The rejection of Jesus begins with the leaders of Israel...
but ends with the betrayal by his own disciples (Mar 14:18...).
SATAN: Poss a human enemy, an emissary of High Priest
and Sanhedrin (WGos 628). That is, he "entered into the house looking for
Judas": cp // Mat 26:14; Mar 14:10. Cp also Luk 22:31.
OFFICERS OF THE TEMPLE GUARD: Jews selected mostly from
AGREED TO GIVE HIM MONEY: A "downpayment", and then
remaining payment after deal is finished? A handful of coins was enough to
settle forever the conflict between good and evil. For what price do WE sell the
GO AND MAKE PREPARATIONS...: The new Passover -- under
the guiding hand of Christ -- was to be reoriented and invested with a yet
deeper significance. Who was really "preparing" the Passover, others -- or Jesus
A MAN CARRYING... WATER: Generally the work of a woman
(HVM 150), thus an extraordinary sight. A prearranged signal? (Was this the
young man Mark, carrying water to his mother's house?)
WATER: Which may have been used by Jesus to wash the
FOLLOW HIM TO THE HOUSE THAT HE ENTERS: To have
designated the precise house ahead of time would have played into the hands of
Judah, risking an interruption of the meal. They follow a man carrying the water
of life to a place where they drink the wine of the new covenant.
"I go to prepare a place": Joh 14:1-6.
FURNISHED: Lit "strewn" -- ie with pillows and
Did Christ partake of Passover? The lamb was killed and the
Passover was kept "between the evenings" (Exo 12:6; Num 9:2,3), ie between -- in
this case -- Thurs evening and Fri evening. Christ's meal was the earlier case,
and then he was slain on Fri in time to fulfill the type of Passover lamb, which
most of the nation ate at the later time (JT, RR, Ber 51:135...).
I HAVE EAGERLY DESIRED TO EAT THIS PASSOVER WITH YOU BEFORE
I SUFFER: This was one of the moments that Jesus had been longing for -- a
time of quiet intimacy between the master and his disciples. The passover meal
was the one event that Jesus was looking forward to in his last few hours of
life, and the thing that made it all the more desirable was to spend it with his
best friends around a meal of celebration to God.
"What the disciples could not know is that even while he
encompassed them in this simple memorial, his eyes were lifted beyond them down
the years that were to be; towards disciples gathered in caves with Roman
soldiers dogging their steps; towards men and women dying in the mountains with
his Name upon their lips; towards a faithful remnant struggling to keep the
faith in a closing age of folly and darkness. He saw countless disciples down
the years and over the world, humble disciples who lived and died unknown. He
saw them living out their little lives with their hopes and their fears, their
struggles and their failures, their prayers and their victories. He came quietly
to them with his invitation, 'With desire I have desired to eat this Passover
with you before I suffer.' And in humble earnestness had come their answer,
'With desire we desire to meet at thy table, Lord.' And so obediently they came,
they remembered, they loved, they went back to their tasks inspired by his
presence, resolved to struggle on. Eventually they died, faithful to the end,
not having received the promise but having seen it afar off" (MP
I WILL NOT DRINK AGAIN OF THE FRUIT OF THE VINE: Christ
is about to assume duty of priest -- which will continue, in heaven, until after
his return. Because of poor example of Nadab and Abihu, priests on duty were
forbidden wine (Lev 10:1,2,9).
DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME: "Do we fully realize the
importance of the weekly Memorial Service? There may be a danger in these days
of multiplicity of meetings -- fraternal gatherings, mutual improvement classes,
study circles, singing classes, vacational campaigns, all of which have valuable
features -- of losing the correct sense of proportion. Let us put first things
first: and the first in importance of all our meetings is that for the Breaking
"Do not let us forget that the Memorial Service owes its
origin to a command of the Lord Jesus to his disciples: 'This do in remembrance
of me': Paul reminds us that it was given 'the same night in which he was
betrayed' -- a solemn and an arresting association of ideas. Can we not enter
somewhat into the spirit of that 'dark betrayal night'? The partaking of the
Passover with its vivid reminder of God's intervention and Israel's deliverance:
our Lord's evident satisfaction in partaking with his disciples -- 'With desire
I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer': the sudden
challenge of the Master: 'Verily I say unto you, one of you shall betray me';
followed by the heart-searching enquiries 'Lord, is it I? is it I?' Then the
linking up of the Passover with the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup
after Jesus had given thanks, and had associated the emblems with his body soon
to be broken, and his blood about to be shed. Could those disciples ever forget
the inauguration of that Memorial Feast?
"Years later the apostle Paul, in giving the salient details
of that inauguration to the Gentile believers in Corinth, reminds them: 'As
often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till
he come'. Surely the emphasis in that quotation is on the word 'often'! How
often shall the servants of Christ meet to remember him? If it were left to
ourselves to decide, the answers would be many and conflicting: we are saved
from such uncertainty. The apostolic example has been preserved for us in the
record given in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 20:7): 'Upon the first day of the
week when the disciples came together to break bread'. Here then are our
instructions based on the inspired record: 'Do this in remembrance of me', said
the Master; 'Do it often', said Paul; 'Do it on the first day of each week',
said apostolic example.
"I believe many brethren and sisters to-day feel that we may
be called upon, in the none too distant future, to face some great trial of our
faith, perhaps the last and supreme test the brotherhood may be called upon to
endure. We may possibly be wrong in so indulging our imagination. One thing is
certain, however: if we are faithful in the simpler and obvious duties of our
profession, we shall be all the more able to meet the greater trials should
these come. Every first day of the week brings with it a simple yet infallible
test of our loyalty to Christ. Have we obeyed his command to remember him in the
breaking of bread and drinking of wine? How many times have we failed to do so
this year? Have we forgotten? Christ does not forget, and the 'book of
remembrance' is a Divine reality. Only the gravest of reasons can be adequate to
justify our failure to obey our Lord's request. Was it impossible -- really
impossible -- for us to be at the meeting? Then there is the possibility of
breaking bread at home, as many a brother or sister in isolation must do. Were
we on holiday? Then did we, amongst our preparations for that holiday, find out
the address of the nearest ecclesia and time of meeting? Or if there were no
ecclesia accessible, did we ourselves make the few essential preparations to
remember Christ in the way appointed?
"Each first day of the week brings its opportunity, and its
test of loyalty to Christ. Happy shall we be if we can assure ourselves in the
day of account that we have been consistently faithful in this matter of the
remembrance of our absent Lord" (FWT).
// 1Co 11:25.
THIS CUP IS THE NEW COVENANT IN MY BLOOD...: Jesus
modifies the words of Exo 24:8 by adding "new" from Jer 31:31 -- blending
together the giving of the old covenant and the new covenant to show how they
speak of him.
Citing Psa 41:9: "My close friend, whom I trusted." Cp also
Psa 55:12-14. Note: Jesus broke bread with Judas! Cp Joh 13:26.
WHICH OF THEM IT MIGHT BE: There is no hint that any of
the disciples suspected Judas. "An indication of how completely the traitor
lived his own life in his own world even while continuing to be an intimate
member of the apostles' band."
// Mat 26:67,68. The irony is that, in disputing about who was
the greatest, there were ALL "betraying" the high ideals of their Lord and
Master (Luk 22:22,23)!
BENEFACTORS: Jesus alluded to the Seleucidae and the
Ptolemies when he said that the kings of the Gentiles call themselves
"benefactors," for the Gr word "euergetes" (benefactor) was one of their titles.
The masses over which they ruled paid taxes to them and prostrated themselves
before them, but they would have done the same for any other master.
ONE WHO SERVES: As in Joh 13:5.
EAT AND DRINK AT MY TABLE: That is, belonging to his
family, sharing the king's presence, favor, association -- as did Barzillai's
sons (1Ki 2:7) and Mephibosheth (2Sa 9:7-13) with David.
SIT ON THRONES: Mat 19:28; Luk 19:11,12; Rev
SATAN: Cp v 3. Jewish authorities intent on rounding up
all disciples. Cp Joh 18:8,9,17. (Cp usage in 1Pe 5:8.)
YOU: Greek is plural, sig all apostles. The authorities
were seeking traitors among the 12, preferably more than one to be false
STRENGTHEN YOUR BRETHREN: "Sterizo" = "establish". Not
an exclusive command for Peter: cp Rom 1:11; 2Co 11:28; 1Th 3:2; Rev 3:2. Peter
failed in this: Luk 22:55. Note the limitations on Peter's jurisdiction: Gal
2:8. See Lesson, Peter: The look.
Peter thinks he will lay down (sw Joh 10:11,15) his life for
Jesus. Instead, Jesus will lay down his life for Peter. A great irony: cp
David/God/build house: 2Sa 7.
Cp Peter's words (Luk 22:33) with the impotent "bluster" of
WHEN I SENT YOU WITHOUT PURSE, BAG OR SANDALS, DID YOU LACK
ANYTHING?: Christ refers to past, when disciples went forth on mission in
faith, lacking nothing, with staff only (Mar 6:8 and context) -- in ct to their
present fear of authorities, exemplified by hidden swords. His command (v 36)
does not bring forth the affirmation of faith one might expect, but instead the
revealing of hidden weapons.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SWORD, SELL YOUR CLOAK AND BUY ONE:
This command was not intended to be taken literally (cp vv 50,51; Joh 18:10,11).
So, possible solutions: (1) Perhaps showing that divine protection (v 35) was
about to be withdrawn (Zec 13:7), and that they should expect persecution (Luk
21:12). They now had to provide for themselves.
Or (2) as an object lesson: so that no one could ever say
Christ could not have defended himself; this shows that he submitted
Or, again (3), as protection from wild beasts.
Another option: v 35 is Jesus' reminder of their previous
provisions. Now v 36 may be taken as a question: "So, do you now sell your cloak
and buy a sword?" And along with v 37: "Now, I suppose, I will be counted as an
SWORD: Symbolic of conflict, perhaps family conflict:
Mat 10:34. Symbolic of a mother suffering at the death of her son: Luk 2:34,35.
So Jesus might have been implying: 'The time is coming when there will be great
conflict because of me... so you need to be prepared!'
NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS: "And bore the sin of
many" (Isa 53:12). In suffering, he healed others (v 51 also).
THAT IS ENOUGH: What was the use of 2 swords only for
11 men, if literal fighting were intended?
After singing a hymn: Mat 26:30; Mar 14:26.
JESUS WENT OUT AS USUAL TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES: Jesus
knew Judas would be coming here (a familiar spot for the group to rest: Joh
18:2,3). So here he waits, placing himself in Judas' hands.
Jesus often went to the mount of Olives. The occasions when
Jesus went to the mount of Olives (notice that they are all, except John 8,
during the last week of his life): Mat 21:1; 24:3; 26:30; Mark 11:1; 13:3;
14:26; Luke 19:29,37; 21:37; 22:39; John 8:1; 18:1,2 [crossing Kedron]. Jesus
was living out the experiences of David when he fled from Absalom. Whilst David
did not know what was to be the outcome of his flight, Jesus did know and this
must have been a great comfort to him. We live out Scripture in our own lives --
particularly when we break bread week by week in remembrance of Jesus. We should
make a habit of living out Scripture in our day-to-day lives.
Instances of Jesus withdrawing into a mountain, apart --
sometimes for privacy and prayer, and sometimes to instruct his followers: Mat
5:1; 8:1; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3; 28:16; Mark 3:13; 6:46; 9:2; 13:3; Luke
6:12; 9:28; 22:39; John 6:3,15; 8:1.
MOUNT OF OLIVES: To a garden called Gethsemane (Mat
26:36; Mar 14:32), which literally means "a wine press for oil". Poss its olive
trees provided oil for the anointing of priests and kings.
A STONE'S THROW: But such a description is virtually
meaningless (ie, how large a stone? how strong a throw?)... unless intended to
convey some truth symbolically: Perhaps 1Sa 17:49: the stone's throw of David to
slay the giant Goliath.
// Mat 26:39... How could Jesus ask for such a thing? Because
he was not yet "perfect", although without sin: Heb 5:8,9.
THIS CUP: The hours of waiting, or the cross itself? If
the cross itself, he would realize quickly that this could not be avoided --
thus "not as I will..."
NOT MY WILL: Christ has a will of his own: Rom
NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE: "My will is to play
with earthly toys: Thy will is to work with heavenly tools. My will is to be
comfortable: Thy will is to be useful. My will is to indulge the flesh: Thy will
is to build up the Spirit. My will is to criticize and condemn: Thy will is to
sympathize and help. My will is to proudly speculate and theorize: Thy will is
to humbly study and learn. My will is to leave the work of the Truth to someone
else, while I 'seek my own things': Thy will is to be 'always abounding,'
'seeking not her own.' My will is to wallow in childish self-pity: Thy will is
to 'rejoice always.' My will is to complain about trials and troubles: Thy will
is to count it all joy, knowing that tribulation worketh patience. My will is
foolish talking and jesting: Thy will is gracious speech, seasoned with salt, as
the Oracles of God. My will is to lay up baubles on earth: Thy will is to lay up
treasure in heaven. My will leads only steadily downward, to sorrow and death:
Thy will leads ever onward and upward, to eternal life and joy. 'Thy will, not
mine, be done' " (GVG).
AN ANGEL... STRENGTHENED HIM: Cp Isa 49:1-8. God will
provide help to those who pray. This, fulfilling Psa 17:3-6; 31:16; 34:6. (Had
the others already fallen asleep?)
ANGUISH: From root "agon", lit an assembly to witness a
context, or struggle!
SWEAT: Even though the night was very cold (Joh 18:18).
Christ was suffering to remove the curse upon Adam: "In the sweat of your
brow..." (Gen 3:19). Christ's sacrifice had already begun (Psa 22;15; Isa
WAS LIKE DROPS OF BLOOD: "Like" suggests
interpretation: to Luke, the great drops of sweat symbolized and foreshadowed
great drops of blood! Cp Psa 22:15; Isa 53:11. (Also, in the shadows and dark,
sweat would look like blood!) (Or, perhaps, a phenomenon very rarely observed,
but scientifically possible: under great stress the small capillaries near the
surface of the skin can rupture, tinging the perspiration red.)
Peter's 7 downward steps: (1) sleeping (v 45), (2) taking up
sword (v 50), (3) "afar off" (v 54), (4) sitting among High Priest's servants (v
55), (5) denial (v 57), (6) denial second time (v 58), and (7) denial third time
EXHAUSTED FROM SORROW: Or, poss, "away from sorrow", ie
indifferent, oblivious to Christ's sorrow. They slept away, having no real idea
what their Master was going through.
Why was it necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed with a
kiss? There is, of course, the obvious symbolism: the deceitful treachery of a
familiar friend. But, on close examination, there would appear to be a practical
reason for Judas to suggest a kiss: the time set for Jesus' arrest was night,
and the place a rather secluded garden. The Jews bent on taking Jesus have
realized that, in the confusion of an arrest, he could slip out of their hands
quite easily. The trick would be to single him out from his followers while they
were still at some distance, so that the soldiers would know which of the
shadowy figures to pursue and lay hands on. (Under conditions of normal
visibility there would have been no problem identifying Jesus.) And thus the
stratagem of having Judas precede the multitude, for only a member of the inner
circle (so they would suppose) could get close enough to single out the leader
from his followers.
ONE OF THEM: Peter (Joh 18:10). Was he aiming for Judas
(cp Joh 13:24), but only managing to wound a bystander?
THE SERVANT OF THE HIGH PRIEST: Malchus (Joh 18:10). Is
Malchus named because he later became a follower of Jesus? So this man, we may
safely assume, leaves the service of the FALSE High Priest, to enter the service
of the REAL High Priest, Jesus!
CUTTING OFF HIS EAR: See the contrast: some (like
Jesus) wait, watch, pray, prepare, weigh alternatives, and (only then) act.
Others (like Peter) doze off, sleep, wake suddenly, and then "cut off an
Even in his arrest Jesus brings healing to others. Cp touching
of High Priest's ear: Lev 8:23. (Think of the report Malchus would take to his
master! Perhaps Malchus becomes a believer. This could be the reason his name is
given in Joh 18:10. Thus the servant of one High Priest becomes the servant of a
greater High Priest.)
All the occasions of Jesus touching, or being touched, in the
context of healing (notice that not one of them is in John's gospel): Mat
8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27,28,30,31; 6:56;
7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15; 22:51.
SWORDS AND CLUBS: The weapons, respectively, of Roman
soldiers and Jewish temple guards.
Darkness closes down upon the scene. The garden, with its
gnarled old olive trees, is dark and quiet again. The silence is broken only by
the rustling of the leaves.
THE HOUSE OF THE HIGH PRIEST: Annas was no longer the
official High Priest, but the title (and power and wealth) remained in family: 5
different sons, and finally his son-in-law Caiaphas became High Priest (from 18
to 36 AD: OP 23:262). They were a ruthless and ambitious family, who would do
almost anything to maintain power (MP 332).
Two injustices here: (1) a private meeting, and (2) late at
night. A night trial was illegal: Act 4:3; 5:17-19.
AT A DISTANCE: Luk 23:49.
Peter warmed himself by the fire of the world, but denied the
living fire (cp Isa 50:11, in context of judgment -- vv 8,9 -- and smiting -- v
The only instance in the Gospels where a woman is not on
Jesus' side! Or is she?
Was Peter afraid especially because of his violent action
against the High Priest's servant? Cp John 18:26.
Jesus turned to: to the following multitude (Luk 14:25), the
backsliding disciple (Luk 22:61), the impulsive disciple (Mat 16:23), and the
trembling believer (Mar 5:30).
AND LOOKED STRAIGHT AT PETER: In the "mirror" of Jesus'
face Peter saw himself -- what he truly was; and he could not stand the sight.
See Lesson, Peter: The look.
PROPHESY: 'Tell us who is striking you.' One day he
Vv 66-71: One final audience (with Annas and Caiaphas both),
to formulate "charges". (By meeting during the daytime hours, they are seeking
to legalize what had been decided -- illegally -- the night before: the
Sanhedrin was only supposed to meet during the day!) Now they are finally