From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

Verses 39-71

 

 

 

Books Utilized Code Numbers at End of Chapter

 

 

 

22:39                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    On going out, He proceeded as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him.

WEB:              He came out, and went, as his custom was, to the Mount of Olives. His disciples also followed him. 

Young’s:         And having gone forth, he went on, according to custom, to the mount of the Olives, and his disciples also followed him,
Conte (RC):   And departing, he went out, according to his custom, to the
Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him.

 

22:39               And he came out, and went.  The Supper was ended, with its attendant discourses, including some at least of the long series in John 14-17.  A part of these may have been spoken while on the way out of the city, across the ravine of Kidron, or even after they had reached the scene of the following incident.  From our narrative we might judge that the movement was made simply to reach the usual lodging place of the night (21:37), the Mount of Olives.  [52] 

                        as He was wont, to the mount of Olives.  This mount overlooks Jerusalem on the east, so that every street and almost every house may be distinguished from its summit.  It is about a mile in length, and about seven hundred feet in height.  To a spectator, on the west it has a gently waving outline, and appears to have three summits of nearly equal height.  That our Lord went straight thither is a new proof that He no longer sought to go out of the way of His enemies; for, according to John xviii. 2, the place was known also to Judas, who would, therefore, undoubtedly seek Him there with the band, if he no longer found Him in the paschal hall.  It is also a proof of the heavenly composure and clearness of mind which our Lord continually maintained, that He would surrender Himself over to the hands of His enemies, not in the city, in the midst of the joyful acclamations of the paschal night, but without it, in the bosom of open nature, after He had previously strengthened Himself in solitary prayer to His Father.  [9]

                        and His disciples also followed Him.  As they were wont [accustomed], probably, although it may be meant that He preceded them, and that they followed in fear, as at Mark 10:32.  [52]

                        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 Peter.  Matthew 26:32-35.  [56] 

 

 

22:40                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But when He arrived at the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not come into temptation."

WEB:              When he was at the place, he said to them, "Pray that you don't enter into temptation."           

Young’s:         and having come to the place, he said to them, 'Pray ye not to enter into temptation.'
Conte (RC):   And when he had arrived at the place, he said to them: "Pray, lest you enter into temptation."

                       

22:40               And when He was at the place.  The meaning of the expression when considered with the preceding verse [52]:   This may mean, consistently with the preceding verse, the place to which He was wont to go; and thus it would countenance the supposition broached above, on 21:37, that He did not go always at night to Bethany, but may have lodged privately at some other place on that mountain.  More probably, it means the place for which He had set out that evening.     

                        Textual descriptions of the location in the four gospel accounts [52]:  Luke does not name, or even describe it.  From John (18:1), we learn that it was “a garden” = pleasure-ground, park.  The particular word translated “place” in Matthew 26:36 [and] Mark 14:32, would lead us rather to think of a private property—a place, or country-seat—into which visitors had liberty to enter.  It was named Gethesemane = oil-press, as the spot where the olives which grew abundantly, at that time, in the neighborhood, were pressed for their oil. 

           The popular possible location today [18]:  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 purpose of the siege operations. 

            He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  To be tempted and to enter into temptation [voluntarily] are two different things.  [7]

                        Or:  That they might not, in the trying circumstances before them, be found off their guard so that these should prove sufficient to turn them from their discipleship.  [52]

                        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.  [56]

 

            In depth:  The time of the departure to Gethsemane and the unlikelihood of its currently designated location being correct.  The hour when Jesus left the supper room to go to Gethsemane, cannot be exactly determined. Lichtenstein (411) puts it at midnight; first, because usually at this hour the supper was ended; second, because if He had left earlier, there would have been too great delay at Gethsemane.  Greswell puts it between eleven and twelve o'clock; Morrison at nine or ten; Fairbairn at eight or nine; Jarvis at eight.

            Supposing the paschal supper to have commenced about 6 P. M., or sundown, the several incidents of the feast, and the Lord's discourse and prayer, must have occupied them till near midnight. The only datum of time bearing on it is the crowing of the cock (Mark xiv. 68 and 72,) and this gives no definite result.

            Of the situation of the house where the supper was eaten, we know nothing.  Greswell supposes it to have been in the eastern part of the city; and, wherever it was, it could not have been very far distant from the garden.  We cannot be far wrong if we suppose the Lord to have reached Gethsemane about midnight.

            The garden of Gethsemane, "valley of oil," or "oil press," to which the Lord went, was a place He was accustomed to visit (John xviii. 2), and a little way out of the city.  It seems to have been an olive orchard, and not connected with any private residence.  If, however, this was a private garden, still, as at the feasts all the houses and gardens were thrown open to the public, Jesus could visit it at this time without hindrance, or attracting to Himself any special attention.

            Greswell hints that the family of Lazarus might have had possessions there.  From a comparison of Luke xxi. 37 with xxii. 39, it appears that the Lord had spent some part of the previous nights there, perhaps alone in prayer.

            Whether the site of the modern Gethsemane is to be identified with the ancient garden, is doubtful.  It is first mentioned by Eusebius as at the Mount of Olives, and afterward more definitely by Jerome as at the foot of the Mount.

             Several of the most recent inquirers are disposed to deny the identification.  Thomson (ii. 483) says:  "The position is too near the city, and so close to what must have always been the great thoroughfare eastward, that our Lord would scarcely have selected it for retirement on that dangerous and dismal night."  He finds a better site several hundred yards to the northeast, on the Mount of Olives.  Barclay (63) thinks it evident that the present enclosure, from its narrow dimensions, can occupy only in part the site of the ancient garden, and finds a better position higher up in the valley. Stanley (415) is undecided.
                        But whether the present garden occupies precisely the old site or not, it is certain that it must be near it.  It lies a little east of the
valley of Cedrou, at the intersection of two paths, both leading in different directions over the Mount of Olives. Descending from St. Stephen's gate into the valley, and crossing a bridge, it is easily reached, being distant but nine or ten rods from the bridge.  Formerly it was unenclosed, but recently the Latins have built a high wall around it.

There are within eight venerable olive trees, undoubtedly of great age, their trunks much decayed, but branches flourishing.  "The most venerable of their race on the face of the earth," says Stanley, "their gnarled trunks and scanty foliage will always be regarded as the most affecting of the sacred memorials in or about Jerusalem."  The Greeks, envious of the Latins, have recently enclosed a piece of ground a little north, beside the Virgin's tomb, and contend that this is the true garden.

            -- From:  Samuel J. Andrews.  The Life of Our Lord upon the Earth—Considered in its Historical, Chronological, and Geographical Relations.  Fourth Edition.  New York:  Charles Scribner & Company, 1870.

 

 

22:41                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But He Himself withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed repeatedly, saying,

WEB:              He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and he knelt down and prayed,    

Young’s:         And he was withdrawn from them, as it were a stone's cast, and having fallen on the knees he was praying,
Conte (RC):   And he was separated from them by about a stone's throw. And kneeling down, he prayed,

 

22:41               And He was withdrawn from them.  He first withdrew from the body of the disciples, attended by Peter, James, and John.  He now withdraws from the three.  [14]

                        The passive form, “was withdrawn,” “separated,” is noticeable, as if it was by some influence exerted upon Him that He removed.  He was not so removed but that He could have the sense of their presence and sympathy, and that they, some of them, could be aware of what He experienced in that dark hour. [52]

                        about a stone's cast.  A customary measurement in the Greek and Roman writers.  [14]

                        Not more than forty or fifty yards.  [7]

                        and kneeled down and prayed.  He fell on His face on the ground (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:35).  He divinely sanctioned the standing posture also (Mark 11:25).  [7]

                        While Luke does not mention the thrice-repeated petition, he uses a form of the verb which distinctly shows that it was not a single request, but a continued supplication = was engaged in prayer, or, kept praying. [52]

 

                        In depth:  Differences between the gospel accounts in regard to the intense period of prayer in the Garden [18].  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 John 2:1-25 he throws a flood of light upon Christian baptism.  John 6:1-71 is a Divine commentary on the Eucharist.  While in John 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.  [18]

                        Or / In Addition [52]:  Luke is brief in his account of the scene, although he alone mentions the assisting angel (verse 43), and the bloody sweat (verse 44).  He says nothing of the preliminary selection of the three chief apostles; of Christ’s peculiar distress of mind; of his withdrawing from the three selected companions; of the three-fold repetition of His prayer; of His gradual restoration to serenity of mind, as He prayed; of the somnolence [= falling to sleep] of the disciples, renewed again and again; and of His apology for them.  We can only explain this by supposing that our Gospel follows an account of the scene which aimed to give only the substance of the transaction.  This it does, in full harmony with the other accounts, with the particulars of which Luke was, possibly, not acquainted

 

 

22:42                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Father, if it be Thy will, take this cup away from me; yet not my will but Thine be done!"

WEB:              saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." 

Young’s:         saying, 'Father, if Thou be counselling to make this cup pass from me -- but, not my will, but Thine be done.' --
Conte (RC):   saying: "Father, if you are willing, take this chalice away from me. Yet truly, let not my will, but yours, be done."

 

22:42               Saying, Father.  In this hour of overwhelming distress through the carrying forward of God’s plan concerning Him, He still looks up with filial confidence to Him as His Father.  [52]

if Thou be willing.  If Thou canst consent—find it consistent with Thy pleasure.  [52]

remove.  The Greek verb was employed by classical writers to denote the act of a servant in taking dishes off the table.  Thus, Christ prays that, if it please God, that experience of pain, and shame, and death with torture, which was now beginning, might be removed from before Him.  [52]

this cup from Me.  “Cup,” by metonmy, for its contents, which, again, is the measured experience of joy or sorrow allotted to one as his portion by God.  This was a common way, in Hebrew, of naming one’s Divinely appointed fortune, especially when regarded in the light of a retribution (Psalms 23:5; 73:8; Isaiah 51:17; Ezekiel 22:31).  [52]

nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.  The Father’s will is to be the controlling factor even when the Son’s preference is something different.  And the Son candidly acknowledges this as proper and right.  [rw]

 

 

22:43                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And there appeared to Him an angel from Heaven, strengthening Him;

WEB:              An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him.        

Young’s:         And there appeared to him a messenger from heaven strengthening him;
Conte (RC):   Then an Angel appeared to him from heaven, strengthening him.

 

22:43               And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven.  In our Savior’s case [the prayer of verse 42] was fulfilled, as with the prayer of Paul that his thorn in the flesh should be taken away, by giving the [necessary] support that God’s will might be endured.  [52]     

                        an angel.  It is uncertain whether the angel would have been visible to other eyes, if others had been present.  He is not said to have come, but he “appeared unto” = was seen by the Saviour.  [52]

                        strengthening Him.  In some way this proof of the presence and sympathy of celestial beings gave Him increased ability to bear what He had taken upon Him with the approbation of His Father.  We cannot so well comprehend this as the benefit of that earlier angel-ministry, after His temptation (Matthew 4:11); but the help was, doubtless, equally real to Him.  And so the terrible conflict might go on.  [52]         

And the question of Jesus’ nature.  [To assist] His human nature, to sustain the great burden that was upon His soul.  Some have supposed from this, that He was not Divine as well as human; for if He was God, how could an angel give any strength or comfort, and why did not the Divine nature alone sustain the human?  But the fact that He was Divine, does not affect the case at all.  It might be asked with the same propriety, If He was, as all admit, the friend of God and beloved of God, and holy, why, if He was a mere man, did not God sustain Him alone, without an angel's intervening?  But the objection in neither case would have any force.  The man, Christ Jesus, was suffering.  His human nature was in agony; and it is the manner of God to sustain the afflicted by the intervention of others.  [11] 

 

 

22:44                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    while He--an agony of distress having come upon Him--prayed all the more with intense earnestness, and His sweat became like clots of blood dropping on the ground.

WEB:              Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.    

Young’s:         and having been in agony, he was more earnestly praying, and his sweat became, as it were, great drops of blood falling upon the ground.
Conte (RC):   And being in agony, he prayed more intensely; and so his sweat became like drops of blood, running down to the ground.

 

22:44               And being in an agony.  There is in the aorist participle a suggestion of a growing intensity in the struggle, which is not conveyed by the simple “being.”  Literally, though very awkwardly, it is, having become in an agony:  having progressed from the first prayer (began to pray, verse 41) into an intense struggle of prayer and sorrow.  Wycliffe's rendering hints at this:  “and he, made in agony, prayed.”  Agony occurs only here.  It us used by medical writers, and the fact of a sweat accompanying an agony is also mentioned by them.  [2]

                        He prayed more earnestly.  His emotional turmoil did not cause Him to despair and give up praying, but drove Him to even more intense prayer.  [rw]

                        and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  Only here in New Testament:  gouts or clots.  Very common in medical language.  Aristotle mentions a bloody sweat arising from the blood being in poor condition; and Theophrastus mentions a physician who compared a species of sweat to blood.  [2]

                        The physical frame of Jesus was now in full sympathy with His mental distress.  Instances of what has been called bloody sweat are on record numerous and authentic.  Galen says:  "Cases sometimes happen in which, through mental pressure, the pores may be so dilated that the blood may issue from them, so that there may be a bloody sweat."  The Latin poet, Lucan, in his poem, the Pharsalia, vividly describes a case in which the sweat is ruddy.  Yet Luke, the only one of the four Evangelists who mentions the circumstance now before us, affirms not that the sweat was blood, but "as it were great drops of blood."  If we do not understand actual drops of blood, we must, at all events, conceive them as heavy, thick drops, which, mingled and colored for the most part with portions of blood, looked altogether like drops of blood.  [9]

                        Or:  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.  [56]

 

 

22:45                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    When He rose from his prayer and came to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow.

WEB:              When he rose up from his prayer, he came to the disciples, and found them sleeping because of grief,       

Young’s:         And having risen up from the prayer, having come unto the disciples, he found them sleeping from the sorrow,
Conte (RC):   And when he had risen up from prayer and had gone to his disciples, he found them sleeping out of sorrow.

 

22:45               And when He rose up from prayer.  Having been bowed down to the ground (Matthew 26:39).  [52]

and was come to His disciples, sleeping.  It certainly shows us that they were far, even yet, from comprehending the seriousness of the crisis in which they stood.  That the Saviour, deeply grieved as He was, should still find some [defense] for them, in the weakness of the flesh (Matthew 26:41), may lead us to judge them leniently.  They had begun the previous day early; it was now certainly after midnight.  They were in the habit of going early to rest.  The Saviour had tarried long in His agony, the night was chilly, and the “sorrow” which they felt, from even their dim apprehension of their Master’s trouble, would predispose them to sleep.  This effect has been not unfrequently experienced in cases of grief and sorrow, and that it had been noticed in early times is evident from [ancient] citations.  [52]

for sorrow.   On account of the greatness of their sorrow.  [11]

                        The mental “wear and tear” of stress can literally wear a person out—especially under the circumstances pictured here:  imminent disaster, the clear refusal of Jesus to either flee or seize the initiative away from His foes.  A situation from which there seems (and is) “no way out” except getting through it.  [rw]

                        Psalms 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 Matthew 26:41.  Luke here abbreviates the fuller records given in Matthew 26 [and] Mark 14, from which we find that Jesus thrice came to His Apostles, and thrice found them sleeping (see Isaiah 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.  [56]

 

 

22:46                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Why are you sleeping?" He said; "stand up; and pray that you may not come into temptation."

WEB:              and said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation."  

Young’s:         and he said to them, 'Why do ye sleep? having risen, pray that ye may not enter into temptation.'
Conte (RC):   And when he had risen up from prayer and had gone to his disciples, he found them sleeping out of sorrow.

 

22:46               And said unto them, Why sleep ye?  “What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?”  (Matthew 26:40).  [52]

Rise.  =  Rouse yourselves.  Expresses here the notion of “stand promptly up,” and implies their urgent need of faith and courage.  [52]

and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.  While there is yet a brief time for it (verse 47).  [42]

                        “Simon, sleepest thou?  Were ye so unable to watch with Me a single hour?”  Matthew 26:40; Mark 14:37.  The second time He does not seem to have spoken to them.  The third time He knew that it was too late.  The object of their watching had now ceased, for He heard the tramp of men in the distance, and saw the glare of their torches.  [56]

 

 

22:47                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    While He was still speaking there came a crowd with Judas, already mentioned as one of the Twelve, at their head. He went up to Jesus to kiss Him.

WEB:              While he was still speaking, behold, a multitude, and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He came near to Jesus to kiss him.         

Young’s:         And while he is speaking, lo, a multitude, and he who is called Judas, one of the twelve, was coming before them, and he came nigh to Jesus to kiss him,
Conte (RC):   While he was still speaking, behold, a crowd arrived. And he who is called Judas, one of the twelve, went ahead of them and approached Jesus, in order to kiss him.

 

22:47               While He yet spake, behold a multitude.  They came in force, probably apprehensive of resistance from the disciples, or of some attempt of rescue by the way.  (Mark xiv. 47; John xviii. 10; Matt. xxvi. 47.)  The multitude who apprehended Jesus were of the following four classes: 

1.  The band (John xviii. 3), being a detachment from the garrison of five hundred Roman soldiers who, in the fortress of Antonia, overlooking the temple, kept the Jews in awe.  A detachment was ever ready to be sent when the commander was informed that a disturber needed to be taken in custody.  So that thus much Jesus was apprehended by the loan of a Roman body. 

2.  The captains of the temple (Luke xxii. 52), who came, doubtless, attended by their guard or police--men who kept order at the temple. 

3.  Several of the Jewish dignitaries attended to see the work carefully done, namely:  chief priests, zealous Pharisees and elders. 

4.  Servants of these dignitaries (John xviii. 18), both private and official, like Malchus.  Our Lord was thus arrested by the Jewish authority, partly using Roman instrumentality.  [9]  

                        and he that was called Judas.  Knowing the habit of his Master to resort to this mountain at night, he would, if he found that the company had left the upper room, proceed thither at once.  [52]

one of the twelve.  With this name, as with a branding iron, Judas is designated even unto the end.  [9]

                        went before them.  In order to point out to the multitude the One whom they were to apprehend, by the preconcerted sign.  (See Matt. xxvi. 48.)  [9]  

                        and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him.  [Both “drew near . . . to”] and did actually kiss Him (Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45), and that with a show of affection as the form of verb there used shows = kissed him tenderly.  The kiss was a common expression of greeting among friends, of men toward each other; and Christ submitted to it now, that the will of God might be accomplished.  [52]

                        They knew that it would be night, and that Gethsemane was shaded with olives, and that therefore some conspicuous sign would be necessary to indicate to the guards which of the company of twelve was the Master whom they were to seize.  But the signal was superfluous, for, as John tells us, Jesus of his own accord advanced before the others, telling those who came for him who he was.  [18]

 

In depth:  Fitting the data from the four gospels on the betrayal event into a consistent whole.  The Lord's words to the three apostles, after His last return to them (Matt. xxvi. 45; so Mark), "Sleep on now, and take your rest," are understood by some as giving them permission and opportunity to sleep, and thus refresh themselves to meet the coming peril.  "The obvious objection to this explanation is that in the same breath He tells them to awake; but even this is not unnatural, if taken as a sort of after thought, suggested by the sight or sound of the approaching enemy.”  Others understand them as ironically spoken.  Others still, as interrogatively:  "Sleep ye on still, and take ye your rest?”

The first explanation is to be preferred. "The former words," says Ellicott, "were rather in the accents of a pensive contemplation— the latter in the tones of exhortation and command."  It was the sudden appearance of Judas and his band that caused the words, "Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray me," and explain their apparent abruptness.”

Hackett (254) connects them with the local position of the garden, from which Jesus could survey at a glance the entire length of the eastern wall, and the slope of the hill toward the valley.  "It is not improbable that His watchful eyes at that moment caught sight of Judas and his accomplices, as they issued from one of the eastern gates, or turned round the northern or southern corner of the walls, in order to descend into the valley.”          

The time spent in the garden was probably more than an hour, so that, if they entered it about midnight, it was between one and two in the morning when Judas came.  The Lord seems to have met him near the entrance of the garden—whether without it or within it is not certain.  "He went forth" (John xviii. 4):  "out of the garden" (Meyer); "out of the circle of the disciples" (Lange); "from the shade of the trees into the moonlight" (Alford); "from the bottom of the garden to the front part of it" (Tholuck.).  The matter is unimportant.

                        According to his arrangement with the priests, Judas, seeing the Lord standing with the disciples, leaves those that accompanied him a little behind, and, coming forward, salutes Him with the usual salutation, and kisses Him.  To this Jesus replies, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" (Matt. xxvi. 50).  "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" (Luke xxii. 48.)

Appalled at these words, Judas steps backward, and Jesus goes toward the multitude, who were watching what was taking place, and who, beholding Him advance, await His approach.  It may be that Judas had advanced so far before his companions that he was not seen by them to kiss the Lord, and that they were still awaiting the sign.  He asks, "Whom seek ye?" They reply, "Jesus of Nazareth." His words, "I am He," spoken with the majesty that became the Son of God, so overawed them that they went backward and fell to the ground.

After a like question and reply, He requests them to let the apostles go free, thus implying his own willingness to be taken; and they, thus emboldened, now lay hands upon Him.  At this moment Peter draws his sword and smites one of the band.  Jesus orders him to put up his sword, and declares that He gives Himself up to them voluntarily, and that, if He needed help, His Father would send Him legions of angels.  The healing of the servant's ear is mentioned only by Luke (xxii. 51).

He now addresses a few words to the chief priests and captains and elders, who had probably to this time been standing behind the soldiers, and now came forward; and, as He finished, the apostles, seeing Him wholly in the power of His enemies, forsook Him and fled.  It does not appear that there was any design to arrest them.  If their Master was removed out of the way, the Sanhedrim doubtless thought that they would soon sink into obscurity.  There was no attempt to seize them, and in the darkness and confusion they could easily escape.

Peter and John, however, continued lurking near by, watching the progress of events.  The incident of the young man "having a linen cloth cast about his naked body," is mentioned only by Mark (xiv. 51, 52).  From the linen cloth or cloak, Lightfoot infers that he was a religious ascetic, and not a disciple of Jesus, but a casual looker-on.  Lichtenstein (395) makes him to have been the Evangelist Mark himself, and son of the man at whose house Jesus ate the paschal supper; others, John; others, James the Just.

                        The circumstances connected with the arrest are put by some in another order [in] the incidents narrated by John (xviii. 4-9):  the going forth of Jesus to the multitude; His questions to them; and their prostration; took place before Judas approached Him to kiss Him.  According to Stier (vii. 277), Judas was with the band, but stood irresolute as the Lord came to meet them.  He with the others fell to the ground, but, reviving, goes forward to give the kiss.

But why give the kiss to make Jesus known, when He already avowedly stood before them?  It was not needed as a sign.  Stier affirms that it was given in "the devilish spirit to maintain his consistency and redeem his word."  This may be so, but the order before given is more probable.

                        --From:  Samuel J. Andrews.  The Life of Our Lord upon the Earth—Considered in its Historical, Chronological, and Geographical Relations.  Fourth Edition.  New York:  Charles Scribner & Company, 1870.

 

 

22:48                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Judas," said Jesus, "are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

WEB:              But Jesus said to him, "Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"           

Young’s:         and Jesus said to him, 'Judas, with a kiss the Son of Man dost thou deliver up?'
Conte (RC):   And Jesus said to him, "Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?"

 

22:48               Introductory context:  What conspicuously does not occur [52]:  Jesus makes no resistance, as their formidable array of men, and weapons, and torches, indicated a belief that He would; He interposed no supernatural obstruction, as they probably supposed He might.

 

                        But Jesus said unto him, Judas, Betrayest thou the Son of Man.  He proves that He is aware of the secret intention of that salute (Matthew 25:48), and rebukes the traitor for so much superfluous hypocrisy.  [52]

                        with a kiss?  The hallowed token of friendship.  "Must the Son of man be betrayed by one of His own disciples, as if He had been a hard Master, or deserved ill at their hands?  Must the badge of friendship be the instrument of treachery?"  [9]

                        Or:  “With a kiss” betrayest thou Me, dishonoring that sacred sign of love, when simply to have pointed a finger would have been enough?  [52]

                        And:  He exclaimed “Rabbi, Rabbi, hail” (“Peace to thee, Rabbi”), Mark 14:45; but received no “Peace to thee” in reply.  Overacting his part, he not only kissed His Lord but kissed him fervently [according to the Greek].  [56]

 

 

22:49                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Those who were about Him, seeing what was likely to happen, asked Him, "Master, shall we strike with the sword?"

WEB:              When those who were around him saw what was about to happen, they said to him, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"

Young’s:         And those about him, having seen what was about to be, said to him, 'Sir, shall we smite with a sword?'
Conte (RC):   Then those who were around him, realizing what was about to happen, said to him: "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"

 

22:49               When they which were about Him saw what would follow, they said unto him.  Specially Peter, but the Synoptists suppress his name from obviously prudential reasons which no longer existed when St. John wrote.  [56]

Lord, shall we smite with the sword?  It might have been what Jesus had said in the upper room about the need of swords, which led His followers now to think of physical resistance.  Perhaps Calvin’s thought that it was a special temptation of the devil, here, as in their recent sleep, which confused them, is not without probability.  [52]

                        Since it was illegal to carry swords on a feast-day, we have here another sign that the Last Supper had not been the Passover.  The bringing of the sword was part of the misconception which Jesus had not cared further to remove at the supper.  Future years would teach them Christ’s cause is served by dying, not by killing.  The full reply of our Lord on this incident must be found by combining Matthew 26:53, John 18:10, 11.  [56]

 

 

22:50                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And one of them struck a blow at the High Priest's servant and cut off his right ear.

WEB:              A certain one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

Young’s:         And a certain one of them smote the servant of the chief priest, and took off his right ear,
Conte (RC):   And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

 

22:50               And one of them.  We might have conjectured that it was Peter who committed this rash deed, but we are not left to uncertainty on this point.  (John xviii. 10.) Perhaps, as the other Evangelists wrote their Gospels during the lifetime of that Apostle, they were afraid of exposing him to danger by revealing his name, whereas John, who (it is supposed) write his account after Peter's death, had no inducement to conceal it.  [9]  

                        smote.  It is far easier to fight for Christ, than endure for His sake. 

Crusaders are always more numerous than martyrs.  [7]

                        the servant of the high priest.  Malchus. 

What was done was serious enough in itself, but that “the servant of the high priest” (of all people!) should be the victim was even more so.  [rw]  

                        and cut off his right ear.  A specific touch not found in the other Evangelists.  [56]

He meant, doubtless, to cut off his head; but, perhaps, the same power that healed prevented the true aim of the blow.  [9]  

 

 

22:51                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Permit me thus far," said Jesus. And He touched the ear and healed it.

WEB:              But Jesus answered, "Let me at least do this"--and he touched his ear, and healed him.    

Young’s:         and Jesus answering said, 'Suffer ye thus far,' and having touched his ear, he healed him.
Conte (RC):   But in response, Jesus said, "Permit even this." And when he had touched his ear, he healed him.

 

22:51               And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far.  Interpreted as a reference to the disciples:  This is variously interpreted.  I think the text requires that the words should be addressed to the disciples, and taken as the answer to the question, shall we smite, etc.  The meaning then is, permit them to go so far as to seize Me.  The expression thus corresponds with Matt. xxvi. 52.  [2]

                        Or:  Jesus said, "Suffer ye thus far."  I think the words should have a point of interrogation after them, to mean, "Is it thus far ye suffer?"  "Is this the limit of your patience?" but I do not know.  [48] 

                        Or:  He addresses the disciples and says in effect, “No, do not smite” (but the deed was done, even as He spoke); “rather suffer even this, namely, that with wicked hands they should take and slay Me.”  Other expositions—some very far fetched, some trivial—have been given to “thus far.”  The Greek—“even unto this,” implies that it was a great concession which He asked of them; as indeed it was.  To repair the injury done to Malchus, [whose] standing might greatly harm His cause (compare John 18:36), He now for the last time—and probably in behalf of one who was most forward against Him—put forth that healing touch, which had so often carried health to the sick. [52]

                        Interpreted as a reference to the arresting party:  Probably addressed to the captors, and meaning “Excuse this much resistance;” Or “Allow me liberty thus far”—free my arms a moment that I may heal this wounded man.  These snatches of dialogue—often of uncertain interpretation from their fragmentary character (e.g. Mark 9:23; Matthew 26:50; John 8:25), are inimitable marks of genuineness.  It was probably during this pause that “all His disciples”—even Peter, even John—“forsook Him and fled.”  [56]

                        And He touched his ear, and Healed him.  Only miracle of healing a fresh wound caused by violence.  [Yet it was] upon an enemy who asked no favor and showed no gratitude.  [7]

                        Although all the four Evangelists mention the cutting off of the servant's ear, yet Luke alone relates how it was healed.  It seems this miracle was the last the Savior performed.  In one respect it was the greatest.  No doubt the Lord's power was more fully displayed when the dead were raised, but His grace was most gloriously manifested when His enemy was healed.  Multitudes had often surrounded Him, entreating Him with piteous cries to restore their blind parents to sight, and their sick children to health.  But this multitude came, not to entreat, but to assault.  Yet the gracious Savior healed even one of this wicked company.  [9]

 

                       

22:52                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Then Jesus said to the High Priests and Commanders of the Temple and Elders, who had come to arrest Him, "Have you come out as if to fight with a robber, with swords and cudgels?

WEB:              Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders, who had come against him, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?        

Young’s:         And Jesus said to those having come upon him -- chief priests, and magistrates of the temple, and elders -- 'As upon a robber have ye come forth, with swords and sticks?
Conte (RC):   Then Jesus said to the leaders of the priests, and the magistrates of the temple, and the elders, who had come to him: "Have you gone out, as if against a thief, with swords and clubs?

 

22:52               Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to Him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?  Jesus had been thought evil of repeatedly and had embarrassed foes in argument whenever they clashed, but what had He ever done to justify arresting Him with such large numbers as if He were the most dangerous foe in the entire country!  He seems to have felt not so much angry as insulted at the manner of the arrest.  They have added a touch of the needlessly absurd to the entire affair.  [rw]  

                        which were come to Him.  The expression shows that these venerable persons had kept safely in the background till all possible danger was over.  It is evident that the whole band dreaded some exertion of miraculous power.  [56]

                        Be ye come out as against a thief.  Rather, “a brand” or “robber.”  Am I one of the Sicarii, or bandits?  It is a reproach to them for their cowardice and secrecy.  “If I had really done wrong, how is it that you did not arrest Me in the Temple?”  [56]

                        with swords and staves?  A dangerous and violent man you treat this way, but what have I done to justify such treatment?  [rw]

 

 

22:53                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    While day after day I was with you in the Temple, you did not lay hands upon me; but to you belongs this hour--and the power of darkness."

WEB:              When I was with you in the temple daily, you didn't stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness."

Young’s:         while daily I was with you in the temple, ye did stretch forth no hands against me; but this is your hour and the power of the darkness.'
Conte (RC):   When I was with you each day in the temple, you did not extend your hands against me. But this is your hour and that of the power of darkness."

 

22:53               When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against Me.  In other words:  I was in a public place—the Temple—where you could easily have found Me.  Not just on one day, but as part of a daily pattern.  If you had a legitimate grievance, why didn’t you arrest Me when I was immediately at hand rather than now in the middle of the night when to even find Me you had to go to a lot of difficulty?  Of course, an honest answer to such a challenge would have been an admission that truth was irrelevant to them and only power and that He was only guilty of embarrassing the religious elites and that an arrest would have been so brazenly unjust the crowds might well have exploded in anger.  [rw] 

                        but this is your hour.  So the Savior explains their conduct:  it is the hour appointed in God’s counsel, foretold in the prophets (Matthew 26:56), for you to work your unhallowed will.  [52]

                        Or:  This is the time of your “victory” over Me, but it will be as short-lived as if it were literally a mere hour of time . . .  for when “My hour” comes in the resurrection, it will be an ongoing and permanent victory.  [rw]

and the power of darkness.  The power by which you are impelled is that which darkness gives to wicked men to perpetuate evil deeds, a power which you could not have exercised in the light of day, when I was among you.  The word “darkness” inevitably suggests also, in this connection, metaphorically, that moral empire whose rulers were “the powers of darkness” (Colossians 1:13).  But the explanation here does not require that.  [52]   

 

 

22:54                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And they arrested Him and led Him away, and brought Him to the High Priest's house, while Peter followed a good way behind.

WEB:              They seized him, and led him away, and brought him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed from a distance.       

Young’s:         And having taken him, they led and brought him to the house of the chief priest. And Peter was following afar off,
Conte (RC):   And apprehending him, they led him to the house of the high priest. Yet truly, Peter followed at a distance.

 

22:54               Then took they Him, and led Him.  With His hands bound, probably behind His back, John 18:12.  [56]

and brought Him into the high priest's house.  Matt. xxvi. 57.  Mark xiv. 53.  John xviii. 13.  Our narrative leaves it undecided who this high-priest was,--inasmuch as, ch. iii. 2, Annas and Caiaphas are mentioned as high-priests.  From John we find that it was Annas; who having questioned Jesus, sent Him bound to Caiaphas, before whom His trial took place.  Luke omits this trial altogether--or perhaps gives the substance of it in the account (vv. 66-71) of the morning assembly of the Sanhedrim.  [15]

                        And Peter followed afar off.  They did not seem anxious to arrest the disciples.  [7]

                        By this he evinced two things:  1.  Real attachment to His Master--a desire to be near Him, and to witness His trial.  2.  Fear respecting His personal safety.  He therefore kept so far off as to be out of danger, and yet so near as that he might witness the transactions respecting his master.  Perhaps he expected to be lost and unobserved in the crowd.  [9]

 

                        In depth:  A matter not touched on by Luke [52]:  We are not told here how he got into the court of the high priest’s house, but John supplies the information.  John himself had gone in with the crowd about Jesus, and then, through some acquaintance with the high priest, was able to induce the woman who kept the gate to let Peter come in also.  See John 18:15, 16.  But as that was in the court of Annas, while what follows here took place in the court of Caiaphas, it seems necessary to assume that both lived in different parts of a house which surrounded one and the same central court.  As they were so closely related, and the house of the wealthy and powerful Annas would be grand and spacious, nothing could be more natural than that it should afford habitation for them both.  The sending Jesus, therefore, from Annas to Caiaphas, need be nothing more than having Him taken across a spacious interior court to the opposite apartment.  

                       

 

22:55                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And when they had lighted a fire in the middle of the court and had seated themselves in a group round it, Peter was sitting among them,

WEB:              When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard, and had sat down together, Peter sat among them.         

Young’s:         and they having kindled a fire in the midst of the court, and having sat down together, Peter was sitting in the midst of them,
Conte (RC):  Now as they were sitting around a fire, which had been kindled in the middle of the atrium, Peter was in their midst.

 

22:55               And when they had kindled a fire.  John adds, "for it was cold," intimating that this was not usual, but so occurred at that time.  The latter rain often begins at this season, and in such cases the weather is chilly.  Ezra 10:9-13; also Deuteronomy 11:14; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1.  At our visit to Jerusalem [in the mid-nineteenth century], the Passover occurred about the middle of April.  The weather was variable.  Some days were very warm:  but we shall always remember a Sabbath afternoon when going out to the Mount of Olives, we found it so chilly and blustering, as to make it very uncomfortable, and we were obliged to return at once.  The evenings were cool, and this arraignment was towards midnight.  [8]

                        in the midst of the hall.  A courtyard open to the sky.  This testifies both to the large size of the property--in order to be able to fit what is clearly a substantial crowd—30?  40? Or more people.  It also gives testimony to the wealth of the owner--with only limited space inherently available within the city walls, the bigger the courtyard the more the owner had to spend on the “pleasant” rather than just the “essential.”  [rw]

and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.  Peter was doing his best to “blend in” with everyone else.  Again:  the larger the crowd the easier for his presence to go unnoticed by anyone who knew who was “supposed” to be there.  Sitting down close to everyone else permitted each individual to provide partial bodily shelter from any winds and for at least a limited amount of bodily heat to help take the “edge” off the temperature.  [42]

                        It was like the impetuosity of his character, but most unwise for one of his temperament.  John says (18:18) that “he stood,” and perhaps we have here a touch of restlessness.  [56]

 

 

22:56                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    when a maidservant saw him sitting by the fire, and, looking fixedly at him, she said, "This man also was with him."

WEB:              A certain servant girl saw him as he sat in the light, and looking intently at him, said, "This man also was with him."        

Young’s:         and a certain maid having seen him sitting at the light, and having earnestly looked at him, she said, 'And this one was with him!'
Conte (RC):   And when a certain woman servant had seen him sitting in its light, and had looked at him intently, she said, "This one was also with him."

 

22:56               But a certain maid.  The maid-servant was either the portress, whom John mentions as having called forth one denial from Peter, or some one who may have been with her when the company came in.  [52]

                        beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with Him.  The firelight provided enough illumination for her to make an identification.  She gives no hint that she recognizes that he is one of the leadership of the Jesus movement, only that of being a known participant in it.  [rw]

 

 

22:57                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But he denied it, and declared, "Woman, I do not know him."

WEB:              He denied Jesus, saying, "Woman, I don't know him."      

Young’s:         and he disowned him, saying, 'Woman, I have not known him.'
Conte (RC):   But he denied him by saying, "Woman, I do not know him."

 

22:57               And he denied Him, saying, Woman, I know Him not.  “Nor do I understand what you mean,” Mark 14:68.  The “woman!” should come last.  Peter—who has been described as homalos anomalon or “consistently inconsistent”—showed just the same kind of weakness many years later.  Galatians 2:12-13.  [56] 



22:58                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Shortly afterwards a man saw him and said, "You, too, are one of them." "No, man, I am not," said Peter.

WEB:              After a little while someone else saw him, and said, "You also are one of them!" But Peter answered, "Man, I am not!" 

Young’s:         And after a little, another having seen him, said, 'And thou art of them!' and Peter said, 'Man, I am not.'
Conte (RC):  

 

22:58               And after a little while.  With the late hour, the tension surely present among all present, and the cold—to have one person challenge him was disconcerting enough.  But for only “a little while” to pass by before another did so as well, at that point Peter’s own sense of personal endangerment had to have skyrocketed.  [rw]

another.  The pronoun, in the Greek, is masculine.  [52]

saw him, and said, Thou art also of them.  Again, no hint that he has any idea of the significance Peter played in the Jesus movement, but only that he was part of it.  In this context, a dangerous enough accusation that could easily lead to unknown but frightening consequences.  [rw]

And Peter said, Man, I am not.  Again the firm—growling?  indignant?—denial.  [rw]

 

 

22:59                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    After an interval of about an hour some one else stoutly maintained: "Certainly this fellow also was with him, for in fact he is a Galilaean."

WEB:              After about one hour passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, "Truly this man also was with him, for he is a Galilean!"

Young’s:         And one hour, as it were, having intervened, a certain other was confidently affirming, saying, 'Of a truth this one also was with him, for he is also a Galilean;'
Conte (RC):   And after a little while, another one, seeing him, said, "You also are one of them." Yet Peter said, "O man, I am not."

 

22:59               And about the space of one hour after.  To Peter it must have been one of the most terrible hours of his life.  [56]

another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with Him:  for he is a Galilaean.  The strong provincial dialect of the fisherman of the Lake of Galilee at once told these Jerusalem Jews, accustomed to the peculiar pronunciation of the Galilee pilgrims at the Passover Feast, that the man whom they suspected certainly came from the same province as Jesus the Accused.  [18]

                        The fact that a Galilean accent was sufficient to “confidently” indict Peter as a follower of Jesus would almost have to carry the inferential weight that one with a Judaean accident was unlikely to be one.  In short, we seem to find an implication that the Jesus movement had not set down major roots in Judaea—at the very least, not near Jerusalem.  [rw]

                        This appears to correspond to the third denial, in Matthew and Mark, inasmuch as they all find the proof in the fact that Peter was a Galilean.  [52]

 

 

22:60                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Man, I don't know what you mean," replied Peter. No sooner had he spoken than a cock crowed.

WEB:              But Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you are talking about!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.          

Young’s:         and Peter said, 'Man, I have not known what thou sayest;' and presently, while he is speaking, a cock crew.
Conte (RC):   And Peter said: "Man, I do not know what you are saying." And at once, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

 

22:60               And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.  It may be easy to point the finger of scorn at the great apostle, but there are few followers of Christ who at times of less severe testing have not as truly denied their Lord, by word or deed, with cowardice and deceit and passion.  [28]

                        Luke drops a veil over the “cursing and swearing” which accompanied this last denial (Matthew 26:74).  [56]

                        And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.  How humiliated Peter must have felt within a few minutes when full recognition sank in of what he had been doing—the very opposite of what he had sworn would be the case!

                        A historical question used to challenge the account:  It crew for a second time.  Minute critics have imagined that they found a “difficulty” here because the Talmud says that cocks and hens, from their scratching in the dung, were regarded as unclean.  But as to this the Talmud contradicts itself, since it often alludes to cocks and hens at Jerusalem.  Moreover the cock might have belonged to the Roman soldiers in Fort Antonia.  [56] 

 

                        In depth:  Differences in the accounts of the denials as given in the four gospels [52]:  The different reports of Peter’s denials present the agreements and differences natural to so many independent, truthful accounts of the same series of exciting events, in which numbers have participated.  They all speak of three denials, in the courtyard of the high priest’s house, or in the space surrounding it, with a fire burning in the midst of it. 

The persons bringing the charge do not coincide throughout.  In the first denial, it is a maid-servant in each account.  In the second, Luke has “another,” in the masculine; John has “they,” the company.  In the third, Matthew and Mark have “they that stood by”; Luke, “another” man; John, “one of the servants of the high priest.”

In regard to the time, all make the three to have taken place before a cock crew, except Mark, who informs us, in 14:30, that Jesus had said, “before the cock crow twice,” and who mentions one cock crowing after the first denial. 

It is hard, to see how, under the circumstances, three truly independent narratives could better agree in everything essential to a true report.   

 

                        In depth:  One analysis of how the differing pieces of data about Peter’s denial can fit into a consistent whole:  In regard to the first denial there are no special difficulties.  How soon after Peter entered the court he was addressed by the damsel who kept the door, or portress, does not appear.  It is probable that, as her attention had been specially drawn to him when he was admitted, she watched him as he stood by the fire; and that something in his appearance or conduct may have excited her suspicions.  The attention of all who heard her must now have been directed to Peter, but no one seems to have joined her in her accusation.

                        In regard to the second denial, there are several apparent discrepancies both as to the persons and the place.  The former are described as "another maid," "the (same) maid," "another person," "they."  But in the several narratives it is plain that it is not deemed important to specify who addressed Peter; the important point is his denials.

                        The matter may very naturally be thus arranged:  The damsel who first accused him, silenced for the time, but not satisfied with his denial, speaks to another maid servant, and points out Peter to her as one whom she knew, or believed, to be a disciple.  Seeing him soon after in the porch, for, in the agitation of his spirit, he cannot keep still, she renews the charge that he is a disciple; and the other maid repeats it.  Others, hearing the girls, also join with them, perhaps dimly remembering his person, or now noting something peculiar in his manner. That, under the circumstances and in the excitement of the moment, such an accusation, once raised, should be echoed by many, is what we should expect.

                        During the confusion of this questioning, Peter returns again to the fire, where most were standing, and there repeats with an oath his denial. There is no necessity for transposing, with Ellicott, the first and second denials as given by John.

                        The second denial, so energetically made, seems to have finally silenced the women, and there is no repetition of the charge for about the space of an hour. During this interval, Peter, perhaps the better to allay suspicion, joins in the conversation, and is recognized as a Galilean by his manner of speech.  As most of the disciples of Jesus were Galileans, this again draws attention to him. 

           Perhaps the kinsman of Malchus, who had been with the multitude, and had seen him in the garden, and now remembers his person, begins the outcry, and the bystanders join with him; and the more that his very denials betray his Galilean birth. The charge, thus repeated by so many, and upon such apparently good grounds, threatens immediate danger; and Peter therefore denies it with the utmost vehemence, with oaths and cursings.

                      The exact relations in which the denials of Peter stand in order of time to the examination and trial of the Lord, it is impossible to determine.  Probably the first denial, and perhaps also the second—for there seems to have been but a short interval between them (Luke xxii. 58)—may have been during the preliminary examination before Caiaphas, or at least before the assembling of the Sanhedrim; and the third during the trial or at its close.

                        The incident recorded by Luke, (xxii. 61), that immediately after the third denial, as the cock crew, the Lord turned and looked upon Peter, is supposed by some to show that Jesus was now passing from one apartment to another, and, as He passes, turns and looks upon Peter, who was standing near by.  But, if so, when was this?  Those who put the preliminary examination before Annas, and Peter's denials there, make this the departure to Caiaphas after the examination; others, His departure after the trial from Caiaphas to Pilate; others still, the change from the apartment in Caiaphas' palace, where He had been examined, to that in which He was to be tried.

                        But it is by no means necessary to suppose any change of place on the part of the Lord. As we have seen, the Sanhedrim probably assembled in a large room directly connected with the court, and open in front, and therefore what was said in the one could, with more or less distinctness, be heard in the other. There is, then, no difficulty in believing that Jesus had heard all the denials of Peter; and that now, as he denied Him for the third time, and the cock crew, He turned Himself to the court and looked upon the conscience-stricken apostle.

                        Meyer indeed, finds it psychologically impossible that he should have made these denials in the presence of Jesus.  Few will deem such a psychological impossibility, which exists only in the mind of the critic, of much weight against the word of an Evangelist; but, in fact, Peter was not in His presence, though not far removed.                         

                        We have no datum to determine at what hour of the night these denials took place, except we find it in the cockcrowings.  Mark (xiv. 68) relates that after the first denial the cock crow[ed].  All the Evangelists mention the third denial in connection with the second cock-crowing.  Greswell (iii 216) makes the first cock-crowing to have been about 2 A.M., the second about 3 A.M.  But we do not know whether this second cock-crowing was at the end of the first examination, or during the formal trial, or at its close, and have therefore no datum to determine when the Sanhedrim began its session.  We cannot, however, well place it later than 3 A. M.

                        -- From:  Samuel J. Andrews.  The Life of Our Lord upon the Earth—Considered in its Historical, Chronological, and Geographical Relations.  Fourth Edition.  New York:  Charles Scribner & Company, 1870.

 

 

22:61                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    The Master turned and looked on Peter; and Peter recollected the Master's words, how He had said to him, "This very day, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times."

WEB:              The Lord turned, and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the Lord's word, how he said to him, "Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times."   

Young’s:         And the Lord having turned did look on Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he said to him -- 'Before a cock shall crow, thou mayest disown me thrice;'
Conte (RC):   And the Lord turned around and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord that he had said: "For before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."

 

22:61               And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter.  All four Evangelists tell the story of Peter's threefold denial and swift repentance, but we owe the knowledge of the look of Christ's to Luke only.  The other Evangelists connect the sudden change in the denier with his hearing the cock crow only, but according to Luke there were two causes co-operating to bring about that sudden repentance, for, he says, "Immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.  And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter."  And we cannot doubt that it was the Lord's look enforcing the fulfilment of His prediction of the cock-crow that broke down the denier.  [47]

                        At the third denial, the Lord "turned."  Two explanations:  (a)  Jesus was  tried in one of the halls which surrounded the inner court of an Oriental house.  As these were open to view Jesus could hear Peter curse and swear and deny; when he became very vehement, Jesus  "turned"  towards him;  (b)  After His condemnation the Lord was led from the hall of judgment to the apartments of the servants, there to wait until the morning trial.  Just when Jesus passed him Peter cursed and the Lord "turned" towards him.  [22] 

                        And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto Him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.  In the stress of the waiting in the courtyard, Peter had either forgotten the prediction or had become so preoccupied with not being recognized that it was far from his conscious thoughts.  This glance, however, pushed it to the forefront of his mind, where it surely landed with all the pain of a sledgehammer.  [rw]

 

 

22:62                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And he went out and wept aloud bitterly.

WEB:              He went out, and wept bitterly.

Young’s:         and Peter having gone without, wept bitterly.
Conte (RC):   And going out, Peter wept bitterly.

 

22:62               And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.  It is easy to “sermonize” over Peter’s weakness and denials of Jesus.  However anyone who has lived even thirty or forty years has surely faced a situation in which lies were told because they seemed “the only way out.”  Some have even gone beyond shame in their reaction and, like Peter, been horrified in retrospect at what human weakness led them into.  So let us cut the man “a little slack” as we evaluate his actions.  As the saying goes, “There but for the grace of God goes I—and you.”  Every one of us would have the same potential for failure as Peter did if we had been in his shoes.  To deny it, surely borders on self-delusion, does it not?  [rw]

                        wept.  Not only edakruse, “shed tears,” but eklause, “wept aloud;” and, as Mark says (14:72), eklai, “he continued weeping.”  It was more than a mere burst of tears.  [56]

                        bitterly.  Mark says epibalon, which may mean, “where he thought thereon,” or “flinging his mantle over his head.”  [56]

                        Hiding his face would be a natural reaction as he walked a little away from those who had been challenging him as a disciple (embarrassment and humiliation at the accurate claim being made at all?  at the tears that were beginning to flow?  both?).  The first could carry the connotation that the longer he thought about the denial, the more it tore him up and the greater he cried.  Both would be natural reactions under the circumstances.  [rw] 

 

 

22:63                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Meanwhile the men who held Jesus in custody repeatedly beat Him in cruel sport,

WEB:              The men who held Jesus mocked him and beat him. 

Young’s:         And the men who were holding Jesus were mocking him, beating him;
Conte (RC):   And the men who were holding him ridiculed him and beat him.

 

22:63               And the men that held Jesus mocked Him.  The original makes the particular injuries to be the mockery, thus:  “mocked Him, beating Him; and blindfolding Him, they asked Him,” etc.  [52]

and smote Him.  The “beating” here was such as properly implies the use of rods or scourges.  [52]

                        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,” Matthew 26:67;  errapisan, “smote with sticks” (Ibid.); and rapismasin eballon, Mark 14:65.  See the prophesy of Isaiah l. 6.  The Priests of that day, and their pampered followers, were too much addicted to these brutalities (Acts 21:32, 23:2), as we learn also from the Talmud. [56] 

 

                        In depth:  How the trial before Caiphas’ rump Sanhedrin would leave the crowd confident that they could treat Jesus any way they wished [56].  The Priests on that occasion “sought false witness,” but their false witnesses contradicted each other in their attempt to prove that He had threatened to destroy the Temple.  Since Jesus still kept silence, Caiaphas rose, walked into the midst of the hall, and adjured Jesus by the Living God to say whether He was “the Christ, the Son of God.”  So adjured, Christ answered in the affirmative, and then Caiaphas, rending his robes, appealed to the assembly, who, most illegally setting aside the need of any further witnesses, shouted aloud that He was “A man of Death,” i.e., deserving of capital punishment.  From this moment He would be regarded by the dependents of the Priests as a condemned criminal.

 

 

22:64                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    or blindfolded Him, and then challenged Him. "Prove to us," they said, "that you are a prophet, by telling us who it was that struck you."

WEB:              Having blindfolded him, they struck him on the face and asked him, "Prophesy! Who is the one who struck you?"

Young’s:         and having blindfolded him, they were striking him on the face, and were questioning him, saying, 'Prophesy who he is who smote thee?'
Conte (RC):   And they blindfolded him and repeatedly struck his face. And they questioned him, saying: "Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?"

 

22:64               And when they had blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face, and asked Him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?  Now they get their “reward” for being up all night and half freezing during the pseudo-hearings:  they get the opportunity to make life a misery for this supposed prophet.  After all a true prophet should have been able to answer “who is it that smote thee?” wouldn’t he?  For that matter (either out of ignorance or of setting aside the facts of the Old Testament that would spoil their entertainment) would God have even permitted such to happen to a true prophet, especially one claiming to such greatness as this Jesus? 

And, of course, he was a despised Galilean—a sanctioned time to unloose their spleen with all their regional resentments of that despised breed of Jews.  This isn’t “lynch law” because it isn’t really intended as punishment.  It is simply the opportunity to use violence—without any repercussion—when normally they had to be careful where, when, and if to unleash their violent side at all.  This was, to be blunt, “entertainment” for them.  [rw]  

 

 

22:65                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And they said many other insulting things to Him.

WEB:              They spoke many other things against him, insulting him.    

Young’s:         and many other things, speaking evilly, they spake in regard to him.
Conte (RC):   And blaspheming in many other ways, they spoke against him.

 

22:65               And many other things blasphemously spake they against Him.  The text doesn’t bother to fill in the details.  Once people plunge into this “insult mode,” facts no longer matter.  Just what is derogatory and demeaning.  Would one be doing an insult to probability if one suspects that more than a few had had a number of “warming (alcoholic) drinks” to get them through the night hours?  Certainly such provides further excuse to unleash any violence that may dwell within—even in our age.  [rw]  

                        blasphemously.  This term now bears a different meaning.  Here it merely means “reviling Him.”  [56]

 

                        In depth:  Another reconstruction of the chronology of events of that night from the four gospel accounts [18].  The position of the Redeemer when the cruelties took place, described in this and the two [earlier] 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 John 18:13, 19-24.  In this first and informal trial Caiaphas was evidently present, and took part (John 18:19). At the close of this unofficial but important proceeding, Annas sent him to Caiaphas. The true reading in John 18:24 is "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 (Matthew 26:59-66) and St. Mark (Mark 14:55-64).  The priests on that occasion sought false witnesses, but their witnesses 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 Sanhedrin.  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.

 

22:66                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    As soon as it was day, the whole body of the Elders, both High Priests and Scribes, assembled. Then He was brought into their Sanhedrin, and they asked Him,

WEB:              As soon as it was day, the assembly of the elders of the people was gathered together, both chief priests and scribes, and they led him away into their council, saying,        

Young’s:         And when it became day there was gathered together the eldership of the people, chief priests also, and scribes, and they led him up to their own sanhedrim,
Conte (RC):   And when it was daytime, the elders of the people, and the leaders of the priests, and the scribes convened. And they led him into their council, saying, "If you are the Christ, tell us."

 

22:66               And as soon as it was day.  The Oral Law decided that the Sanhedrin could only meet by daylight.  [56]

There were three stages or processes of proceedings against Jesus: 

1.  The preliminary examination,  which probably took place while the full Sanhedrim was assembling.  (Matt. xxvi. 57; Mark xiv. 63; Luke xxii. 54; John xviii. 13, 19-24.) 

2.  The trial before the Sanhedrim.  (Matt. xxvi. 59-68; Mark xiv. 55-65.) 

3.  The subsequent consultation as to the best method of effecting the death of Jesus.  (Matt. xxvii. 1; Mark xv. 1.) 

After the council had condemned Jesus the first time, they seem to have separated, and met again early in the morning.  It is to this second meeting of the council the words, "as soon as it was day," most probably refer.  The sun rose at that season of the year, in Judea, not far from five o'clock.   [9] 

                        the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together.  The classes of which the Sanhedrim was composed, which consisted of seventy persons, of whom the high priest was the chief.  There were other members of this great council, such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.  [9]

                        and led Him into their council, saying.  The place of their meeting was probably no longer the office in one front of the high priest’s palace.  Compare Matthew 27:5.  [52]

It seems probable that Luke here gives us an account of a second and formal judgment held in the morning.  The similarity of the things said at the two hearings may be accounted for by remembering that they were both more or less formal processes in legal courts, one the precognition, the other, the decision, at which the things said before would be likely to be nearly repeated.  [15]  

 

 

22:67                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Are you the Christ? Tell us." "If I tell you," He replied, "you will certainly not believe;

WEB:              "If you are the Christ, tell us." But he said to them, "If I tell you, you won't believe,

Young’s:         saying, 'If thou be the Christ, tell us.' And he said to them, 'If I may tell you, ye will not believe;
Conte (RC):   And he said to them: "If I tell you, you will not believe me.

 

22:67               Art thou the Christ?  tell us.  Their object was to draw from Him here what He had previously declared (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62), that they might base formal action upon it.  The attempt to convict Him of any secular crime appears to have broken down with the failure of the unprincipled Annas.  Perhaps they thought they might use His claim to be the Messiah as threatening to the civil government.  While not at all varying from His previous acknowledgment [of Messiahship], to repeat it now [would be in such a context as to give them a pretext to use it before Pilate against Him as an evidence of treason.]  [52]

And He said unto them,  If I tell you, ye will not believe.  It was simply to turn His declaration into a weapon against Him that they wanted Him to speak.  Former professions of His Messiahship (John 8:58; 10:30) had only sharpened their hatred against Him. [52]

 

 

22:68                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    and if I ask you questions, you will certainly not answer.

WEB:              and if I ask, you will in no way answer me or let me go.       

Young’s:         and if I also question you, ye will not answer me or send me away;
Conte (RC):   And if I also question you, you will not answer me. Neither will you release me.

 

22:68               And if I also ask you, ye will not answer Me.  Questions touching the Scripture proof of My Messiahship. [52]

                        Or:  This was a tribunal before which the decision was preordained by the leadership.  Whatever He should ask or plead on any subject would be cast aside except to the extent it might provide them an excuse for accusations and action against Him.  This was a court which would prefer not to hear a defense in the first place and, if somehow forced to, was going to ignore it.  Hence silence would give them less to work with and make them have to strive even harder to find an excuse for what they had already decided.  [rw]     

  nor let Me go.  My freedom was never an option from the time you arrested me.  The only question at issue was going to be the exact accusations and wording of them that would be used to convict.  [rw]

 

 

22:69                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But from this time forward the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of God's omnipotence."

WEB:              From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God."

Young’s:         henceforth, there shall be the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God.'
Conte (RC):   But from this time, the Son of man will be sitting at the right hand of the power of God."

 

22:69               Hereafter shall the Son of man sat on right hand of power of God.  There is a plain reference in these words to the prophecy of Daniel.  (Dan. vii. 9-14.)  Our Lord evidently implies that He was the person to whom that prophecy pointed; and that, although condemned by the Jews, He would shortly be exalted to the highest position of dignity in heaven.  The Jews saw this at once, and proceeded to put the question of the next verse.  [9]  

                        Implicit here is a claim that “hereafter”—after this is all over—no matter what they have done, He will have regal power.  He will be ruling as King.  Hence He manages to interject an explicitly regal aspect to His Messianic claims without actually using the word “King” that would have been even more inflammatory to His listeners.  The Sanhedrin claimed to be the “rulers” of Israel; Jesus asserts that He will be the one with the real power—ruling at God’s right hand.  Ruling “in the Temple” had its unquestionable glory, but that of Jesus’ would overshadow it a million-fold.  How they must have hated His words!  [rw]

 

 

22:70                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Thereupon they cried out with one voice, "You, then, are the Son of God?" "It is as you say," He answered; "I am He."

WEB:              They all said, "Are you then the Son of God?" He said to them, "You say it, because I am."   

Young’s:         And they all said, 'Thou, then, art the Son of God?' and he said unto them, 'Ye say it, because I am;'
Conte (RC):   Then they all said, "So you are the Son of God?" And he said. "You are saying that I am."

 

22:70               Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God.  Note how they equate His “Son of Man” claim of the previous verse with the concept of “Son of God.”  Surely this argues quite powerfully that they understood (rightly) that (1) the two referred to the same individual and (2) that the prophesied “Son of Man” would have a unique Divine “Sonship” element to Him that others would not have.  [52]

and He said unto them, ye say that I am.  Which is a form of assenting or affirming, and equivalent to saying, "Ye say rightly that I am."  The same in sense is given by Mark xiv. 62, "I am."  Seldom in the course of His Ministry did our Lord announce Himself as the messiah.  But here in the great and trying moment, when questioned by the representatives of the Jewish nation.  "Art thou the Son of God?"  He returned the solemn reply.  "Ye say that I am"--a Hebraistic form of affirmation.  [9]   

 

 

22:71                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "What need have we of further evidence?" they said; "for we ourselves have heard it from his own lips."

WEB:              They said, "Why do we need any more witness? For we ourselves have heard from his own mouth!"        

Young’s:         and they said, 'What need yet have we of testimony? for we ourselves did hear it from his mouth.'
Conte (RC):   And they said: "Why do we still require testimony? For we have heard it ourselves, from his own mouth."

 

22:71               And they said, What need we any further witness?  for we ourselves have heard of His own mouth.  Do they really believe this or are they simply so frustrated at their inability to pry out the words they could most easily use, that they have to go with what they have obtained—meager (from the Roman standpoint) as it is?  Regardless, to use the modern phrase “the clock was running.”  They only had a limited time to ram through Roman approval and execution. 

Therefore, whether they were genuinely satisfied with what they had or not, they had no practical choice but to go forward with it.  To act otherwise would require postponing execution until after the major religious rites were completed—and with multitudes of Galileans not yet having returned homeward (not to mention an unknown number of Judaean sympathizers!) the possibility of a vehement and massive popular reaction to what was happening was far from impossible.  Hence, death had to be in the short-term before such potential “complications” could mushroom into a disaster for them.  [rw] 

 

                        In depth:  Illegalities of Jesus' trial [22].  The following are some of the illegal features of Christ's trial:  Trying a criminal in the night; passing judgment of death before one night had elapsed after the trial; trying a criminal case on the day before the Sabbath or a feast; undue haste; compelling the prisoner to testify against Himself; the judicial use of the prisoner's confession; the seeking (probably buying) witnesses; the neglect to warn the witnesses solemnly before giving evidence; the failure to release Jesus when the two witnesses did not agree, as concurrent testimony of two witnesses was necessary to framing an indictment. 

[Hence] the trial was illegal provided that we have a full report of proceedings and that the Talmudic law was enforced in Palestine during the lifetime of Jesus.  But not a few hold that the Talmud represents a later phase of Jewish jurisprudence, and that the letter, though not the spirit, of the then existing law was observed.                   

 

                        In depth:  In light of the Sadducee dominance, were the violations of traditional judicial protocol in the trial caused by their influence?—A negative evaluation [18].   Derenbourg attributes the undue illegal precipitancy of the whole proceeding to the overwhelming influence exercised in the supreme council by Annas and Caiaphas with their friends who were Sadducees, a party notorious for their cruelty as well as for their unbelief.  Had the Pharisees borne sway in the Sanhedrin at that juncture, such an illegality could never have taken place.  This apology possesses certain weight, as it is based upon known historical facts; yet when the general bearing of the Pharisee party towards our Lord during the greater part of his public ministry is remembered, it can scarcely be supposed that the action of the Sadducee majority in the Sanhedrin was repugnant to, or even opposed by, the Pharisee element in the great assembly.

            Or at least not a sufficient number of them.  Remember also that the Pharisees viewed Jesus as outrageously misguided.  Why should they tackle the nearly impossible battle to rescue a man they themselves regarded as nothing short of a heretic himself?  What would they gain for themselves or their movement other than to deepen the rage of the dominant Sadducean faction against them?  And what good purpose would that possibly advance?  [rw]

 

 

* * * * * *

 

 

                        In depth:  An introductory survey to the tension between the Synoptics and John and whether Jesus’ “Passover” celebration was on the official date or not [52].  Luke 22:7:  “And the day of unleavened bread came when the passover must be killed” or sacrificed.  Before (verse 1) it was drawing nigh; now it has come.  This day was the 14th of Nisan, before noon of which all leaven must be put away from the houses; and in the afternoon the paschal lamb must be slain.  On this account, it appears also to have been called “the preparation of = for, the Passover” (John 19:14).  But with what day of the week did this 14th day of Nisan coincide that year?  If we knew certainly what year it was of the Roman era, chronologers could easily determine the question.

                        As it is, we are turned to another question.  On what day of the month was Christ crucified?  That the day of the week was a Friday, scarcely is or can be disputed (23:54; John 19:31).  Could we add that it was the 15th of Nisan, then we should know at once that the 14th was Thursday, beginning at about 6 P.M. on Wednesday.  If we suppose that the day mentioned in our verse was Thursday, the natural inference would be that the Passover would be killed in the afternoon, after about three o-clock, and the supper eaten by the disciples that evening, after Friday, the 15th, had begun, when the whole nation were doing the same.

                        Indeed, from the chief indications of date in these Gospels no doubt would probably ever have arisen that the Last Supper of our Lord took place simultaneously with the Passover meal of the Jews generally.  But when one goes with unbiased mind to the Gospel of John, he finds the leading indications of time pointing to a different hour.  The “supper” spoken of (John 13:2) is correctly regarded as identical with that of the Passover in our chapter; but it is said (verse 1) to have taken place “before the Passover.”  Again in verse 29, when Judas went out, some thought he had gone to buy the things which they needed for the feast; as if the feast was yet to come, and there was free opportunity to make any purchases.  This, many think, could hardly have been supposable on the Passover evening.

                        In John 18:28, the rulers, on the morning of the crucifixion, were careful against defiling themselves, that “they might eat the Passover.”  In 19:31, the Jews, because it was “the preparation,” that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath (for the day of that Sabbath was a high day—as it would be if also the day of the Passover supper) besought Pilate, etc.

                        On the basis of these diverging representations, the judgment of Christian scholars has always been divided as to whether Jesus then celebrated the Passover with His disciples, according to the common usage, and at the regular time, or instituted a new observance, “this Passover” = “our Passover,” on the evening before, and was Himself put to death at the hour when the Jewish lambs were superfluously bleeding, at the temple.  Those who are controlled by the obvious sense of John’s narrative, suppose that Saturday (the Sabbath) was the proper Passover day, the 15th of Nisan; that the lambs were sacrificed on Friday afternoon, and the supper eaten that evening, after the Sabbath had begun.  The early Christian writers generally appear to have taken this view, as have several of the most eminent scholars recently, especially those who have treated John’s Gospel by itself. 

The prevalent view, however, has been that to which the Synoptical narrative would most naturally lead—that Friday was the true Passover day, and Thursday evening the hour of the Passover meal.  We do not undertake to decide the question, which would involve too much of the interpretation of John’s Gospel.  The fact that the most eminent expositors have differed in their judgment in the matter, through all periods of independent exegesis of the New Testament, and never more so than within the past twenty-five years, shows that the probabilities are pretty evenly balanced.

Whichever conclusion a man may have reached, he will be more likely, in proportion as he has investigated most thoroughly, to see how another may have come to a different result from the same data.  A breath may seem sufficient to have turned the scales.  We shall proceed to develop what saliently presents itself as the view of our Evangelist[--Luke].        

 

 

                        In depth:  Reconstructing the time scenario—the approach that makes this observance the day before the official Passover occurred [18].  The three synoptists unite in describing this solemn meal, for which Peter and John were sent to prepare, as the ordinary Paschal Supper.  But, on comparing the record of the same Supper given by St. John, we are irresistibly led to a different conclusion; for we read that on the following day those who led Jesus into the Praetorium went not in themselves, "lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover" (John 18:28); and again it is said of the same day, that "it was the preparation of the Passover" (John 19:14).

          So the time of the Supper is described by St. John (John 13:1) as "before the Feast of the Passover."  It appears that our Lord was crucified on the 14th of Nisan, on the very day of the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, a few hours before the time of the Paschal Supper, and that his own Last Supper was eaten the night before, that is, twenty-four hours before the general time of eating the Passover Supper.

         The most venerable of the Fathers preserved this as a sacred tradition.  So Justin Martyr: "On the day of the Passover ye took him, and on the day of the Passover ye crucified him" ('Dial. cum Trypho,' ch. 3.).  To the same effect write Irenaeus ('Adv. Haer.,' 4.23) and Tertullian ('Adv. Judaeos,' ch. 8).  Clement of Alexandria is most definite:  "The Lord did not eat his last Passover on the legal day of the Passover, but on the previous day, the 13th, and suffered on the day following, being himself the Passover".  Hippolytus of Portus bears similar testimony.

        The question—as to whether the famous Last Supper was the actual Passover Supper, or the anticipatory Paschal Feast, which we believe it to have been—is important; for thus the language of St. Paul (1 Corinthians 5:7), "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," is justified.  "The apostle regarded not the Last Supper, but the death of Christ, as the antitype of the Paschal sacrifice, and the correspondence of type and antitype would be incomplete unless the sacrifice of the Redeemer took place at the time on which alone that of the Paschal lamb could legally be offered" (Dean Mansel).

 

 

                        In depth:  A longer analysis also concluding that the meal Jesus participated in was not an official Passover meal [56].  The question whether, before the institution of the Lord’s Supper, our Lord and His Disciples ate the usual Jewish Passover—in other words, whether in the year of the Crucifixion the ordinary Jewish Passover (Nissan 15) began on the evening of Thursday or on the evening of Friday—is a question which has been ably and voluminously debated, and respecting which eminent authorities have come to opposite conclusions.

                        From the Synoptists alone we should no doubt infer that the ordinary Paschal Feast was eaten by our Lord and His Disciples, as by all the Jews, on the evening of Thursday (Matthew 26:2, 17, 18, 19; Mark 14:14-16; Luke 22:7, 11-13, 15).

                        On the other hand, St. John uses language which seems quite as distinctly to imply that the Passover was not eaten till the next day (13:1, “before the Feast of the Passover;” 29, “those things that we have need of against the feast;” 18:28, “they themselves went not into the judgment-hall lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover”).  He also calls the Sabbath (Saturday) a high day (a name given by the Jews to the first and last days of the octave of a feast) apparently because it was both a Sabbath and the first day of the Passover:  and says 19:14) that Friday was “the preparation of the Passover.”  Here the word used is Paraskeue (as in Luke 23:54).  Now this word may no doubt mean “Friday,” since every Friday was a preparation for the Sabbath; but it seems very difficult to believe that the expression means “Passover Friday.”

                        Now since the language of St. John seems to be perfectly explicit, and since it is impossible to explain away his expressions by any natural process—though no doubt they can be explained away by a certain amount of learned ingenuity—it seems more simple to accept his express statement and to interpret thereby the less definite language of the Synoptists.

 

                        We may set aside many current explanations of the difficulty, such as that—

·       Two different days may have been observed in consequence of different astronomical calculations about the day.

·       Some laxity as to the day may have been introduced by different explanations of “between the two evenings.”

·       The Jews in their hatred put off their Passover till the next evening.

·        St. John, by “eating the Passover,” may have meant no more than eating the Chagigah or festive meal.

·       The supper described by St. John is not the same as that described by the Synoptists.

·       The last Supper was an ordinary Passover, only it was eaten by anticipation.

 

Setting aside these and many other untenable views, it seems probable that the Last Supper was not the ordinary Jewish Paschal meal, but was eaten the evening before the ordinary Jewish Passover; and that the language of the Synoptists is perfectly consistent and explicable on the view that our Lord gave to His last Supper a Paschal character (“to eat this Passover,” or “this as a Passover,” Luke 22:15), and spoke of it to His disciples as their Passover.  Hence had arisen in the Church the view that it actually was the Paschal meal—which St. John silently corrects.  The spread of this impression in the Church would be hastened by the fact that in any case Thursday was, in one sense, “the first day of unleavened bread,” since on that day all leaven was carefully searched for that it might be removed.

When we adopt this conclusion—that the Last Supper was not the Paschal Feast itself, but intended to supersede and abrogate it—it is supported by a multitude of facts and allusions in the Synoptists themselves; e.g.

i.  The occupations of the Friday on which Jesus was crucified show no sign whatever of its having been a very solemn festival.  The Jews kept their chief festival days with a scrupulosity almost as great as that with which they kept their Sabbaths.  Yet on this Friday working, buying, selling, holding trials, executing criminals, bearing burdens, etc. is going on as usual.  Everything tends to show that the day was a common Friday, and that the Passover only began at sunset.

ii.  The Sanhedrin had distinctly said that it would be both dangerous and impolitic to put Christ to death on the Feast day (Mark 14:2, and compare Acts 12:4).

iii.  Not a word is said in any of the Evangelists about the Lamb—the most important and essential element of the Paschal meal; nor of the unleavened bread at the Supper; nor of the bitter herbs; nor of the sauce Charoseth; nor of the account given by the Chief Person present of the Institution of the Passover, etc.

 

Further than this, many arguments tend to show that this Last Supper was not a Paschal meal; e.g.:

·       Early Christian tradition—apparently down to the time of Chrysosteom—distinguished between the Last Supper and the Passover.  Hence the Eastern Church always uses leavened bread at the Eucharist, as did the Western Church down to the ninth century.

·       Jewish tradition—with no object in view—fixes the Death of Christ on the afternoon before the Passover (Erebh Pesach).

·       The language of St. Paul (1 Corinthians 5:7, 11:23) seems to imply that the Lord’s Supper was not the Passover, but a Feast destined to supersede it.

·       If our Lord had eaten an actual Paschal meal the very evening before His death, the Jews might fairly have argued that He was not Himself the Paschal Lamb; whereas

·       There was a peculiar symbolic fitness in the fact that He—the True Lamb—was offered at the very time when the Lamb which was but a type was being sacrificed.

 

For these and other reasons—I still hold that the Last Supper was not the actual Jewish Passover, but a quasi-Passover, a new and Christian Passover.                          

 

 

 

 

Books Utilized

(with number code)

 

 

1          =          Adam Clarke.  The New Testament . . . with a Commentary and

Critical Notes.  Volume I:   Matthew to the Acts.   Reprint, Nashville,

Tennessee:  Abingdon Press.

 

2          =          Marvin R. Vincent.  Word Studies in the New Testament.  Volume I:

The Synoptic  Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Peter, James,

and Jude.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1887; 1911 printing.

 

3          =          J. S. Lamar.  Luke.  [Eugene S. Smith, Publisher; reprint, 1977 (?)]

 

4          =          Charles H. Hall.  Notes, Practical and Expository on the Gospels;

volume two:  Luke-John.  New York:  Hurd and Houghton, 1856,

1871.

 

5          =          John Kitto.  Daily Bible Illustrations.  Volume II:  Evening Series: 

The Life and Death of Our Lord.  New York:  Robert Carter and

Brothers, 1881.

 

6          =          Thomas M. Lindsay.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  Two

volumes.  New York:  Scribner & Welford, 1887.

           

7          =          W. H. van Doren.  A Suggestive Commentary on the New Testament: 

Saint Luke.  Two volumes.  New York:  D. Appleton and Company,

1868. 

 

8          =          Melancthon W. Jacobus.  Notes on the Gospels, Critical and

Explanatory:  Luke and John.  New York:  Robert Carter &

Brothers, 1856; 1872 reprint.

 

9          =          Alfred Nevin.  Popular Expositor of the Gospels and Acts:  Luke. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  Ziegler & McCurdy, 1872.

 

10        =          Alfred Nevin.  The Parables of Jesus.  Philadelphia:  Presbyterian

Board of Publication, 1881.

 

11        =          Albert Barnes.  "Luke."  In Barnes' Notes on the New Testament.

Reprint, Kregel Publications, 1980.

 

12        =          Alexander B. Bruce.  The Synoptic Gospels.  In The Expositor's

Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll.  Reprint, Grand

Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.   Eerdmans Publishing Company.

 

13        =          F. Godet.  A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke.  Translated

from the Second French Edition by E. W. Shalders and M. D. Cusin.

New York:  I. K. Funk & Company, 1881.

 

14        =          D.D. Whedon.  Commentary on the Gospels:  Luke-John.   New

York:  Carlton & Lanahan, 1866; 1870 reprint.   

 

15        =          Henry Alford.  The Greek Testament.  Volume I:  The Four Gospels.

Fifth Edition.  London:  Rivingtons, 1863.  

 

16        =          David Brown.   "Luke" in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and

David Brown,  A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the

Old and New Testaments.  Volume II:  New Testament.  Hartford:

S. S. Scranton Company, no date.

 

17        =          Dr. [no first name provided] MacEvilly.  An Exposition of the Gospel

of St. Luke.  New York:  Benziger Brothers, 1886.

 

18        =          H. D. M. Spence.  “Luke.”  In the Pulpit Commentary, edited by H. D.

M. Spence.  Reprinted by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,

1950.

 

19        =          John Calvin.  Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists,

Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Translated by William Pringle.  Reprint,

Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.    Eerdmans Publishing Company.

 

20        =          Thomas Scott.  The Holy Bible ...with Explanatory Notes (and)

Practical Observations.  Boston:  Crocker and Brewster.

 

21        =          Henry T. Sell.  Bible Studies in the Life of Christ:  Historical and

Constructive.  New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1902.

 

22        =          Philip Vollmer.  The Modern Student's Life of Christ.  New York:

Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912.

 

23        =          Heinrich A. W. Meyer.  Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the

Gospels of Mark and Luke.  Translated from the Fifth German

Edition by Robert Ernest Wallis.  N. Y.:  Funk and Wagnalls,

1884; 1893 printing. 

 

24        =          John Albert Bengel. Gnomon of the New Testament.  A New

                        Translation by Charlton T. Lewis and Marvin R. Vincent. 

Volume One.  Philadelphia:  Perkinpine & Higgins, 1860.

 

25        =          John Cummings.  Sabbath Evening Readers on the New Testa-

ment:  St. Luke.  London:Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co,1854.

 

26        =          Walter F. Adeney, editor.  The Century Bible:  A Modern  

Commentary--Luke.  New York:  H. Frowdey, 1901.  Title page

missing from copy.

 

27        =          Pasquier Quesnel.  The Gospels with Reflections on Each Verse.

Volumes I and II.  (Luke is in part of both).  New York:  Anson

D. F. Randolph, 1855; 1867 reprint. 

 

28        =          Charles R. Erdman.  The Gospel of Luke:  An Exposition.

Philadelphia:  Westminster   Press, 1921; 1936 reprint.

 

29        =          Elvira J. Slack.  Jesus:  The Man of Galilee.  New York:  National

Board of the Young Womens Christian Associations, 1911.

 

30        =          Arthur Ritchie.  Spiritual Studies in St. Luke's Gospel.  Milwaukee:

The Young Churchman Company, 1906.

 

31        =          Bernhard Weiss.  A Commentary on the New Testament.  Volume

Two:  Luke-The Acts.  New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company,1906.

 

32        =          Matthew Henry.  Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Volume V:

Matthew to John.  17--.  Reprint, New York:  Fleming H. Revell

Company, no date.

 

33        =          C. G. Barth.  The Bible Manual:  An Expository and Practical

Commentary on the Books of Scripture.  Second Edition.

London:  James Nisbet and Company, 1865.

 

34        =          Nathaniel S. Folsom.  The Four Gospels:  Translated . . . and with

Critical and Expository Notes.  Third Edition.  Boston:  Cupples,

Upham, and Company, 1871; 1885 reprint.

 

35        =          Henry Burton.  The Gospel according to Luke.  In the Expositor's

Bible series.  New York:  A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1895. 

 

36        =          [Anonymous].  Choice Notes on the Gospel of S. Luke, Drawn from

Old and New Sources.  London:  Macmillan & Company, 1869.

 

37        =          Marcus Dods.  The Parables of Our Lord.  New York:  Fleming H.

Revell Company, 18--. 

 

38        =          Alfred Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.  

Second Edition.  New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph and Company,

1884.

 

39        =          A. T. Robertson.  Luke the Historian in the Light of Research. 

New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920; 1930 reprint. 

 

40        =          James R. Gray.  Christian Workers' Commentary on the Old and

New Testaments.  Chicago:  Bible Institute Colportage Associat-

ion/Fleming H. Revell Company, 1915.

 

41        =          W. Sanday.  Outlines of the Life of Christ.  New York:  Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1905.

 

42        =          Halford E. Luccock.  Studies in the Parables of Jesus.  New York:

Methodist Book Concern, 1917.

 

43        =          George H. Hubbard.  The Teaching of Jesus in Parables.  New

York:  Pilgrim Press, 1907. 

 

44        =          Charles S. Robinson.  Studies in Luke's Gospel.  Second Series.

New York:American Tract Society, 1890.  

 

45        =          John Laidlaw.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:  Funk &

Wagnalls Company,   1892.

 

46        =          William M. Taylor.  The Miracles of Our Saviour.  Fifth Edition.

New York:  A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1890; 1903 reprint.

 

47        =          Alexander Maclaren.  Expositions of Holy Scripture:  St. Luke.

New York:  George H. Doran Company, [no date].

 

48        =          George MacDonald.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:

George Routledge & Sons, 1878.  

 

49        =          Joseph Parker.  The People's Bibles:  Discourses upon Holy Scrip-

                        tureMark-Luke.    New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company, 18--.

 

50        =          Daniel Whitby and Moses Lowman.  A Critical Commentary and

Paraphrase on the New Testament:  The Four Gospels and the Acts

of the Apostles.  Philadelphia:  Carey & Hart, 1846.

 

51        =          Matthew Poole.  Annotations on the Holy Bible.  1600s.

Computerized.

 

52        =          George R. Bliss.  Luke.  In An American Commentary on the New

Testament.  Philadelphia:  American Baptist Publication Society,

1884.

                       

53        =          J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton.  The Fourfold Gospel. 

1914.  Computerized.

 

54        =          John Trapp.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  1654.

                        Computerized.

                       

55        =          Ernest D. Burton and Shailer Matthews.  The Life of Christ.

Chicago, Illinois:  University of Chicago Press, 1900; 5th reprint,

1904.

 

56        =          Frederic W. Farrar.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  In “The

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges” series.  Cambridge:  At

the University Press, 1882.