14:1 Now after two days was [the feast of] the passover and the unleavened bread1: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him with subtlety, and kill him2: JESUS PREDICTS, THE RULERS PLOT FOR, AND JUDAS BARGAINS FOR HIS DEATH. (Mount of Olives, Bethany, and Jerusalem. Tuesday after sunset, which Jews regarded as the beginning of Wednesday.) Matthew 26:1-5,14-16; Mark 14:1,2,10,11; Luke 22:1-6
Now after two days was [the feast of] the passover and the unleavened
bread. We may regard Jesus as having entered the temple Tuesday morning,
and as having taught there until the evening.* He then retired to the slopes
of Olivet and delivered the discourse which occupies Sections 113-115. The
discourse finished, it is likely that he arose about or a little after
sunset (which the Jews reckoned as Wednesday) and proceeded on his way to
Bethany, where he remained until late Thursday afternoon. On his way to
Bethany he spoke the words of this section. The two days mentioned are
Wednesday and Thursday. The Passover was eaten Thursday night after sunset,
which the Jews reckoned as Friday. For a full discussion of the time when
the Passover was eaten, see Andrews' "Life of Christ", pp.
And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him
with subtlety, and kill him. See Mark
*NOTE.--If this had been Tuesday, he would have said "after three
days", as is the case of the resurrection. In all such expressions the
remaining part of the present day was counted as one.--J. W. McGarvey
14:2 for they said, Not
during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult of the people1.
Not during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult of the people.
They knew that there were many at the feast from Galilee, and other sections
of the country where Jesus ministered; and, judging by the demonstration
made at the triumphal entry, they felt that there were plenty to take arms
in Jesus' behalf. The sense of the council, therefore, seemed to be that if
Jesus could be taken by subtlety--that is, arrested privately--he might be
taken during the feast. But if he had to be arrested publicly, then it was
better to postpone his apprehension until after the feast. The treachery of
Judas caused them to adopt the former course.
14:3 And while he was in Bethany in
the house of Simon the leper2, as he sat at meat, there
came a woman3 having an alabaster
cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly4; [and]
she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head5.
JESUS ARRIVES AND IS FEASTED AT BETHANY. (From Friday afternoon till Saturday
Night, March 31 and April 1, A.D. 30.) Matthew
And being in Bethany. At this place Matthew and Mark insert the
account of the supper given to Jesus in the house of Simon the leper (Matthew
14:3-9). They do this because the treacherous determination of Judas was
formed at it and dates from it. The rebuke of the Lord then administered, or
the desire to reimburse himself for the price of the ointment, which Mary
expended, and which he felt that he ought to have had, or some other
reasons, evidently induced him at that time to decide upon our Lord's
betrayal. Since then he had been seeking opportunity to betray the Master.
In the house of Simon the leper. Who Simon the leper was is not
known. It is not unlikely that he was one whom Jesus had healed, and that he
united with the household of Lazarus (John
12:2) in a joint effort to show gratitude unto the Lord for his goodness
to this group of his friends.
There came a woman. Mary, the sister of Lazarus. See John
Having an alabaster cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly.
Nard was a liquid perfume distilled from some odorous plant or plants and
mingled with oil. It was sealed in flasks or alabaster boxes and imported
from the Far East.
[And] she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head. The cruse
seems to have been a long-necked flask sealed with wax so tightly as to
necessitate its being broken to extract the nard. These flasks were tasteful
and costly objects such as women delight to possess. Many of them were so
delicate that Pliny compares them to closed rosebuds.
14:4 But there
were some that had indignation among themselves1,
[saying], To what purpose hath this waste of the ointment been made?
But there were some that had indignation among themselves. The
disciples. See Matthew
14:5 For this
ointment might have been sold for above three hundred shillings1,
and given to the poor. And they murmured against her2.
For this ointment might have been sold for above three hundred
shillings. The price of the pound of nard would be about $51 of our
money, but the purchasing power of money was then nearly ten times as great
as it is now. The price here named agrees almost exactly with the figures
which Pliny rates the most costly nard.
And given to the poor. And they murmured against her. It seems very
likely that this murmuring was started by Judas Iscariot, for the murmurers
fall in with his notions that the price of the ointment should be deposited
in the poor fund (John
14:6 But Jesus said, Let her alone; why
trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
But Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a
good work on me. See John
12:7. The words of Jesus about the ointment (Matthew
12:7-8) taken as a whole may be construed thus: "The sorrows of my
coming passion oppress me (Matthew
26:38), and Mary, conscious of that sorrow, wishes to cheer me with the
evidence of love and gratitude. She sympathizes with me as I approach the
shadow of death, and anoints me beforehand for the burial. You do not
begrudge what is given to the dead. You do not censure as extravagant what
is spent for the embalming of a dear one. You yourselves would be ready
enough to anoint me in this same manner after I am dead. So do not censure
her because in the fullness of her sympathy she has anticipated the coming
catastrophe and has anointed me beforehand".
14:7 For ye have
the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good1:
but me ye have not always2.
For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do
them good. There would be plenty of opportunities in which to do good to
But me ye have not always. The time for conferring a personal
benefit upon Christ in the flesh was now limited to seven days. Thereafter
gifts could only be given to Christ by bestowing them upon the poor.
14:9 And verily I say unto you, Wheresoever
the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world1,
that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Wheresoever the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world,
that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial
of her. Jesus here makes prominent the different estimates which God and
man place upon the same acts. That which the disciples had censured as a
waste and that which they had regarded as worthy of rebuke was in his sight
an action fit to be kept in everlasting remembrance as a model for the
conduct of future generations throughout the whole earth, and he accordingly
decreed that it be so kept in mind.
14:10 And Judas
Iscariot, he that was one of the twelve1, went
away unto the chief priests, that he might deliver him unto them2.
Judas Iscariot, he that was one of the twelve. See Mark
3:19 and see John
Went away unto the chief priests, that he might deliver him unto them.
It is probable that the proposal to sell his Master was made by Judas to
individual members of the Sanhedrin (Luke
22:4), and that this proposal was one of the moving causes leading to
the assembling of the council. The language at Matthew
26:15 implies that Judas appeared before the council and bargained
openly with it.
14:11 And they,
when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money1.
And he sought how he might conveniently deliver him
And they, when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money.
The amount paid him was about $15 of our money. It was indeed a low price
for so base a deed, but from the language used it may be fairly implied that
it was but the earnest money of a larger sum. See Matthew
And he sought how he might conveniently deliver him [unto them]. He
soon found his opportunity. He bargained on Tuesday night and fulfilled his
contract on Thursday night. Or, as the Jews reckoned time, he agreed in the
beginning of Wednesday and fulfilled his covenant on the beginning of
Friday. Judas evidently hardened himself, and shut out all thought as to
anything save the "actual labor involved". Viewed thus, his task
was neither difficult nor dangerous.
14:12 And on the
first day of unleavened bread1, when they sacrificed the
passover, his disciples say unto him2,
Where wilt thou that we go and make ready that thou
mayest eat the passover3?
PREPARATION FOR PASSOVER. DISCIPLES CONTEND FOR PRECEDENCE. (Bethany to
Jerusalem. Thursday afternoon and, after sunset, beginning of Friday.) Matthew
And on the first day of unleavened bread. See Luke
2:43. Leaven was to the Jew a symbol of corruption and impurity, because
it causes bread to become stale. The feast of unleavened bread began
properly on the fifteenth of Nisan, and lasted seven days, but this was the
fourteenth Nisan, the day on which the paschal lamb was slain. However, it
was common to blend the slaying of the passover, the passover feast, and the
feast of the unleavened bread, and to look upon all three as one great
festival, and to use the names passover and unleavened bread interchangeably
to describe the entire eight days. This appears from the writings of
Josephus, who sometimes reckons the feast as beginning on the fifteenth
(Ant. 3:10.5) and again as beginning on the fourteenth (Wars 5:3.1). He also
sometimes reckons the feast as lasting seven days (Ant. 3:10.5) and again he
reckons it as lasting eight days (Ant. 3:15.1). The Rabbinists say that all
the leaven was carefully removed from the houses on the evening before the
fourteenth Nisan. To the present day leaven is removed from the houses of
the Jews on the night between the thirteenth and fourteenth. Hence the day
could be very fittingly called "the first day of unleavened
His disciples say unto him. As the head of the household.
Where wilt thou that we go and make ready that thou mayest eat the
passover? It required considerable preparation. The lamb must be slain
in the temple, roasted, and unleavened loaves, wine, and bitter herbs, etc.,
must be provided (Exodus
12:8), and a room for the feast must be secured.
14:13 And he
sendeth two of his disciples1, and saith unto them, Go
into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow
And he sendeth two of his disciples. It is not improbable that
Jesus let Peter and John (Luke
22:8) thus find the place that Judas might not know its whereabouts in
time to bring the officers of the Sanhedrin so as to interrupt the feasts
which meant so much to him and to his church.
14:14 and wheresoever he shall enter in, say
to the master of the house1, The Teacher saith, Where is
my guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
Say to the master of the house, etc. It was customary for the
residents of Jerusalem to open their houses for guests during this feast,
and therefore Jesus might have presumed on the hospitality of almost anyone;
but the probability is that the man to whom he sent this message was an
acquaintance and a friend.
14:17 And when it
was evening he cometh with the twelve1.
And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve. The law required
that the paschal lamb should be slain "between the evenings". The
Jews reckoned the two evenings as from three o'clock to sunset, and from
sunset to nine o'clock, which was the end of the first watch. But Josephus
tells us that the lambs were killed from the ninth to the eleventh hours, or
between the hours of three and five. It would take some time to dress the
lamb and to roast it, so that it must have been about sundown or shortly
afterward when Jesus and his disciples sat down to the feast.
14:18 And as they sat and were eating,
Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you shall
betray me, [even] he that eateth with me1.
JUDAS' BETRAYAL AND PETER'S DENIAL FORETOLD. (Jerusalem. Evening before the
One of you shall betray me, [even] he that eateth with me. 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 who hand rested on the table, who was
admitted to the closest intercourse and fellowship.
14:19 They began
to be sorrowful1, and to say unto him one by one, Is
They began to be sorrowful. That the Lord should be betrayed was
sorrow enough, but that one of the twelve should do the deed was an added
Is it I? 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"?
14:20 And he said unto them, [It
is] one of the twelve, he that dippeth with me in the dish1.
[It is] one of the twelve, he that dippeth with me in the dish.
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.
14:21 For the Son
of man goeth1, even as it is
written of him2: but woe unto
that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if
he had not been born3.
For the Son of man goeth. Jesus was following with unfaltering step
the path of suffering marked out by the prophets. But this fact in no way
exculpated the authors of his death.
Even as it is written of him. The prophecies referred to are many.
As examples, see Psalms
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. The woe pronounced upon
Judas was no vindictive or vengeful wish; it is the solemn announcement of
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?
14:22 And as they
were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to
them1, and said, Take ye: this is
THE LORD'S SUPPER INSTITUTED. (Jerusalem. Evening before the crucifixion.) Matthew
22:19,20; 1 Corinthians
And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he
brake it, and gave to them. As only unleavened bread was eaten during
the paschal supper, that kind of bread must have been used by our Lord, and
it is fitting that it should still be used by us in keeping the Lord's
Supper, not only for propriety's sake, but because that bread which is
emblematic of purity is most suitable to represent the body of the sinless
And said, Take ye: this is my body. The Catholics and some few
others take our Lord's words literally when he says, "This is my
body". On this they found the doctrine of transubstantiation, that is,
that the bread and the wine become literal body and blood when blessed by
the priest. There are many weighty arguments "against" such a
doctrine, but the main one "for" it is found in the words of our
Lord. But Jesus could not have meant them literally, for his body was
untouched and his blood unshed on this occasion when he spoke them.
Moreover, in Mark
14:25. Jesus calls the wine "the fruit of the vine", when,
according to the theory of transubstantiation, it had been turned into blood
and hence was not wine at all.
14:23 And he took a cup, and when he had
given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it.
And he took the cup. Wine, mingled with water, was drunk during the
paschal supper. Jesus took a cup of this for his new institution. But the
word "wine" is nowhere used in any of the accounts of the Lord's
Supper, the terms "cup" and "fruit of the vine" being
employed in its stead. Those, therefore, who choose to use unfermented grape
juice are guilty of no irregularity. See Luke
14:24 And he said unto them, This
is my blood of the covenant1, which
is poured out for many2.
This is my blood of the covenant. See Jeremiah
31:31-34. It was the practice of Eastern peoples to use blood in making
any pact or covenant (Exodus
24:6-8). Christ represents himself as the victim from whence the blood
was to be taken to ratify or seal the new covenant, and he makes the cup the
symbol of that blood. A full discussion of the old and new covenants will be
found in the Book of Hebrews. We may, however, sum them up by saying that
the old covenant promised the land of Canaan and Christ in the flesh to the
Israelites, while the new covenant promises heaven and Christ in glory to
Which is poured out for many. It is explicitly stated elsewhere
that Christ died for "all" (2 Corinthians
2:9), and the word "many" is used, not to contradict, but to
emphasize the fact. When the persons included are contemplated individually,
the term "many" is employed on account of the vast number of them;
for no man can number the individuals for whom Christ died. But when they
are contemplated under the feebler conception of the whole, the term
"all" is employed.
14:25 Verily I say unto you, I
shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine1, until
that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God2.
I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine. In speaking of this
future drinking of the fruit of the vine Jesus does not mean literal wine,
for he does not drink literal wine with his disciples in the kingdom as it
now it, nor will he do so in the eternal kingdom. The term
"drink", therefore, is used figuratively for that communion which
Jesus has with his disciples while they are drinking the wine of the Lord's
Until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. The term
"new" is most naturally understood as modifying "wine",
but as the wine of the supper is not necessarily "new wine", we
think it rather indicates the "new method" of drinking wine just
14:26 And when
they had sung a hymn1, they went out unto the mount of
GOING TO GETHSEMANE, AND AGONY THEREIN. (A garden between the brook Kidron and
the Mount of Olives. Late Thursday night.) Matthew
And when they had sung a hymn. The shadow of the cross did not
quench the spirit of praise in Christ.
14:27 And Jesus saith unto them, All
ye shall be offended: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the
sheep shall be scattered abroad1.
All ye shall be offended: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd,
and the sheep shall be scattered abroad. See Zechariah
13:7. 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.
14:29 But Peter said unto him, Although
all shall be offended, yet will not I1.
Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. Thus Peter
repudiates the idea that he could not stand the test.
14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily
I say unto thee, that thou to-day, [even] this night, before the cock crow
twice, shalt deny me thrice1.
Verily I say unto thee, that thou to-day, [even] this night, before the
cock crow twice, shalt deny me thrice. Mark speaks of two cock- crowings
and shows that the denial of Peter occurred between them (Mark
14:68-72). But Matthew, Luke, and John speak of but "one"
cock- crowing and place the denial before it (Matthew
18:27). The discrepancy is not an important one. Matthew, 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
14:31 But he spake exceedingly vehemently,
If I must die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner also said they
If I must die with thee, will not deny thee. According to Matthew's
account these accusations of our Lord and protestations of Peter were taken
up again after Jesus 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 123. See Mark
14:32 And they
come unto a place which was named Gethsemane1: and he
saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I pray.
And they come unto a place which was named Gethsemane. The name
Gethsemane means "a place of oil-presses", and hence it accords
well with the name of the mountain at whose base it was situated. But the
place was now a garden. It was about half a mile from the city, and from
what Luke says (Luke
21:37), it seems that Jesus often resorted to it while in Jerusalem at
the festivals. Compare also
Sit ye here, while I shall pray. As the hour of trial and
temptation came upon Jesus he fortified himself against it by prayer. And he
bade his disciples do likewise (Luke
22:40), for his arrest would involve them also in temptations which he
foresaw that they would not be able to withstand.
14:33 And he
taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and
And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be
greatly amazed, and sore troubled. While seeking heavenly aid in this
hour of extremity, our Lord also manifested his desire for human sympathy.
All the eleven apostles were with him in the garden, and the three most
capable of sympathizing with him were stationed nearer to him than the rest.
14:34 And he saith unto them, My
soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death1: abide
ye here, and watch2.
My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. The sequel shows
that the phrase "to death" was no figure of rhetoric.
Abide ye here, and watch. The nervous prostration of Jesus was such
as to endanger his life, and the watching of the apostles may have been
doubly needful. Not only did he require their sympathy, but he may also have
looked to them to render him assistance in the case of a physical collapse.
14:35 And he went forward a little, and
fell on the ground, and prayed1 that, if it were possible,
the hour might pass away from him.
And fell on the ground, and prayed. This posture was expressive of
the most intense supplication.
14:36 And he said, Abba,
Father, all things are possible unto thee1; remove
this cup from me2: howbeit not
what I will, but what thou wilt3.
Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee. Reminding the
Father of the limitless range of his power, he petitions him to change his
counsel as to the crucifixion of the Son, if his gracious purposes can be in
any other way carried out. Much of mystery is found in all life, so it is
small wonder if the dual nature of Jesus presents insoluble problems. It
perplexes many to find that the divine in Jesus did not sustain him better
during his trial in the garden. But we must remember that it was appointed
unto Jesus to die, and that the divine in him was not to interfere with this
appointment, or the approaches to it. For want, therefore, of a better
expression, we may say that from the time Jesus entered the garden until he
expired on the cross, the human in him was in the ascendant; and "being
found in fashion as a man" (Philippians
2:8), he endured these trials is if wholly human. His prayer, therefore,
is the cry of his humanity for deliverance.
Remove this cup from me. Jesus uses the words "cup" and
13:35) here interchangeably. They are both words of broad compass,
intended to include all that he would undergo from that time until his
resurrection. They embrace all his mental, moral, physical, and spiritual
suffering which we can discover, together with an infinite volume of a
propitiatory and vicarious nature which lies beyond the reach of our
Howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt. The submission of
Jesus was no new fruitage of his character; the prayer of the garden had
been the inner purpose of his entire life (John
14:37 And he cometh, and findeth them
sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest thou not watch
Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Peter,
having boasted of his loyalty (Mark
14:29), has his weakness pointed out and is further warned to be on his
guard, since the weakness of his nature will not stand the coming strain.
The slumber of the disciples was not through indifference, but was caused by
the prostration of grief. When we remember the excitement which they had
endured that night, the tender words spoken by Jesus, the sadness of which
was intensified by the atmosphere of mystery which pervaded them, the
beautiful and touching prayer, and lastly this agony in the garden, it is
not to be wondered at that the apostles, spurred by no sense of danger,
should succumb to the long-borne tension and fall asleep. Had they
comprehended how much the Lord needed their "wakeful" sympathy as
he came again and again seeking for it, they would probably have kept awake.
14:39 And again
he went away, and prayed, saying the same words1.
And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words. See Matthew
14:40 And again he came, and found them
sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they knew
not what to answer him1.
And they knew not what to answer him. They were ashamed of the
stupor which had come upon them and knew not what apology to make for it.
14:41 And he cometh the third time, and
saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest1:
it is enough; the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the
hands of sinners.
Sleep on now, and take your rest, etc. Our Lord's words are
paradoxical. In our judgment the saying is best understood by regarding the
first part of it spoken from the disciple's viewpoint. It is as if he said,
"So far as I am concerned, you may sleep on and take your rest, for the
time to be of comfort or assistance to me has wholly passed. But so far as
you yourselves are concerned, you must arise and be going, because Judas
with his band of temple police is upon us".
14:43 And straightway, while he yet spake,
cometh Judas, one of the twelve1,
and with him a multitude with swords and staves, from
the chief priests and the scribes and the elders2.
JESUS BETRAYED, ARRESTED, AND FORSAKEN. (Gethsemane. Friday, several hours
before dawn.) Matthew
Cometh Judas, one of the twelve. The presence of Judas is mentioned
by each Evangelist. His treachery made a deep impression upon them.
And with him a multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests
and the scribes and the elders. The arresting party which accompanied
Judas consisted of the band of officers and men from the temple guard or
Levitical police, Pharisees, scribes, servants, chief priests, captains of
the temple, and elders.
14:44 Now he that
betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is
he; take him, and lead him away safely1.
Now he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I
shall kiss, that is he; take him, and lead him away safely. Some place
this event before John
18:2-9. It comports better with the fitness of things to place it after.
Jesus made Judas feel his utter nothingness, and his worthlessness even as a
betrayer. Before Judas can in any way identify Jesus, the Lord had twice
declared himself to be the party whom they sought (John
18:6,8). On the betrayal kiss, also see Luke
14:45 And when he was come, straightway he
came to him, and saith, Rabbi; and kissed him1.
And kissed him. See Luke
14:46 And they laid hands on him, and took
And they laid their hands on him, and took him. The sight of Judas
touching him no doubt reassured them, and they laid hands on Jesus.
14:47 But a
certain one of them1 that stood
by drew his sword2, and smote the
servant of the high priest3, and
struck off his ear4.
But a certain one of them. Peter (John
That stood by drew his sword. We have seen that the apostles were
but scantily armed, there being only two swords in their possession (Luke
22:38). Peter evidently carried one of these, and stood ready to make
good his boast that he would suffer, and, if need be, die in his Lord's
And smote the servant of the high priest. Malchus (John
And struck off his ear. Peter evidently struck a downward blow at
Malchus' head, and Malchus would have been killed had he not dodged.
14:48 And Jesus
answered and said unto them1, Are
ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me2?
And Jesus answered and said unto them. The party which came to
arrest Jesus was large. See Luke
22:52. The word "band" used by John (John
18:3) to describe part of it is "speira", which is the Greek
name for the cohort, a division of the Roman army which in the time of
Augustus contained fibe hundred fifty-five men. Ten cohorts, or a legion,
were usually quartered in the castle Antonia, at the northwest corner of the
temple enclosure. That the whole cohort was present is not likely (Matthew
27:27), but there was a large enough body to represent it. The
Evangelists therefore properly style it a great multitude (Matthew
22:47). Its strength and diversity suggest the fear that Jesus might
miraculously defend himself. Each part of the crowd found courage in the
strength of the other, the priests relying upon the solidity of the
soldiers, the soldiers superstitiously trusting to some spiritual power
residing in the priests, etc.
Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize
me? Now, because of these fears, the preparation was as great as if some
band of robbers was to be taken. The questions of Jesus, therefore, show two
facts: (1) By their extensive preparation the rulers bore an unintentional
testimony to his divine power. (2) By their failure to arrest him openly in
the temple (Mark
14:49), they bore witness to his innocence.
14:49 I was daily
with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not1: but
[this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled2.
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not.
With his divinity and innocence, therefore, Jesus challenges them, referring
to their own conduct for testimony thereto.
But [this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled. In
conclusion, he cites them to the Scriptures which they were fulfilling (Psalms
53:7). Our Lord's dual reference to the Old Testament at this sacred
time should cause us to handle them with awe and reverence.
14:50 And they
all left him, and fled1.
And they all left him, and fled. All the predictions of Jesus had
failed to prepare the apostles for the terrors of his arrest. Despite all
his warnings, each apostle sought his own safety.
14:51 And a
certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over
[his] naked [body]1: and they lay hold on him;
And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast
about him, over [his] naked [body]. The young man who fled naked is
usually presumed to be Mark himself, and it is thought that he thus speaks
impersonally after the manner of Matthew and John. The manner of his
description shows that he was not an apostle. As Mark's mother resided in
12:12,25), Canon Cook advances the theory that the Lord's Supper was
eaten in the upper room of her house, and that when the disciples retired
with Jesus from thence to Gethsemane, Mark slipped from his bed, threw his
sindon about him, and followed after them. The sindon, or linen vestment,
was very costly, not being worn even by the middle classes: no apostle would
be thus attired.
14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high
priest: and there come together with him all the chief priests and the elders
and the scribes.
SECOND STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS CONDEMNED BY CAIAPHAS AND THE SANHEDRIN.
(Palace of Caiaphas. Friday.) Matthew
14:54 And Peter
had followed him afar off, even within1, into
the court of the high priest2; and
he was sitting with the officers3, and
warming himself in the light [of the fire]4.
PETER THRICE DENIES THE LORD. (Court of the high priest's residence. Friday
before and about dawn.) Matthew
And Peter had followed him afar off, even within. Leaving Jesus in
the palace of the high priest, we now turn back to the garden of Gethsemane
at the time when Jesus left it under arrest, that we may follow the course
of Simon Peter in his threefold denial of the Master.
Into the court of the high priest. For courts of houses, see Mark
And he was sitting with the officers. Though his faith in Christ
was shaken, Peter still loved him enough to see what would become of him.
And warming himself in the light [of the fire]. They were gathered
around a little smokeless fire (John
14:58 We heard
him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I
will build another made without hands1.
We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands,
and in three days I will build another made without hands. What Jesus
had really said will be found at John
2:19-22. Though his words were misunderstood at that time, being
applied, not to his body, but to Herod's temple, yet it is not unlikely that
the Jewish rulers, hearing our Lord's prediction that he would rise from the
dead after three days (Matthew
27:62,63), came to understand the import of his words. If so, the record
itself shows the willingness of the Sanhedrin to receive false witnesses
against Christ (Matthew
14:55), for its judges received testimony which they knew to be utterly
immaterial if rightly construed. The accounts of the two Evangelists,
moreover, show how the witnesses failed to agree (Matthew
14:56). A man could only be condemned on the testimony of two witnesses
as to some fact or facts constituting a ground for condemnation (Deuteronomy
14:60 And the high priest stood up in the
midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these
witness against thee?
Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these testify against thee?
While the testimony then before the court might be used to show that Jesus
was recklessly boastful, it was insufficient to justify a sentence of
blasphemy. A threat to destroy the temple might be thus construed (Jeremiah
6:13,14); but a promise to rebuild the temple, if destroyed, was
altogether different. The high priest, knowing this, sought to extort from
Jesus some additional evidence. With great cunning and effrontery he assumes
that the testimony is all that could be possibly desired, and demands of
Jesus what he has to say in answer to it.
14:61 But he held
his peace, and answered nothing1. Again the high priest
asked him, and saith unto him, Art thou the Christ, the
Son of the Blessed2?
But he held his peace, and answered nothing. But our Lord did not
suffer himself to seem so easily deceived. He gave no explanation, since the
future would explain his meaning, and speak the real truth to all who had
ears to hear it.
Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? Seeing that Jesus was
not to be lured into an answer, and well knowing his perfect frankness,
Caiaphas resolved, in his desperation, to question Jesus plainly and
bluntly. His question is twofold: (1) Art thou Christ? (2) Art thou the Son
of God? The latter of these would constitute blasphemy, and the former, by
showing a boastful spirit would tend to confirm the charge. Perhaps, too,
Caiaphas anticipated the future, and foresaw how useful this claim to be
Messiah would prove when a hearing was had before Pilate (Luke
23:2). Originally the Messiah was recognized as the Son of God (Psalms
2:7), but if the Jews had ever generally entertained such an idea, they
had lost it before Jesus' day, The Messiah might of course be called the Son
of God in that secondary sense in which Adam was thus called (John
3:38). But Jesus had used the term in an entirely different sense, and
his usage had been extremely offensive to the Jews (Matthew
10:30-39). Caiaphas evidently wished Jesus to answer this question in
that new sense which the Lord had given to the words. Caiaphas had no legal
right to ask either of these questions. No man can be compelled to testify
against himself, but he knew the claims of Jesus, and realized that if Jesus
repudiated them he would be shamed forever, and if he asserted them he could
be charged with blasphemy. Taking advantage, therefore, of the situation,
Caiaphas put the question with the usual formula of an oath, thus adding
moral power to it, for, under ordinary circumstances, one was held guilty if
he refused to answer when thus adjured (Leviticus
5:1). When their own witnesses failed, these rulers called the
"faithful witness" (1 Timothy
14:62 And Jesus
said, I am1: and ye shall see the
Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power2, and coming
with the clouds of heaven.
And Jesus said, I am. Jesus freely confessed the truth which his
church is called upon to confess.
And ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power.
Jesus brings the present state of humiliation into contrast with his future
state of glory. "On the right hand of power" was commonly
understood to mean the right hand of God. As hard as it might be for them to
believe it, the day would come when he should sit in judgment and they
should stand on trial before him.
14:63 And the
high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have we of witnesses1?
And the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have
we of witnesses? Though Jesus had given the very answer which the high
priest was longing to hear, yet he hypocritically pretends to be shocked at
it, and rends his clothes and feigns horror. Evidently he feared the effect
of the clear, calm answer of Jesus and sought to counteract its influence on
14:64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what
think ye? And they all condemned him to be worthy of
And they all condemned him to be worthy of death. This was not the
final, formal sentence, but the mere determination of the council at the
14:65 And some
began to spit on him1, and to
cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him2,
Prophesy: and the officers received him with blows of their hands.
And some began to spit on him. To spit in the face has been an
insult in all ages and in all lands. See Numbers
And to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him,
Prophesy. Jesus, having stood out for examination, is now given
back to the officers to be led away into the council chamber. These officers
received Jesus with many indignities. They seek to make his high claims
contemptible, and to make it appear that instead of being divine he is
hardly worthy to be regarded as human.
14:71 But he
began to curse, and to swear1, I know not this man of whom
But he began to curse, and to swear. Exasperated by the repeated
accusations, Peter loses his temper and begins to emphasize his denial by
profanity. Desire to make good his denial is now supreme in his thoughts and
the Lord whom he denies is all but forgotten.
14:72 And straightway the second time the
cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word, how that Jesus said unto him,
Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And
when he thought thereon, he wept1.
And when he thought thereon, he wept. When Peter remembered the
loving tenderness of Jesus manifested when he foretold Peter's crime, it
formed a background against which the sin appeared in all its hideous