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prevent the possibility of mistake, agreed to designate him by one of the tokens of friendship.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master; and kissed him.
* Hail, Master.' The word translated hail,' was used by the Jews and Greeks as a mode of salutation among friends. It would here seem to express the joy of Judas at finding his master, and again being with him. 'Master.' In the original, Rabbi. See note, Matt. xxiii. 7. “Kissed him.' Gave him the common salutation of friends, when meeting after absence. This mode of salutation was more common among eastern nations than with us.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
In the Greek there are two words which our translators have rendered 'friend: one implying affection and regard, the other
One is properly rendered friend; the other expresses more nearly what we mean by companion. It is this latter word which is given to the disaffected labourer in the vineyard : ' Friend, I do thee no wrong ;' Matt. xx. 13, to the guest which had not on the wedding garment, in the parable of the marriage feast, Matt. xxii. 12; and to Judas in this place.
• Wherefore art thou come?' This was said, probably, to fill the mind of Judas with the consciousness of his crime: by a striking question to compel him to think of what he was doing.
51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest, and smote off his ear.
One of them which were with Jesus.' John informs us that this was Peter. 'Drew his sword.' The apostles were not commonly armed. On this occasion they had provided two swords, Luke xxii. 38. They were under a necessity of providing means of defending themselves against the robbers that infested the country.
This will account for their having any swords in their possession. See note on Luke x. 30. Josephus informs us, the people were accustomed to carry swords under their garments, as they went up to Jerusalern. A servant of the high priest.? His name, John informs us, was Malchus. Luke adds, that Jesus touched the ear, and healed it; thus showing his benevolence to his foes when they sought his life, and giving them proof that they were attacking Him that was sent from heaven.
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy
sword into his place: for all they that take the sword,
( For all they which take the sword,' &c. Peter was rash. Alone, he had attacked the whole band. Jesus told him that his unseasonable and imprudent defence might be the occasion of his own destruction. In doing it, he would endanger his life, for they who took the sword perished by it. This was probably a proverb, denoting that they who engaged in wars commonly perished in them.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels ?
Peter's conduct iinplied a distrust of the protection of God, and was an improper resistance of his will. If it had been proper that they should be rescued, God could easily have furnished far more efficient aid than that of Peter-a mighty host of angels,
Twelve legions.” A legion was a division of the Roman army, amounting to more than six thousand men. See note, Matt. viii. 28. The number twelve was mentioned, perhaps, in reference, to the number of his apostles, and himself.
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be ?
That is, the scriptures which foretold of his dying for tne world. This was said doubtless to comfort his disciples; to show them that his death was not a matter of surprise or disappointment to him; and that they, therefore, should not be offended and forsake him.
55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
Against a thief.' Rather, a robber. It adds not a little to the depth of his humiliation, that he consented to be hunted down thus by wicked men, and to be treated as if he had been the worst of mankind. Daily with you in the temple. For many days before the passover, as recorded in the previous chapters.
56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
“The scriptures of the prophets. He alludes to those parts oi the prophets' writing which foretold his sufferings and death. “Then all the disciples,' &c. Overcome with fear, when they saw their
Maste: actually taken ; alarmed with the terrific appearance of armed men, and forgetting their promises not to forsake him, they all left their Saviour to go alone. Alas! how many, when attachment to Christ would lead them to danger, leave him, and also flee! See note on Mark xiv, 50, 51.
57 | And they that laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high-priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
The trial of our Lord before the council, and the denial of Peter happening at the same time, might be related one before the other according to the evangelists' pleasure. Accordingly, Matthew and Mark relate the trial first, and Peter's denial afterwards; Luke mentions the denial first, and John has probably observed the natural order. The parallel places are Mark xiv. 53–72. Luke xxii, 54–71. and John xviii. 13–27. • To Caiaphas.' John says, that they led him first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. This was done, probably, as a mark of respect, he having been high priest, and, perhaps, being distinguished fo prudence, and capable of advising his son-in-law in a difficul. case; and he was detained there probably until the chief priests and elders were assembled. “The high priest.' Note, Matt. xxvi. 3. John says, he was high priest for that year. Annas had been high priest some years before. In the time of our Saviour the office was frequently changed by the civil ruler. Note, John xi. 49, 50.
* The scribes and elders.'. The men composing the great council of the nation or sanhedrim. Nole, Matt. v. 22. It is not probable that they could be immediately assembled, and some part of the transaction respecting the denial of Peter probably took place while they were collecting.
58 But Peter followed him afar off, unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants to see the end.
* Peter followed asar off.' By this he evinced real attachment to his Master ; a desire to be near him, with 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. Many, in this, imitate Peter. They are afraid to follow the Saviour closely. They fear danger, ridicule, or persecution. Religion requires us to be near to Christ. We may measure our piety by our desire to be with him, and to be like him; and by our willingness to follow him, through trials, contempų, persecution, and death. “Unto the high priest's palace. The word ineans rather the hall,or middle court or area of his house, It was situated in the centre of the palace, and was commonly uncovered. See note, Matt.ix. 1-8. "Sat with the servants to see the end.' That is, the end of the trial : or to see how it would go with his Master. The other evangelists say that he stood with the'servants warming himself. John says, it being cold, they had made a fire of coals, and warmed themselves. It was then probably not far from midnight. The place where they were was uncovered; and travellers say, that though the days are warm i Judea, at that season of the year, yet the nights are often un comfortably cold. This fire was made in the hall; not in a fireplace as we commonly suppose, but on the pavement. At this place and time was Peter's first denial of his Lord, as is recorded afterwards. See ver. 69.
59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
'False witness.' Witnesses that would accuse him of crime; of violations of the laws of the land or of God. They were indifferent, probably, whether they were true or false, if they could succeed in condemning him.
60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
'Found none. Mark says, xiv. 56, that 'their witness agreed not together. They differed about facts, times, and circumstances, as all false witnesses do. Two witnesses were required by their law, and they did not dare to condemn him without conforming, in appearance at least, to the requirements of the law.
61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
* And said, this fellow said,' &c. According to Mark, they said, ' We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days, I will build another made without hands.' He adds, 'but neither so did their witness
agree together.' That which they attempted to accuse him of, is what he had said respecting his body, and their destroying it, John ii.19. • Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' This he spoke of his body; they perverted it, endeavouring to show that he meant the temple at Jerusalem. They neither stated it as it was, nor did they state correctly its meaning; nor did they agree about the words used. It was, therefore, little to their purpose.
62 And the high-priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing ? what is it which these witness against thee? 63 Bat Jesus held his peace. And the high-priest answered and said unto him, I
adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ the Son of God.
Jesus held his peace.' Was silent. He knew that the eviaence did not even appear to amount to any thing worth a reply. See Isa. liji. 7. 'I adjure thee by the living God.' I put thee upon thy oath before God. This was the usual form of putting an oath among the Jews. It implies calling God to witness the truth of what was said. The law respecting witnesses also made it a violation of an oath to conceal any part of the truth. They had utterly failed in their proof. They had no way left to accomplish their purpose of condemning him, but to draw it from his own lips. This cunning question was therefore proposed. The difficulty consisted in this: If he confessed that he was the Son of God, they stood ready to condemn him for blasphemy. If he denied it, they were prepared to condemn him for being an impostor, for deluding the people under the pretence of being the Messiah. “The living God.? Jehovah is called the living God,' in opposition to idols, which were without life. "The Christ The Messiah, the Anointed. Note, Matt. i. 1. “The Son of God.' The Jews uniformly expected that the Messiah would be the Son of God. In their view it denoted also that he would be divine, or equal to the Father, John x. 31–36. To claim that title was, therefore, in their view, blasphemy; and as they had determined beforehand, in their own minds, that he was not the Messiah they were ready at once to accuse him of blasphemy:
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
“Thou hast said.' This is a form of assenting, or affirming. Thou hast said the truth; or, as Luke xxii. 70, has it, ‘Ye say that I am. 'Nevertheless. This word should have been translated ‘moreover,' or furthermore. What follows is designed to explain and give confirmation to what he had said. You shall see proofs of this hereafter. Sitting on the right hand of power.' That is, of God, here called the Power, equivalent to the Mighty, or the Almighty. It denotes dignity and majesty, as to sit at the right hand of a prince, was the chief place of honour. See note, Matt. xx. 21. Coming in the clouds of heaven.' Matt. xxiv. xxv. The meaning of this is, You shall see the sign from heaven which you have so often demanded, even the Messiah, himself as the sign, returning with great glory, to destroy your city, and to judge the world.
65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying. He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses ? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy