Page images

the sum. They say that they promised him money: In the original, silver. In Matthew, in the original, it is thirty silvers or silverlings. This was the price of a slave. See Ex, xxi. 32. And it is not unlikely that this sum was fixed on by them to show their contempt of Jesus, and that they regarded him as of little value. The money usually denoted by ' pieces of silver, when the precise sum is not mentioned, is a shekel-a silver Jewish coin, amounting to about two shillings and three-pence. The whole sum, therefore, for which Judas committed this crime, was three pounds, seven shillings, and sixpence,

16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Sought opportunity to betray him.' Luke adds, 'in the absence of the multitude.' The opportunity which he sought, therefore, was one in which the multitude would not see him, or could not rescue the Saviour. To betray him.' The word means to deliver up, or to give into their hands. He sought opportunity how he might deliver him up to them, agreeably to his contract.

17 q Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover ?

See also Mark xiv.12–16. Luke xxii. 7–13. The first day,' &c. The feast continued eight days, including the day on which the paschal lamb was killed and eaten, Ex. xii. 15. That was the fourteenth day of the month Abib, answering to parts of our March and April. 'Of unleavened bread.' Called so, because, during those eight days, no bread made with yeast or leaven was allowed to be eaten. Luke says, ' in which the passover must be killed.' That is, in which the paschal lamb, or the lamb eaten on the occasion, must be killed. See Ex. xii. 43. Numb. ix. 11. John xviii. 28. Also 1 Cor, v. 7. where Christ, our passover, is said to be slain for us; that is, our paschal lamb, so called on account of his being offered as a victim, or sacrifice, for our sins.

18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

Go into the city to such a man.' That is, Jerusalem, called the city,' by way of eminence. Luke says, that the disciples whom he sent were Peter and John. The man to whom they were to go it seems he did not mention by name, but he told them that when they came into the city, a man would meet them, bearing a pitcher of water. See Mark and Luke. Him they were to follow, and in the house which he entered they would find a room prepared.

The direction which he gave his disciples most clearly proves that he was omniscient. Amidst so great a multitude going at that time into the city, or at any time, it was impossible to know that a particular man would be met-a man bearing a pitcher of water-unless Jesus had all knowledge, and was therefore divine. "The Master saith.' This was the name by which Jesus was probably known among the disciples, and one which he directed them to give him. See Matt: xxiii. 8, 10. It means literally the teacher, as opposed to the disciple, or learner; not the master, as opposed to the servant, or slave. The fact that they used this name as if the man would know whom they meant, and the fact that he understood them, and made no inquiries about him, shows that he was acquainted with Jesus, and was probably himself a disciple. 'My time is at hand.' That is, is near. By his ' time' here was meant the time of his death.

Mark and Luke add, that he would show them a large upper room, furnished and prepared.?. Ancient writers remark that at the time of the great feasts, all the houses in Jerusalem were open to receive guests; that the houses were in a manner common to the people of Judea; and there is no doubt, therefore, that the master of a house would have it ready on such occasions for company. The word rendered furnished,' means literally spread, that is, spread with carpets, and with couches, on which to recline at the table, after the manner of the east. See note, Matt. xxiii. 6.

19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

'They made ready the passover.' That is, they procured a paschal lamb, multitudes of which were kept for sale in the temple; they procured it to be killed and flayed by the priests, the, blood to be poured at the altar; they roasted the lamb, and prepared the bitter herbs, the sauce, and the unleavened bread. This was done, it seems, while our Lord was absent, by the two disciples.

20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

'When the even was come.' The lamb was killed between the evenings, Ex. xii. 6. (Hebrew). That is, between three and nine o'clock in the evening. The Jews reckoned two evenings, one from three o'clock P. M. to sunset, the other from sunset to the close of the first watch in the night, or nine o'clock. ' He sat down.' At first the supper was eaten standing, with their loins girded, and their staff in their hand, denoting the haste with which they were about to flee from Egypt. Afterwards, however, they introduced the practice, it seems, of partaking of this as they did of their ordinary meals. Note, Matt.

xxiii. 6. While sitting there at the supper, the disciples had a dispute which should be the greatest, Lüke xxii. 24–30. At this time, before the institution of the Lord's supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, to teach them humility, John xiii, 1–20.

21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, That one of you shall betray me.

As they did eat, &c. The account contained in these verses is also recorded in Mark xiv. 18–21. Luke xxii. 21–23. Jonn xiii. 21, 22. John says, that before Jesus declared that one of them should betray him,' he was troubled in spirit, and testified! That is, he felt deeply the greatness of the crime that Judas was about to commit, and anticipated with much feeling the sufferings that he was to endure. He testified.' He bore witness; or he declared.

22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I ?

• They were exceeding sorrowful.' John says, they looked on one another, like men in anxiety, conscious each one, except Judas, of no such intention, and each one beginning to examine himself, to find whether he was the person intended. This evinced their innocence, and showed their attachment to Jesus. It showed how sensitive they were to the least suspicion of the kind. It showed that they were willing to know themselves : thus evincing the spirit of the true christian. Judas only was silent, and was the last to make the inquiry, and that after he had been plainly indicated, ver. 25. The guilty would, if possible, always conceal their crimes. The innocent, the friend, is ready to suspect that he may have done wrong.

23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

The Jews, at the observance of this ordinance, used a bitter sauce, made of palm branches, raisins, &c. mixed with vinegar and other seasoning of the like kind, which they said represented the clay which their fathers were compelled to use in Egypt, in making brick; thus reminding them of their bitter bondage there. This was probably the dish' to which reference is made here. John adds, xiii. 23—30, see note on the place, that a disciple (that is, John himself) was reclining on Jesus' bosom; that Simon Peter beckoned to him to ask Jesus more particularly who it was; that Jesus signified who it was, by giving Judas a sop; that is, a piece of bread or meat, dipped in the thick sauce; and that Judas having received it, went out to accomplish his wicked design of betraying him. Judas it seems therefore was not present at the institution of the Lord's supper.

24 The Son of man goeth, as it is written of him :

but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is be. trayed ! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

The Son of man goeth.'. That is, the Messiah; the Christ. Note, Matt. viii. 20. Goeth.' Dies, or will die. The Hebrews often spoke in this manner of death, Psa, xxxix. 13.

As it is written of him.' That is, as it is written or prophesied of him in the Old Testament. Compare Psa. xli. 9, with John xiii. 18. See also Dan. ix. 26, 27. Isaí. liii. 4—9. Luke, xxii. 22, says, ' as it was determined. It was the previous intention of God to give him up to die for sin, or it could not have been certainly predicted. It is also declared to have been by his determinate counsel and forekncwledge, Acts ii. 23. 'Woe unto that man,' &c. He shall be miserable. The crime is great and awful, and he will be punished accordingly. 'It had been good,' &c. That is, it would have been better for him if he had not been born; or it would be better now for him if he was to be as if he had not been born, or if he was annihilated. This was a proverbial mode of speaking among the Jews in frequent use.

If it be asked how this act of Judas could be a crime, when it was determined beforehand that the Saviour should be betrayed, and die in this manner, it may be answered, that the crime was what it was in itself, apart from any determination of God, a violation of all the duties he owed to God, and to the Lord Jesus; awful ingratitude, detestable covetousness and treachery. As such it deserved to be punished. The previous purpose of God did not force Judas to do this. In it he acted freely, of choice. He did just what his wicked heart prompted him to do. A previous knowledge of a thing, or a previous purpose to permit a thing, does not alter its nature, or cause it to be a different thing from what it is. This punishment of Judas proves also that sinners cannot take shelter for their sins in the decrees of God, or plead them as an excuse. God will punish crimes for what they are in themselves. His own deep and inscrutable purposes in regard to human actions will not change the nature of those actions, or screen the sinner from the punishment which he deserves.

25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

Thou hast said.' That is, thou hast said the truth. It is so. Thou art the man. Compare verse 64 of this chapter with Mark xiv, 62.

26 F And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.


See also Mark xiv. 22–26. Luke xxii. 15--20. I Cor. xi. 2325. As they were eating the paschal supper, near the close of the meal. Luke adds, that he said, just before instituting the sacramental supper, ' With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.' This is a Hebrew manner of expression, signifying, I have greatly desired. He had desired it, doubtless, that he might institute the supper, to be a perpetual memorial of him ; that he might strengthen them for their approaching trials; that he might explain to them the true nature of the passover; and that he might spend another season with them in the duties of religion, of worship. 'Jesus took bread.' That is, the bread which they used at the celebration of the pass. over, unleavened bread made into thin cakes, easily broken and distributed. “And blessed it. Or sought a blessing on it; or gave thanks to God for it. The word rendered 'blessed, not unfrequently means to give thanks. Compare Luke ix. 16, and John vi. 11. 'And brake it.' This breaking of the bread represented the sufferings of Jesus about to take place-his body broken or wounded for sin. Hence Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 23, adds, this is my body which is broken for you.' That is, which is about to be broken for you by death; or wounded, pierced, bruised, and suffering, to make atonement for your sins. This is my body.' This represents my body. This broken bread shows the manner in which my body will be broken; or this will serve to call my dying sufferings to your remembrance. It is not meant that his body would be literally broken as the bread was, but that the bread would be a significant emblem or symbol to recall to their remembrance his sufferings. This was a common mode of speaking among the Jews, and exactly similar to that used by Moses at the institution of the passover, Ex. xii. 11: 'It,' that is, the Lamb, “is the Lord's passover.' That is, the Lamb and the feast represent the Lord's passing over the houses of the Israelites. It serves to remind you of it. So Paul and Luke record Christ's words, “This is my body broken for you : this do in remembrance

This expresses the whole design of the sacramental bread. It is by a striking emblem to call to remembrance, in a vivid manner, the dying sufferings of our Lord. The sacred writers, moreover, often denote that one thing is represented by another, by using the word “is. See Matt. xiii. 37: He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;' that is, represents the Son of man. Gen. xli. 26: “The seven good kine are seven years;' that is, represent or signify seven years. See also John xv. 1, 5. Gen. xvii. 10. The meaning of this important passage may be thus expressed : “ As I give this broken bread to you, to eat, so will I deliver my body to be afflicted and slain for your sins.'

27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

of me.

« PreviousContinue »