« AnteriorContinuar »
the institution of the supper, in the early part of the night he went out to the mount of Olives. In his way he passed over the brook Cedron, John xviii. 1, which bounded Jerusalem on the south-east. To a place.' John calls this a garden. This garden was evidently on the western side of the mount of Olives, a short distance from Jerusalem, and commanding a full view of the city. The word here means not properly a garden for the cultivation of vegetables, but a place planted with the olive and other trees, a proper place of refreshment in a hot climate, and of retirement from the adjacent city,
Luke says, he went as he was wont, that is, accustomed, to the mount of Olives. Probably he had been in the habit of reiiring from Jerusalem to that place for meditation and prayer; thus enforcing by his example what he had so often done by his precepts, the duty of retiring from the noise and bustle of the world to hold communion with God. "Gethsemane.' This word is made
up of two Hebrew words, signifying an olive press, or a press to make olive oil, given to it probably
because the place was filled with olives. Sit ye here. That is, in one part of the garden, to which they first came. • While I go and pray yonder.' That is, at the distance of a stone's cast, Luke xxii. 41. Luke adels, that when he came to the garden, he charged them to pray that they might not enter into temptation; that is, into scenes and dangers that would tempt them to deny himn.
37 And he took with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
That is, James and John, Matt. x. 2. On two other occasions he had favoured these disciples in a particular manner, suffering them to go with him to witness his power and glory, namely, at the healing of the ruler's daughter, Luke viii. 51, and at his trans. figuration on the mount, Mait. xvii. 1. Very heavy.' The word in the original is much stronger than the one translated 'sorrowful: it means, to be pressed down, or overwhelmed with great anguish. This was produced, doubtless, by the foresight of his great sufferings on the cross, in making an atonement for the sins of men,
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death : tarry ye here, and watch with me.
• Even unto death.' This denotes extreme sorrow and agony. The sufferings of death are the greatest of which we have any knowledge; they are the most feared and dreaded by man; and those sufferings are, therefore, put for extreme and indescribable suffering. Tarry ye here.' Remain here. "And watch withi me.' The word rendered 'watch,' here implies to sympatlıize
with him; to unite with him in seeking Divine support; and to prepare themselves for approaching dangers.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
* And he went a little further.' 'That is, at the distance that a man could conveniently cast a stone. (Luke.) ` Fell on his face.' Luke says, 'he kneeled down. He did both. He first kneeled, and then in the fervency of his prayer, and the depth of his sorrow, he fell with his face on the ground, denoting the deepest anguish, and the most earnest entreaty. This was the usual posture of prayer in times of great earnestness. See Num. xvi. 22. 2 Chron. xx. 18. Neh. viii. 6. 'If it be possible. There is no doubt that if it had been possible, it would have been done; and the fact that these sufferings were not removed, that the Saviour went forward and bore them without mitigation, shows that i was not consistent with the justice of God, and with the welfare of the universe, that men should be saved without the awful sufferings of such an atonement. 'Let this cup. These bitter sufferings. The word 'cup' is often used in this sense. See note on Matt. xx. 22. Not as I will, but as thou wilt.' As Jesus was man as well as God, he was deeply affected in view of these deep sorrows. When he speaks of his will, he denotes what human nature, in view of such great sufferings, would desire. Yet he chose rather that the high purpose of God should be done, rather than that it should be abandoned, and regard be shown to the fears of his human nature. In this he has left a model of prayer in all times of affliction. It is right, in times of calamity, to seek deliverance. Like the Saviour, also, in such seasons, we should, we must, submit cheerfully to the will of God-in confidence that, in all these trials, he is wise, and merciful, and good.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
And findeth them asleep.' We are apt to suppose that this was proof of wonderful stupidity, and indifference to their Lord's sufferings. The truth is, however, that it was just the reverse. Luke has added, that he found them sleeping for sorrow. That is, on account of their sorrow: their grief was so great, that they naturally fell asleep. Multitudes of facts might be brought to show that this is in accordance with the regular effects of sorrow. 'Saith unto Peter,' &c. This reproof was administered to Peter particularly, on account of his warm professions, his rash zeal, and his And pray:
self-confidence. If he could not keep awake and watch with the Saviour for one hour, how little probability was there that he would adhere to him in all the trials thror h which he was soon to pass!
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
• Watch.' See ver, 38. Greater trials are coming on. It is necessary, therefore, still to be on your guard. Seek aid from God in view of the thickening calamities. That ye enter not into temptation. That ye be not overcome and oppressed with these trials of your faith, so as to deny me. They had cherished the belief that he was to establish a kingdomi while he lived. When they should see him, therefore, re. jected, tried, crucified, dead; when they should see him submit to all this, as if he had not power to deliver himself, then would be the trial of their faith; and in view of it, he exhorted them to pray that they might not so enter into temptation as to be povercome the disposition is ready, and disposed to bear these trials, but the flesh, the natural feelings, through the fear of dangers, is weak, and will be likely to lead you astray when the trial comes. This was not intended as an apology for their sleeping, but to excite them, notwithstanding he knew that they loved him, to be on their guard, lest the weakness of human nature should leave them to fail in the hour of their temptation.
42 He went away again the second, time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
It is probable that our Lord spent considerable time in prayer, and that the evangelists have recorded rather the substance of his petitions than the very words. Luke adds, that amidst his agonies, an angel appeared from heaven strengthening him. It may seem sirange, since Jesus was Divine, John i. 1, that the Divine nature did not administer strength to the human, and that he who was God, should receive strength from an angel. IC should be remembered, that Jesus came not only to make an atonement, but to be a perfect example of a holy man ; that as such it was necessary to submit to the common conditions of hu. manity, that he should live as other men, be sustained as other men, suffer as other men, and be strengthened as other men ; that he should, so to speak, take no advantage from his Divinity,
but subunit, in all things, to the commun lot of pious men. Hence he supplied his wants, in the ordinary way of human life; he preserved himself from danger, by the usual ways of prudence and precaution; he met trials as a man; he received comfort as a man; and there is no absurdity in supposing that, in accordance with the condition of his people, his human nature should be strengthened as they are, by those who are sent forth to be ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation, Heb. i. 14.
Luke further adds, xxii. 44, that being in an agony, he prayed inore earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The word “ agony denotes extreme anguish of mind: the strong conflict produced between sinking human nature and the prospect of deep and overwhelming calamities. • Great drops of blood, Luke xxii. 44. The word here rendered 'great drops ' means thick and clammy masses of gore, pressed by inward agony through the skin, and mixing with the sweat, falling thus to the ground. This effect of extreme sufferings-of mental anguish-has been known in several other in. stances. Bloody sweats have been mentioned by many writers as caused by extreme suffering. Dr. Doddridge says, (note on Luke xxii. 44,) that. Aristotle and Diodorus Siculus both mention bloody sweats, as attending some extraordinary agony of mind; and I find Loti, in his life of Pope Sixtus V., and Sir John Chardin, in his history of Persia, mentioning a like phenomenon, to which Dr. Jackson adds another from De Thou.
Various opinions have been given of the probable causes of these sorrows of the Saviour. We may suppose, perhaps, without presumption, that many things combined to produce this awful suffering. It was a rush of feeling from every quarter: his situation, his approaching death, the temptations of the enemy, and the awful sufferings on account of men's sins, and God's hatred of it about to be manisested in his own death : all coming upon his soul at once-sorrow flowing in from every quarter -the concentration of the sufferings of the atonement pouring together upon him, and filling him with unspeakable anguish.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Most interpreters have supposed that this should be translated as a question, rather than a command. ‘Do you sleep now, and take your rest? Is this a time amidst so much danger, and so many enemies, to give yourselves to sleep?' This construction is strongly countenanced by Luke xxii. 46, where the expression, Why sleep ye? eviderily refers to the same part of time. There is no doubt that the Greek will bear this
translation, and in this way the apparent inconsistency will be removed between this command, to sleep, and ihat in the next verse, to rise and be going. Mark adds, “It is enough. That is, sutticient time has been given to sleep. It is time to arise and be going. The hour is at hand. The time when the Son of man is to be betrayed is near. • Sinners.' Judas, the Roman soldiers, and the Jews.
46 Rise, let us be going : behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
Rise, let us be going.' The time when I must die is come. It is no longer proper to attempt an escape.
47 | And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
The account of Jesus' being betrayed by Judas is recorded by all the evangelist3. See Mark xiv. 43–52. Luke xxii. 47–53. John xviii. 2–12. This was done while he was addressing his disciples. John informs us that Judas knew the place because Jesus was in the habit of going there with his disciples.
A great mul titude with swords and staves.' John says, that he had received a band of men and officers from the chief priests, &c. Josephus says, that at the festival of the passover, where a great multitude of people came to observe the feast, a band of men was commanded to keep watch at the porches of the temple, to repress a tumult, if any should be excited. This band, or guard, was at the disposal of the chief priests, Matt. xxvii. 65. In addition to this, they had constant guards stationed around the temple, composed of Levites. The Roman soldiers were armed with swords. The other persons that went out probably carried whatever was accessible as a weapon. These were the persons sent by the priests to apprehend Jesus. ' Staves. In the original. wood;' used here in the plural number. It probably means rather clubs or sticks, than spears. John says, that they had lanterns and torches. The passover was celebrated at the full moon. But this night might have been cloudy. The place to which they were going was also shaded with trees, and lights, therefore, migh be necessary.
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomscever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
Gave them a sign. It was night. Jesus was, besides, probably personally unknown to the Romans, perhaps to the others also. “Judas, therefore, being well acquainted with him, to