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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Luke 22

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-6

The History of the Passion

The more particular and intimate Leavetaking of the Saviour with His Disciples at the Approach of the Final Conflict

1. The Last Conspiracy of His Enemies, assisted by Judas ( Luke 22:1-6)

(Parallel to Matthew 26:3-5; Matthew 14-16; Mark 14:1-2; Mark 14:10-11.)

1Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the passover [πάσχα].2And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people 3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being [or, who was] of the number of the twelve 4 And he went his way, and communed [consulted[FN1]] with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him [deliver him up, παραδῷ [FN2]] unto5,them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money 6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him [deliver him up] unto them in the absence of the multitude [or, without attracting a multitude together].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

For the history of the Passion in general, and respecting the literature belonging to it, see Lange on Matthew 26.

As respects the form of the relation of the history of the Passion in Luke, he has on the one hand much in common with the other Evangelists, but on the other hand, also, not a little peculiar to himself. Like Matthew and Mark and John, he also, in this part of the history of the life of Jesus, is unquestionably most detailed, and while Hebrews, in the beginning of his gospel, upon the events of many years gives only a few lines, he enables us at the end of it to accompany our Lord almost step by step upon His way of sorrow. Like his predecessors, he also brings into a strong light, on the one hand, the innocence and greatness of our Lord over against His enemies, on the other hand, the adorable providence of God over against the free acts of men. In the choice of that which he relates or passes over, he agrees much more with Matthew and Mark than with John, who, in the history of the Passion also, has taken a way peculiarly his own. And yet we find in Luke by no means a spiritless repetition and supplementing of that which the first two Synoptics have already communicated, much as in many respects his narrative is undeniably inferior to the narratives of these. The sequence of the events is with him less chronologically exact, as Bynæus, De morte Jesu Christi, ii. pp12, 13, has remarked, comp. e.g., his account of the celebration in the passover-chamber with that of Matthew and Mark. How much less complete and well arranged is his narrative of the agony in Gethsemane than that of the others, and again how brief and general are his notices of that which took place in the judgment-house of Pilate! But, on the other hand, it is to no other than Luke that we owe a number of notices and intimations by which our historical knowledge of the last hours of our Lord is partly cleared up, partly enlarged. He alone gives the names of the disciples who prepared the Passover—Peter and John, Luke 22:8, and communicates to us, Luke 22:15, the affecting words with which our Lord opens the meal. Besides him, no one of the Synoptics mentions the disciples’ dispute as to rank, Luke 22:24 seq., which in all probability was the occasion for the foot-washing, as well as also the remarkable utterance, Luke 22:28-30. At the agony in Gethsemane he alone mentions the strengthening angel, as well as the sweat of blood, Luke 22:43-44; he has also, at the same time, in this preserved for us some remarkable words of our Lord. All the Evangelists relate the denial of Peter: Luke alone speaks, Luke 22:61, of the look of the Lord. All relate the night-session: Luke alone gives account of the official session of the Sanhedrim, in the morning, Luke 22:66-71, which is not to be confounded with the former. Without him we should have remained in ignorance of the first special accusation which the Jews had preferred to Pilate against Jesus, Luke 23:2, and also of what our Lord suffered before Herod, Luke 23:5-16; of His address to the weeping women, Luke 22:27-31; of His first word on the cross, Luke 22:34; of the absolution of the Penitent Thief, Luke 22:39-43; of the last exclamation of the Dying One, Luke 22:46; of the part taken by Joseph of Arimathæa in the Jewish senate, Luke 22:51, and many other minor traits besides. The special mention of the women who came into relation to the suffering Saviour is peculiar to Luke, Luke 23:27-31, and also Luke 22:55-56, as indeed even previously, Luke 8:2-3, he had given a special statement of the service rendered by the Galilean female friends. Taking all together, we see that Luke, in the history of the Passion also, does not at all belie his character as physician, as Hellenist, as Paulinist; and for the very freshness and originality of his delineation he deserves that we, even after that which has been related respecting the history of the Passion by Matthew and Mark, should devote to his narrative a particular investigation. As respects general topics which he has in common with the two before named, in particular all that is of a chronological, archæological, and topographical character, as, for instance, Passover and Gethsemane, Golgotha, &c, we must, as a rule, in order to avoid too great a prolixity, refer the reader to the admirable expositions of Lange in the Gospel of Matthew, at the passages in question.

Luke 22:1. Now … drew nigh.—In the beginning of the history of the Passion, Luke agrees most with Mark, although he is chronologically less exact. The decisive transition, in Matthew 26:1, from the accomplished prophetical to the now beginning high-priestly work of the Lord, does not appear so conspicuously in Luke, although it is plain enough that he also now begins to give account of a new period.—The feast of unleavened bread, which is called the Passover.—An exact periphrastic designation of the approaching feast in its whole extent (not of the first evening alone), as was requisite for readers who were not acquainted from their own observation and experience with the Israelitish Passover.

Luke 22:2. Sought how they might kill Him.—Here, especially, Luke must be complemented from Matthew 26:3-5. It appears, then, that we have not to understand an indefinite and planless ζητεῖν, but a definite assembling of a part of the Sanhedrim, apparently the first one, ad hoc, after that which is mentioned John 11:47-53. This gathering, held in the palace of the high-priest, had probably a more confidential character, and was, we may suppose, in chief part composed of those of like mind. The theme of their deliberation was in general πῶς ἀνέλωσιν αὐτόν. That their will Isaiah, at any cost, to remove Him out of the way, is already tacitly understood: but now they must yet further become agreed upon the manner in which to carry out their purpose, and that this costs deliberation as well as effort, Luke brings to view by: for they feared the people.—Comp. Mark 14:2; Matthew 26:5. It is by no means their intention to remove our Lord out of the way, even before the feast (Neander), but they mean to let the time of the feast go by, in order immediately afterwards to seize the favorable opportunity. Yet unexpectedly the carrying out of the murderous plan is hastened, and the fulfilment of the prophecy of our Lord, Matthew 26:1-2, prepared by the base offer of Judas.

Luke 22:3. Then entered Satan.—Not an expression for the completed, fully confirmed resolution of the traitor (De Wette), but for a preparatory influence of Satan upon him, whereby a later decisive possession ( John 13:27) is by no means excluded. Not all at once does Satan possess himself of the soul of the unhappy traitor. Not till after several assaults does he fully succeed in this. His plan itself was devilish, but not less the carrying out. For more particular details upon this transaction, see Matthew 26:14-16. The anointing at Bethany, which Matthew and Mark narrate previously, Luke passes over, because he had already, Luke 7:36-50, related something similar. Apparently the offer of Judas was made on Wednesday, after the Jewish council had separated on Tuesday evening with the preliminary conclusion, “Not on the feast.”

Of the number of the Twelve.—It is worthy of note that this particular circumstance is mentioned by all the Evangelists with so much emphasis. So much the more natural is the question how precisely one of the Twelve could have come to commit such a crime. That Judas was a man of peculiar talents, who, however, more than even the other disciples, had been filled with earthly-minded expectations, cannot be seriously doubted. Only he can become a devil, who has possessed the possibility of becoming an angel. In his expectations he now saw himself more and more deceived, when he became aware that our Lord did not at all make the desired use of the enthusiasm of the people; nay, that He suffered the Hosannas of the people to decline into a jubilee of children. This disappointed hope must have made him doubly receptive for the feeling of injured self-love, when he at Bethany was humbled before the eyes of all, and his covetousness unmasked. From a Nazarene, who would be no Messiah, who would be only a Rabbi, a Judas could naturally endure no hard words. Perhaps also the prediction of the σταυρωθῆναι, Matthew 26:2, had given to his revengeful thoughts more form and fixedness, while his avarice had at the same time impelled him to indemnify himself by treachery for the damage which he believed himself to have suffered by Mary’s anointing. On the consequences of his act he appears in truth scarcely to have thought, but, like a drunken Prayer of Manasseh, to have stumbled along on the dark way of destruction, until afterwards his eyes were opened in the most terrible manner upon his guilt. By no means is the opinion well grounded that he wished to constrain the Lord to free Himself by force or by a miracle from the hands of His enemies, and so to reveal His majesty. “What a common comedian nature he must needs have been to let his holy Master pass unharmed, as profitable capital, through a danger as through a speculation. According to this opinion Judas does not become better, but instead of a devilishly revengeful Prayer of Manasseh, we gain only a rascally soul, of which it is inconceivable how Jesus could have chosen it among His disciples.” Ebrard. On the contrary, two of the Evangelists give us a very pregnant intimation that the treason towards Jesus, psychologically considered, cannot be fully comprehended unless we assume a direct Satanic influence, of course not without the guilt of the traitor, who had voluntarily and stubbornly opened his heart to this influence.

Luke 22:4. The captains.—These had a very important part in the matter, since they constituted the clerical police of the temple, who, in any case, would have to appoint and despatch the necessary force for the arrest of the Saviour. They were the subordinate executive board for discharging the commands of the high-priest, a Levitical corps of officers that stood under the command of a στρατηγός, while by the name στρατηγοί commanders of the individual watches are denoted.

Luke 22:5. And they were glad.—Not only because there now opens to them the prospect of the fulfilment of their intended wishes, but also (Euthymius) because among Jesus’ disciples themselves a spirit of unfaithfulness and hatred begins to reveal itself. In this joy they assume the obligation (συνέθεντο) of giving him money, and Judas, who concludes the bargain with them (ἐξωμολόγησεν), seeks now, on his side, without delay, a good opportunity therefor. Like Mark, Luke also speaks only of money in general, without a more precise statement of the sum, which is mentioned by Matthew alone. It is entirely without ground (De Wette, Strauss, Scholten) to consider the number of the thirty pieces of silver as the fruit of a construction of the history according to the prophecy of Zechariah, least of all if we assume that this sum was only intended for a preliminary payment, which subsequently, perhaps, if the plan should have been carried out successfully, was to be followed by a more considerable one.

Luke 22:6. Without attracting a multitude, ά̓τερό̓χλου, without having a popular tumult arise. The opposite, see in Acts 24:18. The poetical word ἄτερ used only here and in Luke 22:35. Without doubt, a quiet execution of the plan appears quite as desirable to Judas for himself, as the chief-priests consider it necessary in the general interest. Wickedness is always cowardly.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. With the last Passover the hatred of the principal Jews towards Jesus has reached its highest point. The reason of the augmentation of this hatred with every feast which the Lord celebrated at Jerusalem, becomes especially visible from the fourth gospel. His enemies destroy for themselves the joy in the Passover of the Old Covenant, and rise without knowing it to slaughter the Passover of the New Covenant. No fear before God, only fear before men, dwells in their hearts; withal their impotency is so great that they are not able to carry out their plans unless they find an accomplice from Jesus’ own circle of disciples.

2. By the mention of the treachery of Judas the veil of the spiritual world is lifted, and the folly of those becomes manifest who will not believe in a personal influence of Satan. After the Evil One has vainly sought ( Matthew 4:1-11) to bring our Lord in person to apostatize, he now seeks to destroy His work, and to inflict upon Him through one of His own disciples a deadly wound. The manner in which he now possesses himself of Judas, after the latter had belonged for a while to the disciples of our Lord, serves as a new proof of the deeply earnest utterance, Luke 11:24-27. “Dicitur in reprobos intrare Satan, cum, reverso Dei metu, extincta rationis luce, pudore etiam excusso, sensus omnes occupat.” Calvin.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The approaching of the last Passover of the Old Covenant.—The very different manner in which our Lord and in which His enemies prepare themselves to celebrate the feast.—Spite and despondency united in the enemies of our Lord.—Two gatherings, that of our Lord with His disciples and that of the chief-priests and scribes: 1. Here the composure of innocence, there the suspense of wickedness; 2. here certainty as to that which is to be suffered, there uncertainty as to that which is to be done; 3. here courageous awaiting of danger, there unquiet fear of the people.—The Divine and the human plan of suffering.—The first steps in the way of treason: 1. Their preparation; 2. their carrying out; 3. their aim.—The uncommonly deep significancy of a first step.—Satan in the way to cast down: 1. Judges 2. our Lord; 3. himself.—The hellish joy of the confederates of sin.—The fearful might of money.—The evil covenant of Judas with the enemies over against the unsuspiciousness of the faithful disciples, a new proof for the truth of the saying, Luke 16:8 b.—Craft and covetousness in covenant against the Redeemer of the world: 1. The terrific character of this covenant; 2. the impotency of this covenant; 3. the instructiveness of this covenant.—The greatest crime that was ever committed, the way to the greatest blessing of the world.—The might and the impotency of sin: 1. The might, a. it has mighty servants, b. strong weapons, c. ready confederates; 2. the impotency, it is not capable, a. of covering its own shame, b. of shaking the composure of Jesus, c. of frustrating the counsel of God.—Judas a warning example of the insufficiency of a merely outward fellowship with Christ.—Nothing is casualty, nothing without purpose.—Even the mode of death, like the time of death, predetermined.

Starke:—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—One may from fear of men omit or postpone the sin, and yet have a plan of murder against Jesus in the heart.—Like and like join together.—Sin has its degrees.—Woe to covetous priests !—Cramer:—Unfaithfulness is widely extended upon earth, and a man’s foes are often they of his own house.—Quesnel:—He that has once made room for Satan in his heart is capable of the greatest sins.—He that loves sin easily finds opportunity to commit it.—Whoever sins presumptuously seeks opportunity thereto, but who out of weakness, is overcome by the opportunity.—To promise evil is a great sin, but to keep the evil promise is even greater.—Heubner:—Christ addresses Himself to bring Himself as a sacrifice, and His enemies to sacrifice Him to their hate.—Judas a type of those who value all religion, Christianity, and the virtue of men according to their profitableness.—Jesus, for Judas, had His price.—Interrogate thyself whether thou wouldst not have been ready, had enough been offered thee for it, to give up Jesus, therefore whether thy faith, thy virtue have a price for which it may be bought.—F. R. Arndt:—The sudden appearing of Judas in the great council: 1. His coming: 2. his going.—Tholuck:—The Passion-Week makes plain in Judas to what degree even the human heart is capable of being hardened that has already known the way of righteousness, 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 2:21.


Verses 7-13

2. The Preparation of the Passover ( Luke 22:7-13)

(Parallel to Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16.)

7Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be [had to be] killed 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we 9 may eat. And 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 [master] of the house, The Master [Teacher] saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber [κατάλυμα], where I shall [may] eat the passover with my disciples? 12And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready [prepare the passover]. 13And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Luke 22:7. When the Passover had to be killed, έ̓δει θύεσθαι.—It is really an enigma how one could ever have found in this chronological datum of Luke, and in the words of our Lord, Matthew 26:18, a ground for the entirely unprovable conjecture that our Savior ate the Passover a day earlier than other Israelites. Upon every impartial person the beginning of this Pericope makes far more the impression that Luke speaks here of the definite day on which, according to the appointment of the law, the Passover lamb had to be slaughtered. Only on this day was the question of the disciples, Matthew 26:17, perfectly natural; moreover, the beginning of the discourse at table, preserved by Luke alone, Luke 22:15, shows that our Lord attributes to this very Passover an especially high significance. As to the rest, it is not here the place to enter into detailed discussion as to the actual day of our Lord’s death. Be it only granted to us to express our conviction—the result of special and repeated investigation—that as well according to the Synoptics as according to John, our Lord, on the 14 th Nisan, at the same time with the other Jews, and at the time appointed by the law, ate the Passover, and on the 15 th suffered the death on the Cross. We believe that the grounds for this view in Wieseler’s Chronolog. Synopse, p339 seq., have been, it is true, controverted by Bleek, Tischendorf, and others, but not refuted; and that, moreover, there is just as little reason for placing the meal, John 13, on Wednesday evening (Wichelhaus), as (Krafft, Chronologie und Harmonie der 4 Evangelien, Erlangen, 1848, p125) to speak of two meals, and to transfer this evening to the 12 th and 13 th Nisan. The objections, which even after the powerful demonstration of Wieseler, may be raised from an entirely different stand-point against the view accepted by us, are not unknown to us; but we believe that these, at all events, are of infinitely less importance than the difficulties in which one involves himself if he assumes in this particular an irreconcilable discrepancy between John and the Synoptics. Respecting the Passover controversy of the ancient church, and its relation to the chronology of the Passion Week, comp. Riggenbach, l.c., p635 seq., where at the same time the most recent literature on this question is given. See also: Der Tag des letzten Paschamahles Jesu Christi, ein harmonistischer Versuch, by Serno, Berlin, 1859.

Luke 22:8. And He sent Peter and John.—According to the more detailed account of Matthew and Mark, the disciples themselves first began to speak to our Lord of the Passover meal, apparently on Thursday morning, at Bethany. Perhaps the Master was now more silent than of old; of the feast, without doubt, He did not speak, and this mysterious fact, as well as also the sight of numerous pilgrims to the feast, very naturally occasioned the disciples to ask the question: ποῦ θέλεις, κ.τ.λ. That our Lord would eat the Passover on that day on which it must be slaughtered they tacitly presuppose, and perhaps had not spoken even earlier of it only because the prophecy of death, Matthew 26:2, has filled their hearts more than the thoughts of the feast, or because they already have a dark presentiment that this Passover would be something entirely different for them from what any earlier one had ever been; or because they were expecting a direct intimation from Jesus Himself before they betook themselves to the capital, whither He Himself yesterday, for the first time, had no longer gone. If we compare Luke with the other Synoptics, we may then unite the accounts thus: that at a preliminary inquiry of the μαθηταί as to the ποῦ, our Lord gives Peter and John a definite command to go away to prepare the Passover; whereupon then they now repeat with more definiteness the natural inquiry as to the πομ͂, and now receive the mysterious direction in reference to the man with the pitcher of water, which Matthew does not give account of. It is still simpler, if we, with Tischendorf, and others, read εἶπαν, and explain the fact thus: that, Luke 22:9, the question is really brought up afterwards, which, strictly speaking, ought to have been stated before the command, Luke 22:8.

Luke 22:10. There shall a man meet you.—In Mark and Luke we have the more special account of the condition in which they would find the furnished upper room, without however their statement being in conflict with the general one of Matthew. Our Saviour gives His disciples a similar token to that which Samuel once gave Saul, 1 Samuel 10:2-5.—A man.—Although he is here represented as occupied in a menial service, comp. Deuteronomy 29:11; Joshua 9:21, we have not necessarily to understand a slave (Sepp even knows that it was a slave of Nicodemus), but in general only a person of the lower classes; the pitcher, the carrying of water, point possibly to domestic preparation for the coming Passover; and would in this case in a certain measure concur as a proof that we have here to do with the ordinary Passover day. Luke has συναντήσει more exactly for the ἀπαντήσει of Mark: He will so meet you, so come together with you, that you will go one way with him.

Luke 22:11. Ye shall say to the master of the house.—Not a prophetic but an imperative future.—Οἰκοδεσπότης τῆς οἰκ. a pleonastic expression not unusual with the Greeks, especially in the more familiar style.—The Teachersaith.—The remarkable words, Matthew 26:18 : “My time is at hand,” are omitted in Mark and Luke, while they on the other hand render the address to the master of the house in the form of a question.—Τὸ κατάλυμα, diversorium ( Luke 2:7), then also cœnaculum. See the LXX, in 1 Samuel 9:22. Μον is here, at all events, spurious, and might also be very well dispensed with in the parallel passage in Matthew.

Luke 22:12. And he, ἐκεῖνος, according to Mark αὐτός.—The man with the pitcher of water has now accomplished his service, and the master of the house now comes in his place. The direction which the disciples receive is so precise that it does not leave them one uncertainty remaining. They will find an upper room, ἀνάγαιον (which reading appears to deserve the preference above that of the Recepta, ἀνώγεον, and even above that commended by Tischendorf after B, M, S, ἀνώγαιον)=ὑπερῷον, an upper chamber, used often as a place of prayer and assembling. Comp. Acts 1:13. This great hall (μέγα) is moreover ἐστρωμένον, furnished with pillows, stratis tricliniis, and Song of Solomon, according to Mark, already έ̓τοιμον, so that there would need no further loss of time for the purpose of putting the hall in good order.

Luke 22:13.And they went.—We may assume that the way of the apostles led through the water-gate ( Nehemiah 8:1), past the Pool of Siloam, which as is known furnished almost the whole city with water, and that they there also met the man with the pitcher of water. Yet there was a spring also in the neighborhood of Cedron; therefore it is remarkable that our Lord does not give them the least specification as to the way which they had to take, but only tells them what should meet them on the way. From Mark 14:17, it seems to be the fact that the two, after having punctually fulfilled the duty enjoined on them, returned back to the Master, and that He entered the Passover hall with all the Twelve.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. It belongs to the Divine decorum of the history of the Passion, that our Lord celebrates the Passover at Jerusalem, at the time appointed by the law. Had not to-day been the legally-appointed evening of the feast, on which every Israelite was under obligation to eat the Passover lamb, there would have been properly no ground for at this particular time entering the capital, in which, as was well known to Him, His enemies were watching for Him. But now literally the way of obedience has led Him to death, and the last Passover celebration of the Old Covenant coalesces with the institution of the Holy Communion. Inasmuch as He celebrates it in this way, He does away forever with the old Passover, as He did away with circumcision, when it was accomplished on Himself on the eighth day, Luke 2:21.

2. As to the question, how we have to understand the prediction concerning the man who should meet them with the water-pitcher, we have the choice between five possible opinions:—Invention, accident, previous concert, Revelation, supernatural knowledge. That it is an invention (De Wette, Strauss, Meyer), is wholly unproved. The analogy with Samuel proves nothing. It would, moreover, have been incomprehensible to what purpose a trait apparently so insignificant should have been invented for the history of the Passion. To understand accident is forbidden, as well by the precision of the prediction as by its exact accomplishment. Previous concert (not only Paulus, but also Olshausen, Kern, Krabbe, Neander, Braune, in a certain measure, also Lange) is certainly in itself not impossible. It is unquestionably conceivable that our Lord had already arranged this matter with a secret friend in the city. However, the tone of the command, the analogy with 1 Samuel 10:2-5, and the similarity to what happened at His public entry with respect to the ass-colt, appear to indicate that we have here rather to understand something supernatural. With the ordinary prophet we should be able here to assume a momentary Revelation, by means of which before his enlightened view the limits of time and space vanished; with the Lord, however, we can here see nothing less than the activity of the same Divinely human knowledge by which He was rendered capable of discovering all which He must fathom for the accomplishment of His holy intent. To find even in this case a manifestation of such knowledge can have nothing strange, if we bear in mind the entirely unique importance which just this Passover celebration had for our Lord as well as for His disciples. Without doubt, our Lord made the acquaintance of the designated host in a natural way, but by His Divine knowledge He is assured that this friend will be immediately ready and in a condition to receive Him, and that his servant has just now to-day gone out to the spring before the city in order to bring water. Thus, in the manner in which our Lord, as the Good Shepherd, prepares for His own a table in the presence of their enemies, there is displayed an admirable knowledge of the human heart, of a definite locality, of an apparently casual arrangement.

The view that our Saviour designedly gave this command in so mysterious a form, that the place of the celebration might remain unknown to Judas, and that He might therefore be able to spend the evening entirely unobserved with His own (Theophylact, Neander), cannot indeed be mathematically proved, but yet is by all means probable on internal grounds; the result, moreover, showed that in consequence of this arrangement the traitor was not able to carry out his plan until later in the night. At all events, this embassy was for John and Peter an exercise in faith and in obedience; they had to learn therefrom to follow our Lord even blindly, even when they did not see the purpose of His command, and in the future also to leave the care of their earthly interests unconditionally to Him, under whose high guidance they should never lack for anything, Luke 22:35. At the same time, such revelations of the hidden greatness of our Lord might be for them a counterpoise against the depth of humiliation into which He was soon to sink. Without doubt they, afterwards, in dark hours of life, may sometimes have still thought upon this mysterious errand, and looked back to its satisfactory issue.

3. This whole occurrence is a speaking proof of the greatness of our Lord, even in that which is small and seemingly insignificant. This preparatory measure shows us His immovable composure, which He preserved even in spite of the most certain prospect of death; His holy presence of mind over against the secret plotting of the traitors; but, above all, His Wisdom of Solomon, love, and faithfulness, with which He cares, even to the end, for the training of His disciples, and gives them, even in a slight command, a great lesson for the future. Thus does He remain even to the end in silence, and in speech, in temper, and action, perfectly consistent with Himself, and goes undaunted and quiet as a lamb to the slaughter, at about the same hour in which the Paschal lambs were bought and slaughtered.

4. Allegorical interpretation of this narrative among the ancients: The water-pitcher, an image of the insipid and burdensome law which the Jews bore; the roomy upper chamber, an image of the abundant room for all whom the Saviour has invited to His spiritual supper, Luke 14:21-23; Revelation 3:20, &c. Juster is the remark of John Gerhard: Christus hac sua prœdictione fidem discipulorum confirmare et contra crucis scandalum eos munire voluit, ut magis ac magis intelligerent, nihil temere in urbe magistro eventurum. Even because our Lord, like any common Israelite, observes the Passover and voluntarily humbles Himself, does He will that His glory shall shine out in the manner in which He makes ready for this meal.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The worth of trifles in general and in sacred history, particularly in the history of the Passion.—We men are often little in great things, the Saviour is great in little things. Even by His greatness in little things, He shows Himself: 1. The image of the invisible God; 2. the perfect Redeemer of the world; 3. the best Guide of His people; 4. the noblest example for imitation.—Our Lord Isaiah, even on His last day of earth, faithful to the high principle which He uttered at His first appearance, Matthew 3:15.—Peter and John here also, as often, united. John 20:1; Acts 3:1; Acts 4:19.—In every perplexity the disciple may turn to Jesus.—Even the man with a pitcher of water must have his place in the history of the Passion.—The significance of apparently insignificant and subordinate persons for the carrying out of the counsel of God, for example, 2 Kings 5:2; Acts 12:13; Acts 23:16.—There exists more evil but also more good than shows itself to the superficial view.—Even in the most corrupted city, Jesus finds hidden friends and knows them.—“I will come unto him and sup with him.”—The best in the house of His friends is for the Lord not too good.—The obedience of faith is never put to shame.—The true disciple of Jesus is faithful not only in the great, but also in the small.—He loved His own even to the end, John 13:1.

Starke:—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—How shall we prepare and address ourselves to worthy enjoyment of the Paschal lamb of the New Covenant in His feast of love? 1 Corinthians 11:28.—Not our will but Thine, O Lord, be done. Acts 21:14.—God provides His own with habitation and shelter, even though they have nothing of their own in the world. 1 Kings 17:9.—That we find everything in the world as God’s word has said, is an irrefutable proof of the truth and divinity of the Scriptures.—Heubner:—Notwithstanding His high vocation, Jesus thinks also on the little concerns of love.—The disciples obey willingly, without making objections that were very obvious.—Besser:—In wonderfully beautiful simplicity they did as the Lord had commanded them; that was a true communion temper.—Fr. Arndt:—1. The signification of the Paschal lamb; 2. the preparation for the same.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Luke 22:4.—Revised Version of the American Bible Union.—C. C. S.

FN#2 - Luke 22:4.—Προδίδωμι, which properly means “to betray,” is only used in the Gospels once of Judas, in the form of its derivative προδότης, Luke 6:16. Elsewhere the Evangelists speak of him as “delivering up” the Saviour, leaving the character of the act to speak for itself.—C. C. S.]


Verses 14-23

3. The Passover and the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper ( Luke 22:14-23)

(Parallel to Matthew 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; John 13:21-35.)

14And when the hour was come, he sat down [reclined at table], and the twelve15[om, twelve[FN3]] apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desiredto eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof,[FN4] until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God 17 And he took the[FN5] cup, andgave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall [have] come 19 And 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 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed foryou 21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me [delivereth me up] is with me 22 on the table. And [For[FN6]] truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined [κατὰ τὸ ὡρισμένον]: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed [delivered up]! 23And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was [might be] that should [was about to] do this thing.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

If we attentively compare the narrative of Luke respecting the Passover and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper with the accounts of the other Evangelists, we shall on one hand be strengthened in the conviction that all give account of the same festal meal and the same discovery of the traitor, but we must, on the other hand, at the same time concede that Luke’s chronological sequence is not wholly exact. Only when we complement his narrative by that of the others, does it become to us in any measure possible to place the whole course of facts vividly before our eyes. Not the arrangement of the different elements of the celebration, but the sharp contrast between the state of mind of the Apostles and the words of the Saviour, comes in his representation decidedly into the foreground, and Luke is here also, where he introduces us into the upper chamber, more a painter than a diplomatically exact historian.

Luke 22:14. The hour.—The ὥρα of the law, Matthew and Mark ὀψίας. Respecting the manner of celebrating the Passover, see Lange on Matthew 26:20, and Friedlieb, Archäologie der Leidensgeschichte, § 18 seq. Comp. Lightfoot, Wetstein, Sepp, a. o, although it is yet very much a question whether all the usages and acts there adduced were already practised precisely in the same way in the time of Jesus; besides, we ought to consider that the Evangelical account by no means makes the impression as if our Lord had celebrated the Passover even to the minutest particulars according to the existing usages. We might rather suppose the opposite, if we consider how Hebrews, with all obedience towards the law, observed in respect to the ritual tradition a becoming freedom, and how He was here less concerned for a duly arranged celebration of the feast than for an hour of undisturbed society, composed farewell, and prayer with His own.

Reclined at table.—Although originally, Exodus 12:11, a celebration of the Passover standing was prescribed, it afterwards became usual to recline at table during it as at any other meal, apparently a symbol of the freedom which Israel had obtained by the Exodus from Egypt, since only slaves were accustomed to stand during eating. In respect to the arrangement of the places for the company at the table, little can be determined with certainty. From John 13:23 it only appears that John has the first place, nearest the Saviour, while Peter must not be looked for immediately next to him, but only near him, since he does not speak to him, but only beckons to him ( Luke 13:24), about that which he wished to inquire about of him. The place of the father of the house, who presided at the paschal celebration, our Lord here occupies, and by Luke the very moment is brought before us, Luke 22:15-18, in which He opens the celebration. Perhaps He uttered the words Luke 22:15-16, instead of the customary thanksgiving to God, who had made this day for His people.

Luke 22:15. With desire I have desired.—Hebraism: ἐπιθυμίᾳ ἐπεθὐμησα compare the LXX on Numbers 11:4; Psalm 106:14. This very first word gives us to know our Lord’s frame of mind, which in this whole evening remained the prevailing one. His suffering stands so clearly before His soul, that He no longer even expressly announces it, but presupposes the nearness of it as something sufficiently known. He has already, for a considerable time, desired to eat this Passover, and is thinking thereby not of the meal of the New Testament (Tertullian and other fathers), but of the Israelitish feast, which for one and twenty years had gained continually deeper significance and higher value for His heart. He has very peculiarly desired to eat it with His own, μεθ̓ ὑμῶν; He feels that He is not only Redeemer but also Friend of His disciples, and He has especially longed after such a reunion, on account of the institution of the Supper, which is even now to be entered upon. It is as if He forgot the presence of Judas, as if He knew Himself to be in a circle of none but sincere, faithful friends, out of whom He however was soon to depart. In the very beginning therefore He gives to the festal celebration the character of a feast of farewell, and therewith prepares His disciples for the institution of the Supper that commemorates His death.

Luke 22:16. For I say unto you.—It is of course understood that our Lord, before or in the utterance of these words, must have eaten at least something of the meal, as He indeed Himself, Luke 22:15, indicates. He declares here only that after the present one, He will no longer celebrate the Israelitish Passover, ἕως ὅτον πληρωθῆ ἐν τῇ βασιλ. τοῦ θεοῦ; that Isaiah, “not until all be fulfilled which must be fulfilled in My kingdom of grace” (Starke); nor is δ καιρός or any such thing to be supplied, but simply τὸ πάσχα. To wish to conclude now from this that our Lord expects a literal Passover at the revelation of His Divine kingdom in glory, is purely arbitrary, since it is plain enough that He here, as often, describes the joy of the perfected Messianic kingdom under the image of a feast. The Passover is only fulfilled when the outer form, the Passover celebration, is entirely broken down, and the eternal idea, a perfect feast of deliverance, is fully realized. The Lord points “to the eternal coronation-feast of His glorified Church, the shining image of the eternal supper, the anticipatory celebration of which in the New Testament covenant meal, He is now about to establish.” Lange.

In the kingdom of God=ἐν παρουσίᾳ μου. As our Saviour in the paschal lamb sees the type of His own immaculate sacrifice, so does He see in the paschal celebration a symbolical setting forth of the perfect joy of heaven.

Luke 22:17. The cup.—There is no other meant by this than the first, with which the festal celebration ex officio had begun. The word εὐχαριστήσας appears to indicate that our Lord uttered the customary blessing: “Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who hast created the fruit of the vine;” perhaps we hear the echo thereof in the words, Luke 22:18, ἀπὸ τοῦ γεννήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου. The address: Take this and divide it among yourselves (ἐαυτοῖς), appears, it is true, to indicate that our Lord puts from Himself the enjoyment of the paschal wine. However, we may yet conclude from the following words, Luke 22:18, that our Lord says this after He has previously drank, even as He had in Luke 22:15-16 previously eaten, but in no case does there exist, even on the first interpretation, a ground for considering this expression of our Saviour, even at the first cup, as improbable (Meyer). The drinking of the paschal wine was at all events not prescribed by the law, like the eating of the paschal lamb, on which account our Lord might place Himself composedly above the common forms, without His act therefore having become illegal, irreligious, or offensive.—Until the kingdom of God shall have come.—That Isaiah, of course, in glory, as in Luke 22:16. That our Lord repeated the same expression in a somewhat altered form after the institution of the Supper, as is related in Matthew 26:29 and Mark 14:25, cannot possibly in itself be incredible.

Luke 22:19. And He took bread.—The institution of the Supper, to the description of which Luke now already passes over, was undoubtedly preceded by the dispute about rank, Luke 22:24-27, and the foot-washing, John 13. Luke visibly makes not the Passover but the Lord’s Supper the centre of his whole delineation, and communicates the dispute about rank, Luke 22:24, apparently only by occasion of the dispute which, Luke 22:23, had arisen through the uncertainty in reference to the person of the traitor. By attentive comparison of the Evangelical accounts, we can decide only for the following arrangement of the different events in the Passover-hall: 1. Opening of the meal ( Luke 22:15-18). 2. Almost contemporaneously, or even before this, the dispute about rank, Luke 22:24-27 (comp. John 13:1-11). 3. Further remarks of the Saviour ( John 13:18-20; Luke 22:28-30). Meanwhile the continuation of the celebration, undoubtedly more on the part of the disciples than on the part of our Lord, and participation of the second cup, which is not expressly mentioned in the gospels4. The discovery of the traitor ( Matthew 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:21-30). 5. After his going out, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, in all probability to be inserted John 13:34-35. Although in and of itself it may be concluded, from the account of Luke literally taken, that Judas was yet present at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, yet from the comparison of all the other accounts, the opposite becomes evident, so that all dogmatic debates about the enjoyment of the communion by the unworthy Judas, together with all deductions therefrom, are without any firm historical basis.

Luke 22:19. This is My body.—The institution of the Lord’s Supper took place therefore just before the third cup, which in consequence of it was hallowed as the cup of the New Covenant. The Lord takes up one of the remaining cakes of bread, and now speaks the words of institution. As respects the form of the words themselves, it appears at once that Matthew here agrees most closely with Mark, Luke most closely with Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:23 seq., so that the genuinely Pauline character of his gospel in this place, also, does not belie itself. Before we quite make up our minds to the opinion that our Lord repeated the words of institution several times, more or less modified, we prefer to consider, as being thoroughly authentic, those words which He according to all the narrators uses, while that which each Evangelist gives in particular can only be judged on grounds of internal probability. With the words This is My body, Luke has τὸ ̔υπἐρ ὑμῶν διδόμενον. These words are on internal grounds probable, even on account of the parallelism with the subsequent “which is shed for you,” and are by no means in conflict with 1 Corinthians 11:24, since κλώμενον is decidedly spurious. Agreeably to the connection, διδόμενον can be understood only of a surrender to death, while ὑπέρ here does not of necessity express the idea of representation, but may be translated generally: in commodum vestrum.

This do in remembrance of Me.—These words, at the distribution of the bread, are also given by Luke and Paul alone, but they have internal probability, as well on account of what immediately follows at the giving of the cup, as also of the character of the celebration, which is to be a permanent memorial institution. If we could assume (Stier, Nitzsch, a. o.) that the Pauline words: ἐγώ γὰρ παρέλαβον ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου point to a direct Revelation, in which the glorified Saviour gave to a letter the formula of institution communicated by Him, then undoubtedly the exactness of the rendering of Luke with its Pauline coloring, would be raised above all doubt. There is however nothing in the words of the Apostle to necessitate us to understand such an extraordinary Revelation, since he may have also meant thereby the evangelical tradition that had come to his knowledge.

Luke 22:20. Μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι.—The third cup commonly went round for the first time after the meal was finished, and we do not therefore need, from this expression of itself, to draw the inference that now the paschal celebration for this evening had been entirely ended; on the other hand, there belong thereto a fourth and fifth cup, as well as the singing of the hymn of praise, Matthew 26:30. The institution of the Supper is therefore taken up as a special act into the course of the paschal celebration, although it is not probable that this last, at least as concerns the eating, was yet continued after the reception of the communion bread. Our Lord (Matthew and Mark) now names this cup τὸ αἱ̈μά μου τῆς διαθήκης, while He according to Luke and Paul speaks of καινή διαθήκη ὲν τῷ αἵματι μου. But whichever expression may have been the most original, yet the signification of it is not hard to understand. As the Old Covenant was not established without blood ( Exodus 24:8, comp. Hebrews 9:16), so through the blood of Christ was the New Covenant, which God now concluded with Prayer of Manasseh, Jeremiah 31:31-34, confirmed and sealed. Of this blood it is said (Matthew and Mark), that it was shed ὑπὲρ or περὶ πολλῶν, according to Luke, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον. We might almost suppose that the latter was the original, the former, on the other hand, a later ecclesiastically established formula. But in no case is the application of the blood limited by the πολλῶν, as if it had taken place for many and not for all, but on the other hand the purpose is thereby as much as possible extended, as embracing not only the Apostles, but in addition many with them.

If we consider the whole formula of the distribution of the bread and wine, we believe that we must understand it so as to explain the τοῦτο as referring to the broken piece of bread, and to the wine poured into the cup which He reaches to His disciples. That our Lord did not in His language once use the much controverted ἐστίν, is as certain as that it must necessarily be understood to complete the sense. He means that the broken bread which He hands to them in this instant represents His body, and that that (τοῦτο ποιεῖτε) which they were just about to do,—the eating of the bread handed to them, namely,—they should do for the remembrance of Him. The same is the case with the cup, &c. From the statements of Luke and Paul it appears yet far more plainly than from those of Matthew and Mark, that our Lord here ordains a permanent meal of remembrance for those that confess Him, even in following ages. How fitting, finally, this whole symbolical act already was for the necessities of the disciples at that moment, appears at once so soon as we even in some measure transport ourselves into their state of mind, and consider what hard trials they were to experience even in the same night.

Luke 22:21. But behold the hand.—“This allusion to the traitor (according to Luke, in distinction from the rest without any more particular specification), Luke has in the wrong place.” Meyer. Evidently he is merely concerned to give a condensed reference to a particular which he will neither pass over entirely nor yet communicate in greater detail. That, in Matthew 26:21-25, only a first preliminary designation of the traitor appears, which took place even before the institution of the Supper, supposed to have subsequently taken place in the presence of Judas, and which was finally succeeded by yet a second more particular designation, which Luke alone, Luke 22:22, communicates (Stier), we cannot possibly assume. The consternation and the whispering of the Eleven, Luke 22:23, is only comprehensible if they now for the first time hear anything of it. Least of all can we understand a double designation of the traitor uttered on two different evenings, or a repetition of the intimation on one and the same evening. There remains, therefore, no other choice than to assume that Luke has communicated our Lord’s declaration concerning Judas more κατὰ διάνοιαν than κατὰ ῥητόν, as indeed appears even from the incomplete form in which Hebrews, Luke 22:22, has noted down the Woe uttered upon Judas (comp. Matthew 24:24; Mark 14:21). It is especially the beginning of the discovery of the traitor, as previously the beginning of the paschal celebration, which Luke places in the foreground.

With Me on the table.

Very fine is the remark of Bengel: “mecum, non vobiscum ait. Proditorem igitur a reliquis discipulis segregans, sibi uni jam cum isto, tanquam hoste quidem, rem esse docet.” If, however, we assume that Luke relates merely the main fact, then it will hardly be necessary to paraphrase with Bengel a “manus quœ sacram cœnam sumpsit.” Quite as well may we here insert in thought: The hand which but just now, as an instrument in the eating of the Passover, was stretched out upon the table. As well the deep affliction as the displeasure of our Lord exhibits itself in these words; but very peculiarly does His long-suffering reveal itself in this, that He yet endures in His presence the traitor whose shameful plan He penetrates. As to the rest, the formula of commencement that now follows: πλὴν ἰδον̓, which plainly shows that the discourse passes over to something else, of itself entitles us to give up any direct connection of Luke 22:21 with Luke 22:20. According to our view, this expression utters in a freer form the same thing which we read Matthew 26:21; Mark 14:18; John 13:21, while Luke 22:22 (see parallel) appears again to have been spoken some moments after.

Luke 22:22. For truly the Son of Man goeth.—Ὅτι states the ground why the Lord could again, as already previously, Matthew 26:2, speak of a παραδιδόναι “The Son of Prayer of Manasseh,” that Isaiah, “goes, it is true, κατὰ τὸ ὡρισμένον” (Matthew and Mark, καθὼς γέγραπται, and that περὶ αὐτοῦ). According to the counsel of God predicted in the prophetical Scriptures, the Son of Man must necessarily die, but by no means does this take away the responsibility of him who threatens voluntarily to become the instrument of His death (πλὴν οὐαί). A word of warning for Judas before he took the decisive step, in order even on the verge of the abyss to open his eyes. With a fearful mixture of compassion and intense displeasure, our Lord is absorbed in the fate which impends over the traitor. Perfectly conscious of His own dignity, He feels that no other crime can be placed by the side of this; fully acquainted with the secrets of eternity, He sees that no restoration from this terrible wretchedness is to be expected. Too strong would the expression have been which our Lord (according to Matthew and Mark alone) yet adds, “it had been better for that man if he had never been born,” if He had seen glimmering even in the extremest distance one single ray of light, in the night of the eternal doom pronounced upon Judas. “It is the immeasurable fall and the immeasurable curse which He so designates; the Woe which He pronounces upon Judas is a deep Woe of His soul; He profoundly pities that man even back unto his birth. He is troubled so much about the time and eternity of this Prayer of Manasseh, that thereat He can forget His own woe which that man is preparing for Him.” Lange. [This declaration of our Lord: “Good were it for that man if he had never been born,” is in reality the strongest argument in the whole Bible against the doctrine of a final restoration of all men, an argument which it appears to me that we have a right to regard as perfectly conclusive.[FN7]—C. C. S.]

Luke 22:23. And they began.—Comp. Matthew 26:22; Mark 14:19; John 13:22 seq. A vivid representation of the disputation which soon arose among them. That Luke does not bring the tragic scene completely to a close, is a new proof that he is by no means here concerned for the completeness of his account. Comp. further the Exegetical and Critical remarks on the parallel passages in Matthew and Mark.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. See on the parallel passages in Matthew,, Mark, and John. Worthy of consideration also are the representations of the Last Supper of our Lord given by Christian art, not only the world-renowned one of Leonardo da Vinci, but also of Giotto, Ghirlandajo, Signorelli, Gorgione, Raphael, Juan de Juanes, Carlo Dolce, Poussin, Thorwaldsen, and others.

2. Our Lord’s longing for the eating of this Passover with His disciples, is one of the most affecting revelations of His all-surpassing love of sinners, which are preserved to us in the Gospel. It is as if He longs for the death which is to give life to the world. But, furthermore, the prospect given on this occasion of a perfect festal celebration in the kingdom of God, encourages us also to the assertion that His own blessedness, capable of infinite increase, will only then be fully perfected when the kingdom of God shall have fully come, and that He does not less long to see His people with Him than they can ever long to be with Him.

3. Not sufficiently can we admire our Lord’s wisdom and greatness which become visible in the institution of the Lord’s Supper. This is meant to assure the disciples, who had never been able to believe in His dying, of His impending death; it is to place before them this death, which was so offensive to them, in the most comforting light, εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτ. It is finally to oblige them to a continual remembrance of this death, and thus to bind them most intimately together with one another, as well as with the Lord, and with the believers of all following times. The institution of the Lord’s Supper is no fruit of a momentary inspiration, or of a sudden excitement of feeling, but is evidently the result of a previously carefully developed plan. With the sure knowledge of His approaching suffering our Lord unites the clear consciousness of the blessed effect of His death; with His love for His disciples, which causes Him entirely to forget Himself, a wisdom which determines Him even during this meal, and at the right hour of the same, to prepare a strengthening cordial for their faith, their love and hope; with His care for them a salutary institution for the maintaining, uniting, and training of His Church for all following time. Never can His Church be thankful enough to Him for the rich treasures which He bequeathed to her in this institution.

4. That the Holy Communion, which is intended for the union of all believers in Jesus Christ, has been the very cause of the most intense controversy, is certainly one of the most mournful phenomena which the history of Christendom and the Reformation has to show. Nowhere does the apple of discord make a more mournful impression than when it is thrown upon the table of love. So much the more fortunate is it that the blessing of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not necessarily dependent on the interpretation of the words of institution. In reference to this last we have only to place ourselves in the position of the disciples, and to inquire how they, it is likely, understood the Master, in order immediately to recognize the full preposterousness of the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Therewith, however, we do not mean that the strictly Lutheran or the old Reformed interpretation does not yet leave many difficulties unsettled. Strauss was not wrong when Hebrews, in this respect, more impartially than many a dogmatic author, wrote: “To the writers of our gospels the bread in the Lord’s Supper was the body of Christ; but had any one, therefore, asked them whether the bread was changed, they would have denied it; had any one spoken to them of a receiving the body with and under the species of bread, they would not have understood this; had one concluded that therefore the bread merely signified the body, they would not have found themselves satisfied with that.” It could be wished that all Christians would unite in this proposition, that in the Lord’s Supper there takes place not only a symbolical celebration of the death of Christ, but a real communication of Christ Himself to believers, so that He at this table gives Himself to them to be beheld and to be enjoyed in the whole fulness of His saving love. That in John 6. the idea of the Lord’s Supper stands in the background, although the instruction there given does not refer immediately to the Communion, hardly admits of doubt, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. If only the mystery of the real personal communion with Christ is believingly acknowledged as the mystery of the Holy Supper, then the subordinate question whether this self-communication of our Lord to His people takes place in a corporeal or exclusively in a spiritual way, need not really divide the members of the Evangelical Church forever from each other. [Compare here the Doctrinal and Ethical reflections of Dr. Lange and Dr. Schaff in the Commentary on Matthew, pp473–475.—C. C. S.] That the decidedly Zuinglian interpretation has its truth, but not the full truth, is recognized more and more generally by believing theology in the Reformed Church. Compare the admirable monograph of Ebrard, 1848, and on the Lutheran side that of Kahnis, 1851, to say nothing of the manifold observations on this subject in Rudelbach and Guerike’s Zeitschcrift für Lutherische Theologie. In a critical way, the doctrine of the Supper has been in the most recent period investigated with a rather negative result by L. J. Rückert at Jena. A very weighty article has been furnished by Julius Muller in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopädie. As to the rest, we must refer the reader to the history of doctrines.

5. That the discovery of the traitor belongs to the most affecting and extraordinary moments in the life of our Lord, we should believe even if this did not clearly appear in the Evangelical accounts, nay, even in the brief statement of Luke. So much the more adorable is His composure, long-suffering, and self-control on the one hand, His grave earnestness, His displeasure, and His wrath on the other hand. The first separation which here goes on in this circle of the disciples between light and darkness, is the beginning of a continuous process of purification, and the prophecy of the κρίσις of the great day.

6. “He hath heartily desired to die for us—who would not heartily desire to live in Him? Christ is more eager to make us partakers of His benefits than we to receive them from Him.” Tauler.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The last assembling of the Lord with His disciples.—The longing of our Lord for the last Passover: 1. How it exhibits itself; 2. from what it springs; 3. to what it quickens.—The paschal cup the last bodily refreshment of our Lord before His suffering.—The feast of the redeemed in the perfected kingdom of God, the fulfilment and glorification of the Israelitish Passover.—We also have the Paschal Lamb, that Isaiah, Christ, sacrificed for us, 1 Corinthians 5:7.—The coincidence and the diversity, the agreement and the difference between the Passover of the Old and the Supper of the New Covenant. Through both: 1. A perfect redemption is sealed; 2. a blessed fellowship founded; 3. a glorious prospect opened: the Passover points to the Communion, the Communion to the marriage-supper of the Lamb, Revelation 19:9.—The noblest gifts of nature sanctified into symbols of grace.—The atonement of love.—The institution of the Lord’s Supper in its high significance: 1. For our Lord; 2. for His Apostles; 3. for all following times.—The fellowship in the Communion: 1. Of our Lord with His people; 2. of believers with one another; 3. of earth with heaven.—“This do in remembrance of Me”: 1. A pregnant command; 2. a holy command; 3. a salutary command.—The feast of the New Covenant: 1. The fulfilment of that which is only intimated in the Old Covenant; 2. the prophecy of that which shall hereafter be enjoyed at the heavenly feast.—The institution of the Lord’s Supper a revelation of the Prophetical, the Priestly, and the Kingly character of our Lord.—The high significance which our Lord, in distinction from every other stage of His earthly manifestation, attributes to His suffering and death.—The institution of the Lord’s Supper essentially inexplicable to him who in the death of our Lord sees only a confirmation of His teaching, an exalted example, a striking revelation of the forgiving love of God, but no actual expiatory sacrifice.—The Lord’s Supper: 1. A memorial supper; 2. a covenant supper; 3. a Supper of love.—How our Lord in the Communion gives Himself to His own: 1. To be beheld; 2. to be enjoyed; 3. to be adored.—The devil among the disciples, John 6:70.—Jesus over against Judas: 1. His immaculate purity over against the enormous guilt; 2. His infallible knowledge over against the deep blindness; 3. His unshakable composure over against the painful disquiet; 4. His measureless love over against the burning hatred of the traitor.—Jesus the Searcher of all hearts.—The discovery of the traitor; it shows us: 1. What our Lord once suffered here on earth; 2. what He now is in heaven; 3. what He shall hereafter do at the end of the world.—Jesus glorified by the way in which He discovers the traitor, comp. John 13:30-31. He reveals in this way: 1. A knowledge deceived by no illusive guise; 2. an affliction marred by no petty weakness; 3. a love cooled by no wickedness; 4. an anger accompanied with no ignoble passion.—The night of the betrayal: 1. From its dark; 2. from its bright, side.—Even on the Communion-table, as on the Paschal board, our Lord sees the hand of His betrayer stretched out.—Here is more than David, Psalm 41:10.—When our Lord utters a general warning, no one of His disciples may remain wholly indifferent, but each one is under obligation to enter into himself.

Starke:—Bibl. Wirt.:—Oh, how great a longing hath Jesus had for man’s salvation !—Quesnel:—One communion prepares the way for another; they that have here received Christ sacramentally shall there be celestially united with Him.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—All our food we should, after Jesus’ example, hallow by prayer and thanksgiving, 1 Corinthians 10:31.—The foretaste of Divine goodness is even here so sweet and pleasant, what will the perfect enjoyment of blessedness be?—The Holy Communion must, in danger of life, and in the pains of death, be our best cordial and refreshment.—The Lord’s Supper without the cup a maimed one.—Everything, it is true, takes place according to the providence of God, but not always according to the will of God.—Genuine test of a true Christian, to do his enemies good and let them eat with him, even at his table, out of his dish, Romans 12:20.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Nothing more necessary than self-examination.—We cannot answer for our own hearts without the grace of God.—Many a one thinks not that that shall come to pass with him which yet does come to pass.—Heubner:—When separated, let it be the spirit of Jesus that unites our hearts.—The hope of eternal communion in the presence of Jesus lightens separation to the Christian.—The righteous are ever concerned lest there should be anything evil hidden in them.—Christ Himself ascribes to His death atoning power.—Christ’s love would gather His own around Him.—F. Arens:—The Communion of our Lord: 1. The blessed mystery; 2. the rich springs of blessings; 3. the requisite condition of soul.—Florey:—The Holy Supper and feast of love: 1. Love has founded it; 2. of love does it remind us; 3. love celebrates it; 4. love blesses it.—The communion of our Lord the most admirable hour of solemnity in the house of God: 1. An hour of holy remembrance: 2. of blessed communion; 3. of loving brotherly union.—Harless:—The tree of the new creation of Christ.—Arndt:—The discovery of the traitor a revelation: 1. Of Divine omniscience; 2. of holy love; 3. of fixed resolution.—Krummacher:—Passions-buch: the denunciation of woe: 1. The awfulness of this denunciation; 2. the limits of its applicability.—J. Saurin, Nouv. Serm. i. p. Luke 45:—Sur la sentence de nôtre Seigneur contr. Judas.—Van der Palm:—The greatness of our Lord visible in the institution of the Holy Communion.—W. Hofacker:—.Where does the holy meal of the Lord place us?—Thomasius:—(Judas); The steps to the abyss: 1. The evil lust in the heart; 2. the sin against the conscience; 3. the judgment of reprobacy.—Böckel:—Jesus over against His betrayers.

Footnotes:

FN#3 - Luke 22:14.—The δώδεκα of the Recepta Isaiah, with Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Meyer, Tregelles, Alford,] omitted, according to B, D, [Cod. Sin,] 157, Sahid, Itala, &c.

FN#4 - Luke 22:16.—Van Oosterzee translates: “eat it,” reading αὐτό instead of the Recepta, ἐξ αὐτοῦ, with Lachmann, Tregelles, Alford, according to B, L, and various Cursives and Versions, including the Vulgate. Cod. Sin. also reads αὐτό. Van Oosterzee adduces Tischendorf’s authority, but Tischendorf in his 7 th ed. has reverted to the Recepta, which Meyer also defends.—C. C. S.]

FN#5 - Luke 22:17.—The τό, which A, D, K, M, U, and some Cursives read, and which is also received by Lachmann, appears to have crept quite early into many manuscripts, from the liturgical form, but not to be genuine.

FN#6 - Meyer remarks that the OTI was overlooked on account of the following ΟΤΙ, and then the lack of a connective being felt, καί was subsequently interpolated.—C. C. S.]

FN#7 - Dr. Schaff, in his book on the Sin against the Holy Ghost, considers this passage conclusive against the apokatastasis, since an endless happiness even after millions of years of pain “would be preferable to non-existence.”]


Verses 24-38

4. Familiar and Farewell Discourses ( Luke 22:24-38)

(In part parallel with Matthew 26:30-35; Mark 14:27-31; John 13:36-38.)

24And there was also a strife [there arose also a contention[FN8]] among them, which of them should be accounted [appears to be, δοκεῖ[FN9]] the greatest 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority 26 upon them are called benefactors. 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 [which] is greater, he that sitteth at meat [reclineth at table], or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat [reclineth at table]? but I am among you as Hebrews 28that serveth. [But] Ye are they which have continued [steadfastly] with me in my temptations 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and [ye shall] sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31And the Lord said,[FN10] Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted [or, hast hereafter returned to thyself], strengthen [στήρισον] thy brethren 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both [or, even] into prison and to death 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before [until[FN11]] that thou shalt [have] thrice deny [denied] that thou knowest me 35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip [wallet], and shoes, 36lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then [Therefore] said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip [wallet]: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one [and he that hath not, let him sell his garment, and buy a sword].[FN12] 37For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet[FN13] be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors ( Isaiah 53:12): for the things concerning me have an end [or, are fulfilling]. 38And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Luke 22:24-30. Entirely peculiar to Luke.—Quite correctly explained by Ewald, p348. “Luke here puts together ( Luke 22:21-38) a number of expressions of Jesus which, according to Matthew and Mark, are spoken partly earlier and partly later, as if this sublime point of the history were peculiarly adapted for attaching to the words of institution of the Holy Supper, similar thoughts respecting the faithfulness of the disciples towards Him.” That the dispute with the disciples about rank took place even after the institution of the Communion, and discovery of the traitor, cannot be at all imagined. It must, therefore, together with the admonitions belonging to it, necessarily be placed before both events. Perhaps the thought on the impending departure of the Master brought the disciples entirely spontaneously to the inquiry, who then above all others was worthy to stand at the head of the company; or that some were ill content with their place at the feast table.—This appears to us, at least, yet more probable than that the dispute arose about the question, who of them should discharge for their other brethren the business of foot-washing before the meal, not yet begun. For although this controversy, in all probability, had given occasion to the foot-washing,—before or at which the words, Luke 22:25-27, were probably spoken,—this Acts, and therefore also this discourse of our Lord, appears not to fall before the meal, but at the beginning of it. But however that may be, the dispute of the disciples gives our Lord not only occasion for a symbolical Acts, but also, moreover, for a special admonition.

Luke 22:25. The kings of the Gentiles.—A commencement exactly adapted to make them at once feel that the temper which now came into view among them was essentially an ethnic one, and in this way deeply to shame them. It is known how often the name of Euergetes was given to Roman Emperors, and also to other princes, for instance, Ptolemæus Euergetes, and others. The Apostles give only too plain a note of being animated by the same spirit of pride with those who listen to such a flattery with complacency.

Luke 22:26. But ye shall not be so.—Our Lord recognizes that His own disciples in a certain sense are kings, but he will have them in the establishment of their kingly rights distinguish themselves in a very important point from the princes of earth. To become more humble they should regard as an elevation, and serviceable love as the sum of their greatness. Only then would they submit themselves to the immutable constitution of the kingdom of God; only then would they bear the King’s image. Whoever indeed was the greatest among them, he must become as the younger, νεώτερος, whose business it naturally was, as a rule, to serve the others ( Acts 5:6-10), and even so the dux gregis must prove his superiority by showing himself the most zealous diaconus. Far from levelling down all distinction of rank and office in the circle of His disciples, our Lord here recognizes a real aristocracy in the Christian sphere, but an aristocracy of humility, which Hebrews, indeed, does not merely demand, but which He also in His own example sets forth.

Luke 22:27. For which is greater.—Although it remains true that the reference to the foot-washing is not directly necessary, since our Lord, even besides this, might on account of what He does during the meal, as well as on account of the whole of His self-surrender, well call Himself the διάκονος of His people, yet it is true, on the other hand, that under the Johannean picture of the foot-washing, one could set no more congruous and beautiful motto than the utterance which Luke alone has here preserved to us: “I am among you as he that serveth.” He appeals to the position which He at this moment occupies among them,—a position in which every guise of a superiority falls away. In words our Saviour had already previously expressed the same thought ( Matthew 20:25-28), but now He adds to the word the deed.

Luke 22:28. But ye are they.—If we assume that Luke 22:28-30 were spoken uno tenore with Luke 22:25-27, then certainly the most natural connection of thought (Meyer) is this: that our Lord, upon this humiliation of His disciples, now also causes their true elevation to follow, by assuring them of their future glory in His Messianic kingdom. We know not, however, what should hinder us from assuming that these words were uttered somewhat later on this evening. Entirely arbitrary is the assertion (De Wette, Strauss), that these words here stand out of all historical connection, and contain only a modified repetition of the promise given Matthew 19:28. It appears to us far more probable that they belong in the portion of the discourse after the foot-washing and before the discovery of the traitor, of which also John ( Luke 13:12-20) has communicated to us some portion. Not incongruously may they be attached to John 13:20, and that in this way: that our Lord now praises and encourages His faithful disciples, after He had just thrown upon the traitor a look of warning, Luke 22:21 seq. It is with Him, in His increasing agitation of spirit, a necessity to turn His eyes from the unfaithful one to the faithful ones, and to show to them how dear to Him the Apostolic circle yet remains, in spite of the sorrow which the unfaithful apostle has caused Him.

Continued steadfastly … in My temptations, πειρασμοῖς μου.—Just the word for Luke, according to whom Satan, Luke 4:13, even after the forty days’ temptation in the wilderness, had only departed from the Lord ἄχρι καιροῦ, so that according to him, the whole earthly life of Jesus is represented as a continuous temptation. In the mouth of Jesus this word points decidedly to this painful and tempting experience of life, through which His obedience to the Father had to be exercised and perfected. In the midst of all these conditions, it redounded to the no small praise of His disciples that they had so faithfully continued with Him (διαμεμενηκότες). Without adding a word upon their manifold weaknesses, He does justice with manifest pleasure to their sincerity and their steadfastness,—the direct opposite, it is true, to the temper of mind which He expresses, Luke 9:41, and yet the one utterance is as natural as the other,—each in its own peculiar connection.

Luke 22:29. And I appoint unto you a Kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me.—To the mention of that which the disciples have been for Him, our Lord now adds an intimation of what He has purposed for them. Διατίθεμαι signifies not only a bestowal or assurance, but a disposition such as a dying man forms when he makes his will for those left behind. That our Lord bequeaths to them the kingdom by a particular institution—namely, by the Communion, is not directly said; even without such a reference to the Supper, the promise preserves its full truth and force. It is in this of course understood that the verb, when our Lord uses it of the Father, who can never see death, καθὼς διέθετό μοι, must be understood cum grano salis. The sublimity of such an expression can be better felt than described. The poor Nazarene, who bequeaths to His disciples not one penny, and whose garments after a few hours are to be parted under His eyes on the Cross, here bequeaths to His friends, as the reward of their immovable fidelity, a more than royal inheritance, and therewith even removes the disparity that yet lay between Him and them. There exists a noteworthy, as yet too little noted, coincidence between this utterance and that of the Intercessory Prayer ( John 17:22), which serves for a new proof of the higher unity of the Synoptical and the Johannean Christ.

Luke 22:30. That ye may eat.—An allusion to the purpose, and secondly, to the inestimable fruit of this bequest, by which there is prepared for them as well a rich enjoyment as also an imperishable honor. The enjoyment is this: that our Lord in the Messianic kingdom entertains them at His table; the familiar Biblical imagery is here also chosen with preference, not only in view of the already instituted Holy Supper, but also by occasion of the present Paschal celebration; the honor Isaiah, that they are appointed as judges over the twelve tribes of Israel. It is commonly believed that the mention in particular of the twelve thrones which appears Matthew 19:28, was omitted here on account of the apostasy of Judas. It may, however, also be that this altered form is Connected with the freer character of our Lord’s discourse in Luke. Almost too refined is the question which Bengel adjoins to the mention of the φυλαί: “Singuline singulas? We know, moreover, how our glorified Lord opens this same prospect, only somewhat modified, for all His friends, Revelation 2:3., and how also the Apostle Paul states the judging of the world at the Parusia of the Lord as a prerogative which is intended for all His saints, 1 Corinthians 6:2.

Luke 22:31. Simon, Simon.—We agree with those who believe that a double intimation of Peter’s denial took place; the one even in the Paschal hall, the other on the way to Gethsemane, which latter is exclusively mentioned by Matthew and Mark. Of the former John gives us an account ( John 13:36-38); Luke 22:31-32 of Luke appear to run parallel therewith. It took place, therefore, shortly after the institution of the Lord’s Supper, immediately following the new commandment of brotherly love ( John 13:34-35). Very well may our Lord to the earnest warning ( John 13:36-38) have yet added the words which Luke alone has preserved for us, and which as well by their form as by their character were fitted to make on the Apostle’s heart the deepest impression. Even the double Simon, Simon, comp. Luke 10:41; Acts 9:4, must have given him deeply to feel that he soon would not be like a rock, but like an unsteady reed. The Biblical mode of speech: “Satan hath desired you, ardently entreated for you,” points back to the prologue of the book of Job. Note the distinction between the plural, ὑμᾶς ( Luke 22:31), and the singular ( Luke 22:32), περὶ σοῦ. Without any one having known it, there had to-day the most fearful danger threatened all the disciples; but no one more than Peter, who had least feared it, and yet had been the object of the very special personal intercession of his faithful Lord.—Τοῦ σινιάσαι. “The word has not been preserved to us elsewhere, but the signification is not doubtful. The tertium comparationis is the testing ταράσσειν: as the wheat is shaken in the sieve that the chaff may thereby separate itself from the wheat and fall out, so will Satan also disquiet and terrify you through persecutions, dangers, tribulations, in order to bring your faithfulness towards Me to apostasy.” Meyer.

Luke 22:32. But I.—In this discourse of our Lord also, His person forms the immovable centre. His majestic ἐγὼ δέ, on the one hand plants itself in the way of Satan’s threatening, and on the other hand stands in opposition to the direct καὶ σύ, which immediately follows thereon. First has our Lord granted His disciple a look into the crafty plottings of hell; now does He grant him to look up into the heaven of his loving Saviour’s heart. But for whom hath the Lord prayed? This time especially for Peter: “Totus sane hie sermo Domini prœsupponit, Petrum esse primum apostolorum, quo stante aut cadente ceteri aut minus aut magis periclitarentur.” Bengel. When? After He had penetrated Satan’s crafty plotting in all its depth. For what? Our Lord does not express Himself with many words thereabout. By no means that Peter might entirely escape the sifting, comp. John 17:15. With what purpose? In order that (ἵνα) his faith may not cease (ἐκλείπῃ), since, indeed, his whole energy for resistance would be lost if the faith which he had so often confessed should no longer remain in him, comp. 2 Timothy 4:7. With what result? The prayer is heard; Peter will indeed fall, but he will also rise again: καὶ σύ ποτε ἐπιστρ έψας.

When thou art converted.—There Isaiah, therefore, predicted for Peter an ἐπιστροφή visible to others, which was to be the consequence of an inward μετάνοια. Through what depths of sorrow and contrition the way should lead to this height is as yet wisely concealed from him, but in this very night he experiences it.—Strengthen thy brethren.—“My” brethren, our Lord does not here say, as in John 20:17; nor yet “ours” but thy brethren, since He here conceives them as afflicted with the same weakness which should bring Peter to so deep a fall. Thus does the address return again obliquely to the ὑμᾶς, Luke 22:31. How Peter afterwards strengthened his fellow-apostles by his word and example, appears plainly from the Acts. How he strengthened his fellow-believers, is manifest in his Epistles; but how little he was as yet on the way to this conversion, and how little he was fitted for this strengthening of others, appears in the words with which he at the same instant answers this address.

Luke 22:33. Lord, I am ready to go with Thee.—Mετὰ σοῦ he places emphatically first, to designate the source from which his exultant feeling of strength proceeds; he conceives the threatening danger in a twofold form, as death or imprisonment; but love will surely give him strength to defy both. It is as if he would thereby intimate that the Lord’s intercession for him had not been so especially necessary.

Luke 22:34. I tell thee, Peter.—Now not Simon, though he might have doubly deserved it, but, Peter; inasmuch as our Lord places Himself in the position of the man who, in his own eyes, stands there so rock-fast. In language free of all ambiguity, He now announces to him what He had just made known to him in Biblical allusions, in order that the possibility of a misunderstanding may no longer remain. Peter will even deny that he knows the Master, ἀπαρνήσῃ μὴ εἰδέναι με, properly a double pleonastic negation, as in Luke 20:27, on which account also some MSS, although without sufficient critical grounds, have omitted μή. Respecting the prediction of Peter’s denial itself, comp. moreover Lange on Matthew 26:34.

Luke 22:35. And He said unto them.—From Peter the address of our Lord now turns, after a short pause, again to the whole circle of disciples. That our Lord uttered the words, Luke 22:35-38, when all were outside of the Paschal hall, immediately before the entrance into Gethsemane, we consider as less probable. For these words are not preceded by the second but the first announcement of Peter’s denial; moreover, they bear so familiar a character, that they appear to belong as yet to the feast table. We believe that we ought to assign them a place even immediately after Luke 22:31-34—namely, so that our Lord now, to the description of the inward danger which threatens His disciples, joins the description of the outward distress that impends over them.—As friends in the parting hour like to while away yet a season with their thoughts in the sweet days of the past, so does our Lord now lead back the Eleven into the period which then perhaps appeared to them to be a very tiresome one, but which, in comparison with this night, might yet be called a peaceful and happy one. He points them back to the time when they first preached the Gospel in Galilee, and on the part of many had found open ears and hearts, Luke 9:1-6. Then they had in no respect had want, no care had oppressed them; but now it was another time. So unacquainted are they as yet with that which to-night impends, that the Saviour can bring to them in no other way a presentiment of it than by holding up to them the sharp contrast of then and now. He enjoins on them the direct opposite of that which He had then commanded them. Once the least care was superfluous, now the most anxious care was not too much.

Luke 22:36. Therefore He said.—Οῦ̓ν subjoins the opposite of their acknowledgment, that at that time they did not lack the least thing. He that hath a purse, let him take it, ἀράτω: Let him not leave it at home, but take it with him on the journey, in order by so careful a preparation to assure himself against any possibility of a lack. Even so let him who possesses a wallet, hasten to avail himself of it. And he that hath not, neither purse nor wallet, let him sell his garment, which he otherwise would at last expose to robbery, and buy—not a purse or a wallet, but what is now more indispensable than clothing and food—a sword. Self-defence is now not only an urgent necessity, but the first necessity of all. This last word we have to understand, not in an allegorical, but in a parabolical sense. If one understands (Olshausen) the spiritual sword ( Ephesians 6:17), he is then also obliged to give to the garment, the wallet, and the shoes a spiritual signification. Our Lord will simply, in a concrete pictorial form, represent to His disciples the right and the duty of necessary defence, in order that they may, by the very opposition to the former command ( Luke 22:35), finally come to the consciousness that an entirely peculiar danger shall break in upon them.

Luke 22:37. For I say unto you.—The rendering of an immediate and sufficient reason for the previously apparently so enigmatical command. If matters go even so far with the Master that He is reckoned with the malefactors, then His disciples also may well have occasion to fear the worst. Here again we find an allusion to the truth, that the impending fulfilment of the prophecy is grounded in an irrevocable Must; at the same time also a proof in what light our Lord regarded the well-known prophecy ( Isaiah 53). He numbers it among the περὶ ἐμοῦ sc. γεγραμμένα (not “The circumstances surrounding Me.” Meyer), in respect to which He gives the assurance that they τέλος ἔχει. Excessively feeble would this expression be, if He meant to say nothing else than: “With Me, as with that subject of Isaiah’s prophecy, matters are coming to an end.” Our Lord feels and knows that He is Himself truly the Subject of the prophecy of Isaiah, and, therefore, it cannot here be the end, in the common sense of the word, but only the accomplishment, in the sense of the τετέλεσται ( John 19:30), that is spoken of. Our Lord therewith undoubtedly states the ground (γάρ), why He expects for Himself nothing less than the fulfilment also of Isaiah 53:12. Everything that is written of the Messiah must go into complete fulfilment, and that can only be done when this declaration also, in a certain sense the crown of the whole prophetic announcement of the Passion, is accomplished in and on Him. “If this τοῦτο yet comes to pass, because all must come to pass, then the fulfilment and coming to pass has with this undoubtedly an end.” Stier.

Luke 22:38. Lord, behold here are two swords.—It is unquestionably surprising that the disciples have come at once in possession of these swords, and not probable that they were found in the Passover hall itself. Bengel. It Isaiah, however, known that the Galileans were wont to travel armed; perhaps Peter and another disciple had taken their swords with them in the journey towards the capital, in the presentiment of a danger on this very evening. Certain it is that they have them at all events now lying ready, and at the word of our Lord, Luke 22:36, they think that they can use them very well. To understand large butcher-knives for the Paschal lamb (Chrysostom) sounds singular.

It is enough, ἱκανόν ἐστι.—If it were possible for us to imagine our Lord for a moment in the Paschal night with a melancholy smile on His heavenly countenance, it would be at the affair of the two swords. Two swords over against the whole might of the world, of hell, and of death, which were to engage in the assault upon Him! He accounts it impossible to make the whole preposterousness of this thought as visible to them as it is to Himself, and, therefore, breaks off the conversation on the subject, in the tone of one who is conscious that others would not yet understand Him, and who, therefore, holds all further speech unprofitable. A double sense (Olshausen, De Wette), we do not find here, but we may, a melancholy irony.

We apprehend that after this conversation: 1. The great Hallel was sung; 2. the farewell discourse ( John, Luke 14:17) held; 3. the Paschal hall left; 4. that on the way to Gethsemane the second prediction of the unfaithfulness of Peter and of his fellow-disciples took place, which was with one voice repelled. All this Luke passes over in silence, in order to lead us without further detention immediately to Gethsemane. See Lex Evang. Harm. p93.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. While on the one hand the renewed dispute among the disciples as to rank on this very evening is a mournful proof of how deeply pride and self-seeking remain rooted even in the soul that has the beginnings of faith and renewal; Song of Solomon, on the other hand, is the peculiar way in which our Lord at the Paschal table opposes this perversity, a new revelation of His Wisdom of Solomon, love, and faithfulness. The almost literal repetition of an earlier, yet already forgotten, admonition, must of itself have doubly shamed His discordant friends. Therewith He recalls to their memory an hour in which the same perverse disposition had become visible in them, and had been by Him combated powerfully, indeed, yet, as now appeared, in vain. It is the fundamental law of His kingdom, which He now will, as it were, in the style of a lapidary and in a stereotyped form, engrave anew in the fleshy tables of the hearts of His own; and in order to impress it on them the more deeply, He represents it to their sight by an Acts, which must have remained eternally unforgotten by them.

2. “But I am among you as he that serveth.” This word is first of all the brief summary of the Whole now almost completed earthly fife of Jesus in humiliation. Comp. Matthew 20:28; Philippians 2:5-11; 2 Corinthians 8:9. It Isaiah, secondly, the worthy initiation of a Passion in which He was again to serve His own in a manner entirely different from hitherto, by this, that He humiliated Himself now more deeply than ever; and finally, it is even the watchword of His heavenly life, now that He is enthroned at the right hand of God; for even there upon the throne He rules by serving, and never reveals His glory more brilliantly than in His condescending love.

3. Not enough can we here in the antechamber of the Passion admire the sublime, entirely unique self-consciousness of our Lord. While He certainly knows that He is at the very point of being reckoned with the transgressors, He yet claims for His disciples no lesser rank than that which earthly potentates and kings possess ( Luke 22:25-26). Nowhere has He on earth to lay His head, and yet He bequeaths to them, as if by testament, the highest place of honor in the kingdom of God, and inaugurates them as future judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. With every moment He is going down deeper into the night of suffering, and yet He shows even now especially that the secrets of the heart, of the future, and of the spiritual world, lie naked and uncovered before Him. He feels that He is in the fullest sense of the word the Son in whom the Father is well pleased ( Luke 22:29), the centre of the prophetic Scripture ( Luke 22:37), yea, the Vanquisher of Satan ( Luke 22:31-32), and yet all this hinders Him not from walking in the midst of His own as their servant, and bearing their unreceptiveness with a patience which can never be sufficiently praised with human tongues.

4. From this utterance of our Lord it appears that the kingdom of darkness was in more than common activity and intense exertion when the night of the betrayal had fallen. Not Judas alone ( Luke 22:32), the circle of the faithful disciples also was the target of the Satanic arrows. To understand such expressions only figuratively, and in view of them to deny the existence and the influence of Satan, is pure rationalistic caprice. On the contrary, there appears very evidently from this that the existence of a kingdom of darkness peopled by personal evil spirits is nothing less than a terrible reality. And it is certainly a permitted conclusion a minori ad majus that if Satan desired to sift the disciples as wheat, he can, least of all, have left our Lord untouched, either in Gethsemane or on Golgotha.

5. The assurance of our Lord that He had prayed for Peter, is the solid basis for the evangelical doctrine of the intercession of the Saviour for His people in heaven, Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1. Thereby He shows us at the same time the supreme and final goal which the Christian, in his prayer for himself, must also keep before his eyes, namely, that his faith fail not. Whoever suffers shipwreck of his faith ( 1 Timothy 1:19), suffers loss not only of his goods but also of his life.

6. The decided prediction of Peter’s denial belongs to the sublimest self-revelations of the humiliated Saviour. Gloriously does there shine out from this His Wisdom of Solomon, His love, His faithfulness, but far more gloriously yet does there beam forth from these words upon us, His Divine knowledge. For He announces not only in a general way that Peter especially will succumb to the impending trial—to any one acquainted with men, that looked somewhat more deeply than common, that would not have been so very difficult—but He gives beforehand every particular: the threefold denial, the cock-crowing, the form of the denial—ἀπαρνήσῃ μὴ εἰδέναι με—not only as possible but as certainly occurring, and shows thereby that He views with perfectly clear vision not only the hidden but also the seemingly casual. The assertions that the expression “before the cock crow” is only meant to denote: “before the morning shall break;” moreover, that the “three times” ( Luke 22:34) signifies only an indefinite round number, and that the prophecy only took this exactly definite form afterwards from the event (Strauss and others), rest upon presuppositions which are destitute of every exegetical proof, as well as of all historical ground. No example can be brought of three signifying anything else than what it expresses, and it is forgotten that the cock-crowing is so far from being anything unessential that, according to Mark, it must even take place twice. So far, however, from an unavoidable fate being here foretold to Peter, there Isaiah, on the other hand, at the basis of this admonition the intent of guarding him against the danger. Peter did not deny our Lord because it was previously foretold, but it was foretold to him that he might not do it. While Satan’s design was so to sift the wheat that it should be found only as chaff, our Lord, on the other hand, will so sift it that it may be cleansed from the chaff, may come forth from the trial as good wheat. Had the disciple but comprehended the intimation of his Master and reconciled himself to the thought that his Master, was to endure the hard struggle without him! But, alas, the very one who fancies himself to be stronger than ten other men, very soon gives the proof that he is even weaker than a single woman.

7. The Lord would certainly have avoided the expression as to buying a sword for threatening danger, if He had willed that His disciples in no case should think of self-defence with outward weapons. Their error lies only in this, that they in this moment, and over against the more than earthly might which now threatens them, will have recourse to ordinary weapons. Judge then how thoroughly it must conflict with the spirit and mission of our Lord when the Roman Curia vaunts itself of the possession of the two swords of Peter, and a Boniface the VIIIth, for example, from this very passage, believed himself to be able to prove that the papal chair possesses as well the right of spiritual as of secular jurisdiction. By the ἰκανόν ἐστι of our Lord, this folly is condemned in its very principle. “It is a sigh of the God-man which breathes like a sound of complaint over the Roman swords and stakes, over the armed camps of the Paulicians and Hussites, over all the violent measures of the New Testament time that are meant to further His cause.”

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

How little the disciples, even in the Paschal hall, are yet in a condition to comprehend the gravity of the moment and the temper of the Lord.—How much the disciples yet contribute to embitter to their Master even the still enjoyment of the last quiet evening.—The old Adam is not so quick to die.—The royal dignity of the disciples of our Lord: 1. Its high rank; 2. its holy requirements.—The heaven-wide distinction between the flattering titles and the ruling character of many an earthly monarch.—Esse quam videri.—The way of willing humiliation the way of true greatness in the kingdom of God: 1. The ancient way; 2. the difficult way; 3. the safe way; 4. the blessed way.—Christ in the midst of His people as one that serves: 1. The character which as such an one He reveals, a. condescending, b. active, c. persevering love; 2. the requirement which He as such repeats, a. adore in this very thing His greatness, b. let yourself be served by Him, c. serve now others also for His sake.—Immutable faithfulness in the midst of severe temptation, is by our Lord: 1. Well borne in mind; 2. graciously praised; 3. a thousandfold rewarded.—The bequest of the dying Testator to His chosen friends.—The judicial function which our Lord above in heaven commits to those that suffer with Him on earth, 2 Timothy 2:12.—The heavenly feast in the yet future kingdom of God: 1. The blessed Host; 2. the completed number of guests; 3. the infinite refreshment.—Simon Peter: 1. Dangerously threatened; 2. invisibly defended; 3. thoroughly converted; 4. in rich measure active for the strengthening of his brethren.—Satan intent on the destruction, the Lord on the deliverance, of Peter, Simon alone careless.—Jesus the Intercessor for His weak but sincere disciples.—How many a danger is averted from us unnoticed, even before we ourselves become aware of its approach.—The holy vocation of the converted one to strengthen his brethren: 1. That only he can do who is himself converted; 2. but this one should, would, and will then do it.—Even over against our Lord, unbelief will still be in the right.—He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.—The dangerousness of a superficial excitement of feeling, instead of a deeply-rooted life of faith.—Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12.—Even in the guidance of His most intimate disciples, our Lord not seldom strikes into an entirely different way afterwards from that which He followed earlier.—Rest once enjoyed no pledge of future security.—“Did ye ever lack anything? Lord, never anything.” Admirable text for New Year’s Eve.—On superfluity the disciple of our Lord must never reckon, 1 Timothy 6:6-8.—Against extraordinary dangers the Christian must arm himself in extraordinary wise.—The prophetic word the light of our Lord upon His gloomy way to death.—On the Christian also must all be accomplished that is written, both concerning his suffering and concerning his glory.—The persevering incapability of the disciples to comprehend our Lord, one of the deepest sources of His hidden suffering.—Patience with unteachable friends a difficult art, yet sanctified by our Lord’s example.

Starke:—Cramer:—Great people also come short.—Intestine wars have done the kingdom of God more harm than foreign ones.—Nothing can move us more powerfully to humility than the example of Christ.—Where the mind of Christ Isaiah, there is also the following of Him.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—The cross suits Christ’s servants better than lordship.—Whoever will be Christ’s property must make himself ready for temptation.—Whom the Lord praises, he is praiseworthy, 2 Corinthians 10:18.—Quesnel:—Who can comprehend the dignities and advantages of a genuine disciple of Jesus?—The Lord Jesus’ faithful servants shall be in heaven His fellow-rulers and fellow-kings.—Canstein:—Ignorance, security, and presumption prepare Satan a way for his temptations.—The devil can do nothing without Divine permission.—Without Jesus’ intercession our little ship of faith must suffer shipwreck.—Osiander:—The flesh before danger comes is courageous, and is only thoroughly convinced by an afflictive experience of its impotency.—To mean well is not everything in religion.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—The sins that we shall commit the Lord Jesus knows beforehand.—It is edifying often to call to mind how God has led us.—Brentius:—Faithful servants of God have a rich and mighty Lord.—One must accommodate himself to the time, be it good or bad.—Servants of God have not ever sunshine in their office.—See well to it how thou understandest Christ’s word.—To the magistrate the secular sword is entrusted, to the minister the spiritual, Romans 13:4; Ephesians 6:17.

Heubner:—The attacks of the wicked must turn out for the best good of the saints.—Interceding prayer availeth much.—How many a wandering son has been saved by a pious mother’s prayers! (Augustine and Monica).—Sins are as dangerous as they are because they may bring about the loss of our faith.—Unanxious service of the Lord makes life glad.—God always helps through.—Palmer ( Luke 22:35-36):—What there in the life of the disciples appears as a succession, must with us exist as simultaneous, joined by faith: 1. The admirable child-like trust that supports itself on experience; 2. the manly valor that bears a sword, indeed, but the sword of the Holy Ghost.—Arndt ( Luke 22:31-38):—The words of the loving providence of Jesus: 1. The words of His warning providence to Peter; 2. the words of His upholding providence to the other disciples.—F. W. Krummacher, Passions-buch, p173 seq.:—The night conversation, how it unfolds to us the Mediator’s heart of the great Friend of sinners: 1. In His conversation with Simon Peter; 2. in His utterance to the disciples altogether.

Footnotes:

FN#8 - Luke 22:24.—Revised Version of the American Bible Union.—C. C. S.]

FN#9 - Luke 22:24.—That Isaiah, as Bleek explains it, which of them was so conspicuous above the rest, that he appeared, could be recognized, as greatest—a question hardly consistent with Peter’s supremacy.—C. C. S.]

FN#10 - Luke 22:31.—This abruptly introduced formula of commencement appears, as in Luke 7:31, somewhat suspicious. See Tischendorf. [B, L. omit it, but Cod. Sin, which so commonly agrees with B, here has it.—C. C. S.]

FN#11 - Luke 22:34.—According to the reading of B, [Cod. Sin,] L, Cursives, Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Meyer, Tregelles, Alford,] ἕως, which appears to deserve the preference above the Recepta, πρὶν .

FN#12 - Luke 22:36.—Ὁ μὴ ἔχων, πωλησάτω τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀγορασάτω μάχαιραν.—C. C. S.]

FN#13 - The latter appears much the more probable.—C. C. S.]


Verses 39-46

A. The Deepening of the Conflict ( Luke 22:39 to Luke 23:45)

1. Gethsemane

a. THE CONFLICT OF PRAYER ( Luke 22:39-46)

(Parallel with Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42.)

39And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his40[the[FN14]] disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, 41Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he [himself] was withdrawn [withdrew] from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, [to] remove this cup from me:—nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[FN15] 45And when he rose up from prayer and was come to his [the] disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Luke 22:39. And He came out.—Here also Luke does not fail of his peculiarity. The account of Matthew and Mark respecting the agony of our Lord in Gethsemane is much more detailed and complete than his, and only from the union of the three accounts does it become possible to represent to ourselves distinctly the course of the event. Evidently Luke condenses all, neither mentions the selection which our Lord made from among the disciples, nor the threefold repetition of the prayer, and passes over also the warning words of our Lord to Peter. On the other hand, we owe to him the mention of the bloody sweat and of the strengthening angel, as well as also his delicate psychological intimation, Luke 22:45, that the disciples were sleeping ἀπὸ τῆς λύπης. He alone defines the distance between the praying Saviour and the disciples, ὡσεὶ λίθου βολήν, Luke 22:41, and communicates the remark that the Mount of Olives was the place in which our Lord was commonly wont to pray, Luke 22:39. From all this it becomes evident that his account is invaluable for the complementing of the representation of Matthew and Mark, which, it is true, is more detailed and also more perfectly arranged.

As He was wont.—Comp. Luke 21:37. That our Lord goes straight thither is a new proof that the time is now past when He still sought to go out of the way of His enemies, for according to John 18:2, this place is known also to Judas, who will, therefore, undoubtedly seek Him there with the band, if he no longer finds Him in the paschal hall. At the same time it is a proof of the heavenly composure and clearness of mind which our Lord continually maintained. Not in the city, in the midst of the joyful acclamations of the paschal night, but without it, in the bosom of open nature, after He had previously strengthened Himself in solitary prayer to His Father, will He surrender Himself over to the hands of His enemies.—At the place.—The before-mentioned place where He would be; perhaps Luke does not mention the name Gethsemane because this was already sufficiently known through the evangelical tradition.

Luke 22:40. He said unto them, Pray.—According to Luke it appears as if our Lord said this to all His disciples. From Matthew and Mark, however, we know that He took three of them with Himself deeper into the garden, and addressed them in about this manner. As is to be recognized by the infinitive, the μή εἰσελθεῖν είς πειρασμόν is to be the substance of their prayer. The πειρασμός can here, agreeably to the connection, be no other than the threatening danger of suffering shipwreck of their most holy faith by all that they were soon to experience.

Luke 22:41. And He Himself withdrew, ἀπε ἀπάσθη ἀπ̓ αῦτῶν, Vulgate: “He was withdrawn from them.” Correctly Schöttgen: “Eleganter dicuntur ἀποσπᾶσθαι vel ἀποσπασθῆναι, qui ab amicissimorum amplexu vix divelli possunt ac discedere.” Of course we have not to understand the word as if our Lord almost against His will, as it were, impelled on by secret might, separated Himself from the circle of His disciples, but simply thus, that Hebrews, following the constraint of His agitation of soul, with visible intensity of feeling and rapid steps, sought the still solitude.—‘Ωσεὶ λίθου βολήν, the accusative of distance: since our Lord was not further removed than a stone’s throw from His three friends, He was still near enough to them to be seen and heard by them, especially in the bright moonlight.

Kneeled down.—Stronger yet in Matthew and Mark: He fell down on His face on the earth. He cannot now pray standing with head erect, as so lately in the paschal hall. Luke evidently condenses the substance of the three prayers into one, although he also ( Luke 22:44) indicates that our Lord prayed at least more than once.—If Thou be willing, εἰ βούλει, equivalent to, “If it can consist with Thy counsel.” Grotius: “Si tua decreta ferunt, ut alio modo tuœ gloriœ atque hominum saluti œque consulatur.” Παρενεγκεῖν not infinitive for imperative (Bengel), but an aposiopesis, by which is admirably expressed that the prayer Isaiah, as it were, already taken back before it is entirely uttered. Note the distinction between εἰ βούλει and τὸ θέλημά σου; respecting the sense and the purpose of the prayer, see below.

Luke 22:43. And there appeared unto Him an angel.—There are many questions to be asked here: 1. Respecting the genuineness of this statement. As is known, the words ( Luke 22:43-44) are wanting in A, B, Sahid, and other authorities.[FN16] Some have indicated their doubts by asterisks and obelisks. Lachmann has bracketed the words. The most of modern critics and exegetes, however, declare themselves in favor of their genuineness. It is assumed that they were, in all probability, omitted by the Orthodox, who found in this account something dishonoring to Jesus. See Epiph, Ancor. 31, and besides, Wetstein, ad loc. On the other hand, no tenable ground can be assigned why any one should have interpolated these verses into the text if they did not originally stand in the Gospel of Luke 2. Respecting the manner and purpose of this strengthening through an angel, there have been at all times the most exceedingly diverse opinions. Here also Dogmatics has evidently controlled Exegesis. Without reason has Olshausen here assumed a merely internal appearance, and spoken of the afflux of spiritual energies which were bestowed upon the Redeemer wrestling in the extremity of abandonment, although, on the other side, it is not to be denied that the possibility of perceiving the angelic manifestation at this moment was conditioned by the suffering and praying Redeemer’s state of inward agitation; the text says also ὤφθη αὐτῷ not ὤφθη αὐτοῖς. To make the strengthening a merely bodily strengthening (Hoffmann), is certainly quite as arbitrary as (De Wette) to understand a strengthening to prayer. We know not what unreasonableness there could be in the conception that here the holy ψυχή of our Lord, which was now, seized by the intensest feeling of suffering, was strengthened by the brightening prospect of future joy, which was symbolized to Him by the friendly angelic appearance. With Bengel, however, we are disposed to believe that the strengthening mentioned took place non per cohortationem. 3. As respects the inquiry as to the time in which this appearance occurred, we can hardly believe that it (Dettinger) took place between the second and the third prayer of our Lord. If we attentively compare the evangelical accounts, we then see that the strengthening through the angel came in immediately after the first prayer—the most fervent and agonizing one—so that in consequence of it the anguish of soul had already at the second prayer in some measure subsided. It is true, Luke appears, considered entirely by himself, to lead us to another conception, but he has here also not wished so much to describe the course of the event in its different stages as to give a general view of the whole. The words, Luke 22:44, and being in an agony He prayed more earnestly, are not meant to denote what followed after the angelic manifestation, but that by which this manifestation was called forth and made necessary. With Meyer we take καί in the sense of “namely,” and find not the consequence but the motive of the manifestation thereby intimated4. Finally, as respects the credibility of this account, this is not lessened by the silence of the other Evangelists, and the very brevity, mysteriousness, and apparently unsatisfactory character of the representation of Luke speaks for its credibility. Whoever upon dogmatic grounds denies the possibility of angelophanies, cannot possibly accept this one either, but whoever acknowledges our Lord as that which His believing church have at all times held Him to be, will soon feel that the light of an angelic manifestation can make scarcely anywhere a more beneficent impression than in the night of these sufferings.

More earnestly, ἐκτενέστερον.—No wonder; He is in a veritable death-struggle (ἀγωνία), and summons up, therefore, all His energies to an unremitting struggle of prayer. Comp. [The former interpretation is better, as the prevailing usage of the conjugates of εὐλάβεια in the New Testament decidedly favors the translation: “heard on account of His reverent fear,” which, moreover, according to Robinson, is supported by all the Greek commentators—C. C. S.]

And His sweat.—The reading ὡσεί deserves the preference above ὡς, and expresses, even as Luke 3:23, a relative similarity. The question, answered sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, whether our Lord in Gethsemane really sweat blood, is primarily connected with another, namely, whether the weight of the comparison must be laid upon θρόμβοι or upon αἵματος. The latter is unquestionably more probable, since otherwise it is hard to conceive why Luke speaks of αῖ̔υα at all if it is not meant to refer to the nature of the sweat. To understand actual drops of blood Isaiah, it is true, forbidden by ὡσεί, but, at all events, we must conceive them as heavy thick drops, which, mingled and colored for the most part with portions of blood, looked altogether like drops of blood. Comp. hereupon, the passages adduced by Ebrard, Evang. Kritik, ad loc., as well as also what Hug, Gutachten, ad loc., remarks on historical grounds upon this distinction between a thin and thick sweat, which latter appears also to show itself in the case of those in the agonies of death. If we add to these now the medically certified cases of actual blood-sweat, and if we keep in mind the complete peculiarity of the condition in which the suffering Saviour is here found, we shall account it as unnecessary to understand here poetical embellishment (Scheiermacher) as mythical invention (Strauss and others).

Luke 22:45. Sleeping for sorrow.—Not an excuse of the disciples, but an explanation of their seemingly strange condition, nor is there any ground to reject this explanation as unsatisfactory. Sorrow, it is true, makes men sleepless sometimes, but when it is very great it may so weary down the whole outer and inner man that one, as it were, sinks into a condition of stupor; nor do the Evangelists tell us that it was a common sound sleep. There may, moreover, unknown to the disciples, an influence on the side of the might of darkness have been exerted, which, while it in Gethsemane assaulted the Shepherd, is certainly not to be supposed to have left the sheep unassailed.

Luke 22:46. Why sleep ye?—The more exact statement of the words of our Lord to the sleepers we find in Matthew and Mark. The account of Luke is too brief for us to have been able to get from it alone a satisfactory explanation of the case. We must conceive that our Lord after the third prayer so entirely recovered His composure that the sight of the still sleeping disciples now no longer distressed and disquieted Him. He granted them, on the other hand, this refreshment, which on this whole terrible night was not again to fall to their lot, and Himself for some moments guards their last transient rest ( Matthew 26:45 a). Only when Judas approaches with the band does He bid them rise, knowing well that now not a instant more is to be lost, and admonishes them not only to expect the enemy in a waking condition, but also to go courageously forward to meet them. Only the spirit, not the form, of this last utterance is communicated by Luke, Luke 22:46, who here repeats the main substance of Luke 22:40. “We put this, therefore, in Luke to the account of the inexactness of the more remote observer.” Stier.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Arrived at the sanctum sanctorum of the history of the Passion, a similar feeling seizes us to that which seized Moses ( Exodus 3:5), or Elijah ( 1 Kings 19:13). Only a few intimations have the Evangelists communicated to us respecting the nature of this Passion. Not unjustly has it been at all times designated a suffering of the soul, because the conflict was carried on in the sphere of the ψυχή. Formerly Jesus had been troubled ἐν τῷ πνεύματι ( John 13:21); but now His ψυχή was as never before shaken and agitated. This soul is troubled by the terrific image of approaching death, although the spirit was pervaded by the clear consciousness that this death was the way to glory. In the so called High-priestly prayer—[What we call more commonly the Intercessory Prayer.—C. C. S.]—( John 17), the spirit celebrates its triumph; in the first part of the prayer in Gethsemane the soul utters its lamentations. The suffering springing from the soul overmasters also the body of our Lord, and brings Him into a conflict that may most strictly be called a mortal conflict. Unexpectedly does the anguish of soul overwhelm Him; like the billows of the sea, it rises and it falls, and even lifts itself so high that the Lord of angels can be refreshed by the strengthening of His heavenly servant Like fragments of clotted blood (θρόμβοι) His sweat flows in streams to the earth, and like a worm must the Lamb of God writhe, before He conquers as a lion. Certainly there is here a mystery, of whose complete solution we must almost despair, on which account, therefore, it does not disturb us that the most diverse explanations of this enigma have been sought in the course of the ages. See on the parallel passage in Matt. p481. We also cannot refrain from making an attempt to find a satisfactory answer to the question: Whence now so unexampled an anguish?

2. We cannot be surprised that often the anguish of our Lord in Gethsemane has been conceived as something entirely peculiar, and, therefore, it has been asserted that He by the ποτήριον, for the passing away of which He prayed, meant not the whole suffering of death, but especially this anguish, which, if it had not subsided, would have hindered Him from bearing the suffering of death worthily and courageously. (See Lange on Matthew and Mark; among the Dutch theologians, Heringa, Bouman, Vinke). On the other side, however, it cannot be denied that the former interpretation of the prayer finds a very powerful support in the grammatical exegesis, and it therefore cannot surprise us to see it already defended by Calvin. By the cup (ποτήριον) and the hour ( ὥρα) our Lord designates commonly not a part, but the whole of His impending suffering. It is true, He here speaks definitely of τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο, but so had He also, John 12:27, prayed for deliverance ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταύτης, which, however, certainly refers to nothing less than to the whole mortal passion. According to Mark 14:35, He prays in an entirely general way that ὥρα might pass over, by which we can hardly suppose anything else to be meant than the same ὥρα as in Mark 14:41; comp. Matthew 26:45; John 2:4; John 7:30; John 8:20; John 13:1; John 18:11, not to speak of Matthew 20:22-23; Mark 10:38. On the basis of all these passages we can do nothing else than, while submitting ourselves to better judgment, to subscribe to Bengel’s expression: ubi solus calix memoratur, passio intelligitur universa. We need not, however, forget that the key to the complete solution of the enigma cannot be sought in the sphere of grammar, and that in a certain sense, the whole distinction between the momentary and entire suffering of Jesus helps us little. For in that moment the terrifying image of His collective suffering already presented itself before the soul of our Lord, and this, therefore, already really begins in His consciousness; it fares with Him as at the first bitter draught of vinegar on the Cross, Matthew 27:34. The question as to the possibility of such a condition, can only be answered by looking at the nature of the suffering, as well as, on the other hand, at the theanthropic personality of our Lord.

3. The suffering impending over our Lord was, on the one hand, the most terrible revelation of the might of sin, on the other hand, the great means to the atonement for sin. Jews and heathen, friends and foes, Judas and Peter, the whole might of the world with its prince unite against Him, and in this whole might He is at the same time to feel the whole curse of sin: as Representative of sinful, mankind, He is to place Himself before the judgment of God: He is to be made sin that yet knew no sin. Must not this prospect fill the holy soul of our Lord with an inconceivable horror? He was the Word that was with God and was God, but this Word had become flesh, like to His brethren in all things, except sin, on which account also one would seek in vain to form a correct conception of that which for such a theanthropic personality the approach of such suffering and dying must have been! If even for the purely human sense, the thought of death has something fearful, for Him who had life in Himself, dying was in addition something entirely preternatural. If for us death is only the end of a life which may with right be called a daily dying; on the other hand, for the sinless and immaculate Saviour, the destruction of the bodily organism was as entirely in antagonism with His being as for us, for instance, the annihilation of our immortality would be. His delicately sensitive humanity shrinks from death; His holy humanity from the might of darkness; His loving humanity from the hatred that now is about to reach its most fearful culmination. Nay, if His humanity was of a finite nature, He might, standing over against the burden of the sin of millions, conceive, as we believe, even the possibility of sinking under His fearful burden; certainly even His utterance: δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής, was the fruit of His own agonizing experience; sin and death show themselves now to His eye in an entirely different light from before His Incarnation, when death stood already, it is true, before Him, without however having dared to essay any direct assault upon Himself. Now is the God-man to become the victim of powers which the Logos in His preëxistence had seen before Him as powerless rebels. Indeed we comprehend and subscribe to the remark: “We, for our part, speaking as fools, could at least, if psychological and Christological ideas formed on the plane of our conceptions are here of any value, easier doubt the elevation of consciousness which the Intercessory Prayer exhibits to us than the depression of the same in Gethsemane.” Stier. Of a change of essential purpose respecting His suffering we find here no trace; but we do seem to find trace of an alternation of moods, in which the feeling of anguish first obtains the upper hand, and the thought rises in Him for a moment whether it might not be even possible for Him that the cup should pass by. Here also Luther has hit the right view when he in his sermon on this Passion-text says: “We men, conceived and born in sin, have an impure hard flesh, that is not quick to feel. The fresher, the sounder the Prayer of Manasseh, the more he feels what is contrary to him. Because now, Christ’s body was pure and without sin, and our body impure, therefore we scarcely feel the terrors of death in two degrees where Christ felt them in ten, since He is to be the greatest martyr and to feel the utmost terror of death.” Comp. Ullmann, Sündlosigkeit Jesu, 5th ed. p164. In this we are not to forget how to our Lord His certain and exact knowledge of all that which should come upon Him must have so much the more heightened His suffering, John 18:4. But that He was in Gethsemane itself abandoned by His Father, and that such a special mysterious suffering, even besides the suffering of death, was necessary for atonement for sins, is nowhere taught us in the New Testament. Nothing, however, hinders us from assuming that an indescribable feeling of abandonment here seized upon Him, which upon Calvary reached its culmination, as, indeed, the first rushing of this storm of sorrow of the soul had already previously been perceived, Luke 12:49-51; John 12:27-28. Nor are we by any means to forget that the kingdom of darkness now least of all remained inactive ( John 14:30); although no one will be able to decide how far this hostile might acted directly upon the body and upon the soul of our Lord.

4. Gethsemane, therefore, leads us spontaneously back to the wilderness of the Temptation; as there, so also here is our Lord tempted, yet this time also without sin. Unbelief, it is true, has here too, as it were, out of the dust of the garden raked up stones against Him; “He”—thus scoffed Vanini, when the sentence of death was executed upon him—“in the agony of death, sweat: I die without the least fear.” But if it would have been sin to pray as He did, then it was already sin that He was a true and holy Man. Such an one cannot do otherwise than shrink from such a death-agony. God’s Incarnate Son might have a wish—the word will is almost too strong for a prayer which was uttered with so great a restriction—which, according to the Father’s eternal purpose, could not be fulfilled; but difference is not of itself at all a strife, and in reality He also wills nothing else than the Father, although He naturally for Himself might wish that the Father’s counsel could be fulfilled in another way. Moreover, His obedience and His holiness are as little obscured by this prayer as His love and His foreknowledge. There is no more incongruous comparison than with the courage of martyrs in death, who had only by beholding Him obtained the strength to endure a suffering of a wholly different kind. “No martyr has ever been in His position, least of all, Socrates.” As well in His prayer to His Father as in His discourse with His disciples, our Lord shows Himself in adorable greatness, even in the midst of the deepest humiliation.

5. The momentousness of the suffering of Jesus in Gethsemane, can hardly be estimated high enough. As well over the Person as over the Work of our Lord, there is diffused from this point a satisfying light. He Himself stands here before us not only as the true and deeply-feeling Prayer of Manasseh, who through suffering must learn obedience and be perfected ( Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:7-9), but also in His unspotted holiness and untroubled unity with the Father, which is raised above all doubt. At the same time it is here shown that the Monophysite, as well as the Monothelitic error has been condemned with reason by the Christian church, as also that it is possible to ascribe to the God-man a limited humanly susceptible nature, without in the least throwing His sinlessness into the shade. As respects the severity of His suffering, we can nowhere gain a juster conception of it than here; Gethsemane opens to us the understanding of Calvary; for we now know that the elevated nature of His person, instead of making the burden of His suffering less oppressive for Him, on the contrary increases this in terrible wise. The necessity of His sacrifice becomes clear to us if we give heed to this: that the Father, even after such a prayer, does not let the cup pass by for His beloved Son. The completeness of the redemption brought in by Him is convincingly established for us when we see to how high a degree His obedience and His love raised Him; and the crown which this combatant there gained in the strife is to us so dear, for the reason that we know that He through this suffering has become the merciful High-priest, who can have compassion on our weakness. Hebrews 2:16-18; Hebrews 4:15.

6. It is known that the olive garden has also borne its fruits for the extension of the kingdom of God. The first Greenlander who was converted, Kajarnak, owed his conversion to the preaching upon our Lord’s Passion in Gethsemane. See Kranz, Geschichte von Grönland, p490. The representations of “Christ in Gethsemane,” by Retout and Ary Scheffer, deserve attention.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

In a garden the disobedience of the first, in a garden, again, the obedience of the second Adam was manifested.—Comparison of the course of Jesus to Gethsemane with the course of Abraham to Moriah ( Genesis 22:5), and with David’s passage over the brook Cedron ( 2 Samuel 15:23).—Our Lord also had His fixed customary place of prayer.—Prayer is for Jesus’ disciples the best weapon against temptation.—Our Lord’s prayer that the cup might pass away: 1. Heartrending; 2. intelligible; 3. unforgettable for all who confess Him.—To will what God wills, the essence of true religion.—The strengthening through the angel in Gethsemane: 1. What it reveals, a. the depth of the suffering, b. the greatness of our Lord, c. the love of the Father; 2. to what it awakens, a. to humble faith in the suffering Lord, b. to an unshaken trust when we ourselves are suffering, c. to the strengthening of other sufferers, to whom we appear as angels of consolation.—What it must have been for the angel during such a Passion to perform such a ministry.—The hotter the combat burns, the intenser must the prayer become.—The bloody sweat of the second Adam over against the sweat of labor of the first Adam and his posterity ( Genesis 3:19).—Eo terra benedictionem accepit. Bengel.—The touching contrast between the waking Lord and the sleeping disciples.—Whoever is richly strengthened of God, can at last do without the comforting of men.—Compassion on weak friends is brought home to us by the example of our Lord.—Gethsemane, the school of the prayer well-pleasing to God.—Our Lord, by His example, teaches us to pray: 1. In solitude, with fervent importunity; 2. with submission and unshaken perseverance, and with more fervent ardency the more our suffering augments; 3. with the fixed hope of being heard, which the angel of consolation instilled into His heart.—Gethsemane the sanctuary of the sorrow of Jesus’ soul: 1. The Priest who kneels in the sanctuary; 2. the sacrifice that burns in the sanctuary; 3. the ray of light that falls into the sanctuary; 4. the awakening voice that issues from the sanctuary.—Gethsemane, the battle-field of supreme obedience: 1. The Combatant; 2. the Victory; 3. the Crown.—The one cup of our Lord, and the three cups which daily pass around among His people: 1. The foaming cup of temptation; 2. the bitter cup of trial; 3. the final cup of death.— Hebrews 5:7-9. How our Lord: 1. Offers prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears; 2. learns obedience; 3. was also heard; 4. has thus become for all His people the Author of eternal salvation.

Starke:—He that will talk with God does well to repair to solitude.—Brentius:—Let us learn to pray the third prayer aright ( Matthew 6:10).—Cramer:—So soon as man surrenders himself to God, he will find strength and refreshment therein.—Quesnel:—God knows how at the right time to send an angel for our strengthening, should it be only an humble brother or sister.—J. Hall:—Even the comfort that comes from an humble hand we must not contemn.—Litany:—By Thine agony and bloody sweat, Good Lord, deliver us!—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Let no one jest concerning death and devil; they have hunted from the Son of God bloody sweat.—Alas that we sleep, where we should watch!—Heubner:—A wonder it is how an angel—a creature, could strengthen the God-man; but it is a great consolation for us.—Near us also are there angels.—God will also strengthen us the more the heavier the temptations are.—Of certain formulas of prayer the saint never becomes weary.—His prayer hindered Jesus not from the exhibition of love, as it indeed should nowhere disturb a duty.—Arndt:—Jesus’ conflict in Gethsemane: 1. His anguish; 2. His prayer; 3. His

strengthening.—Krummacher:—Christ’s conflict and victory in Gethsemane.—Significance and fruit of the suffering on the Mount of Olives.—(On Luke 22:44): —The blood of the Lamb.—(Sabb. Gl. 1852):—1. Its nature and its significance; 2. its might and wonder-working.—Staudt:—The threefold way of our Lord in Gethsemane: 1. What it brought upon our Lord; 2. what it brings upon us.—Tholuck.:—The heart of our Lord in Gethsemane.—We hear here: 1. A human Nay; 2. a Divine Yea; 3. a Divine decision.—Lange:—The suffering of Jesus’ soul in Gethsemane (Langenberger Sammlung, 1852): 1. The nature of this suffering of soul; 2. our suffering of soul in the light of it.—J. J. L. Ten Kate:—Jesus’ Passion in Gethsemane: 1. The nature of this suffering; a. an unspeakable, b. a holy, c. an incomparable suffering; 2. the causes: I point you a. to the brooding treason, b. the impending suffering, c. the present temptation; 3. the value of the suffering; Gethsemane remains for us a. a joyful token of accomplished redemption, b. a holy school of Christian suffering and conflict, c. a consoling pledge of God’s fatherly compassion.

Footnotes:

FN#14 - Luke 22:39.—Without adequate authority the Recepta has μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

FN#15 - Luke 22:44.—Respecting the state of the case critically with respect to Luke 22:43-44, see Exegetical and Critical remarks.

FN#16 - They are found in Cod. Sin.—C. C. S.]


Verses 47-53

b. THE ARREST ( Luke 22:47-53)

(Parallel with Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; John 18:3-11.)

47And [om, And] while he yet spake, behold a multitude [or, throng], and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him 48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou [deliverest thou up] the Son of man with a kiss? 49When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him [om, unto him[FN17]], Lord, shall we smite with the sword? 50And one ofthem smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear 51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far.[FN18] And he touched his ear, and healed him 52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be [Are] ye come out [Ye are come out, V. O.], as against a thief [robber], with swords and staves? 53When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched [not] forth no [your] hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Luke 22:47. One of the Twelve.—With this name as with a branding-iron Judas is designated even unto the end. In painter’s style Luke also brings forward the unexpectedness and rapidity of the coming forward of the enemy, although he only speaks in general of the ὄχλος, which is more specialized by Matthew and Mark. The question whether the treacherous kiss of Judas, which all the Synoptics mention, had preceded or followed the falling to the earth of the band, John 18:3-9, we believe (with Hess, Lücke, Olshausen, Tholuck, Ebrard, and others) that we must answer in the former sense. According to all the Synoptics, Judas presses forward while Jesus is yet speaking with His disciples, and gives the concerted sign too early, on which account the band, in advance of which he had hurried on, do not remark it, and therefore do not recognize our Lord. We should without ground magnify the guilt of the unhappy man if we assume that he had seen the falling of the band upon the earth, perhaps had been himself struck down, and even yet, as if nothing had come to pass, had himself given the token, which, moreover, had now become superfluous. The words, moreover, which D, E, H, X, &c, read after Luke 22:47, τοῦτο γὰρ σημεῖον δεδώκει, κ.τ.λ., are certainly borrowed from Mark.

To Kiss Him.—If we consult Luke alone, it might appear to us as if Judas had indeed the intention of pressing the kiss of betrayal upon the lips of innocence, but had been hindered in the carrying out of his purpose by our Lord’s address. From Matthew and Mark, however, it appears that the kiss was actually given. The accounts, however, make the impression that the answer of our Lord followed this shameful act as immediately as upon the burning lightning the stunning thunder-peal follows.

Luke 22:48. With a kiss, φιλήματι, the hallowed token of friendship. This in Luke stands emphatically first. Mark omits this utterance of our Lord; Matthew, on the other hand, has: “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” ( Matthew 26:50.) If Judas had, perhaps, approached in the thought of being able wholly to escape rebuke while he did what could only be the work of a moment, he now at once experiences that even this last wretched consolation is torn from him. Brief as his last tarrying in the presence of the Saviour was, it appears, nevertheless, at once, that he is seen through, vanquished, and condemned. If we assume that the ἑταῖρε, κ.τ.λ., of Matthew was uttered when Judas was first hurrying to Him the moment before the kiss, the φιλήματι, κ.τ.λ., immediately after it, everything agrees admirably. It is as if our Lord would, in the last word with which He gives Judas over to his self-chosen destruction, with every syllable yet thrust a sword through his Soul. Φιλήματι—τὸν υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου—παραδίδως the emphasis may be laid on every word, and yet even then we have only imperfectly rendered the force of this crushing question, which loses by every paraphrase. But alas, our Lord could therewith only reveal His own forbearance, holiness, and majesty, but could not win the wretched man for heaven who was already consecrated to hell. Cold as his kiss, remained the heart of the betrayer; from now on, we see Judas no longer standing with the disciples, but with the enemies, John 18:5. Even the Mohammedans have marked the place at which this abomination has been conjectured to have been committed, with a heap of stones. See Sepp, l. c., iii. p460.

Luke 22:49. When they which were about Him.—Unconscious but strong contrast between the unfaithful disciple and the faithful ones. They see τὸἐσόμενον: what is now on the point of taking place. By the approach of the band and the insult of Judas, they are at once persuaded that they themselves are no longer a step distant from the dreaded hour. They believed themselves hitherto to have dreamed, and appear now all at once to awake. Whether they shall strike in with the sword, is the question which they, looking upon the weapons brought with them out of the paschal hall, addressed to the Master, and before He could answer approvingly or disapprovingly, already one of them has followed the ill-considered question with a hasty act. No one of the Synoptics has here mentioned the name of Peter; the occurrence did not redound to the Apostle’s honor; the repeated narration of this occurrence with the statement of his name might have had the effect of bringing the Apostle into trouble; but for John, who did not write his gospel until after Peter’s death, such a ground of silence no longer existed. If, on the other hand, John, with Matthew and Mark, leaves the healing of Malchus’ ear unmentioned, this was not done because this miracle—the last miraculous benefit which Jesus bestows—was in itself compared with other miracles less remarkable, but because it was, of course, understood that the Master immediately made good the harm which the inconsiderate zeal of His disciple had occasioned. Luke, the physician, can not, however, omit to add: καὶ ἁψάμενος, κ.τ.λ. It is alike arbitrary to declare the ear to have been only wounded (Von Ammon), and to deny the whole reality of this miracle, as Neander, Theile, De Wette, Strauss, and others do.

Luke 22:51. Suffer ye thus far.—Instead of the more detailed address to Peter, Matthew 26:52-54, Luke has only a brief but most remarkable utterance of our Lord to His enemies, ἐᾶτε ἕως τούτου. For that our Lord here speaks to the disciples (Grotius, Bengel, Meyer, and others), in the sense of: “Leave them, the ὄχλος, alone,” nolite progredi, is proved by nothing, not even by ἀποκριθείς. Much more probable is it that the interrupted sentence is more particularly explained by the immediately subsequent act of healing. Our Lord, namely, sees how the band are just addressing themselves to take Him prisoner, with the greater bitterness, perchance, because blood had already flowed, and He Himself is not minded to counterwork their designs. He only desires that they would leave His hands yet a moment free, that He might bestow yet one more benefit. “Leave Me,” He says in other words, “still free for the moment that I need in order to be able to perform this.” He does not even say, but only indicates by a sign, what He means. While He thus speaks, He attaches again the wounded member, and heals with one act two men, the one of a wound in the body, the other of a sickness in the soul. With this last friendly beam of light, the sun of His majestic works of wonder goes down in the mists of Gethsemane. [This interpretation of ʼΕᾶτε ἕως τούτου, although opposed to the usual view, is accepted by Alford, and appears to me more natural and simple than any explanation of the words as addressed to the disciples.—C. C. S.]

Luke 22:52. Then Jesus said.—Probably we can understand these words as spoken during the seizure and binding, or even after this. From the fact that our Lord’s words in Gethsemane are comparatively many, we may in some measure conclude as to the great tension of His spirit and the great composure of soul in which He inwardly passes through the beginning of His suffering, of which particularly the character of what He says may most strongly convince us.

To the chief priests.—If we place ourselves fairly in the intense excitement of the moment, we shall not be able to find it at all incredible that, as appears from Luke in this passage, some chief priests were personally in Gethsemane, in order to convince themselves of the fact of the arrest, and, in case of need, to encourage their servants by their presence. The servants had been sent out, but their masters had come of their own accord, and, perhaps, had only just now entered the garden (Ebrard, Lange). Why might they not, in their impatience, have rushed after their dependents, when these, on account of the delay in Gethsemane, did not return so quickly as had probably been expected? It is worthy of note that they are mentioned only at the end but not at the beginning of the arrest. The words which our Lord addressed to them and the captains of the temple, with the elders, were well fitted to shame them, provided they had been yet capable of shame. Without doubt, we find in this address of our Lord a resemblance to the words which Hebrews, John 18:20, addresses to the high-priest. However, the distinction is still considerable enough to refute the conjecture (Strauss) of our having here no independent part of the history of the Passion, but only two variations upon one and the same theme. Better than to concede this is it to direct attention to the manner in which by this Synoptical sentence, the truth of the Johannean statement, John 7:30; John 7:44; John 8:20; John 8:59, is confirmed, without the comparison with which the words of our Lord in the text cannot be even understood.

As against a robber.—Our Lord deeply feels in this moment as well the ignominy as the injustice that is inflicted upon Him, and therefore expresses his resentment that they should have come to take Him as they would a robber and murderer. Then first does He direct their view back to the memorable past: I was daily with you, &c. This utterance must remind them of many a fruitless plot which they had meditated, and many a word of rebuke which they had heard, although our Lord, who is not minded to eulogize Himself, is entirely silent as to the miracles which He has performed before their eyes, and as to the triumphs which He by word or deed has won over their perplexity and weakness. Finally, after He has upbraided them with their, month-long cowardice, to which wretched presumption has now succeeded, He takes from them even the fancy of having really taken Him against His will and to His harm, by speaking (Matthew) of the Scriptures which are fulfilled in precisely this way, and at the same time (Luke) by saying to them that they are not serving the kingdom of light but that of darkness.

Luke 22:53. This is your hour, and the power of darkness.—Our Lord alludes therewith to the just fallen hour of night, and gives the reason why they have taken Him now and not in open day, in the temple, when He there walked and taught, καθʼἡμέραν. Your hour, not the favorable hour suited for you (De Wette), but the hour destined according to the Divine decree for you to the carrying out of your work (Meyer); καὶ αὕτη (so may we supply) ἐξουσία τοῦ σκότους, that Isaiah, the might which now reveals itself and works through you, is that which God, according to His own eternal purpose, had left to the kingdom of darkness. Without doubt, our Lord makes use of this figurative language in view of the nocturnal darkness which had been chosen for the carrying out of the wicked deed, and His words thereby become only the more striking; τὸ σκότος, however, of which He here speaks, can be nothing else than the kingdom of darkness, whose faithful accomplices in this moment Judas and the whole throng are. This whole address affords, at the same time, a proof of the clearness of mind with which our Lord, in the midst of the darkness surrounding Him, looked through the past, the present, and the future. Luke, who alone relates to us this last word of the Lord in Gethsemane, on the other hand, passes over the flight of the disciples and that of the naked young Prayer of Manasseh, Mark 14:48-52.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. If we yet needed a proof of the completeness of the strengthening which our Lord had gained from His prayer in Gethsemane, it would be afforded by the composed and yet so dignified demeanor in which He went forward to meet the traitor and the officers. Here there Isaiah, indeed, no word too much or too little; even now He yet speaks and acts altogether as the Mighty One, although He gives plainly to be observed that He will not avail Himself of His might for His own deliverance. The position which our Lord in Gethsemane occupies, between dismayed friends on the one hand and implacable enemies on the other, has, at the same time, a typical and symbolical character.

2. The manner in which our Lord deals with the traitor, is an act of the sublimest self-revelation in the midst of the deepest humiliation. Whoever could so speak and Acts, had also full freedom to speak even in prayer concerning the son of perdition, as our Lord had done, John 17:12. The whole scene, in which heaven and hell, as it were, looked in each other’s eyes, endured not much longer than a moment; but now our Lord occupies Himself no longer with this adder, who has wound himself hissing through the garden, and whom He flings from Him with a single gesture, but He goes out towards the band come to arrest Him. Yet was His last word to Judas tremendous enough to thunder through his ears even to all eternity.

3. The wound which Peter inflicted with his sword on Malchus, is the first of innumerable wounds which perverted carnal zeal has inflicted on the cause of the Lord. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual, 2 Corinthians 10:4. Where this is forgotten, and men think themselves able to serve the truth not by dying but by killing (non moriendo, sed interficiendo), there it is no wonder if the Lord of the Church often utters in the ears of the combatants in very palpable wise, “non tali auxilio.” In this respect, therefore, there is perpetually an immense significance in the manifold misfortunes of the Crusaders, the defeat of the Reformed in the battle-field of Kappel, &c. What would have become of the kingdom of God if our Lord had not, as here, every time advanced anew into the midst, in order by His wisdom and might to make good again the consequences of human rashness? “Even as Peter here hews off the servant’s ear, so have those who vaunt themselves to be his successors taken from the church the hearing and understanding of the word of God. But Christ touched the church and healed her.” J. Gerhard.

4. How entirely different is the situation of our Lord in which He leaves Gethsemane, from that in which He had entered the garden! And yet now, when He is led away as prisoner, the crown is much nearer to Him than before, when He could as yet in perfect freedom speak to His disciples and to the Father.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The sanctuary of prayer turned into a battleground of wickedness.—Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus, Acts 1:16.—Our Lord between perplexed friends on the one hand and implacable enemies on the other.—Gethsemane in the hour of the arrest: 1. Scene, and; 2. school of a great alteration.—The kiss of betrayal, how it was: 1. Once given and answered; 2.is even yet continually given and answered.—The traitor over against the Lord: 1. His iniquity before; 2. his falsehood in; 3. his disappointment after his crime.—The Lord over against the traitor: 1. His still presence of mind; 2. His forbearing love; 3. His judicial severity.—In Gethsemane we may learn how the combat against the kingdom of darkness must not be carried on, and how it must be carried on: the one in Peter, the other in Jesus.—How oft we are doing our own will although we appear to be consulting the Lord’s will !—Inconsiderate zeal in the service of the Lord: 1. What it does; 2. what it destroys.—Peter is zealous with a Jehu zeal, 2 Kings 10:15-16.—Peter’s sword: 1. Rashly drawn; 2. peremptorily commanded back into the scabbard.—The disciple may forget himself, but the Lord forgets him and Himself not an instant.—The last movement of the unfettered hand of our Lord used for the accomplishment of a benefit.—The great-hearted love of our Lord for His enemies: 1. Warmly attested; 2. coldly requited.—How His enemies disgrace themselves by the way in which they seek to overmaster the Nazarene.—Jesus in bonds free, His enemies in their seeming freedom bound.—The cowardice of the armed ones, the courage of the Prisoner.—The hour of darkness: 1. How threateningly it fell; 2. how brief its duration; 3. what glorious light followed it.—Even darkness has its hour, yet its might is of just as short duration as its hour.—The might of darkness: 1. Permitted of God; 2. used by God; 3. vanquished by God.—God is there working most where He seems to be wholly inactive.—The Lamb bound in order to be led to the slaughter, Psalm 22:16.

Starke:—Brentius:—Government should not be against, but for Christ.—Hot-tempered people have special need to go to Christ to school.—Nova Bibl. Tub.: —Even zeal for Christ is sinful when it is displayed unintelligently, Romans 10:2.—Where power prevails over justice, there to be still and patient is the best counsel.—When the world acts against Christ, it has no scruple to give up its convenience and dignity for a while.—Rambach:—When one regards the hours as his own, he is thereby misled into many sins.—Nova Bibl. Tub:—The bonds of Jesus our deliverance.—Arndt:—The arrest: 1. Jesus’ prevalence over His enemies; 2. His providence for His friends; 3. His sparing love towards Judas.—Krummacher:—Passions-buch:—The Judas kiss: 1. The separation; 2. the farewell.—Simon’s sword and Jesus’ cup.—The Saviour, how He gives Himself as Gift and then as Sacrifice.—Braunig:—The treason committed against the person and cause of Christ: 1. How we are to think of such treason; 2. how we are to combat such treason.—“Gratia sit vinculis tuis, bone Jesu, quœ nostra tam potenter diruperunt.” Bernard.

Footnotes:

FN#17 - Luke 22:49.—Rec.: αὐτῷ. Critically doubtful. [Om, B, Cod. Sin, L, X.—C. C. S.]

FN#18 - Luke 22:51.—Van Oosterzee translates this: Lasset mich so lange! “Let me alone so long,” i. e., till He could heal the servant. Others take it to mean: “Suffer them (the soldiers) to go as far as they are doing.” A good deal may be said for either interpretation, but, as Bleek remarks, ἄποκριθεὶς…εῖ̓πεν, appears to designate our Lord’s words as in reply to Peter’s, which would establish the second interpretation as the right one. The weight of authority appears also to favo*** this, though De Wette and Alford support the former, and the mildness of the words, if considered as a rebuke to His disciples, are, as De Wette remarks, greater than we should expect.—C. C. S.]


Verses 54-62

2. Caiaphas

a. Peter’s Denial ( Luke 22:54-62)

(Parallel with Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; John 18:15-18; and John 18:25-27)

54Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the 56 hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But [And] a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman,[FN19] know him not 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Prayer of Manasseh, I am not 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him; for he is a Galilean 60 And Peter said, Prayer of Manasseh, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew 61 And 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 [to-day[FN20]], thou shalt deny me thrice 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Luke 22:54. Into the high-priest’s house.—As to the question which high-priest is here meant, we can give no other answer than “Caiaphas.” We must, therefore, regard his palace as the theatre of Peter’s denial. If our Lord, according to John 18:13, after His arrest appears to have spent a moment also in the house of Annas, it seems only to have been in order that this old Prayer of Manasseh, who, although no longer active high-priest, yet still as ever possessed considerable influence, might enjoy the sight of the fettered Nazarene. That, according to Luke, the unnamed high-priest, this chief person in the history of the Passion, was no other than Annas himself (Meyer), we consider as incapable of proof. In Luke 3:2; Acts 4:6, he is undoubtedly placed first as ἀρχιερεύς, but this may be explained from his former rank, his more advanced years, his continuing influence,—even if not perchance also from his enjoying the supreme dignity alternately with Caiaphas. A disturbing element is without ground brought into the harmony of the narrative of the Passion when it is asserted that Luke here, entirely against the united Synoptical tradition, understood any other than Caiaphas. Besides, it at once appears that Luke passes over as well the particulars of the clerical trial, which Matthew and Mark give, as those also which John communicates; so that here also we can only learn the historical sequence of the facts by the comparison of the different accounts. We believe we may arrange these in the following manner: 1. The Leading Away first to Annas, then to Caiaphas. Inquiry in the house of this latter respecting Jesus’ disciples and doctrine, John 18:12-14 and John 18:19-24. 2. The beginning of Peter’s Denial, Matthew 26:69-70; Mark 14:66-68; Luke 22:56-57; John 18:15 to John 18:3. The False Witnesses, the Adjuration, the Preliminary Condemnation of our Lord by the night session, Matthew 26:59-66; Mark 14:55-64. 4. Adjournment of this precipitate session, Mocking of our Lord by the servants, Matthew 26:67-68; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:63-65. During and partially before all this, 5. The second and third Denials of Peter take place. In the very moment when this third denial is made, at the second cock-crowing, our Lord is led across the inner court again to the hall of the high-priest, where the decisive final session is to be held, and finds thereby opportunity in passing to behold the fallen disciple with a look by which, 6. The repentance of Peter is effected. Finally follows, 7. The Morning Session, which Matthew and Mark only briefly touch On, but which Luke describes more at length, Matthew 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-71; Luke 23:1, comp. John 18:28, immediately on which follows the Leading Away to Pilate. Luke now passes over all which His enemies in this night in the high-priestly palace undertake against the Saviour, and directs almost exclusively our attention to Peter. Here also in the way in which he describes his fall, his awakening and repentance, the penetrating view of the psychologist is not to be mistaken.

And Peter followed afar off.—It is scarcely possible to form a distinct image of the mood in which the impetuous disciple, impelled by curiosity, disquiet, and affection, ventures to enter the high-priestly palace. From John 18:15 seq., we see how he finds entrance into it. In explaining and pronouncing upon his thrice-repeated denial, Bengel’s hint is to be borne in mind: “Abnegatio ad plures plurium interrogationes, facta uno paroxysmo, pro una numerator,” that we may not with Strauss and Paulus von Heidelberg, fall into the absurdity of assuming even eight denials.

Luke 22:55. And when they had kindled a fire.—It is well known that the nights in Palestine, especially in the early year, are often very cold. [Particularly at Jerusalem, from its great elevation above the sea.—C. C. S.] We cannot, therefore, be surprised that the servants are warming themselves in the open court, while Peter, assuming as well as he can the appearance of an indifferent observer, takes his place in the midst of them, in order to be able to be eye and ear witness in the immediate vicinity. The expression of Luke: περιαψάντων (Tischendorf, following B. L.), gives us the very sight of the circle which is formed around the fire. According to the Synoptics, Peter sits; according to John alone, Luke 18:18, he stands by it. Without doubt, the account of the former is here the more exact, although at the same time we must bear in mind the restlessness and disquiet of Peter, which must have spontaneously impelled him not to sit still in one place, but now and then involuntarily to stand up. John 18:18, moreover, does not even speak of that which took place during, but what took place after, the first denial. This very disquiet of Peter’s demeanor may have helped to direct attention yet more upon him.

Luke 22:56. This man was also with Him.—According to Luke, the maid says this about Peter to others. According to Matthew and Mark, she speaks directly to him; according to John, she speaks in the form of a question, not positively affirming;—“Apparently with maliciously mocking caprice, ignorant of the facts, yet hostilely disposed.” Lange. According to Luke, she directs her look fixedly upon Peter, ἀτενοίσασα αὐτῷ (favorite word of our Evangelist), the more sharply because she, as θυρωρός, John 18:16-17, well knows that he is a stranger, whom she has just admitted. The very unexpectedness of the assault demands an instantaneous repulse; and already Peter rejoices that he can preserve the guise of an external composure, and his answer is quick, cold, indefinite: Woman, I know Him not!—See the more original form of his words in Matthew and Mark.

Luke 22:58. Another.—The first cock-crowing, which Mark, Luke 22:68, alone mentions, immediately after the first denial, is not even noticed by Peter. He appears, meanwhile, to have succeeded in assuming so indifferent a demeanor that he at first is not further disturbed. The disquiet of his conscience, however, now impels him towards the door ( Matthew 26:71); unluckily he finds this shut. He does not venture to seek to have it opened, that he may not, elicit any unfavorable conjectures, and is therefore obliged to return to his former place. This very disquiet again excites suspicion; according to Luke, it is another servant, according to Mark, the same, according to Matthew, another maid who now puts the question. The last-named difference may, perhaps, be thus reconciled: that the door-keeper of the προαύλιον, into which Peter had entered, is meant. The maid begins, the ἕτερος follows, nay, several others (John) join in and make merry with his terror, while they ask: “Art not thou one of His disciples?” “ Prayer of Manasseh, I am not,” says Peter, in the tone of a man who seeks as suddenly as possible to free himself of a troublesome questioner, and adds (Matthew) even an oath thereto. If we consider now that these accounts must have had Peter himself for their first source,—a Prayer of Manasseh, that Isaiah, who, by his very bewilderment, was not in condition to relate the event with diplomatic faithfulness, and in a stereotyped form; if we consider further, that in a circle of servants one word very easily calls forth another, and that when many place themselves over against a single one, several may have spoken at the same time,—we shall then find in the minor diversities of the different accounts respecting matters of subordinate importance, rather an argument for than against the credibility of the Gospels.

Luke 22:59. And about the space of one hour after.—So long, therefore, they now left the unhappy man in quiet. Attention had been diverted from the disciple and directed to the Master, whose process meanwhile had gone forward with terrific rapidity. The first denial should seem to have taken place almost at the same time at which Jesus appealed to the testimony of His disciples, John 18:19-23; the second while He was keeping silence before the false witnesses. Much of this may have been seen and heard by Peter, since from the court there was an unobstructed view into the open judgment-hall, separated only by a colonnade from the vestibule, but now he sees also how the Lord is adjured, how He is condemned. He sees Him at the conclusion of the sitting fall into the hands of the servants, who throng around Him, and begin the first united maltreatment. From afar Peter is eye-witness thereof, and sees that the Master takes all without opposition, and if now it fares thus with Him, what a fate will then come upon His disciples! This solitary hour has, therefore, yet more disheartened and bewildered Peter, instead of his having been able during it to come more to himself. Now they begin the third time to interrogate him, but find him less than ever prepared therefor. According to all the Synoptics, it is now Peter’s Galilean dialect that excites suspicion against him. Respecting the peculiarities of this dialect, and the misunderstandings often arising from it, see Friedlieb, § 25, and Buxtorf, in his Lexicon Chald. et Talmud, p435 seq. The discomfiture of the apostle becomes at the same moment complete through the attack of one of the relatives of Malchus, John 18:26, and Peter now denies the third time, hurling out, according to Matthew and Mark, terrible curses and self-imprecations.

Luke 22:60. The cock crew.—As respects the possibility of a cock-crowing in the capital, audible to Peter, it is plainly evident that it could not have been demanded of the Romans to avoid the keeping of animals which the Mosaic law had declared unclean. According to the Talmud, Jews of later times also had the custom at wedding celebrations of offering a cock and a hen for a present, as a symbol of the matrimonial blessing. As to the exact hour in which ordinarily in the Orient the gallicinium is heard, we find in Sepp, iii. p477, interesting accounts. Interpretations of the cock-crowing, in a figurative sense, which have been attempted in different ways, we may with confidence regard as exegetical curiosities.

Luke 22:61.And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter.—According to De Wette and Meyer, this touching feature is on local grounds hardly probable, but if our representation before given is applicable, this objection falls away. However, De Wette allows it as possible that our Lord cast this look upon Peter while He was led to the hearing, Luke 22:66. If we now succeed in demonstrating that Luke, Luke 22:66-71, actually relates another hearing than Matthew 26:59-66, then there is no longer anything to object to the internal probability of a feature of the narrative which is one of the sublimest of the whole history of the Passion.

And Peter remembered.—According to Luke, therefore, Peter’s repentance is the result of the concurrence of two different influences—the cock-crowing, and the look of Jesus. The πικρᾶς of Matthew and Luke explains, moreover, in some measure, the ἐπιβαλών of Mark, where we consider it as the simplest way to supply ἱμάτιον (Fritzsche). For other explanations see Lange on Mark 14:72.—In his bitter sorrow Peter cannot bear the view of man. Veiled in the mantle cast around him, he suddenly precipitates himself out of doors and opens himself a way through the crowd, which no longer detains him. A testimony for the depth of his repentance and of his longing for solitude is found in the fact, that after this in the whole history of the Passion, we no longer discover the slightest trace of him.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The exactness and vividness with which all the Evangelists relate the deep fall and the heartfelt repentance of Peter, deserves to be named one of the most indubitable proofs of the credibility of the whole Evangelical history.

2. We cannot possibly be surprised at Peter’s denial, if we direct our view to his individuality, and to the pressure of the circumstances and the unexpectedness of the attack, and consider that after the first momentous step it was almost impossible to refrain from the second. Quite as unreasonable is it, however, to excuse Peter, as has been essayed on the rationalistic side by Paulus von Heidelberg, and on the Roman Catholic side by Sepp, iii. p481. Even if we take into account the might of darkness (Olshausen), in order therefrom to explain his deep fall, yet the denial remains as ever a moral guilt, which, as well in and of itself as by its repetition, by the warning that had preceded it, and the perjury that attended it, was terrible and deep. Showing as it does a union of unthankfulness, cowardice, and falsehood, the sin is still increased by the circumstances in which our Lord at that very time found Himself, and, therefore, undoubtedly contributed not a little to the augmentation of His inexpressible sorrow. Whoever is too eager to vindicate Peter, makes his repentance an exaggerated melancholy, and thereby actually declares that our Lord dealt with him afterwards almost too severely; on the other side we may undoubtedly, in mitigation of his guilt, point to the fact that he denied the Lord only with his mouth, but not with his heart, and sought to make good the error of a single night by a whole life of unwearied faithfulness.

3. The fall and repentance of Peter was one of the most powerful means by which he was trained into one of the most eminent of the apostles. A character like his would never have mounted so high if it had not fallen so low. Thus does the Lord make even the sins of His people contribute to their higher training, and (as continually appears a posteriori, without anything thereby of the guilt and moral responsibility of the sinner being taken away) not only the hardest blows of fate which strike us, but also the evil deeds which we can least excuse, but have sincerely wept over and repented of, must afterwards subserve our best good. Romans 8:28-30.

4. When Dogmatics describes the nature of a sincere conversion, it can least of all neglect to cast a look into the heart and life of Peter—the David of the New Covenant. While he thus deeply humbles himself, Peter becomes great; while afterwards one of the others οἱ δοκοῦντες στύλοι εῖ̓ναι, who was the greatest of the apostles, becomes in his own eyes so little, that he calls himself the least of the brethren, yea, absolutely nothing. 1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 12:11.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The union of courage and fear, energy and weakness, love and selfishness, in a Peter’s variable character.—The heart is deceitful above all things, Jeremiah 17:9-10.—The experience of Peter in this night a proof of the truth of the two parables, Luke 14:28-33.—Beware of the first step.—How dangerous a hostile female influence can be for the disciple of the Lord.—A ship without anchor or rudder is given a prey to the storms and waves.—How much he ventures who throws himself with an unguarded heart into the midst of the enemies of the Lord.—The precipitous path of sin the longer the worse.—The Christian also is betrayed by his speech.—The word of our Lord is literally fulfilled.—True repentance impels us to seek solitude.—Blessed are they that mourn, Matthew 5:4.

Peter’s denial: 1. Remarkable in the Evangelical history; 2. in the history of the human heart; 3. in the history of the suffering and death of our Lord.—How have we to judge of Peter’s conduct?—Let us consider his transgression: 1. In the light of his vocation, and his guilt is unquestionable; 2. in the light of his character, and his conduct is intelligible; 3. in the light of the circumstances, and his transgression is mitigated; 4. in the light of conscience, and the sentence dies upon our guilty lips.—Whoever thinks he stands, may well take heed that he does not fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12. Comp. Romans 11:20.—The history of the Denial a part of the history of the Passion: 1. Peter’s denial an aggravation; 2. Peter’s repentance a mitigation of the suffering of our Lord.—The preaching of the unfaithful disciple.—Peter and Judas compared with one another in their repentance. Peter: 1. Sorrowful: 2. sorrowful with a godly sorrow; 3. sorrowful to salvation with repentance not to be repented of, 2 Corinthians 7:10; in Judas, the sorrow of the world, which worketh death.—The history of Peter’s fall a revelation of the weakness of man; how weakness: 1. Brings man into danger; 2hinders him from escaping from danger: 3. in the danger brings him to a fall.—It is a precious thing to have the heart established, which is done through Christ.—The look of our Lord, the expression: 1. Of an unforgettable reminder—What have I said to thee? 2. of a heartfelt sorrow—Is this thy compassion for thy friend? 3. of a blessed consolation—I have prayed for thee; 4. of a timely intimation—To go at once from hence.—The Lord turned and looked upon Peter. Hour of preparation for the Holy Communion in Passion Week.—Peter’s tears: 1. Honorable for Jesus; 2. refreshing for Peter; 3. important for us.—The bitter tears of Peter render not less honor to the Saviour than the rejected silver pieces of Judas.—Peter our forerunner in the way of genuine penitence.—The history in the text shows us: 1. A sleeper who quickly awakens; 2. a sinner who is graciously regarded; 3. a sorrower who is divinely afflicted: 4. a fallen one who is enabled again to rise.—The noble harvest from the sowing of Peter’s tears: 1. For himself; 2. for the church; 3. for heaven.—Striking expressions from Peter’s Epistles confirmed by the history of his fall and of his repentance, e.g., 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 2:1; 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 Peter 5:5; 1 Peter 5:8, et alibi.

Starke:—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Forgetfulness of the word of God, insincerity, bad company, presumption, bring grief of heart.—Quesnel:—The stronger trust one puts in himself and others, the more God’s strength removes from him.—The least opportunity, a weak instrument may precipitate even a rock, if he without God will rest in security upon himself.—Brentius:—The cock-crowing should be for us a daily summons to repentance.—J. Hall:—Where sin abounded, there, nevertheless, grace much more abounds, Romans 5:20.—Learn rightly to apply and preserve the gracious regards of God.—No sin so great but may be blotted out.—Arndt:—The denial of Christ: 1. Its sin: 2. the repenting of it.—F. W. Krummacher:—Peter’s fall: 1. As to its inner causes; 2. as to its outward course.—Peter’s tears.—Couard:—Simon Peter, the Apostle of our Lord. A look: 1. Upon the fallen; 2. upon the penitent Peter.—Tholuck:—Passion Week brings to view in Peter how great the wavering may be, even in a human heart that has already confessed itself to have found the words of eternal life with Jesus. Comp. John 6:67-69.—J. Saurin:—Nauv. Sermons, i. p121; Sur l’abnégation de St. Pierre.—An admirable representation of Peter’s denial, by the Dutch painter, Govert Schalken.

Footnotes:

FN#19 - Luke 22:57.—Γύναι must, according to Tischendorf, [Tregelles, Alford,] be placed last, instead of first.

FN#20 - Luke 22:61.—Σήμερον, which Tischendorf has received into the text, [also Meyer, Tregelles, Alford,] is supported by B, [Cod. Sin, K,] M, L, X, and some Cursives.


Verses 63-71

b. THE MOCKING AT THE LORD, AND HIS CONDEMNATION ( Luke 22:63-71)

(Parallel with Matthew 26:67-68; Matthew 27:1 a; Mark 14:65; Mark 15:1)

63, And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. 64And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face,[FN21] and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? 65And many other things blasphemously [or, contumeliously] spake they against him 66 And as soon as it was day, the elders [lit, the eldership, πρεσβυτέριον] of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into 67 their council, saying, Art thou [or, If thou art] the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: 68And if I also [om, also[FN22]] ask you,[FN23] ye will not 69 answer me, nor let me go.[FN24] [FN25]Hereafter [From henceforth] shall the Son of man sit [be seated] on the right hand of the power of God 70 Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am [or, Ye say it, for (ὅτι) I am[FN26]]. 71And they said, What need we any further witness [testimony]? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

General Remarks.—The maltreatment of which Luke now gives account appears to have taken place immediately after the sentence had been uttered in the night-session, even before its legal confirmation in a morning-session. Meanwhile, part of the Sanhedrists left the hall, so that the Prisoner remained behind in the hands of the servants. Without ground, Sepp, l. c. iii. p480, supposes that Christ was in prison; it appears rather that He remained in the same hall in which He had stood before the council. Respecting this whole act of scoffing, comp. Matthew 26:67. That the act can in no way be excused, does not even need mention. Among all civilized nations the condemned, so long as he yet lives, stands under the protection of the law. Nay, he finds in the pitiable fate that awaits him a security against new injuries. But here they cannot even wait till the injured law has its course, and so the council of blood is changed into a theatre of insult and cruelty. The servants who guard the Prisoner have noticed the hatred of their lords against Him, and although hitherto, perhaps, withheld by some fear of the might of the Prisoner, yet now when it becomes evident that He will make no use of this, their terror passes over into unrestrained insolence. It is as if they would indemnify themselves for the discomfiture which they had suffered in Gethsemane. They mock Him especially in His prophetical and kingly character. First, He must with covered countenance make out which of them gave Him the hard blows of the fist, then He is mocked and spit upon, in token that He is much too contemptible for a king even of these meanest servants. But that even more than one maltreatment of the kind took place in the house of Caiaphas (Ebrard), we regard as a superfluous concession, in view of the comparatively little diversity of the different Synoptical accounts respecting this. Still less can we agree with Schleiermacher and Strauss in regarding it as in itself improbable that even counsellors took part in this maltreatment, when we consider how in Matthew 26:67, those who maltreat the Lord are not definitely distinguished from those who condemn Him, Matthew 26:66; and how according to Mark 14:65, the men who spit upon Jesus are especially distinguished from the servants, who, according to Mark as well as according to Luke, strike our Lord in the face. We are then rather led to the belief that their masters, in their hellish joy at the triumph achieved by them, made common cause with the servants, and themselves lent their hands to draw down their Victim into the mire of the deepest ignominy. If we unite the different features of the narrative which the individual Synoptics have preserved for us, with one another, we then obtain an image of outraged majesty which inspires up with terror, but at the same time also reminds us vividly of the prophecy, Isaiah 50:4-8.

Luke 22:66. And as soon as it was day.—The view that the Jewish council was only assembled once for the condemnation of our Lord (Meyer and Von Hengel) has, superficially considered, much, it is true, to commend it, but comes, nevertheless, carefully considered, into too direct conflict with the contents of all the Synoptical gospels to make it possible to accept it. Even in and of itself it is rather arbitrary to wish to determine the sequence of the events according to Luke, who goes to work with so much less chronological strictness in the history of the Passion than Matthew and Mark, amalgamates similar events, and even by the account of the maltreatment, Luke 22:63-65, tacitly presupposes that this must have been preceded by a condemnation, without which such an outrage could not possibly have taken place. The answer which our Lord, according to Luke, Luke 22:67-68, gives to the question of the Sanhedrim, would have been incongruous if He had now addressed His enemies for the first time, and if nothing at all had preceded which could justify so strong a tone. The narrative of Matthew, Matthew 27:1, and Mark, Mark 15:1, would have been wholly purposeless, if the Sanhedrim had been only assembled once on this occasion, and although the account of Luke agrees in many points with the night session in Matthew and Mark, it has, however, on the other hand, its peculiar coloring, which sufficiently characterizes precisely this second official and decisive session of the council. It is this partial agreement itself that is the cause why Matthew and Mark speak only of the first, Luke only of the second sitting. The assembly which utters the first sentence of death bears all the marks of precipitation, incompleteness, and incompetence; the high-priest assists at it only in his common attire, as it was not permitted him to rend his magnificent official apparel. The bitterest-enemies of our Lord have in the night quickly run together in order without delay to introduce the case; but now in order not to violate, at least, the form of law, they come together the second time, early in the morning at a legally permitted hour and in fuller Numbers, not in order to deliberate further, but in order to ratify, so far as requisite, a resolution already taken. Without doubt, the chief managers in the night session have already instructed the other counsellors sufficiently upon the state of the case as already reached, before the Prisoner is again brought in. The transaction of Caiaphas receives the approbation of the others, so that the thread is simply taken up again where his hand has let it fall. If we can from Luke 23:51, conclude that Joseph of Arimathæa also was present at this morning session, his voice then, it should seem, in connection with a few others, only hindered the unanimity, which indeed, according to all appearance, was not really obtained.

Luke 22:67. Art thou the Christ?—Now we see no more of the perplexity which even a few hours before betrayed itself in every word. They have now found a fixed point of departure in the declaration which the Prisoner under oath had deposed concerning Himself, and only desire yet to hear the repetition of the same, in order to press upon the already uttered condemnation the formal seal. For these judges are not come together in order to investigate, but in order to pronounce sentence. Therefore, they desire an affirmative answer, which our Lord now also gives them, in the presupposition that His previous answer is known to them; “If thou art the Christ, tell us,” so ask they all, because they all wish to hear it from His own mouth, comp. Luke 22:71, and therefore at the beginning, with prudent craft, do not place first the religious but the political side of the question. “They would have been only too glad to have extorted more from Him, but only succeed in hearing the same.”

If I tell you.—That this answer “does not suit well” (De Wette) would only be true if we identified both sessions, and forgot all that had already preceded this. Our Lord says nothing directly, but only presupposes what, according to the experience He had already had, would take place if He thought good to speak. The highest purpose of such a testimony, namely, to produce faith, would here not have been at all accomplished, and if He now began to do as they had done to Him, and that which He was well conscious of having a right to do, namely, to propose to His antagonists some questions, they would yet never have been able to answer these satisfactorily to Him, and would, therefore, bring their perplexity only so much the more to light. Of the possibility of being released, which is mentioned according to the critically suspicious reading ἀπολύσητε, He now no longer thinks. It is true, “questioning belongs only to the examining Judges, not to the defendant” (De Wette); but here is a Defendant of a very special character, and He who had already spoken so many incomparable words hors de ligne to His Judges, might also have well allowed Himself this freedom in speaking, without modern criticism needing to shake its head thereat.

Luke 22:69. From henceforth.—Our Lord will therewith simply say that the word previously uttered remains good, and places the future with all its glory over against the present with all its ignominy. Even the last time that He calls Himself the Son of Man He exhibits Himself in all the still magnificence of His majesty.

Luke 22:70. Art Thou then the Son of God?—It is known that the Jews also expected the Messiah as the Son of God, in the theocratical sense of the word. But that they now utter this name with a special emphasis is not because they would denote thereby anything essentially different from Luke 22:67, but because they can scarcely trust their ears that Hebrews, the one so deeply humiliated and already condemned to death, attributes to Himself the dignity that is supreme above all. They now take cognizance of the religious side of the case, and express themselves as strongly as possible, in order so to be the better able to give a reason for the sentence of blasphemy. To their question Jesus answers with a simple affirmative, while from Luke 22:68-69, it sufficiently appears why He does not add even a word more. Herewith the session has now reached its end, with a similar result to the former one. If Caiaphas had formerly, in view of two false witnesses, exclaimed: “What need we any further witness?” now, in answer thereto, his adherents, who find his statement sufficiently confirmed by Jesus’ own word, declare that they need no further testimony, since they have now heard it from Jesus’ own mouth. Now there is not even an express sentence of death uttered; the one formerly passed simply continues in force, since the crime is now satisfactorily established. But thereby they testify at the same time against themselves, and rob themselves thus of the last excuse for their sin.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. In the midst of the rudest maltreatment, as shortly before over against the false witnesses, we see our Lord observe an unmoved silence. Four times in the history of the Passion we have the mention of such a silence: before Caiaphas ( Matthew 26:63), before Herod ( Luke 23:9), and twice before Pilate ( Matthew 27:12; John 19:9). It is one of the most admirable problems to interpret this silence in its full force, and not a little will it contribute to the augmentation of the knowledge of our Lord, if we consider when He has spoken and when He has kept silence.

2. As the Lord there keeps silence when He might have spoken, so does He also speak before the Jewish council when He might have kept silence. With the traces of the outrages received on His countenance, He might have counted them unworthy of any further answer, but with an indescribable dignity He once again deposes testimony; with Divine condescension which places itself in the position of His enemies, He unites infinite long-suffering; while He shows that He completely sees through His enemies, He yet, even to the last instant, leaves nothing unessayed which can serve for setting them right and convincing them. He spares where He could punish, He only warns where He could dash in pieces, and His very last word to the Jewish council justifies the eulogies of the officers, John 7:46.

3. With His own hand, as it were, our Lord here, even before His resurrection, as subsequently, Luke 24:26, after it, points to the inseparable connection between His suffering and His glory. “̓Απὸτοῦ νῦν ab hoc puncto, quum dimittere non vultis. Hoc ipsum erat iter ad gloriam.” Bengel.

4. That in the condemnation of Jesus by the Sanhedrim shameful injustice was committed, and not even the form of law was respected, appears at once to any one who only takes the trouble to follow somewhat particularly the course of the process. The legal validity of the sentence, which especially Salvador defends, has been from a juridicial point of view controverted with the best success by Dupin, L’aîné, Jésus devant Caïphe et Pilate, Paris, 1829.

5. It is remarkable how once, almost with the same words, sentence was uttered upon the reformer Farel, when, in October, 1532, raging priests in Geneva exclaimed upon him: “He has blasphemed God; we need no more witnesses; he is worthy of death,” so that Farel, exasperated, raised his voice with: “Speak the words of God, and not those of Caiaphas.” (Leben Farels und Virets, by Dr. E. Schmidt, Elberfeld, 1860).

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The Holy One of God the football of unholy sinners.—Wickedness, in appearance, humiliates the Lord, but in truth only itself.—The Saviour with covered face: 1. How much He sees; 2. how sublimely He keeps silence; 3. how powerfully He preaches.—Who is it that smote Thee? I, I and my sins.—Who when He was reviled, reviled not again, 1 Peter 2:22-23.—The morning of the mortal day of Jesus illumined by the glory of His majesty: 1. He keeps silence where He could have spoken; 2. He speaks where He could have kept silence; 3. He spares where He could have punished.—Jesus’ condemnation by the Sanhedrim preaches to us: 1. The might of sin; 2. the greater might of grace; 3. the greatest might of the Divine Providence.—The Sanhedrim that rejects Jesus is itself smitten by the judgment: 1. Of blindness; 2. of hardening; 3. of reprobacy.—The deep humiliation of the Lord over against His future glory.—The depths of Satan looked through by the Searcher of hearts.—Even against the scribes of His day our Lord is unqualifiedly right, because He even to the end remains upon the standing-point of the Scripture. Daniel 7:12-14.—The Christian also, after the unequivocal declaration of Jesus, needs, in reference to His heavenly dignity, no further witness.

Starke:—Be not angry when thou art injured in thy good name, for even the highest majesty has been blasphemed.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Jesus was brought before an unjust tribunal, that we might be able to stand before the righteous tribunal of God.—We must use modesty towards our rulers, how unjust soever they may be, Romans 13:7.—The last degree of the humiliation of Christ is the one next to His exaltation, 2 Timothy 2:11-12.—Brentius:—Sincerity is agreeable to God.—Quesnel:—O, how different are Christ’s auditors! Some rejoice at His words as words of life, but others grow fierce thereat and make thereof words of death.—Arndt:—Jesus before Caiaphas: 1. The confession; 2. the condemnation; 3. the maltreatment.—Krummacher, Passions-buch, p336 seq.:—Prophesy to us, O Christ! C. Palmer:—How the world seeks to rid itself of the truth.

Footnotes:

FN#21 - Luke 22:64.—What the Recepta has here, ἔτυπτον αὐτοῦ τὸ πρόσωπον, καί, appears to be a glossematic addition, which has gradually got the upper hand. See Tischendorf and Meyer, ad locum. [As Alford clearly explains it, αυτου το προσωπον was substituted for αυτον from the parallel in Mark, then united with the text, ετυπτον being then inserted to account for παισας below. The variations confirm this explanation.—C. C. S.]

FN#22 - Luke 22:68.—Καί before ἐρωτήσω omitted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Meyer, Tregelles, Alford,] according to B, [Cod. Sin,] L, Cursives.

FN#23 - Luke 22:68.—He means probably, as Bleek explains it, that if He should ask them questions as to the cause of His arrest, and the like, they would not answer him.—C. C. S.]

FN#24 - Luke 22:68.—Μοι ἀπολύσητε. These words also awaken at least the suspicion, that they are a somewhat incongruous expansion of the text. See Tischendorf and Meyer. [They are omitted by B, Cod. Sin, L, Coptic Version, Cyril. Numbers are for them, weight of testimony and internal evidence against them.—C. C. S.]

FN#25 - Luke 22:69.—After ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν insert δέ on the authority of A, B, D, [Cod. Sin,] L, X, and many other authorities.

FN#26 - Luke 22:70.—Van Oosterzee, agreeing with Luther, De Wette, Meyer, and others, translates ὅτι denn, “For,” as it appears to be used in John 18:37. The sentence then means: “I acknowledge the title, for I am the Son of God.” “Ye say,” the well known idiom of assent to another’s statement or question.—C. C. S.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Luke 22:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/luke-22.html. 1857-84.

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