Cambridge Bible: Lk Farrar
14. when the hour was come] If the meal was intended to be directly Paschal, this would be “between the two evenings” (Exo_12:6); a phrase interpreted by the Jews to mean between three and six, and by the Samaritans to mean between twilight and sunset. Probably Jesus and His disciples, anxious to avoid dangerous notice, would set forth towards dusk.
he sat down] Rather, reclined. The custom of eating the Passover standing had long been abandoned.
Vers. 14-38. The Last Supper.
And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. The preparation had been made in the “large upper room,” and the Lord and the twelve sat down, or rather reclined on the couches covered with carpets, the tables before them laid with the dishes peculiar to the solemn Passover Supper, each dish telling its part of the old loved story of the great deliverance. There was the lamb the Paschal victim, and the bitter herbs, the unleavened bread and the reddish sweet conserve of fruits commemorating, it is said, by its color the hard labors of brickmaking, one of the chief burdens of the Egyptian bondage into which the Blaster dipped the sop, and gave it to the traitor-apostle. (Joh_13:26) The Lord reclined, probably, at the middle table; St. John next to him; St. Peter most likely on the other side; and the others reclining in an order corresponding more or less closely with the threefold division of the twelve into groups of four. The Supper itself had its special forms and ceremonies, which the Lord transformed as they proceeded in such a way as to change it into the sacred Supper of the New Testament.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
15. With desire I have desired] i. e. I earnestly desired. A Hebraism. Mat_13:14, &c.
to eat this passover] The expression may perhaps point to the fact that this was not the actual Jewish Paschal meal, but one which was intended to supersede it by a Passover of far more divine significance.
And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. This peculiar expression, “with desire,” etc., is evidently a reproduction by St. Luke of the Lord”s very words repeated to him originally in Aramaic (Hebrew), They seem to be a touching apology or explanation from him to his own, for thus anticipating the regular Passover Supper by twenty-four hours. He had been longing with an intense longing to keep this last Passover with them: First as the dear human Friend who would make this his solemn last farewell. (Do not we, when we feel the end is coming, long for a last communion with our dearest ones?) And, secondly, as the Divine Master who would gather up into a final discourse his most important, deepest teaching. We find this teaching especially reported by St. John in his Gospel (13-17). And thirdly, as the Founder of a great religion, he purposed, on this momentous occasion, transforming the most solemn festal gathering of the ancient Jewish people, which commemorated their greatest deliverance, into a feast which should as age succeeded age commemorate a far greater deliverance, not of the old chosen race only, but of every race under heaven. These were three of the reasons why he had desired so earnestly to eat this Passover with them. “To-morrow, at the usual hour, when the people cat their Passover, it will be too late for us.” This he expresses in his own sad words, before I suffer.
Vers. 15, 16. The Passion, from two standpoints.
I As IT LOOKED TO OUR LORD WHEN HE WAS APPROACHING IT. It was to him a terrible trial, which he was eager to reach and pass through. “With desire he desired” the time to arrive when he should suffer and should complete his work. He did not wish to escape it; he was not looking about for an alternative; he knew that he could not save himself if he would save the world; and he longed for the trial-time to come and to be passed. Here was the heroic, and here was also the human. Here was the determination to endure, and, at the same time, the natural, human anxiety to know the worst and to exchange an almost intolerable suspense for the suffering that awaited him.
1. Having chosen the path of self-sacrifice, and having entered upon and pursued it, it behoved him to continue and to complete his appointed work. He could not turn back without suffering defeat; he accepted the dark future that was before him as a sacred duty. From it there must be no turning aside to other ends; and there was none. He never wavered in his purpose from beginning to end. “This shall not be unto thee,” from Peter, appears to have been. a strong shock of temptation to him. (Mat_16:21-23) But nothing induced him to turn aside by a single step from the path of sacrificial service.
2. Yet we have here a glimpse of the extreme severity of the trial he underwent. He knew that his “suffering” would immediately follow this Passover, and he “earnestly desired” that Passover to come, that the sufferings might follow. With perfect reverence we may say that he could not realize what they would include, for they had never before been experienced; they stood absolutely by themselves, and could not be known until they were actually felt. And this element of suspense and uncertainty must have added a great weight of trouble to the sorrows of our Lord. “How bitter that cup no heart can conceive;” not even his heart did conceive until it was in his hands.
(1) Like our Lord, we should go on without faltering to the darkest future which we feel it becomes us to face.
(2) As with him, the uncertainty of the actual elements of our grief may oppress our spirit and fill us with eager desire for its coming. (see also Luk_12:50)
(3) We shall find, as he found, all needful Divine help when the hour does actually arrive.
II AS HE WOULD HAVE US REGARD IT NOW. That is, as a completed work of redeeming love. That last Passover has been “fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” All that the Passover prophesied has been fulfilled. The “Lamb of God” has been slain that Lamb “which taketh away the sin of the world.” Everything in the way of sacred endurance, of Divine preparation, is now completed, and the way into the kingdom is open. Those sufferings to which Jesus was so eagerly looking forward, to which he had now come, with nothing between them and him but that Passover Feast, had to he endured; (see Luk_24:26) and now they have been endured. Everything predicted in sacred rite or solemn utterance has been fulfilled,” and we wait for nothing more. We sit down to no predictive Passover Feast, because Christ, our Passover, is slain for us.” What we have to do is gratefully and eagerly to avail ourselves of the “finished” work of our redeeming Lord; to let that suffering, that death, that sacrifice,
(1) evoke our humility;
(2) call forth our faith;
(3) kindle our love and command our obedience;
(4) inspire us with sacred and abiding joy, inasmuch as his “sorrow unto death” is the source of our eternal life. C.
With desire I have desired – This is a Hebrew form of expression, and means “I have greatly desired.” The reasons why he desired this we may suppose to have been:
1. That, as he was about to leave them, he was desirous once of seeing them together, and of partaking with them of one of the religious privileges of the Jewish dispensation. Jesus was “man” as well as God, and he never undervalued the religious rites of his country, or the blessings of social and religious contact; and there is no impropriety in supposing that even he might feel that his human nature might be prepared by the service of religion for his great and terrible sufferings.
2. He doubtless wished to take an opportunity to prepare “them” for his sufferings, and to impress upon them more fully the certainty that he was about to leave them, that they might be prepared for it.
3. We may also suppose that he particularly desired it that he might institute for “their” use, and for the edification of all Christians, the supper which is called by his name – “the Lord’s Supper.” All his sufferings were the expression of love to his people, and he was desirous of testifying “always” his regard for their comfort and welfare.
Before I suffer – Before I die.
16. οὐ μὴ φάγω αὐτό. After this present occasion. The αὐτο must refer to τοῦτο τὸ πάσχα (ver. 15), and shows that this need not imply a lamb. The Passover of which Christ will partake, after having fulfilled the type, is the Christian Eucharist, in which He joins with the faithful in the Kingdom of God on earth. Others suppose the reference to be to the spiritual banquet in the world to come. But if αὐτό means the paschal lamb, in what sense could Jesus partake of that in the future? The Mishna itself contemplates the possibility of a passover without a lamb, and rules that unleavened bread is the only essential thing. With an influx of many thousands of pilgrims, to provide a lamb might be in some cases impossible.
16.] The full meaning of this declaration is to be sought in the words τοῦτο τὸ πάσχα. It was that particular Passover, not merely the Passover generally—though of course that also,—that was to receive its fulfilment in the kingdom of God. And to this fulfilment our Lord alludes again in ver. 30, ἵνα ἔσθητε καὶ πίνητε ἐπὶ τῆς τραπέζης μου ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ μου. It is to this marriage supper of the Lamb, that the parable Mat_22:1-14 in its ultimate application refers: nor can we help thinking on the faithless Apostle at this very supper, in ib. vv. 11-13: see notes there.
As Luke mentions that the cup was twice presented by Christ, we must inquire, in the first place, if it be a repetition, (as the Evangelists are wont frequently to say the same thing twice,) or if Christ, after having tasted the cup, repeated the same thing a second time. This latter conjecture appears to me to be probable; for we know that the holy fathers, during sacrifices, observed the solemn rite of tasting the cup; and hence those words of the Psalmist, I will take the cup of salvation,and will call on the name of the Lord, (Psa_116:13.)
I have no doubt, therefore, that Christ, according to the ancient custom, tasted the cup in the holy feast, which otherwise could not have been correctly observed; and Luke expressly mentions this, before coming to give an account of the new mystery, which was a totally different institution from the paschal lamb. It was in compliance also with received and ordinary custom, that he is expressly said to have given thanks, after having taken the cup. For at the commencement of the supper, I have no doubt, he prayed, as he was accustomed never to sit down at table without calling on God; but now he wished to discharge once more the same duty, that he might not leave out a ceremony which, I have just now shown, was connected with the sacred act of taking the cup and tasting it.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
17. he took the cup, and gave thanks] Literally, “and after receiving the cup, and giving thanks.” From eucharistein comes our word Eucharist.
The main customs of the Jewish Passover are as follows:—
(1) Each drinks a cup of wine—‘the cup of consecration’—over which the master of the house pronounces a blessing.
(2) Hands are washed, and a table carried in, on which are placed bitter herbs, cakes of unleavened bread, the Charoseth (a dish made of dates, raisins, and vinegar), the paschal lamb, and the flesh of the Chagigah or feast-offering.
(3) The father dips a morsel of unleavened bread and bitter herbs, about the size of an olive, in the Charoseth, eats it with a benediction, and distributes a similar ‘sop’ to all present.
(4) A second cup of wine is poured out, and the youngest present asks the meaning of the service, to which the father replies.
(5) The first part of the Hallel (Ps. 107-114) is sung.
(6) Grace is said, and a benediction again pronounced; after which the father distributes bitter herbs and unleavened bread dipped in the Charoseth.
(7) The Paschal lamb is eaten, and a third cup of wine handed round.
(8) After another thanksgiving, a fourth cup—the cup of joy—is drunk.
(9) The rest of the Hallel (Ps. 115-118) is sung.
The cup mentioned in this verse has been supposed to be the third cup of wine in the Jewish ceremonial; and the actual chalice of the Eucharist (the “cup of blessing,” 1Co_10:16, Cos ha-Berâchah) is identified with the fourth cup. We also see in the Last Supper the benediction, and possibly the Hallel (Mat_26:30). But
(1) the identifications are somewhat precarious.
(2) There is no certainty that the “Sacrificial Passover” thus observed by the Jews was identical in ceremonial with the “Memorial Passover” which now alone they are able to observe.
17. δεξάμενος. It was handed to Him: contrast λαβών, ver. 19 (schanz). It is usual to consider this as the first or second of the four cups that were handed round during the paschal meal; the eucharistic cup being identified with the third or fourth. But we are in doubt
(1) as to what the paschal ritual was at this time;
(2) as to the extent to which Jesus followed the paschal ritual in this highly exceptional celebration;
(3) as to the text of this passage, especially as to whether Lk. records two cups or only one: so that identifications of this kind are very precarious. In any case, Lk. mentions a cup before the breaking of the bread, whether this be the eucharistic cup or not: and S. Paul twice mentions the cup first (1Co_10:16, 1Co_10:21), although in his account of the institution he follows the usual order (1Co_11:23). In the Διδαχή the cup is placed first (9:2: see Schaff’s 3rd ed. PP. 58-61, 191).
εὐχαριστήσας. This seems to imply the eucharistic cup. All three have εὐχαριστήσας of the cup. Lk. repeats it of the bread. where Mt. and Mk. have εὐλογήσας.
In the Jewish ritual the person who presided began by asking a blessing on the feast; then blessed, drank, and passed the first cup. Then Psa_113. and 114. were sung and the bitter herbs eaten, followed by the second cup. After which the president explained the meaning of the feast: and some think that for this explanation of the old rite Jesus substituted the institution of the new one. After eating of the lamb and unleavened cakes came the thanksgiving for the meal and the blessing and drinking of the third cup. Lastly, the singing of Ps. 115.-118. followed by the fourth cup: and there as sometimes a fifth.
διαμερίσατε. Comp. Act_2:45; Jdg_5:30 Followed by εἰς ἑαυτούς, it expresses more strongly than the mid. (23:34; Mat_27:35) the fact of mutual distribution. In some texts (AD etc.) εἰς ἑαυτούς has been altered into the more usual dat. (Joh_19:24; Act_2:45). The distribution would be made by each drinking in turn, rather than by each pouring some into a cup of his own. The εἰς ἑαυτούς perhaps corresponds to the πάντες of Mt. and Mk. Πίετε (ἔπιον) ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες.
He received a cup (dexamenos potērion). This cup is a diminutive of potēr. It seems that this is still one of the four cups passed during the passover meal, though which one is uncertain. It is apparently just before the formal introduction of the Lord’s Supper, though he gave thanks here also (eucharistēsas). It is from this verb eucharisteō (see also Luk_22:19) that our word Eucharist comes. It is a common verb for giving thanks and was used also for “saying grace” as we call it.
Expositor’s Greek NT
Ver. 17. δεξάμενος, having received from the hand of another (different from λαβὼν, ver. 19), handed to Him that He might drink.—εὐχαριστήσας, this solemn act gives to the handing round of the cup here mentioned the character of a prelude to the Holy Supper: (“quaedam quasi prolusio S. Coenae,” Beng. in reference to vv. 15-18). If the reading of D and some Old Latin codd. which makes ver. 19 stop at σῶμά μου and omits ver. 20 be the true text (vide critical notes above), then Lk.’s account of the institution really begins in ver. 17, and what happened according to it was this: Jesus first sent round the cup, saying: take this and divide it among yourselves, then took bread, broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying: this is my body. In this version two things are to be noted: first, the inversion of the actions; second, the omission of all reference to the blood in connection with the wine. The existence of such a reading as that of D and the Old Latin version raises questions, not only as to Lk.’s text, but as to church practice in the Apostolic age and afterwards; or, assuming as a possibility that Lk. wrote as D represents, have we here another instance of editorial discretion—shrinking from imputing to Jesus the idea of drinking His blood? If with D we omit all that follows σῶμά μου, then it results that Lk. has left out all the words of our Lord setting forth the significance of His death uttered
(1) at Caesarea Philippi;
(2) on the occasion of the request of Zebedee’s sons;
(3) the anointing at Bethany;
(4) the institution of the Supper.
(2) and (3) are omitted altogether, and (1) is so reported as to make the lesson non-apparent.
18. ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν. This at first sight appears to mean that Jesus did not partake of the cup. “I say, Divide it among yourselves, because henceforth I shall not drink,” etc. But this would be strange; for
(1) according to Jewish practice it would be monstrous for the presiding person to abstain from partaking;
(2) Jesus had just said that He earnestly desired to partake of this paschal meal; and
(3) vv. 17, 18 seem to be parallel to 15, 16: He eats the paschal food, and then says that it is for the last time under these conditions; and He drinks of the paschal cup, and then says that it is for the last time under these conditions. There is nothing in any of the accounts to prevent us from supposing that Jesus drank before handing the cup to the others. The γάρ explains why they are to consume it among themselves, and not expect Him to take more than was ceremonially necessary; and the ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν will then be quite exact. “I have just drunk; but from this moment onwards I will drink no more”: Comp. οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ πίω. It was possibly because ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν seemed to mean that Jesus refused to drink that some texts (A C etc.) omitted the words.
τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου. Some regard this as a reference to the Jewish benediction at the first cup: “Blessed be Thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who hast created the fruit of the vine.” It is quite uncertain that this form was in use at the time. For γένημα see Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 109, 184.
Latin variations in rendering are of interest: generatione vitis (Vulg.), fructu vineæ (a), creatura vineæ (d). gonimine vitis (δ). Comp. 3:7. Syr-Sin. omits “of the vine.” See Parch. Radb. on Mat_26:29, Migne cxx. 895.
Which is given for you. The other two Evangelists leave out this clause, which, however, is far from being superfluous; for the reason why the flesh of Christ becomes bread to us is, that by it salvation was once procured for us. And as the crucified flesh itself is of no advantage but to those who eat it by faith, so, on the other hand, the eating of it would be unmeaning, and of hardly any value, were it not in reference to the sacrifice which was once offered. Whoever then desires that the flesh of Christ should afford nourishment to him, let him look at it as having been offered on the cross, that it might be the price of our reconciliation with God. But what Matthew and Mark leave out in reference to the symbol of bread, they express in reference to the cup, saying, that the blood was to be shed for the remission of sins; and this observation must be extended to both clauses. So then, in order that we may feed aright on the flesh of Christ, we must contemplate the sacrifice of it, because it was necessary that it should have been once given for our salvation, that it might every day be given to us.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
19. he took bread] The account in St Luke closely agrees with that given by St Paul (1Co_11:23-26), which he ‘received from the Lord.’
This is my body] Comp. “I am the door,” Joh_10:7. “That rock was Christ,” 1Co_10:4. “The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” 1Co_10:16. All the fierce theological debates between Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Zuinglians, Calvinists, &c. might have been avoided if men had borne in mind the warning of Jesus, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” Joh_6:63.
in remembrance of me] The emphasis is on the latter words. The Christian Passover was no more to be in remembrance of the deliverance from Egypt, but of that far greater deliverance wrought by Christ.
19. λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐξαριστήσας ἔκλασεν. The taking bread (or a loaf), breaking, giving thanks. and the declaration. “This is My Body,” are in all four accounts. But for εὐχαριστήσας here and 1Co_11:24 Mt. and Mk. have εὐλογήσας and both here and 1 Cor. Λάβετε is omitted. Mt. alone has φάγετε with ΛάΒετε of the bread, and Lk. alone has Λάβετε of the cup (ver. 17); but perhaps this is not the eucharistic cup (see above).
τοῦτο ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου. Not much is gained by pointing out that the ἐστιν would not be expressed in Aramaic. It must be understood; and the meaning of τοῦτο, and its relation to τὸ σῶμάμου must be discussed. The τοῦτο cannot mean the act of breaking and eating, nor anything else excepting “this bread.” For the meaning of ἐστι see ver. 20. where the ποτήριον is identified with ἡ καινὴ διαθήκη, and comp. εἰμι in Joh_8:12, Joh_8:9:5, Joh_8:14:6, Joh_8:15:1, Joh_8:5. In taking this bread they in some real sense take His Body. See Thirlwall’s Charges, vol. i. Charges v. and vi.; vol. ii. Charge x and esp. p. 25, e d. Perowne, 1877; also Gould on Mar_14:22.
τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διδόμενον. Peculiar to this account: “which is being given for your advantage.” The κλώμενον which many texts add to τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν in 1Co_11:24, is not genuine.
τοῦτο ποιρῖτε. The proposal to give these words a sacrificial meaning, and translate them “Offer this, Sacrifice this, Offer this sacrifice,” cannot be maintained. It has against it (1) the ordinary meaning of ποιεῖν in N.T., in LXX, and in Greek literature generally; (2) the authority of all the Greek Fathers, 1 who knew their own language. knew the N.T. and the LXX, and understood the words as having the ordinary meaning, “Perform this action”; (3) the authority of the Early Liturgies. which do not use ποιεῖν or facere when the bread and wine are offered. but προσφέρειν or offerre, although the words of institution precede the oblation, and thus suggest ποιεῖν or facere; (4) the authority of a large majority of commentators, ancient and modern, of the most various schools. who either make no comment, as if the ordinary meaning were too obvious to need stating: or give the ordinary meaning without mentioning any other as worthy of consideration; or expressly reject the sacrificial meaning; (5) the testimony of the Septuagint, in which the various and frequent Hebrew words which mean “offer” or “Sacrifice” are translated, not by ποιεῖν, but by προσφέρειν or ἀναφέρειν or the like; (6) the fact that here and in 1Co_11:24 the writer might easily have made the sacrificial meaning clear by using προσφέρειν or ἀναφέρειν. He has not even suggested such a meaning, as he might have done by writing ποιεῖτε τοῦτον, i.e. τοῦτον τὸν ἄρτον. He has given as a translation of Christ’s words neither “Offer this bread,” nor “Offer this,” nor “Do this bread” (which might have suggested “Offer this bread”), but “Do this thing.” See Expositor, 3rd series, vii. 441; T. K. Abbott, Essays on the Original Texts of O. & N.T., Longmans, 1893, p. 110; A Reply to Mr. Supple’s and other Criticisms, Longmans, 1893; Mason, Faith of the Gospel, Rivingtons, 1888, p. 309.
εἰς τῆν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. “With a view to a calling to mind, a recollection, of Me.” The word means more than a mere record or memorial, and is in harmony with the pres. imperat. ποιεῖτε: “Continually do this in order to bring Me to mind,” i.e. “to remind yourselves and others of the redemption which I have won by My death.” The eucharist is to be a continual calling to mind of Him who redeemed men from the bondage of sin, as the Passover was an annual calling to mind of redemption from the bondage of Egypt (Exo_12:24-27, Exo_12:13:8, Exo_12:14). In N.T. ἀνάμνησιν occurs only here, 1Co_11:24, 1Co_11:25, and Heb_10:3, where see Wsctt. Comp. 1Co_4:17; 2Ti_1:6. In LXX it occurs Lev_24:7; Num_10:10; Wisd. 16:6; the titles of Psa_37. and 69. T. K. Abbott has shown that a sacrificial meaning cannot be obtained from ἀνάμνησιν any more than from ποιεῖτε (Essays, etc. P 122; A Reply, etc. p. 34).
The εἰς corresponds to ἵνα, rather than to ὡς, and indicates the purport of the new institution. For the possessive pronoun used objectively comp. Rom_11:31; 1Co_15:31, 1Co_16:17.
The omission of this charge, τοῦτο ποιεῖτε, κ.τ.λ., in Mt and Mk. has attracted attention. DR. C. A. Briggs says, “Jülicher (Zur Gesch. der Abendmahlsfeier in der ällesten Kirche, in the Theolog. Abhandlungen Weizsäcker gewidment, 1892, s. 238 seq.) and Spitta (Urchristenthum, i. S. 238 seq.) are doubtless correct in their opinion that the earliest Christian tradition. represented by Mark and Matthew. knew nothing of an institution of the Lord’s Supper by Jesus on the night of His betrayal, as a sacrament to be observed continuously in the future. But they admit that Paul and Luke are sustained by the earliest Christian usage in representing it as a permanent institution. It is easier to suppose that the risen Lord in connection with these manifestations commanded the perpetual observance of the holy supper. Just as He gave the Apostles their commission to preach and baptize, and explained the mystery of His life and death (Luk_24:25-49). Paul and Luke would then combine the words of Jesus on two different occasions” (The Messiah of the Gospels, T. & T. Clark, 1894, p. 123). See Schaefer, Das Herrenmahlnach Ursprung und Bedeutung, Gütersloh, 1897.
Vers. 19, 20. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gays unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. Around these words, and the parallel passages in St. Matthew and Mark, for more than a thousand years fierce theological disputes have raged. Men have gone gladly to prison and to death rather than renounce what they believed to be the true interpretation. Now, a brief exegetical commentary is not the place to enter into these sad controversies. It will be sufficient here to indicate some of the lines of thought which the prayerful earnest reader might wisely follow out so as to attain certain just ideas respecting the blessed rite here instituted ideas which may suffice for a practical religious life. Now, we possess a Divine commentary on this sacrament instituted by our Lord. It is noticeable that St. John, whose Gospel was the latest or well-nigh the latest of the canonical writings of the New Testament, when at great length he relates the story of the last Passover evening and its teaching, does not allude to the institution of that famous service, which, when he wrote his Gospel, had become part of the settled experience of Church life. He presupposes it; for it had passed then into the ordinary life of the Church. In another and earlier portion of his Gospel, however, St. John (Joh_6:32-58) gives us a record of the Lord”s discourse in the synagogue of Capernaum, in which Jesus, while speaking plainly to those who heard him at the time, gave by anticipation a commentary on the sacrament which he afterwards instituted. The truth which was taught in thin discourse is presented in a specific act and in a concrete form in the Holy Communion. In the fifty-third verse of that sixth chapter we read, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” How is this now to be done? We reply that our Lord has clothed these ideas and brought them near to us in this sacrament; while, by his teaching in the sixth chapter of St. John, he guards this sacrament from being regarded on the one hand as an end in itself, or on the other as a mere symbol. Certain truths, great landmarks laid down in this discourse, have to be borne in mind.
(1) The separation of the flesh of the Son of man into flesh and blood (Joh_6:53) presupposes a violent death submitted to for the sake of others. (Joh_6:51)
(2) Both these elements, the flesh and the blood, are to be appropriated individually by the believer. (Joh_6:56)
(3) How appropriated? St. Bernard well answers the question which he asks: “What is it to eat his flesh and to drink his blood, but to share in his sufferings and to imitate the life he lived when with us in the flesh? ” (St. Bernard, on Psa_3:3) “If ye suffer with him, ye shall also reign with him.” The Holy Eucharist is from one point of view a great truth dramatized, instituted for the.purpose of bringing before men in a vivid manner the great truths above alluded to. But it is something more. It brings to the believer, to the faithful communicant, to the one who in humble adoring faith carries out to the best of his ability his Master”s dying charge it brings a blessing too great for us to measure by earthly language, too deep for us to fathom with human inquiry. For the partaking of this Holy Communion is, first, the Christian”s solemn public confession of his faith in Christ crucified; his solemn private declaration that it is his deliberate wish to suffer with his Lord and for his Lord”s sake; that it is, too, his firm purpose to imitate the earthly life lived by his Lord. The partaking of this Holy Communion, too, is the Christian”s most solemn prayer for strength thus to suffer and to live. It is, too, his fervent expression of belief that this strength will be surely given to him. Further, the partaking of this Holy Communion is, above all, the Christian”s most solemn prayer for living union with Christ Christ may dwell in his heart by faith.” It is, too, his fervent expression of belief that “then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with. Christ, and Christ with us.” This confession, declaration, and prayer he constantly renews in obedience to the dying command of his Master. It is difficult to understand how any belief in a physical change in the elements of bread and wine, such as is involved in the theory of transubstantiation held in the Roman Church, or of consubstantiation in the Lutheran community, can be supposed to enhance the reverence of the communicant, or to augment the blessing promised. The words of the Lord, “This is my body… my blood,” cannot surely be pressed, seeing that the same Divine Speaker was in his discourses in the habit of using imagery which could not literally be pressed, such as “I am the Bread of life,” “I am the Door of the sheep,” “I am the true Vine,” etc. Nothing that can be conceived is more solemn than the simple rite, more awful in its grandeur, more Divine and far-reaching in its promises to the faithful believer. Human imaginings add nothing to this Divine mystery, which is connected at once with the Incarnation and the Atonement. They only serve to envelop it in a shroud of earth-born mist and cloud, and thus to dim if not to veil its Divine glory.
Vers. 19, 20. The Lord”s Supper.
A very simple rite as first observed was the Lord”s Supper. But for certain passages in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we should not have known that Jesus Christ intended to create a permanent institution. But though the simpler the ceremony is the more scriptural it is, yet are the ideas associated with it and suggested by it many and important. They are these
I THE NEAR PRESENCE OF OUR LORD. Not in the elements but presiding over the company. It is a table at which he entertains his friends; and can he, the Divine Host, himself be absent? “Around a table, not a tomb, He willed our gathering-place should be; When going to prepare our home, The Savior said, “Remember me.
And at that table, meeting and communing with his friends, we may feel sure and can realize forcibly that our living Lord is, in spirit and in truth, “in the midst of us.
II CHRIST OUR STRENGTH AND OUR JOY. The chosen elements are bread and wine, the sources of strength and of gladness. He, our Lord, is the one constant Source of our spiritual nourishment and strength, of the joy with which our hearts are for ever glad.
III CHRIST OUR PROPITIATION. The broken bread, the outpoured wine of what do these speak to our hearts? Of the “marred visage,” of the weariness, of the poverty and privation, of the toilfulness and loneliness of that troubled life, of the griefs and pains of that burdened and broken heart, of the shame and the darkness and the death of the last closing scene. We stand with bowed head and reverent spirit at that cross and see”Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
And our hearts are full as we ask”Did e”er such love and sorrow meet; Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
And we realize that that sorrow was borne, that death died for us. “This is my body, “given for you;” my blood, “shed for you. It is the Propitiation for our sins.
IV OUR INDIVIDUAL APPROPRIATION OF OUR LORD”S GREAT WORK. Each one eats of that bread and drinks of that cup. As he does so, in and by that act he declares his own personal need of a Divine Savior; he affirms his conviction that the sacrifice was offered for him; he renews his faith in the Divine Redeemer; he recognizes the claim of him that loved him unto death; he rededicates himself to Jesus Christ and to his service; he rejoices, in spirit, in his reconciled Father, in his Divine Lord and Friend.
V HAPPY AND HOLY COMMUNION WITH ONE ANOTHER. Gathered round one table, in the felt presence of our common Lord, all invited to drink of the same cup, (Mat_26:27) we are drawn to one another in the bonds of Christian love. We realize our oneness in him as a strong bond which triumphs over all the separating influences of the world. Faith, joy, love, are kindled and” burn within us;” and we are strengthened and sanctified, built up, enabled to “abide in him. C.
Cambridge Bible: Lk Farrar
20. the new testament] Hence the name of the New Testament. The word Diathēkē (Heb. Berîth) means both a will, and an agreement or covenant, see Jer_31:31. “It contains all the absolute elements of the one, with the conditional elements of the other. Hence the New Testament (kainē Diathēkē) is the revelation of a new relation on God’s part with the conditions necessary to its realisation on man’s part.” Fairbairn.
in my blood] i. e. ratified by my blood shed for you. The best comment is Heb_9:15, Heb_9:18-22; 1Co_11:25. The other Synoptists have “my blood of the New Testament.”
After the supper (meta to deipnēsai). Preposition meta and the accusative articular infinitive. The textual situation here is confusing, chiefly because of the two cups (Luk_22:17, Luk_22:20). Some of the documents omit the latter part of Luk_22:19 and all of Luk_22:20. It is possible, of course, that this part crept into the text of Luke from 1Co_11:24. But, if this part is omitted, Luke would then have the order reversed, the cup before the bread. So there are difficulties whichever turn one takes here with Luke’s text whether one cup or two cups.
The New Covenant (he kainē diathēkē). See note on Mat_26:28; Mar_14:24 for “covenant.” Westcott and Hort reject “new” there, but accept it here and in 1Co_11:25. See Luk_5:38 for difference between kainē and nea. “The ratification of a covenant was commonly associated with the shedding of blood; and what was written in blood was believed to be indelible” (Plummer).
Poured out (ekchunnomenon). Same word in Mar_14:24; Mat_26:28 translated “shed.” Late form present passive participle of ekchunnō of ekcheō, to pour out.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farar
21. the hand of him that betrayeth me] For fuller details of this last awful warning to Judas, and of the intimation of the person intended to His nearest disciples, see Mat_26:21-25; Mar_14:18-21; Joh_13:21-26. Whether Judas actually partook of the Holy Communion has always been uncertain. Bengel quotes the language of St Ambrose to Theodosius, “Will you hold forth those hands still dripping with the blood of unjust slaughter, and with them take the most holy body of the Lord?”
Vers. 21-23. The Lord”s sorrowful allusion to Judas the traitor.
But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. This is the second mention of the traitor in St. Luke”s account of the Last Supper. From St. John”s recital, we gather that Jesus returned several times in the course of that solemn evening to this sad topic. That one of his own little inner circle, so closely associated with him, should so basely betray him, was evidently a very bitter drop in the Lord”s cup of suffering. In his dread experience of human sorrow it was needful that the Christ should fulfill in his own experience what even the noblest of the children of men David, for instance had felt of the falseness of friends. What suffering can be inflicted on a generous heart comparable to it? Surely he of whom it was written, “Whose sorrows are like unto my sorrows?” must make trial of this bitterness. Chrysostom thinks that the Master, in some of these repeated allusions during the “Supper,” tried to win Judas over to a better mind.
Vers. 21, 22. Jesus and Judas; our Lord and ourselves.
The ordinance of the Lord”s Supper was closely connected, not only in time but in apostolic thought, with the act of the betrayal (see 1Co_11:23) the institution of the greatest privilege with the commission of the darkest crime. Oar Lord”s demeanour on this occasion is well worthy of our most reverent thought.
I JESUS AND JUDAS.
1. His length of sufferance. After knowing that Judas was seeking to betray him (ver. 6), Jesus might well have expelled him from his society. He might have done so, acting judicially, as being no longer worthy to be classed among his apostles. He might have done so, acting prudentially, as one
(1) whom it was not wise to admit to his counsels and his plans; and as one
(2) whose association with the eleven would be a source of evil. He might very appropriately have declined to acknowledge him as an officer and a friend. But Jesus did not press his right. On the contrary, he let him continue as one of the twelve, he let him come under the same roof with himself, he permitted him to share the Paschal feast: the hand of him that was betraying him was “with him on the table.” To such a length as that his longsuffering went.
2. His dignity in rebuke. He did not break forth into passionate invective; he did not use words of natural and permissible vehemence; he quietly said, “Woe unto that man,” etc.! Matthew tells us that he added, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born.” What a transcendent calmness and serenity of spirit we have here! What a contrast between two children of men! One man preparing to betray his Teacher, his Friend, his Master; the other compassionating his betrayer for the depth of his fall and the sadness of his doom. Jesus went on to his sacrificial death and to his throne; Judas went out into the night (Joh_13:30) into the dark night of guilt, of shame, of despair, of death.
II ONE LORD AND OURSELVES.
The wrong against our Lord it is still open to us to commit. We cannot betray him as Judas did; yet may we do that which answers to, and is almost if not quite as deplorable as that sad and shameful act. Let us consider that:
1. We know more about Jesus than Judas then did; for we have all the light of his resurrection and of the teaching of his apostles.
2. He has granted to us mercies as many and as great in intrinsic value as those he bestowed on Judas.
3. Owing him as much as Judas did, we may do even greater injury to his cause than the traitor did. The act of Iscariot ultimately issued in the all-sufficient sacrifice; this did not extenuate or lessen his guiltiness by a simple grain; but it nullified the mischief of the crime. We may do incalculable and irreparable mischief to the cause of our Master by our unfaithfulness, our infidelity, our disobedience, our criminal negligence.
4. By such disloyalty we may wound and grieve his Spirit almost as severely as his betrayer did. Wherefore let us:
(1) Be humble-minded. “Let him that thinketh he standeth,” etc. If we could find the man who has smitten Christ and his cause the severest blow that was ever struck, it is probable that we might easily find an hour in that man”s history when he would have shrunk with holy horror from such a guilty act.
(2) Be prayerful; ever looking heavenward with the supplication, “Hold thou me up,” etc.
(3) Be diligent in the field of earnest Christian work. It is the idler in the vineyard whom the tempter will assail. It is the faithful workman who is in a position to say, after his Lord and Leader, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me”. C. (Joh_14:30)
That betrayeth (tou paradidontos). Present active participle, actually engaged in doing it. The hand of Judas was resting on the table at the moment. It should be noted that Luke narrates the institution of the Lord’s Supper before the exposure of Judas as the traitor while Mark and Matthew reverse this order.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
22. as it was determined] “being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” Act_2:23, Act_2:27, Act_2:28. “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Rev_13:8. The type of Judas was Ahithophel, Psa_41:9.
22. It is here that Lk. is almost verbatim the same as Mt. and Mk. Such solemn words would be likely to be remembered in one and the same form. Keim draws attention to their conspicuous originality. They are not adaptations of anything in O.T., although Oba_1:7 and Mic_7:6 might appropriately have been used (v. p. 309). He regards Lk. as most exact. In any case πορεύεται, for which Mt. and Mk. have ὑπάγει, is to be noticed. It is probably used in the LXX sense of “depart, die”: comp. Psa_78:39.
ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς μέν. The “because” explains how such an amazing thing has come to pass. Failure to see the meaning of ὅτι (א B D L T, Sah. Boh.) has caused the substitution in many texts of καί (A X Γ Δ Λ Π b c e f ff2. Vulg. Syr-Sin. Arm. Aeth.), while others omit (a d, Orig.).
κατὰ τὸ ὡρισμένον. It is part of the Divine decree that the death of the Christ should be accompanied by betrayal: Mt. and Mk. have καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ: comp. Act_2:23. Excepting Rom_1:4; Heb_4:7, ὁρίζειν is peculiar to Lk. (Act_2:23, Act_2:17, Act_2:31).
πλήν οὐαί. Mt and Mk. have οὐαὶ δέ; but Lk. is fond of πλήν (ver. 21). Although God knows from all eternity that Judas is the betrayer of the Christ. yet this does not destroy the freedom or responsibility of Judas. The ἐκείνῳ marks him off as an alien: comp. Joh_13:26, Joh_13:27, Joh_13:30. Mt. and Mk. add καλὸν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
39. And he came out] St Luke here omits all the touching incidents which St John alone records—the discourses so “rarely mixed of sadness and joys, and studded with mysteries as with emeralds;” Peter’s question, “Lord, whither goest thou?”; the melancholy remark of Thomas about the way; Philip’s “Lord, shew us the Father;” the perplexed enquiry of Judas Lebbaeus; the rising from the Table; the Parable of the Vine and the Branches, perhaps suggested by the trellised vine under which they passed out into the moonlight; and the great High Priest’s prayer.
to the mount of Olives] down the valley over the brook, or, rather, dry wady of the Kedron, and then up the green slope beyond it to the garden or small farm (χωρίον) of Gethsemane, “the oil press,” which is about half a mile from the city. Probably (Joh_18:2) it belonged to a disciple; possibly to St Mark. Judas knew the spot, and had ascertained that Jesus was going there. He had gone out to get the band necessary for His arrest.
followed him] The walk would be under the full Paschal moon amid the deep hush that falls over an Oriental city at night. The only recorded incident of the walk is one more warning to the disciples, and specially to St Peter. Mat_26:32-35.
39-46. The Agony in the Garden. With regard to the omission of nearly the whole of the last discourses (Jn. 14-17.) Godet remarks that the oral tradition was not a suitable vehicle for transmitting such things: c’étaient den trésors qu’un cæur d’élite Pouvait seul garder et reproduire. On the other hand Jn. omits the whole of this scene, although there is a clear reference to it 18:11. Lk.’s narrative once more differs considerably from that of Mt. (26:30-41) and of Mk. (14:26-38), which are almost verbatim the same; and it is very much shorter. It is in vv. 39, 42, 46 that Lk. comes most closely to the other two.
39. ἐξελθών. From the house.
κατὰ τὸ ἔθος Peculiar to Lk. (1:9, 2:42): Comp. πολλάκις συνήχθη Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖ (Joh_18:2). It was no longer necessary to keep Judas ignorant of His movements; so He follows His usual practice. Lk. omits the ὑμνήσαντες which records the chanting of the second part of the Hallel. Jn. alone mentions the passing of the gloomy ravine of the Kidron (18:1).
Vers. 39-46. The agony in the garden. This eventful scene is recounted in detail by all the three synoptists. St. Matthew”s account is the most complete. St. Mark adds one saying of the Lord”s containing a deep theological truth, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee.” These remarkable words, occurring as they do in the midst of the most solemn scene of prayer in the Redeemer”s earth-life, tell of the vast possibilities of prayer. What may not be accomplished by earnest supplication to the throne of grace?
St. Luke”s account is the shortest, but it contains the story of the angelic mission of help, and the additional detail of the “bloody sweat.
St. John alone of the four omits the scene; but, as in other most important recitals where he refrains from repeating the story of things thoroughly known in his Master”s Church at the period when he committed his Gospel to writing, he takes care, however, often to record some hitherto unrecorded piece of the Lord”s teaching, which is calculated to throw new light upon the momentous twice and thrice told incident, the story of which he does not deem it necessary to repeat. So in Lu 2 he throws a flood of light upon Christian baptism. Lu 6 is a Divine commentary on the Holy Eucharist. While in Luk_12:23-28 he gives us, in his Master”s words, a new insight into that awful sorrow which was the source of the agony in Gethsemane.
Canon Westcott suggests that the succession of the main events recorded by the four evangelists was as follows:
The conveyance to the high priest”s house, probably adjoining “the Booths of Hanna.
The preliminary examination before Annas in the presence of Caiaphas.
About 3 a.m….
The examination before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin at an irregular meeting at “the Booths.
About 5 a.m….
The formal sentence of the Sanhedrin in their own proper place of meeting Gazith or Beth Midrash. (Luk_22:66 Mat_27:1, prwiav genomenhv ; comp. Mar_15:1 Luk_22:66, wv egeneto hmuera) The first examination before Pilate at the palace.
1 a.m….The examination before Herod. The scourging and first mockery by the soldiers at the palace.
2 a.m….The sentence of Pilate. (Joh_19:14, wra hn wv ekth)
7 a.m…. The second mockery of the condemned “King” by the soldiers.
9 a.m…. The Crucifixion, and rejection of the stupefying draught. (Mar_15:25, hn wra trith)
12 noon… The last charge. 12-3 p.m…. The darkness. (Mat_27:45 Mar_15:33 Luk_23:44 hn wsei wra ekth ewv wrav ennathv)
3 p.m…. The end.
And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the Mount of Olives. In the other evangelists we find the place on the Mount of Olives described as Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane signifies “oilpress.” It was a garden; one of the many charming gardens which Josephus tells us old Jerusalem abounded with. It perhaps belonged to a friend of Christ, or else was with others of these gardens, or “paradises,” thrown open at the great festival seasons to the faithful pilgrims who on these occasions crowded the holy city and its suburbs. There is at the present day just beyond the brook Kedron, between the paths that go up to the summit of the mount, about three quarters of a mile from the Jerusalem wall, an enclosed garden called Gethsemane. It belongs to the Latin community in Jerusalem. In it are eight very ancient olive trees. When Henry Maundrell visited the spot, in 1697, these eight aged trees were believed to be the same that stood there in the blessed Savior”s time. Bove the botanist, in Ritter”s “Geography of Palestine,” vol. 4., quoted by Dean Mansel, says these venerable olive trees are two thousand years old. Josephus, however, relates that in the great siege the soldiers of Titus cut down all the trees in the Jerusalem suburbs. Even if this be assumed, these soldiers, from some feeling of awe stirred up by the tradition which hung, of course, round this hallowed spot, might have spared this little sacred grove; or they might at the time have been still young saplings, of no use for the put-pose of the siege operations. “In spite of all the doubts that can be raised against their antiquity, the eight aged olive trees, if only by their manifest difference from all others on the mountain, have always struck even the most indifferent observers. They will remain, so long as their already protracted life is spared, the most venerable of their race on the surface of the earth. Their gnarled trunks and scanty foliage will always be regarded as the most affecting of the sacred memorials in or about Jerusalem the most nearly approaching to the everlasting hills themselves in the force with which they carry us back to the events of the gospel history” (Dean Stanley, ” Sinai and Palestine,” p. 455).
Vers. 39-46. Gethsemane.
It is now dark. On the way to the Mount of Olives, the customary retreat of Jesus (ver. 39), at the point where the upward slope begins, there is a shady place, belonging, perhaps, to one of those who believed in him, whither “Jesus had often resorted”. (Joh_18:2) The site of the garden of Gethsemane may, with sufficient accuracy, be identified. It may not have been the exact spot, overshadowed by the eight venerable trees, which immemorial tradition has distinguished as the scene of the lonely vigil, but it must have been close to that spot. It was a place where there were many olives, and, as the name suggests, an oil-press; a place of perfect quiet and seclusion, where, beyond the voices of rude men, there was the peace of heaven. To this place he who had uttered the high-priestly prayer brought the high-priestly sacrifice; and there he began the walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The tale of the sore amazement and exceeding heaviness is told, with more fullness of detail, by the Evangelists Matthew and Mark (see homiletics in loc. ). Here, without enlarging on the meaning and scope of the features of the narrative, note
I THE AGONY. (Ver. 44) It has always been felt that in this there is immeasurably more than a mere revolt from imminent pain and death. The anguish is marked by an intensity for which this revolt cannot account. A brave man, however sensitive, can face, with unflinching fortitude, a high enterprise, even though its fatal consequence is evident. “The sweat becoming as it were great drops of blood,” speaks of a conflict in the soul for which the impending physical dissolution cannot account. Some references supply us with suggestions.
1. The announcement made at the Supper-table, (Joh_14:30) of the coming of the prince of the world, speaks to us of a temptation, intensified by the circumstances of the hour, in the line of the wilderness-temptation, to grasp the power of the Messiah otherwise than through the suffering of the cross (see, in this connection, Mat_26:53).
2. The sorrow which cast its shade over his countenance when the betray always mentioned; (Joh_13:21) the horror with which he regarded the perfidy; (ver. 22; Mat_26:24) the utterance by which he awoke the disciples, marking out the betrayal as the bitterness of the hour at hand; (Mat_26:45) the appeal to Judas (ver. 48); these things indicate the amazement and pain caused by the action of the son of perdition.
3. The word of the Son to the Father as to the cup so full of woe that he humbly besought its removal, reminds us of a region beyond all that our thought can trace, in which the Christ of God was treading the wine-press alone. Better, in view of this, a holy reticence than a zeal which is eager with explanations. If we must speak of the special fearfulness and trembling of Gethsemane, let us simply say that there, in all its crushing weight, was realized the bearing of the sin of the world.
II THE PRAYER.
1. Observe its characteristics.
(1) Humility. He kneeled down.” More strongly still St. Mark says, (Mar_14:35) “He fell on the ground.” It was the attitude of deepest reverence, of entire prostration. In the high-priestly prayer, “he lifted up his eyes to heaven;” but now, in human weakness and dependence, he is prostrate before his Father. Sign of the “godly fear” (Heb_5:7) for which he was heard.
(2) Importunate repetition. Thrice he prayed, “saying the same words”. (Mat_26:44) It is not the eloquence, but the sincerity of desire in the prayer which God regards.
(3) Increasing earnestness. “Being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly.” The greater the pressure on the soul, the more fervent became the cry. The sorrow of the disciples sent them to sleep; his sent him to the Father. “Love overmasters agony,” not agony love. Let the disciple learn, of the Master.
2. Observe its subject-matter. (Ver. 42) “Remove this cup from me; or (as in Mat_26:30), “Let this cup pass from me.” It was the pleading of the sensitive human soul. And we may be assured that to plead for the removal of a cup of pain, for relief from burdens which seem greater than we can bear, is in the way of the child”s privilege; only there must be the spirit of entire dependence. “If thou be willing.” There is to be no “if” where God”s promise is absolute. We do not need to say, If thou be willing, make thy grace sufficient.” His pledge as to this is distinct and unequivocal: “My grace is sufficient.” From this, on this resting, we pray. But when we desire that concerning which we have no definite assurance of the Father”s mind, then all is to be subordinated to him. This is to abide in the Son as he is revealed in Gethsemane. “If we ask any thing according to God”s will, he heareth us.” The godly McCheyne spoke of getting into tune for prayer. We get into tune when we learn Christ”s “if it be possible;” “If thou be willing.” “Renew my will from day to day; Blend it with thine,” etc.
3. Observe its answer. The answer is manifest:
(1) In the righting Nevertheless. ” (Ver. 42) In the prayer the soul realized “God my Rock.” From what might have been self-seeking, it was delivered. “Do thou thy holy will: I will lie still; I will not stir, Lest I should break the charm. “In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
(2) In the comforting angel. (Ver. 43) The holy one, sign of the sympathy in heaven above. For to the one who prays in an agony the heavens are not brass. There are ministries of love. God”s angels are all ministering spirits. In visible form the angel may not appear; but we know that he is with us in the comfort and peace. Have we not the Comforter himself?”A gracious, willing Guest, While he can find one humble heart Wherein to rest.
And thus, though the cup does not pass, the will of the Son is strengthened into perfect harmony with the will of the Father. He rises up from prayer, ready, “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
III Observe, finally, THE REMONSTRANCE. Very touching the word to Peter. (Mat_26:40) The one hour never again to come, the one hour of watching, lost in sleep! And now (ver. 46). May not the pathetic question ring in the ears of the Christian?
Why do we sleep we whom the Son of man has associated with himself in his prayers and pains? We asleep, and he toiling! We asleep, and the world lying in darkness! Ah! in the solemn light of Gethsemane, what is the utmost Christian activity but a slumber? and how many who claim to be Christ”s are fast asleep, not for sorrow, but in self-indulgence and sin! Oh that the gentle, reproachful “why?” may be as an alarum-clock to conscience, a continual incitement to will and heart! The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is ever weak. “Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation!
Vers. 39-45. Gethsemane.
As we enter “the place which is called Gethsemane,” we pass into the “holy place,” the nearest of all to “the holy of holies that is, to Calvary itself. Thither our Lord went on this most memorable evening; and “his disciples followed him the eleven who remained faithful to him. But even of these only three were counted worthy to attend him into the secret place of prayer and struggle, and to witness his agony. Such sorrow as he was then to know seeks the secret place and chooses only the very closest and dearest friendship for its ministry. Then fell upon our Divine Lord a sorrow and a temptation; an agitation and agony of soul for which our language has no name, our heart no room, our life no experience. We ask What was that intolerable and overwhelming anguish, which the Savior asked might pass from him, and which had so marvellous and so terribly significant an effect on his bodily nature (vers. 42-44)? Our completest answer leaves much to be said, much to be explained.
1. We barely touch the outer line of the whole circle of truth when we speak of the apprehension of coming torture and death as events in the natural, physical sphere. It is an irreverent and wholly unworthy conception that what many men many who have not even been good men have faced without flinching, our Lord and Master shrank from with an overmastering dread.
2. We come nearer to the center of the truth when we think that the whole shadow of the cross, with its spiritual darkness and desolation, then began to rest upon him… Something of that shadow had been darkening his path before. (Mar_10:38 Luk_12:50 Joh_12:27) And this shadow darkened and deepened as he drew near to the dread hour itself. At this point the cross immediately confronted him in all its awful severity, and he knew that this was the time when he must finally resolve to endure everything or to retrace his steps. This, then, was the critical hour; then was “the crisis of the world.” Great and terrible was the temptation to decline the fearful future now at hand; it was a temptation he struggled against with a spiritual violence that showed itself in the drops of blood; it was a temptation he only overcame by tearful supplications to the Eternal Father for his prevailing succor. (Heb_5:7)
3. But we miss our true mark if we do not include the thought that he was then bearing something of the burden of human sin. Whatever was intended by bearing our sins in his own body,” by making his soul an offering for sin,” and by expressions similar to these, we believe that Jesus Christ was then in the very act of fulfilling these predictions when he thus strove and suffered in the garden. As we look upon him there we see “the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world.” The scene may teach us very varied lessons and affect us in many ways; but it is certainly well fitted to be
I AN ATTRACTION TO SOULS STILL DISTANT FROM THE SAVIOUR. It says, “Behold how he loved you!
II AN INVITATION TO PRAYER FOR FAITHFULNESS IN THE HOUR OF TRIAL. Both before and after, the Master exhorted his disciples to pray that “they entered not into temptation” (vers. 40, 46). He himself triumphed through the strong efficacy of prayer (ver. 41). Prayer, appropriate at all times, is urgently needed as we enter the shadow of temptation; but it is positively indispensable when the greater trials of our life assail us.
III A SUMMONS TO STRENUOUS AND UNFALTERING PERSEVERANCE. Christian pilgrim, Christian workman, do you weary of your way or of your work? Does the one seem long and thorny, or the other tedious and unsuccessful? Do you think you must sleep as the disciples did, or that you must put down the cup as their Master did not? Do you talk about giving up the journey, about retiring from the field? Consider him who went quite through the work the Father game him to do, who strove and suffered to the very last; consider him, the agonizing but undaunted, the suffering but resolving Savior; consider him, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. “Go, labor on, spend and be spent, Thy joy to do the Father”s will; It is the way the Master went, Should not the servant tread it still? C.
Vers. 39-53. Gethsemane.
After the Passover and the address given in John 14., he led the disciples out through the vineyards, where most likely John 15. was delivered to them, and John 16., until he reached his usual rendezvous in Gethsemane, part of the Mount of Olives. Here let us suppose the high-priestly prayer given in John 17. took place, which being ended, he retired to an adjacent and secluded place for further prayer. Gethsemane was thus his preparation for suffering and death, as the Transfiguration had been for work. And here we have to notice
I HIS DREAD OF THE DENOUEMENT WAS NOT A DREAD OF PHYSICAL PAIN AND DEATH. His cry for escape, if possible, was not prompted by physical fear. He always showed himself brave before danger of a mere physical kind. Socrates seems the braver man before he drank the hemlock, but this was because Socrates could not see the issues that were before him as Christ foresaw his fate. The cup he shrank from was not like that of Socrates. It was no literal cup, but the apprehension of isolation from his Father. Not the trial, nor the mockery, nor the physical pain, but the isolation from God, the sense of forsakenness, the constraint to cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” which prompted the cry to escape. Now, the very elevation of his being rendered the dread of separation even for the shortest season from his Father intensely painful. Vulgar souls can take separation from others quietly, but the elect souls pass through deepest pains in consequence. That darkness which came on when Son was separated from Father because of the sin-bearing was what Jesus dreaded, and would gladly have escaped. Want of fellowship with the Father seemed to this holy Child Jesus something to be escaped if at all possible.
II THE INTENSITY AND EFFICACY OF HIS PRAYER. Just as Jacob had to wrestle at Peniel to obtain the blessing, so had the Saviour in the garden. He was in an agony of earnestness, and was in consequence bathed in a bloody sweat. Time after time he prayed thus earnestly. And we are expressly told, “He was heard in that he feared”. (Heb_5:7) His prayer was efficacious. Now, let us consider what he prayed for. It was for deliverance from isolation from God deliverance from death without a sense of the Divine fellowship. And when we consider the sequel, we find that he was heard, and his prayer answered. For
(1) he enjoyed an angelic visit and was strengthened by it (ver. 43);
(2) he was granted light and fellowship with the Father before death supervened; and
(3) he was saved from death by resurrection. In these ways the Father undoubtedly heard and answered the cry of Christ in Gethsemane.
III NOTICE THE DISCIPLES” SLEEP OF SORROW. For sorrow often induces sleep, while at other times it makes sleep impossible. In the present case the disciples ought to have been praying for Jesus, for themselves, seeking preparation for the trial he had forewarned them was at hand. Instead of doing so they slept. Here we have to notice:
1. Opportunity for showing spiritual sympathy was missed. Jesus, as we know, was most anxious they should watch with him. He needed and he sought their sympathy; but they, in thoughtlessness, denied it to him. It would be well it deepest consideration were exhibited for noble souls that are greatly tried.
2. Opportunity for private preparation was missed. They themselves needed spiritual help more than Christ. They could less afford than he to meet the crisis prayerlessly. Yet this was their condition when the trial fell upon them.
3. Physical effort was their only resource when the crisis came. They could lay on with the sword. It does not take much prayer to help men to fight. But other and better weapons were needed than Peter”s sword, but they could only be taken out of the armoury by prayer.
IV THE BETRAYAL. Judas and his band were upon them before the sleepy disciples had time to pray. He had planned the capture as only a coward can. He betrays Christ with the semblance of friendship, trying to give the Master the usual kiss. To this offer Jesus simply replies, “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” Force behind deceit is apparently overpowering the spirituality which had its home in that place of prayer.
V THE DEFENCE OF THE DISCIPLES AND THE MIRACLE OF THE MASTER, The disciples, spiritually off guard, betake themselves to the carnal weapon, and Peter lays round him with the sword. He succeeds in cutting off the right ear of the high priest”s servant. Here is fresh trouble created. If this servant has to go back thus wounded, a warrant will soon be out for the disciples, and the whole issue thrown into perplexity. Our Lord accordingly interposes, heals the sufferer”s ear, and advises Peter to put up his sword. In this way Jesus rescues the disciples from the liability incurred through their own imprudence. It was a wonderful consideration manifested when his own troubles were rising to their height.
VI THE REBUKE ADMINISTERED TO HIS ENEMIES. Why had they come out against him as against a thief? Had he not confronted them time after time in open day? They had not dared to lay hands upon him then. He thus convicted them of cowardice. It was “their hour, and the power of darkness.” A deed of darkness dare not be done in open day. Thus was it that our Lord bravely met his adversaries. He was prepared, though the disciples were not. R.M.E.
Expositor’s Greek NT
Vv. 39-46. Gethsemane (Mat_26:36-46, Mar_14:32-42). Lk.’s narrative here falls far short of the vivid realism of the parallels. Mt. and Mk. allow the infirmity of the great High Priest of humanity so graphically described in the Epistle to the Hebrews to appear in its appalling naked truth. Lk. throws a veil over it, so giving an account well adapted doubtless to the spiritual condition of first readers, but not so well serving the deepest permanent needs of the Church. This statement goes on the assumption that vv. 43, 44 are no part of the genuine text, for in these, especially in ver. 44, the language is even more realistic than that of Mk., and is thus out of harmony with the subdued nature of Lk.’s narrative in general. This want of keeping with the otherwise colourless picture of the scene, which is in accord with Lk.’s uniform mode of handling the emphatic words, acts and experiences of Jesus, is, in my view, one of the strongest arguments against the genuineness of vv. 43, 44.
Ver. 39. ἐξελθὼν: no mention of the hymn sung before going out (Mt. ver. 30, Mk. ver. 26). Lk. makes prominent the outgoing of Jesus. The parallels speak in the plural of the whole company.—κατὰ τὸ ἔθος: for the form vide 2:42, and for the fact 21:37 and Joh_18:2. This is another point of contact between these two Gospels. The reference to the habit of Jesus deprives this visit of special significance.—ἠκολούθησαν: the disciples followed, no talk by the way of their coming breakdown, as in Mt. ver. 31, and Mk. ver, 27.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
40. he said unto them] First He left eight of them to sleep under the trees while He withdrew with Peter and James and John, whom He told to watch and pray.
40. τοῦ τόπου. Lk. and Jn. call it “the place,” Mt. and Mk. χωρίον and add the name Γεθσημανεί = “oil-press.” The traditional Gethsemane is a questionable site. Both Robinson and Thomson would place the garden higher up the Mount of Olives. The tradition is continuous from the age of Constantine, but cannot be traced to any earlier source. Stanley inclines to accept it as correct (Sin & Pal. p. 455). See D. B.2 art. “Gethsemane.”
Προσεύχεσθε. This first command to pray (comp. ver. 46) is recorded by Lk. alone. It is given to the eleven; the second is to the chosen three. whom Lk. does not notice particularly.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
the place — the Garden of Gethsemane, on the west or city side of the mount. Comparing all the accounts of this mysterious scene, the facts appear to be these:
(1) He bade nine of the Twelve remain “here” while He went and prayed “yonder.”
(2) He “took the other three, Peter, James, and John, and began to be sore amazed [appalled], sorrowful, and very heavy [oppressed], and said, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death” – “I feel as if nature would sink under this load, as if life were ebbing out, and death coming before its time” – “tarry ye here, and watch with Me”; not, “Witness for Me,” but, “Bear Me company.” It did Him good, it seems, to have them beside Him.
(3) But soon even they were too much for Him: He must be alone. “He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s-cast” – though near enough for them to be competent witnesses and kneeled down, uttering that most affecting prayer (Mar_14:36), that if possible “the cup,” of His approaching death, “might pass from Him, but if not, His Father’s will be done”: implying that in itself it was so purely revolting that only its being the Father’s will would induce Him to taste it, but that in that view of it He was perfectly prepared to drink it. It is no struggle between a reluctant and a compliant will, but between two views of one event – an abstract and a relative view of it, in the one of which it was revolting, in the other welcome. By signifying how it felt in the one view, He shows His beautiful oneness with ourselves in nature and feeling; by expressing how He regarded it in the other light, He reveals His absolute obediential subjection to His Father.
(4) On this, having a momentary relief, for it came upon Him, we imagine, by surges, He returns to the three, and finding them sleeping, He addresses them affectingly, particularly Peter, as in Mar_14:37, Mar_14:38. He then
(5) goes back, not now to kneel, but fell on His face on the ground, saying the same words, but with this turn, “If this cup may not pass,” etc. (Mat_26:42) – that is, ‘Yes, I understand this mysterious silence (Psa_22:1-6); it may not pass; I am to drink it, and I will’ – “Thy will be done!”
(6) Again, for a moment relieved, He returns and finds them “sleeping for sorrow,” warns them as before, but puts a loving construction upon it, separating between the “willing spirit” and the “weak flesh.”
(7) Once more, returning to His solitary spot, the surges rise higher, beat more tempestuously, and seem ready to overwhelm Him. To fortify Him for this, “there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven strengthening Him” – not to minister light or comfort (He was to have none of that, and they were not needed nor fitted to convey it), but purely to sustain and brace up sinking nature for a yet hotter and fiercer struggle. And now, He is “in an agony, and prays more earnestly” – even Christ’s prayer, it seems, admitted of and now demanded such increase – “and His sweat was as it were great drops [literally, ‘clots’] of blood falling down to the ground.” What was this? Not His proper sacrificial offering, though essential to it. It was just the internal struggle, apparently hushing itself before, but now swelling up again, convulsing His whole inner man, and this so affecting His animal nature that the sweat oozed out from every pore in thick drops of blood, falling to the ground. It was just shuddering nature and indomitable will struggling together. But again the cry, If it must be, Thy will be done, issues from His lips, and all is over. “The bitterness of death is past.” He has anticipated and rehearsed His final conflict, and won the victory – now on the theater of an invincible will, as then on the arena of the Cross. “I will suffer,” is the grand result of Gethsemane: “It is finished” is the shout that bursts from the Cross. The Will without the Deed had been all in vain; but His work was consummated when He carried the now manifested Will into the palpable Deed, “by the which WILL we are sanctified THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL” (Heb_10:10).
(8) At the close of the whole scene, finding them still sleeping (worn out with continued sorrow and racking anxiety), He bids them, with an irony of deep emotion, “sleep on now and take their rest, the hour is come, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners, rise, let us be going, the traitor is at hand.” And while He spoke, Judas approached with his armed band. Thus they proved “miserable comforters,” broken reeds; and thus in His whole work He was alone, and “of the people there was none with Him.”
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
41. he was withdrawn] Literally, “He was taken away,” or ‘He tore Himself away’ (comp. 21:1), shewing the reluctance with which He parted from this support of loving sympathy under the imperious necessity of passing through His darkest hour alone. Perhaps He withdrew deeper into the shadow of the ancient olive-trees. (In estimating the force of such words as ekballo, apospao, &c., it should however be borne in mind that in Hellenistic Greek their old classical force was weakened by colloquialism. See 2Ma_12:10.)
and kneeled down] “and fell on His face,” Mat_26:39.
41. ἀπεσπάσθη. Avulsus est (Vulg.). “He was drawn away” by the violence of His emotion. which was too strong to tolerate the sympathy of even the closest friends: comp. Act_21:1. It seems to be too strong a word to use of mere separation: but comp. 2 Mac. 12:10, 17; 4 Mac. 13:18; Isa_28:9.
ὡσεὶ λίθου βολήν. Mt. and Mk. have μικρόν Comp. ὡσεὶ τόξου βολήν (Gen_21:16): λείπετο δουρὸς ἐρωήν (Hom. Il. xxiii. 529). The acc. in Joh_6:19 is not quite parallel.
θεὶς τὰ γόνατα. Lk. alone mentions this. Standing was the more common attitude (18:11; Mat_6:5; Mar_11:25; 1Sa_1:26): but on occasions of special earnestness or humiliation kneeling was more natural (1Ki_8:54; Ezr_9:5; Dan_6:10). In N. T. kneeling is the only attitude mentioned; perhaps in imitation of Christ’s example here: Act_7:60, Act_7:9:40, Act_7:20:36, Act_7:21:5; Eph_3:14. The phrase τιθέναι τὰ γόνατα is not classical, but comp. genua ponere. See on 3:21: the imperf. προσηύχετο implies continued prayer.
Expositor’s Greek NT
Ver. 41. ἀπεσπάσθη, He withdrew, secessit. Some insist on the literal sense, and render, “tore Himself away” = “avulsus est,” Vulg., implying that Jesus was acting under strong feeling. But did Lk. wish to make that prominent? The verb does not necessarily mean more than “withdrew,” and many of the philological commentators (Wolf, Raphel, Pricaeus, Palairet, etc.) take it in that sense, citing late Greek authors in support.—ἀπʼ αὐτῶν, from them (all); no mention of three taken along with Him, a very important feature as an index of the state of mind of Jesus. The Master in His hour of weakness looked to the three for sympathy and moral support; vide Mat_26:40. But it did not enter into Lk.’s plan to make that apparent.—λίθου βολήν, a stone’s cast, not too distant to be over heard. βολήν is the accusative of measure.—θεὶς τὰ γόνατα: the usual attitude in prayer was standing; the kneeling posture implied special urgency (“in genibus orabant quoties res major urgebat,” Grot.), but not so decidedly as falling at full length on the ground, the attitude pointed at in the parallels.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
42. if thou be willing] The principle of His whole life of suffering obedience, Joh_5:30, Joh_6:38.
this cup] Mat_20:22; comp. Eze_22:31; Psa_75:8. This prayer is an instance of the “strong crying and tears,” amid which He “learned obedience by the things which He suffered,” Heb_5:7, Heb_5:8.
42. παρέενεγκε τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ. “This cup” and the address “Father” are in all three accounts. In O.T. the metaphor of “cup” for a person’s fortune, whether good or bad, is very common (Psa_11:6, Psa_16:5, Psa_23:5, Psa_75:8, etc.). In N.T. specially of the sufferings of Christ (Mar_14:36; Joh_18:11; Mat_20:22, Mat_20:23; Mar_10:38, Mar_10:39): comp. Rev_14:10, Rev_16:19, Rev_18:6. In class. Grk. παραφέρειν ποτήριον would mean to place a cup at the side of a person. put it on the table near him (Hdt. 1:119, 5, 133, 3; Plat. Rep. 1. p. 354). But in Plutarch παραφέρειν is used in the sense of “lay aside, remove” (Camill. 41.). Elsewhere in N.T. it is used of leading astray (Heb_13:9; Jud_1:12).
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. The three synoptists give this prayer in slightly varying terms; “but the figure of the cup is common to all the three; “it was indelibly impressed on tradition. This cup, which Jesus entreats God to cause to pass from before (para) his lips, is the symbol of that terrible punishment, the dreadful and mournful picture of which is traced before him at this moment by a skillful painter with extraordinary vividness. The painter is the same who in the wilderness, using a like illusion, passed before his view the magical scene -f the glories belonging to the Messianic kingdom” (Godet). If thou be willing. He looked on in this supreme hour, just before “the Passion” really began, to the Crucifixion and all the horrors which preceded it and accompanied it to the treason of Judas; the denial of Peter; the desertion of the apostles; the cruel, relentless enmity of the priests and rulers; the heartless abandonment of the people; the insults; the scourging: and then the shameful and agonizing lingering death which was to close the Passion; and, more dreadful than all, the reason why he was here in Gethsemane; why he was to drink this dreadful cup of suffering; the memory of all the sin of man! To drink this cup of a suffering, measureless, inconceivable, the Redeemer for a moment shrank back, and asked the Father if the cross was the only means of gaining the glorious end in view the saving the souls of unnumbered millions. Could not God in his unlimited power find another way of reconciliation? And yet beneath this awful agony, the intensity of which we are utterly incapable of grasping beneath it there lay the intensest desire that his Father”s wish and will should be done. That wish and will were in reality his own. The prayer was made and answered. It was not the Father”s will that the cup should pass away, and the Son”s will was entirely the same; it was answered by the gift of strength strength from heaven being given to enable the Son to drink the cup of agony to its dregs. How this strength was given St. Luke relates in the next verse.
“Not my will, but thine, be done.” These words are suggestive as well as expressive. They suggest to us
I THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF SIN. Where shall we find the root of sin? Its manifold fruits we see around us in all forms of irreligion, of vice, of violence. But in what shall we find its root? In the preference of our own will to the will of God. If we trace human wrong-doing and wrong-being to its ultimate point, we arrived that conclusion. It is because men are not willing to be what God created them to be, not willing to do what he desires them to do; it is because they want to pursue those lines of thought and of action which he has forbidden, and to find their pleasure and their portion in things which he has disallowed, that they err from the strait path and begin the course which ends in condemnation and in death. The essence of all sin is in this assertion of our will against the will of God. We fail to recognize the foundation truth that we are his; that by every sacred tie that can bind one being to another we are bound, and we belong to him from whom we came and in whom we live, and move, and have our being. We assume to be the masters of our own lives and fortunes, the directors of our own selves, of our own will; we say, “My will, not thine, be done.” Thus are we radically wrong; and being radically wrong, the issues of our hearts are evil. From this fountain of error and of evil the streams of sin are flowing; to that we trace their origin.
II THE HOUR AND ACT OF SPIRITUAL SURRENDER. When does the human spirit return to God, and by what act? That hour and that act, we reply, are not found at the time of any intellectual apprehension of the truth. A man may understand but little of Christian doctrine, and yet may be within the kingdom of heaven; or, on the other hand, he may know much, and yet remain outside that kingdom. Nor at the time of keen sensibility; for it is possible to be moved to deep and to fervent feeling, and yet to withhold the heart and life from the Supreme. Nor at the time of association with the visible Church of Christ. It is the hour at which and the act by which the soul cordially surrenders itself to God. When, in recognition of the paramount claims of God the Divine Father, the gracious Savior of mankind, we yield ourselves to God, that for all the future he may lead and guide us, may employ us in his holy service; when we have it in our heart to say, “Henceforth thy will, not ours, be done; then do we return unto the Lord our God, and then does he count us among the number of his own.
III THE HIGHEST ATTAINMENT OF CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOUR. When do we reach our highest point? Not when we have fought our fiercest battle, or have done our most fruitful work, or have gained our clearest and brightest vision of Divine truth; but when we have reached the point in which we can most cheerfully and most habitually say, after Christ our Lord, “Not my will, but thine, be done;” when under serious discouragement or even sad defeat, when after exhausting pain or before terrible suffering, when under heavy loss or in long-continued loneliness, or in prospect of early death, we are perfectly willing that God should do with us as his own wisdom and love direct. C.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
43. there appeared an angel] As after His temptation, Mat_4:11. This and the next verse are not of absolutely certain authenticity, since they are omitted in A, B, and by the first corrector of א; and Jerome and Hilary say that they were omitted in “very many” Greek and Latin MSS. Their omission may have been due to mistaken reverence; or their insertion may have been made by the Evangelist himself in a later recension.
43. Δὲ, but now [and at this moment!) The very appearance of the angel was a sign of His actually then drinking the cup, and of His prayer being granted [Heb_5:7], So utterly incapable is human reason of comprehending the profound depths of His agony in the garden, that some have in former times omitted this whole paragraph. See the Apparat.2 When His baptism is mentioned along with the cup, the cup means His internal passion [suffering], as, for instance, His desertion by the Father on the cross; the baptism means His external suffering: comp. Mar_10:38, note. Where the ‘cup’ is mentioned alone, His whole passion generally is understood, at least in such a way as that, under the internal, there is also included the external suffering.—ἐνισχύων, strengthening) not by exhortation, but by invigoration. The same verb occurs, Act_9:19 [Paul, “when he had received meat, was strengthened”].
43. ὤφθη. “Was visible” to the bodily eye is obviously meant. It is against the context and the use of the expression in other places to suppose that internal perception of an invisible spiritual presence is intended. Lk. is fond of the expression (1:11, 9:31, 24:34; Act_2:3, Act_2:7:2, Act_2:26, Act_2:30, Act_2:35, Act_2:9:17, Act_2:13:31, Act_2:16:9, Act_2:26:16; comp. 1Co_15:5-8), which Mt. and Mk. use once each (17:3. 9:4), and Jn. thrice (Rev_11:19, Rev_11:12:1, Rev_11:3), but not in his Gospel. The ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ would not have been added if the presence of the Angel was invisible.
ἐνισχύων. Elsewhere in N.T. only Act_9:19, of bodily strengthening: comp. 2Sa_22:40; Ecclus. 50:4; and this may well be the meaning here, but without excluding the strengthening of soul and spirit. Either would tend to produce the other; and the sight of His Father’s messenger would strengthen both body and spirit. Commentators have speculated as to what the Angel said (see Corn. à Lap. ad l.). There is nothing to indicate that he spoke. Hobart remarks of ἐνισχύειν that, outside the LXX “its use in the transitive sense, ‘to strengthen,’ is confined to Hippocrates and St. Luke” (p. 80). In Act_9:19 the true reading is probably ἐνισχύθη.1
ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ. Here only in N.T. Field contends that fear is the radical notion of the word. The passages in which it occurs in LXX confirm this view: 2 Mal_3:14, Mal_3:16, Mal_3:15:19; comp. ἀγωνιᾷν Esth. 15:8 [5:1]; Dan_1:10; Dan_2 Mac. 3:21. It is frequently coupled with such words as φόβος, δέος, φρίκη, etc. For examples see Field, Ot. Norv. 3. p. 56. It is, therefore, an agony of fear that is apparently to be understood. Mk. has ἀδημονεῖν with ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι, Mt. with λυπεῖσθαι.—ἐκτενέστερον. “More extendedly,” and hence “more persistently.” This seems to be parallel to the πίπτειν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ (Mt.) and ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (Mk.). Heb. v. 7 probably refers specially to this. Comp. ἐκτενῶς of prayer, and ἐκτένεια of worship and service. Act_12:5, Act_26:7.
43.] The principal testimonies of the Fathers, &c. against and for vv. 43, 44, are collected in the digest. With the early and weighty evidence there cited in favour of the passage, it is impossible that it should have been an apocryphal insertion. It was perhaps, as states of ἔκλαυσε, expunged by the orthodox, who imagined they found in it an inconsistency with the divine nature of our Lord. We have reason to be thankful, that orthodoxy has been better understood since. The strengthening by means of the angel is physical—and the appearance likewise. See an interesting reply to the scoffs of Julian on this point, in Theodore of Mopsuestia, in loc. ed. Migne, p. 723. It is strange how Olshausen can have so far deceived himself as to imagine that ὤφθη αὐτῷ can imply a merely inward and spiritual accession of strength from above. It is strange likewise that the analogy of the ministration of angels in the Lord’s former temptation should not have occurred to those modern Commentators who have objected to this circumstance as improbable.
This strengthening probably took place between the first and the second prayer;—and the effect of it is the ἐκτενέστερον προσηύχετο of ver. 44, and the entire resignation expressed in the second and third prayer of Matthew’s narrative.
There appeared (ὤφθη)
The word most commonly used in the New Testament of seeing visions. See Mat_17:3; Mar_9:4; Luk_1:11; Luk_22:43; Act_2:17; Act_7:35. The kindred noun ὀπτασία, wherever it occurs in the New Testament, means a vision. See Luk_1:2; Luk_24:23, etc.
Only here and Act_9:19. See on was not able, Luk_14:30; and cannot, Luk_16:3. Commonly intransitive; to prevail in or among. Used transitively only by Hippocrates and Luke.
:TEXT: include verses 43 and 44: “·And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. ·And being in agony he started praying more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.”
EVIDENCE: S*,b D K L X Delta Theta Pi Psi 0171 f1 565 700 892 1010 1241 Byz most lat vg syr(c,p,h,pal) some cop(north) (with asterisks)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV1 RSV2n NASV NIV NEB TEV
NOTES: omit verses 43 and 44
EVIDENCE: p69vid p75 Sa A B T W some Lect one lat syr(s) most cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV1n RSV2 NASVn NIVn NEBn TEVn
OTHER: include verses 43 and 44 after Mat_26:39 instead of here
EVIDENCE: f13 some Lect (also the first part of verse Luk_22:45)
COMMENTS: Verses 43 and 44 are enclosed by double brackets in the UBS text, which means that the UBS Textual Committee felt that they were not originally written by Luke. The fact that they are quoted by second century writers such as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus and are found in the second century Diatessaron, an early harmony of the four gospels by Tatian, is proof that they are quite old. While it is possible that they might have been omitted by copyists who did not approve of verses that showed such human weakness of Jesus, the fact that they are missing from several early manuscripts of Luke would seem to indicate that they were not originally present. However, their age indicates that they may be regarded as true scripture which has come to find its place here in the canon.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
44. being in an agony] The word which occurs here only in the N. T.—though we often have the verb agonizomai—means intense struggle and pressure of spirit, which the other Evangelists also describe in the strong words ademonein (Mat_26:37) and ekthambeisthai (Mar_14:33). It was an awful anguish of His natural life, and here alone (Mat_26:38; Joh_12:27) does He use the word ψυχὴ of Himself. It was not of course a mere shrinking from death and pain, which even the meanest natures tan overcome, but the mysterious burden of the world’s guilt (2Co_5:21)—the shrinking of a sinless being from the depths of Satanic hate and horror through which He was to pass. As Luther says ‘our hard impure flesh’ can hardly comprehend the sensitiveness of a fresh unstained soul coming in contact with horrible antagonism.
as it were great drops of blood] Such a thing as a ‘bloody sweat’ seems not to be wholly unknown (Arist. Hist. Anim. iii. 19) under abnormal pathological circumstances. The blood of Abel ‘cried from the ground;’ but this blood ‘spake better things than the blood of Abel’ (Gen_4:10; Heb_12:24). St Luke does not however use the term ‘bloody sweat,’ but says that the dense sweat of agony fell from him “like blood gouts”—which may mean as drops of blood do from a wound.
44. ὡσεὶ θρόμβοι αἵματος καταβαίνμοντες. Even if καταβαίνοντος (א V X, Vulg. Boh.) be right, the words do not necessarily mean more than that the drops of sweat in some way resembled drops of blood, e.g. by their size and frequency. But it is not likely that no more than this is intended, or that the words are a metaphorical expression. like our “tears of blood.” That Justin in referring to the statement omits αἵματος—ἱδρὼς ὡσεὶ θρόμβοι κατεχεῖτο (Try. 103.)—does not prove that he did not understand actual blood to be meant. Rather it shows that he considered that θρόμβοι, “clots,” sufficiently expressed “drops of blood.”
The expression “bloody sweat” is probably a correct interpretation: and the possibility of blood exuding through the pores seems to be established by examples. Comp. Arist. Hist. Anim. 3:19. De Mezeray states of Charles 9. of France that “During the last two weeks of his life (May 1574) his constitution made strange efforts … blood gushed from all the outlets of his body, even from the pores of his skin; so that on, one occasion he was found bathed in a bloody sweat.” See W. Stroud, The Physical Cause the Death of Christ, 1847, pp. 85-88, 379-389. Schanz cites Lönarz, De sudore sanguinis, Bonn, 1850, and Langen, Die letzten Lebenstage, p. 214. Why is αἵματος added, if no αἶμα accompanied the ἱδρώς? It would be visible in the moonlight, when Jesus returned to the disciples: ubi quidem non solis oculis, sed quasi membris omnibus flevisse videtur (Bernard, In Dom. Palm. Serm. 3:4). Diatess-Tat. has “like a stream of blood.”
And his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Some (for instance, Theophylact) understand this “as it were” to signify that the expression, “drops of blood,” was simply parabolic; but it is far better to understand the words in their literal sense, as our Church does when it prays, “By thine agony and bloody sweat.” Athanasius even goes so far as to pronounce a ban upon those who deny this sweat of blood. Commentators give instances of this blood-sweat under abnormal pathological circumstances. Some, though by no means all, of the oldest authorities omit these last two verses (43, 44). Their omission in many of these ancient manuscripts was probably due to mistaken reverence. The two oldest and most authoritative translations, the Itala (Latin) and Peshito (Syriac), contain them, however, as do the most important Fathers of the second century, Justin and Irenaeus. We have, then, apart from the evidence of manuscripts, the testimony of the earliest Christianity in Italy and Syria, Asia Minor and Gaul, to the genuineness of these two famous verses. They are printed in the ordinary text of the Revised English Version, with a side-note alluding to their absence in some of the ancient authorities.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
45. sleeping for sorrow] Psa_69:20. The last two words give rather the cause than the excuse. They are analogous to “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” of Mat_26:41. St Luke here abbreviates the fuller records given in Mat_26; Mar_14, from which we find that Jesus thrice came to His Apostles, and thrice found them sleeping (see Isa_63:3),—each momentary pause of prayer marking a fresh step in His victorious submission. This was the Temptation of Jesus by every element of anguish, as He had been tempted in the wilderness by every element of desire.
Vers. 45, 46. He found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The events of the past evening; the long excitement stirred up by listening to such words as their Master had been speaking to them during the sad hours of the Last Supper; the sure consciousness of coming sorrow; then the walk through the silent city: all predisposed them to sleep. Commentators are never weary with pressing these excuses for the slumber of the eleven at that awful moment. But all these things, though they may well have predisposed them to slumber, are not sufficient to account for that strange heavy sleep which seems to have paralyzed the eleven in Gethsemane. In spite of their Master”s solemn injunction to watch and pray, he finds them, several times during that dreadful watch of his in the garden, asleep, in spite of his asking them for sympathy and prayer, in spite of his evident longing for their sympathy each time he cast his eyes on them, he sees them, not watching, but sleeping! Many a time in their work-filled lives those fishermen he loved so well, John and Peter and Andrew, had toiled all night with their nets; but on this night of sorrow, when their pleading voices were listened for, possibly their hand-press waited for, their silent sympathy certainly longed for, they slept, seemingly forgetful of all save their own ease and comfort. Surely on this night of temptation they were influenced by some invisible power, who lulled them to sleep during those precious moments when they should have been agonizing with their Master in prayer, and so arming themselves against the supreme moment of temptation just coming upon them. But swayed by the power of evil of whom the Lord had been warning them, but in vain, they let the moments slip by, and the hour of temptation came on them unawares. We know how grievously they all fell.
Why sleep ye? (Ti katheudete̱). This reproach Luke gives, but not the almost bitter details in Mar_14:37-42; Mat_26:40-46).
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
63. smote him] No less than five forms of beating are referred to by the Evangelists in describing this pathetic scene—derontes here (a general term); etupton, ‘they kept smiting;’ paisas in the next verse, implying violence; ekolaphisan, ‘slapped with the open palm,’ Mat_26:67; errapisan, ‘smote with sticks’ (id.); and rapismasin eballon, Mar_14:65. See the prophecy of Isa_50:6. The Priests of that day, and their pampered followers, were too much addicted to these brutalities (Act_21:32, Act_23:2), as we learn also from the Talmud.
63, 64. [Οἱ συνέχουτες, who held fast) during the whole night.—V. g.]—δέροντες· ἔτυπτον· παίσας) Δέρειν is used of beating the whole body; τύπτειν, of striking a part; παίειν, of smiting or wounding with violence, and so as to give pain. [No one of mortal men, not even the direst of malefactors, ever endured so great wantonness as Christ, the Just One, suffered to the utmost.—Harm., p. 540.]
63-65. The First Mocking. As Lk. omits the examination by Caiaphas, it is impossible to determine whether he places this mocking before or after it. He knows that Jesus, after being denied by His chief Apostle, was insulted by His captors, and then taken before the Sanhedrin. His omissions seem to show that he is making no use of Mt. or Mk. Comp. Mat_26:67, Mat_26:68; Mar_14:65.
63. οἱ συνέχοντες αὐτόν. Not members of the Sanhedrin, but the servants or soldiers in whose charge Jesus had been left. Here only is συνέχειν used of holding fast a prisoner. Comp. 8:45; 19:43. See Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 160.
δέοντες . Comp. 12:47, 20:10. Of the five expressions which are used in describing these blows each Evangelist uses two: Lk. δέροντες and παίσας; Mt. ἐκολάφισαν and εηράπισαν; Mk. κολαφίζειν and ῥαπίσμασιν ἔλαβον. Comp. the treatment of the Apostles, Act_5:40; and of S. Paul, Act_21:32, Act_23:2. Lk. omits the spitting. All three have the Προφήτευσον .
Vers. 63-65. After the second examination, the officials of the Sanhedrin mock and ill treat Jesus as one doomed to death.
And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. The position of the Redeemer when the cruelties took.place, described in this and the two following verses, was as follows: After the arrest in Gethsemane, the guards, Jewish and Roman, escorted the Prisoner to the palace of the high priest in Jerusalem. There both Annas and Caiaphas apparently lodged. In the first instance, Jesus was brought before Annas, who was evidently the leading personage of the Sanhedrin of that day. Details of the preliminary examination are given apparently by Joh_18:13, Joh_18:19-24. In this first and informal trial Caiaphas was evidently present, and took part (ver. 19). At the close of this unofficial but important proceeding, Annas sent him to Caiaphas. The true reading in Joh_18:24 is apesteilen oun , “Annas therefore sent him.” That is, at the close of the first unofficial examination, which took place in Annas”s apartments in the palace of the high priest, Annas sent him to be examined officially before Caiaphas, the reigning high priest, and a committee of the Sanhedrim This, the second trial of Jesus, is related at some length by St. Matthew (Mat_26:59-66) and St. Mark. (Mar_14:55-64) The priests on that occasion sought false witnesses, but their witness did not, we know, agree. Jesus kept silence until Caiaphas arose, and with awful solemnity adjured him to say whether he was the Christ, the Son of God. So adjured, Jesus answered definitely in the affirmative. Then Caiaphas rent his robe, and appealed to the assembly, who answered the appeal by a unanimous cry,” He is guilty of death.” After this hearing before Caiapnas and a committee of the Sanhedrin, the condemned One was conducted before the full assembly of the Sanhedrim While being led across the court, he heard Peter”s third denial. It was during the interval which elapsed before the great council assembled, that the mocking related in these verses (63-65) took place.
Vers. 63, 64. The patience of Christ.
In these touching words, which we cannot read without a sentiment of shame as members of the human race, we have
I A PICTURE OF SUPREME ENDURANCE. How much our Lord was called upon to endure, we shall be best able to realize when we consider:
1. The greatness of which he was conscious (see ver. 70). He knew and felt that he had a right to the most reverent homage of the best and highest, and was thus treated by the worst and lowest.
2. The power which he knew he wielded: with what perfect ease could he have extricated himself from these cruel insults!
3. The character of the men who were maltreating him the lowest amongst the low.
4. The nature of the indignities to which they subjected him; these went from bad to worse from binding him to beating him, from beating him to spitting upon him, from this most shameful indignity to the yet more cruel sneer at his holy mission,” Prophesy unto us,” etc. They vented upon him the very last extremes of human contumely and shame.
II A PICTURE OF SUBLIME PATIENCE. He bore it all with perfect calmness. Here shone forth in its full lustre “the meekness of Jesus Christ.” “When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;” “As a sheep before her shearers,” etc. And wherein shall we find the source and explanation of this sublime patience?
1. He was bent on bearing, to the full and to the end, his Father”s will.
2. He was determined to complete the work he had undertaken, and of that work those sufferings were a part. He was then “wounded for our trangressions,” then he was “bruised for our iniquities,” and by those “stripes were we healed.
1. Like our Divine Master, we ore called upon to endure. In doing those things we believe to be right of which others do not feel the obligation, also in abstaining from those things we feel to be wrong, which other people allow, we come into conflict, we excite displeasure, we incur odium, we suffer censure, opposition, ridicule; we “bear his reproach.” Thorough loyalty to our Lord and to our own convictions means exposure to the assaults and indignities of the world.
2. We have the highest incentives to endure.
(1) As with our Master, it is the Fathers will that we should suffer.
(2) As with Christ, it is an important part of the testimony we are to bear and the work we are to do in this world.
(3) Only thus can we completely follow our great Leader; he who does not go with Christ into the valley of humiliation does not follow him all the way he trod.
(4) So doing, we are building up a strong Christian character, and are thus preparing for fuller and higher service.
(5) Then are we especially, pleasing our Master, and “great is our reward in heaven”. C. (Mat_5:10-12)
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
64. blindfolded him] Probably by throwing an abba over his head and face. Mar_14:65. The Talmud says that the False Messiah, Bar Cochba, was similarly insulted.
And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? The Jews, in this terrible scene, (see, too, for further details of the outrages, Mat_26:67 Mar_14:65) were unconsciously working out a literal fulfillment of Isaiah”s picture of the righteous Sufferer. (Isa_1:6 Isa_53:3-7)