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We here enter upon the concluding scenes of Christ's life. The Rulers conspire against Jesus. He celebrates his Passover. Judas betrayeth him; Peter denieth him; and all the disciples forsake him and flee.
"And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, (2) Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."
I beg the Reader to attend very minutely, to the circumstances with which Matthew, the first Evangelist, in point of order, introduceth the subject of our Lord's sufferings. He saith, When Jesus had finished all these sayings. Perhaps he alluded to the finishing of his office in teaching. For as Christ in his character of Mediator; had three offices, prophet, priest, and king, he was uniformly carrying on one or other of these all the way through, during the whole of his ministry. He had therefore finished his teachings, as the Prophet of his people; and now he is about to enter more fully on his Priestly office, where he would be both the altar, sacrifice, and sacrificer. And when this was also finished, he would in a more open manner, than he had hitherto done, display his Kingly power in his ascension to glory, where the exercise of his sovereignty was to be shewn forth in ruling his Church, until he had accomplished the destruction of his enemies, and brought home his redeemed to everlasting happiness.
As the interesting subject in the concluding scenes of our Lord's life, form so momentous a part in Christ's history, and as it is most essential to every child of God, to have the clearest apprehension of it, I hope I may be indulged in this "Poor Man's Commentary, " to dwell upon each particular, with that attention it deserves; looking up to God the Holy Ghost, to be the teacher both of Writer and Reader. And yet at the same time, that I may not swell the pages beyond their proper limits, I shall adopt a method, which I hope will answer this purpose very fully. I mean, that as the four Evangelists have recorded those solemn transactions, which took place, at the death of Christ, it wilt not be necessary to repeat my observations in the same way and manner upon every one; but connect the whole as one history; and so divide the subject, that what I omit in my comment on one part, may be introduced into the other. This will prevent tediousness to the Reader, and yet allow of enlargement upon the whole, so as under the Lord's blessing, to make the subject complete.
I beg the Reader to observe, how Christ opens the subject himself, and immediately directs the minds of his disciples to it, in calling their attention to the Jewish Passover. This was the first public service in the appointment of the Lord, when the Church was first formed, in the memorable night of the people being delivered from Egyptian bondage. See Exodus 12:0 throughout. Now as God the Holy Ghost himself; by his servant Paul, explained this service in express terms of application to the Lord Jesus, when the Apostle said Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 . We cannot hesitate a moment in concluding that the first institution of this service in the old Church, together with every sacrifice which followed under the law, had no other object in view than to hold forth Christ. To him, everyone of them pointed. In him, the whole was compleated. He, and he alone, became the sum and substance of all; and all, as the Holy Ghost, by the same Apostle elsewhere saith in his writings, were a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. Colossians 2:17 ; Hebrews 10:1 .
When the Reader therefore hath diligently read over the interesting account given by all the Evangelists concerning the Passover, and compared it, with what is said concerning it at the first institution; I would beg his closest attention to the whole subject, in the great points of doctrine connected with it, and which will minister under the Lord's teaching, to the proper apprehension of those grand features of character, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. See Mark 14:1 ; Luke 22:1 , etc. John 13:1 compared with Exodus 12:0 throughout.
And here the first and most prominent feature of character in the Lord Jesus as our Passover, must be to consider him as our great head, and representative of his Church and people. Christ, becoming our Passover, and dying for his redeemed in time, pre-supposes an engagement for this purpose in eternity. And hence we find, he is called the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 8:8 . And to this amount the scriptures speak, when continually and in every part, informing the Church of the everlasting covenant made between the persons of the Godhead, before all worlds. By virtue of which, Christ, at the call of God the Father, as covenanted for in the great purposes of redemption, stood up the glorious head, representative, and high-priest of his people; taking their names and their nature; undertaking for them to fulfill all righteousness, and offering his soul an offering for sin.
On the part of Jehovah, it was agreed, that the whole persons of the Godhead would carry Christ, in his human nature, through the wonderful undertaking; and when accomplished, the glorious deliverer should see his seed with all the blessed effects of his salvation, and have a Church to serve him, where his praise should be sung, and his name adored, as long as the sun and moon should endure, from one generation to another. And, finally, bring home his chosen, to everlasting glory; when sin, Satan, death, and hell, should be brought under his feet. I stay not to quote at large the whole body of scripture, which, with one full voice come forth to confirm the great truth. I rather refer the Reader to look over those portions in his Bible for himself, which I have here referred to, and when he hath done, I will request him to follow me through those interesting records of our Lord's concluding scenes of his ministry and life, whose beauties will there from, I am persuaded, appear in their more plain and striking colors. Isaiah 42:1-8 ; Proverbs 8:22-31 ; Isaiah 49:1-9 ; Psalms 40:1-7 compared with Hebrews 10:1-22 ; John 10:18 . On the part of Jehovah's covenant, see Psalms 89:19-37; Psalms 89:19-37 ; Isaiah 11:1-9 ; John 3:34 to the end. Psalms 110:0 ; Isaiah 53:10 ; Philippians 2:6-12 ; Hebrews 12:2 , etc. Revelation 7:9 to the end.
"Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, (4) And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him. (5) But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."
From what hath been observed before, in the introduction of this subject, in holding forth Christ, as the representative of his Church and people, we shall now enter upon it with a clearer apprehension, in beholding the chief priests here forming their council for killing Jesus. And although they had no consciousness, what instruments they were in the Lord's hand, for the accomplishing the sacred purposes of his will; yet they were. (as Peter told some of them, after his soul was enlightened by the, coming of the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost,) by wicked hands, doing all that they did, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Acts 2:23 . See also to this purport, Acts 13:27-28; Acts 13:27-28 .
Reader! it is very blessed to behold Christ thus representing: his redeemed as their head and husband; and the Chief Priests and Scribes, thus becoming God's instruments, for the purpose of bringing Christ into the very situation, where our sins must have brought us, but for his interposition. His being made both. sin and a curse for us, became the only possible means, whereby we might be redeemed from both forever. We shall have the clearest views of these grand points, as we prosecute the subject, if so be, the Lord the Holy Ghost be our teacher! Matchless instructor! vouchsafe this blessing!
"Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, (7) There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (8) But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? (9) For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. (10) When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. (11) For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. (12) For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. (13) Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."
Some have thought, that this woman, is the same that is spoken of in Luke 7:37 . And others have thought, that it was Mary, the sister of Lazarus. John 12:3 . But I am too intent, at present, to make any enquiry here, Who it was it is the person of Jesus, who alone demands our attention, while following him in those solemn moments. Reader! mark what your Redeemer saith; the pouring this ointment on his body, was in token of his burial. Yes! it was to this death of Jesus, everything referred. The moment the Son of God became incarnate, and openly came forward as the Head and Surety of his Church, the curse pronounced fall, seized on man's seized on him as the Sponsor.
Reader! I hope you have not forgotten the awful contents of it. The ground was first cursed for man's sake. The nature of man was doomed to sorrow and labor, in consequence thereof. In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. And death, was to close the scene. Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:17-19 . Hence therefore, the whole of this awful sentence attached itself to Christ, when he freely offered himself the redeemer of his Church and people. And what I beg the Reader particularly to notice, and indeed, to us so highly concerned in the blessedness of redemption by Christ, becomes more important than any other view of the subject, is, that the curse in all its aggravated circumstances lighting upon Christ, was wholly, in that he stood forth at the call of his Father, as our surety. The Son of God taking our nature, would not have subjected him to this curse, had he not volunteered to be our surety. Great indeed was the grace, in the Son of God to become man. But this might have been done, and the same infinitely glorious person he would have been, as he now is, had he never undertaken our redemption. But when he stood up at the call of God our surety, he became responsible, while we who were the principals in the debt were made free; Christ our surety took the whole upon himself, and the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 .
"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, (15) And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. (16) And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. (17) Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? (18) And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. (19) And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. (20) Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. (21) And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. (22) And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began everyone of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (23) And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. (24) The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. (25) Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. (26) And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. (27) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; (28) For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (29) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. (30) And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives."
I reserve the view which this scripture opens of the traitor Judas, to the account given of it by John, where it is somewhat more enlarged upon. See John 13:18 .
"Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (32) But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. (33) Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. (34) Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. (35) Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples."
We shall very easily conceive, how likely it was, for the whole body of disciples to be offended, or as the original word is, scandalized, at the humiliation of Christ if we all along keep in remembrance, that notwithstanding, all the miracles Christ had wrought, and the discourses he had delivered to them; not one of them before the descent of the Holy Ghost, had any apprehension of any kingdom of Jesus, but an earthly kingdom. Even after he arose from the dead, they still harped upon the subject, Lord! wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom of Israel? meaning the overthrowing the Roman power, under whom Israel was then in tribute. Acts 1:6 . And though everyone of them (for Judas was now gone) as well as Peter, felt a confidence of attachment to Christ; yet certain it is, that When Christ was apprehended as he was soon after this by the Roman soldiers, all would have readily denied him, as Peter did, had the temptation been the same; neither but from Christ's intercession for them could they have stood in faith, for the moment they all forsook him and fled.
"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. (37) And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. (38) Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. (39) And he went a little farther, 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. (40) And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? (41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (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. (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. (46) Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me."
We have here Christ's entrance upon his sufferings, in the garden Gethsemane. The whole life of Jesus had been a life of sorrow, for of him, and him only, by way of emphasis, can it be said, that he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief But here he is entering more especially upon the great work of sorrow, for which he became the surety of his people. And here it is therefore, that we need most eminently the teaching of God the Holy Ghost. I am aware how very little a way our discoveries carry us, when following the steps of Jesus by faith, into the garden of Gethsemane. If Peter, James, and John, whom Christ took with him there, fell under such a drowsiness as is described, how shall we hope to watch the footsteps of Jesus to any great discoveries of such an awful scene? Nevertheless, looking up for the teachings and leadings of the Holy Ghost, I would beg the Reader to accompany me, in following by faith, the Lord Jesus to Gethsemane's garden, in this dark and gloomy hour; and may the Lord be our teacher in beholding the glory of Christ, even in the depth of his soul travail, when he drank the cup of trembling to the dregs, that we might drink the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.
And here Reader, carrying on the same important idea with us all along, that in all Christ did, and all he suffered, he acted as the surety and representative of his people, let us first consider the suitableness of the place.
It was a garden, in which Jesus entered, to commence the first onset of suffering, when about to accomplish salvation by the sacrifice of himself. And it should be remembered, that it was in a garden where the devil first triumphed over our nature in the fall of man. Here therefore, Christ enters for our recovery. There was indeed this difference in the two places. Before the fall, this garden was an earthly Paradise. But now, it is the gloomy Gethsemane, close to the foul brook Cedron, into which all the filth of the sacrifices poured their contents. It was the very place adjoining to that memorable spot which good king Josiah polluted, by burning the vessels here, which had been used in idolatrous worship. 2 Kings 23:4-6 . The Jews called it the valley of the children of Hinnom or Topheth, which was the only word they had for hell, after the Babylonish captivity. Scheol had been heretofore used for hell. Job 11:8 . This was the awful spot where Christ in our nature entered when he went over the brook Cedron. Now as Satan had conquered the first Adam in the garden, and in him, made captive the whole race, and consequently in it the whole Church; Christ shall there also, as his Church's representative, begin to give the first deadly blow to sin and Satan. And although from hence he shall be taken (as the Prophet said) from prison and from judgment; be cut off out of the, land of the living, and for the transgression of his people be stricken; yet here shall the first over-throw to the kingdom of Satan be accomplished, and the victory of Christ; in a wonderful way be displayed. Isaiah 53:8 .
As we prosecute this awful business, every step we take seems to be more solemn and striking. The Evangelists who have described the state of Jesus, have each of them used different words, by way of expressing the feelings of Jesus. As if neither could find any language which fully came up to what those feelings really were. Matthew saith, that the Lord expressed himself as being in soul, exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Mark's words are, that Jesus began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy. Mark 14:33 . And it must be allowed by those who are at all acquainted with the original scriptures, the words in Mark, which our translators have rendered, s ore amazed, imply such an affright to the mind as when we say it makes the very hair stand on an end, and induceth a trembling and horror of the whole flame.
Luke, still varying from both, but yet, if possible, in stronger terms than either, represents Christ in an agony or combat; though there was none near him until an Angel was sent from heaven to strengthen him. The sweat which forced itself through the pores of his sacred body, was as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:43-44 . And this was at a time, when in the night, and in the open air, and when we are told that the servants of the High Priest in common-hall, had found it so piercingly cold, as had compelled them to make a fire to warm themselves. John 18:18 .
Pause Reader! Before we go further, let us humbly look up and enquire into the cause! Here is no account of any pains of body the Redeemer had yet entered upon! The horrors of crucifixion though in view, were not felt. Here was no person near Christ Jesus was surrounded by no man. For though he had taken with him into the garden, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee; and though he had entreated them to watch with him, and pray that they might not enter into temptation; yet they were not near him! for we are told, that they were withdrawn from him about a stone's cast. Who withdrew them? What were they withdrawn for? Is it not plain, as Jesus said, that this was the enemy's hour and power of darkness? See Luke 22:41-53 and the Commentary upon the passage.
And what was the cause for which this Lamb of God was thus exercised? He who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens! Hebrews 7:26 . What can more decidedly confirm the scriptures of truth, than that as his Church's surety and representative, he who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 . He (as the Apostle saith) hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. Galatians 3:13 . Here was the cause. It pleased Jehovah to put him to grief. The Father's hand was in the work. And hence the holy sufferer expressed himself in such strong words. Save me, O God! for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire where there is no standing. I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me, etc. Psalms 69:1-3 . See also Psalms 22:0 throughout. Psalms 38:0 throughout.
Oh! ye my poor follow sinners who never yet felt sin; behold the exceeding sinfulness in the soul travail of Christ Jesus! Behold! (he saith) is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by: behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. Lamentations 1:12 . Lord! let the contemplation fire my soul with love! They say, if in common life we bring the murderer of a dead man before the body, wonderful effects will follow; yea, that blood will flow afresh from the murdered, as if the unconscious body had sight of the murderer. Whether it be so or not; oh! for grace, dear Jesus, as my sins have induced thine agony and death, to delight to come before thee. And oh! let thy fresh flowing blood cleanse me, and cause my heart to bleed afresh, in the consciousness that by sin I have crucified my Lord!
"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. (48) Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. (49) And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. (50) And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. (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's, and smote off his ear. (52) Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. (53) Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (54) But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (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. (56) But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled."
We now arrive to that part in this momentous transaction, as is connected with the voluntary surrender of Jesus. The great feature, in redemption, to give efficacy and merit to it, is the freeness of Christ in the work. On this Jesus had particularly dwelt, when he said: Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. John 10:17-18 . But I postpone the observations on this grand feature of Christ, to the review of the subject, in the Gospel of John. See John 18:4 . for there we meet with it more strikingly.
"And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled."
Every verse in the concluding scene of Christ's life is momentous. But the limits of this "Poor Man's Commentary, " will not admit of our enlarging on the subject, as might be wished. Nevertheless, the apprehension of Christ, and the leading him away, are too important; as points, in the wonderful subject, to as to be hastily passed by. He, who at a word of his mouth, smote to the ground the band of armed men which came to take him, (John 18:6 ) cannot be supposed to have been bound and led away, but for the answering some important; purpose. It may well merit therefore our attention.
In entering into a proper apprehension of this subject, always preserving in view and never losing sight of the voluntary sufferings of Jesus; let us first attend to what is said of Christ, under the spirit; of prophecy. Jesus complains, of the bulls of Basan compassing him around; and the dogs and assembly of wicked men inclosing him; by which we plainly understand, that Jesus, as the hind of the morning was to be hunted, until he was brought into the dust of death. Psalms 22:0 title of the Psalm, and Psalms 22:12-15 verses.
Now the binding of Christ, was a part of the service of the sacrifice. Isaac his type was bound and put upon the altar. Genesis 22:9 . And hence, all the sacrifices under the Jewish law were bound at the horns of the altar. Psalms 118:27 . But these things were all figurative of the sins and iniquities of his people binding Christ. For as chains and fetters tye down the body: so sin and iniquity bend down the soul. Here Christ, cries out, Innumerable evils have compassed me about mine iniquities have taken hold of me, so that I am not able to look up: they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart hath failed me. Psalms 40:12 . These are very precious views of Christ, when restoring that he took not away. Psalms 69:4 . So that the binding of Christ, became a necessary part to set forth the binding of all the sins of his people on Christ, when Jehovah laid on him the iniquity of us all. And it is a very very precious thought, to the soul of every truly regenerated believer, that all the sins of his redeemed, without the omission of a single infirmity or sin; in thought, or word, or deed, were laid upon Christ, as the sacrifice was used to be bound on the altar. Hence, the High Priest, under the Jewish dispensation, was commanded to be thus particular, on the great day of atonement. And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgression in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat: and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man (a man of opportunity, as the margin hath it, and as Christ was) into the wilderness, as Christ was led away when bound. Leviticus 16:21 .
Reader! do not overlook this grand feature in the person, office, and character of Christ. When Christ was bound and led away, he then fulfilled all that this type and shadow represented of him; and the whole, and not a single sin, either of omission or commission, belonging to his redeemed was left out.
"But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. (59) Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; (60) But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, (61) And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. (62) And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? (63) But 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. (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. (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. (66) What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. (67) Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, (68) Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?"
The Holy Ghost, as if to stamp an everlasting reproach upon Caiaphas, hath pointed him out as awfully engaged in the office of High Priest, the year of Christ's crucifixion. Jesus was led away to Annas, then to Caiaphas. And Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. John 18:14 . Right or wrong, this wretch determined the death of Christ. And the renting his cloaths in a seemingly holy indignation; was only covering over the malignity of his heart, by the horror he wished to express of blasphemy. But let not the Reader overlook the prophecies of this great transaction. Now was that scripture fulfilled, which Jesus spake by the spirit of prophecy, a thousand years before. The assembly of the wicked have inclosed me. Psalms 22:16 . The Lord Christ answering to the adjuration of the High Priest is most blessed, and especially under the character of the Son of man!
"Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. (70) But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. (71) And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. (72) And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. (73) And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. (74) Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. (75) And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly."
Luke, hath related the denial of Peter in yet some more remarkable circumstances than either of the other Evangelists. I therefore shall postpone the interesting consideration of Peter's fall, and his recovery by grace, until we come to Luke's Gospel. See Luke 22:54 , etc.
Reader! in looking back upon the many wonderful events related in this Chapter, let us admire as well we may, the boundless love of the Lord Jesus, in the tender institution of his holy supper. For as the type and shadow of the Jewish Passover, was now forever to cease, when He the true Christian Passover to which that service ministered, was sacrificed for us; it was an act of the highest love and mercy, in our dear Redeemer, to set up this precious ordinance in his Church, as a standing memorial of his death, until his coming again. And surely Jesus hath endeared it and recommended it by every affecting circumstance, when we consider the time when he instituted it; the manner in which he observed it himself, and commanded its perpetual observance by his people: with all the blessed effects he hath promised in it, from his gracious presence, in those holy seasons of communion: and the sure mercies, which shall accompany the faithful use of it. Oh! for grace, frequently thus to set forth the Lord's death till he come!
And oh! thou dearest Redeemer! grant both the Writer and Reader the blessed unction of thine Holy Spirit, as often as we follow thy steps by faith, to the garden of Gethsemane. Here may we oft resort in spirit, as Jesus in the days of his flesh oft resorted with his disciples.
And Lord grant, that we enter into thy retirings, and by watchfulness and prayer, go over in review again and again, the soul-agonies and soul-travails of Jesus: taking interest in all that we behold, of his sorrows for us and our salvation. Oh! for grace thus to read and thus to meditate on the person, work, offices, characters, and relations of the Lord Jesus Christ! To behold him, and to know him, who was made sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Matthew 26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany