christ will quite overpower their minds. For whereas it was their duty to advance steadily with their Master to the cross, fear kept them back. Their infirmity is thus exhibited to them, that by prayers and groans they may betake themselves to God’s holy protection.

Luke 22:35. And he said to them. The whole object of this discourse of Christ is to show, that hitherto he spared his disciples, so as to lay on them no heavier burden than they were able to bear. He reminds them of the indulgence exercised during the past time, that they may now prepare themselves with greater alacrity for severer warfare. For why did he, while they were altogether destitute of skill and training, keep them in the shade and in repose, at a distance from the darts of the enemy, except that, by gradually gathering courage and strength during the interval of leisure, they might be better prepared for fighting? The meaning is: “Hitherto you have had an easy and prosperous condition, because I wished to treat you gently, like children; the full time is now come, when I must employ you in labor, like men.” But the comparison which he makes between the two periods is still more extensive; for if they wanted nothing, when they proceeded to discharge their office without taking with them a stock of provisions, when a state of peace allowed them leisure to provide for their necessities, much more now, in the midst of tumult and excitement, ought they to lay aside anxiety about the present life, and run wherever necessity calls them. And although Christ makes special mention of what he had done in reference to the twelve apostles, he shows likewise, that while we are still beginners and weak in faith, he continues to indulge us till we grow up to be men; and, therefore, that they act improperly who devote their leisure to the pursuit of luxuries, which abate the rigor of their faith. And let us not doubt that Christ has regard to us in the present day, since he does not hurry us into the battle while we are still untrained and inexperienced, but, before sending us to the field, supplies us with arms and courage.

36. But now let him who hath a purse take it. In metaphorical language he threatens that they will soon meet with great troubles and fierce attacks; just as when a general, intending to lead the soldiers into the field of battle, calls them to arms, and orders them to lay aside every other care, and think of nothing else than fighting, not even to take any thought about procuring food. For he shows them—as is usually done in cases of extreme danger—that every thing must be sold, even to the scrip and the purse, in order to supply them with arms. And yet he does not call them to an outward conflict, but only, under the comparison of fighting, he warns them of the severe struggles of temptations which they must undergo, and of the fierce attacks which they must sustain in spiritual contests. That they might more willingly throw themselves on the providence of God, he first reminded them, as I have said, that God took care to supply them with what was necessary, even when they carried with them no supplies of food and raiment. Having experienced so large and seasonable supplies from God, they ought not, for the future, to entertain any doubt that he would provide for every one of their necessities.

37. That this also which is written must be accomplished in me. This adverb also is emphatic; for Christ means, that he had not yet discharged every part of his office, till he had been ranked with ungodly and wicked men, as if he had been one of their class. But that their minds might not be too much disturbed by the baseness of such a transaction, he quotes a prediction of Isaiah, (53:12) which, it is certain, cannot be explained but as referring to the Messiah. Now since it is there said that he was to be reckoned among transgressors, such a spectacle, however atrocious, ought not to alarm believers, or to alienate them from Christ, who could not have been their Redeemer in any other way than by taking upon himself the shame and disgrace of a wicked man. For nothing is better adapted to remove grounds of offense, when we are alarmed by any strange occurrence, than to acknowledge that it so pleases God, and that whatever takes place by his appointment is not done rashly, or without a good reason; more especially when that which is made evident by the event itself was anciently predicted. Since, then, the disciples ought to expect a Redeemer such as God had formerly promised, and since Isaiah had expressly declared, that in order that he might deliver us from the guilt of offenses the punishment must be laid on him, (Isaiah 53:5, 6,) this ought to be sufficient for abating the horror of the disciples, and for preventing them from entertaining less esteem for Christ.

For those things which relate to me have an end. By these words, immediately added, he means that the prophets spoke nothing in vain. For this Greek phrase, τέλος ἔχει, have an end; means that they are accomplished, or put in effect. Now when every thing that the prophets spoke is verified by the event, it ought rather to contribute to strengthen our faith, than to strike us with alarm or anxiety. But while Christ encourages and comforts the disciples by this single argument, that all the predictions must be accomplished, the very procedure of the divine purpose contains within itself no ordinary ground of confidence, which is, that Christ was subjected to the condemnation which we deserved, and was reconciled among transgressors, that we, who are transgressors, and loaded with crimes, might be presented by him to the Father as righteous. For we are reckoned pure and free from sins before God, because the Lamb, who was pure and free from every blemish, was placed in our room, as we shah have occasion to state again under the next chapter.

38. Lord, lo, here are two swords. It was truly shameful and stupid ignorance, that the disciples, after having been so often informed about bearing the cross, imagine that they must fight with swords of iron. When they say that they have two swords, it is uncertain whether they mean that they are well prepared against their enemies, or complain that they are ill provided with arms. It is evident, at least, that they were so stupid as not to think of a spiritual enemy. As to the inference which the Doctors of Canon Law draw from these words — that their mitered bishops have a double jurisdiction — it is not only an offensive allegory, but a detestable mockery, by which they ridicule the word of God. And it was necessary that the slaves of Antichrist should fall into such madness, of openly trampling under feet, by sacrilegious contempt, the sacred oracles of God.

Luke 22:51. And having touched his ear, he healed him. By his foolish zeal Peter had brought grievous reproach on his Master and his doctrine; and there can be no doubt, that this was a contrivance by which Satan attempted to involve the Gospel in eternal disgrace, as if Christ had kept company with assassins and seditious persons for revolutionary purposes. This, I think, was the reason why Christ healed the wound which Peter had inflicted. But a fearful and amazing stupidity must have seized his adversaries, who were not at all affected by having seen such a miracle. And yet there is the less reason to wonder that they did not see the power of Christ displayed in the person of another, when, after having themselves been laid prostrate by his voice, they still continued to rage, (John 18:6.) Such is the spirit of giddiness by which Satan maddens the reprobate, when the Lord has given them over to blindness. Above all, in the person himself who was healed, there is a striking instance of ingratitude; for neither did the divine power of Christ subdue him to repentance for his hardness, nor was he overcome by kindness so as to be changed from an enemy into a disciple. For it is a foolish imagination of the monks that he was also healed in his soul, that the work of Christ might not be left incomplete; as if the goodness of God were not every day poured out on those who are unworthy.


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