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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Luke 22

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-6

Luke 22:1-6. Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh — Being to be celebrated within two days after our Lord had delivered the prophecies and admonitions recorded above. Concerning this feast, see on Matthew 26:2. The chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him — See on Matthew 26:3-5. But they feared the people — Lest, if they seized him openly, a tumult should be raised among them, either to rescue him out of their hands, or to avenge his death. Then entered Satan — For he is never wanting to assist those whose hearts are bent upon mischief; into Judas — Being one of the twelve. This was a circumstance of such high aggravation, that it is observable each of the evangelists has marked it out in this view. See on Matthew 26:14-16, and Mark 14:10. He went — He went from Christ and his company, who were at Bethany, in the house of Simon, to the house of Caiaphas, the high-priest, whom he knew to be a most inveterate enemy to his Master, and having found means of introducing himself, and communicating his general design, communed, or conversed, with the chief priests and captains — Called captains of the temple, Luke 22:52. They were Jewish officers, who presided over the guards which kept watch every night in the temple. The result of their communing is not mentioned, only by the sequel it appears, that he informed the priests of the place where his Master used to spend the nights, and undertook to conduct a band of armed men thither, who, in the absence of the multitude, might easily take him. And, because none of them were so well acquainted with Jesus as to be able to distinguish him from his disciples, in the darkness of the night, he agreed to point him out to them by kissing him. And they were glad — When they heard his proposal, they thought it very practicable, and rejoiced at so unexpected an offer from one of his disciples, to facilitate their measures. And covenanted to give him money — As a reward for that service. See on Matthew 26:4-16. And he promised — To attend particularly to the affair; and sought opportunity to betray him — To put him into their hands in as private a manner as possible; in the absence of the multitude — That, knowing nothing of what was done, they might not raise a tumult, and rescue him out of the hands of those that seized him.


Verses 7-13

Luke 22:7-13. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed — They called the day on which the passover was killed, one of the days of unleavened bread, and the first day thereof, because it was preparatory to that feast; though, properly speaking, the first day began with the passover-supper. This appears likewise from Josephus, who, making use of the vulgar computation, tells us, that the feast of unleavened bread lasted eight days; whereas, in the law, it was ordered to be kept only seven days. Thus Exodus 12:19 : Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses. He sent Peter and John — From the place where he had spent the night before in retirement with them; saying, Go and prepare us the passover — Go, buy a lamb for us, and get it killed and roasted, and make the other preparations, that we may, once more, eat it together. They said, Where wilt thou that we prepare? — See on Matthew 26:17, and Mark 14:10-16 : where this paragraph is considered at large.


Verses 14-18

Luke 22:14-18. When the hour was come, &c. — When the evening approached, Jesus left Bethany; and every thing being prepared by the time he came into the city, they all sat down at the appointed hour. And he said, With desire I have desired — That is, I have earnestly desired it. He desired it, both for the sake of his disciples, to whom he desired to manifest himself further, at this solemn parting; and for the sake of his whole church, that he might institute the grand memorial of his death. For I will not any more eat thereof until, &c. — That is, it will be the last time I shall eat with you before I die. The particle until, used here and Luke 22:18, does not imply that, after the things signified by the passover were fulfilled, in the gospel dispensation, our Lord was to eat the passover. It is only a Hebrew form of expression, signifying that the thing mentioned was no more to be done for ever. Until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of heaven — That is, until the deliverance of mankind from the bondage of sin and death is procured by my death and resurrection; a deliverance typified by that of our fathers from the Egyptian bondage, to keep up the memory of which the passover was instituted. And he took the cup, and gave thanks — Having spoken as above, Jesus took a cup of wine in his hand, that cup which used to be brought at the beginning of the paschal solemnity, and gave thanks to Almighty God for his great goodness to his people, mentioning, no doubt, some of the principal instances thereof, especially their redemption, first from Egypt, and then from Babylon. And said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves, for I will not drink, &c. — As if he had said, Do not expect me to drink of it: I will drink no more before I die. Or, his meaning might be, After what passes, this evening, I will not drink any more with you of the fruit of the vine; therefore, as it is the last paschal supper that I shall partake of with you, let that consideration be an additional reason for your celebrating it with peculiar seriousness and devotion. Until the kingdom of God shall come — Till the gospel dispensation shall be fully opened, or till that complete and spiritual redemption, which is typified by this ordinance, shall be fulfilled and perfected.


Verse 19-20

Luke 22:19-20. And he took bread — Namely, some time after, when the supper was ended, wherein they had eaten the paschal lamb. And gave thanks, and brake it — Matthew and Mark say, Blessed and brake it. They do not say, Blessed it: for the word it, though supplied in our translation in Matthew, is not in the original: for which reason, and because Luke here uses the word ευχαριστησας, he gave thanks, many are of opinion that the word God should be supplied in Matthew; he blessed God. And gave unto them, saying, This is my body — That is, the representation of my body, to be broken on the cross. See the like form of expression, Genesis 41:26-27. As our Lord had just now celebrated the paschal supper, which was called the passover, so, in the like figurative language, he calls this bread his body. And this circumstance of itself was sufficient to prevent any such mistake, as that this bread was his real body, any more than the paschal lamb was really the passover. This do in remembrance of me — The passover solemnity was usually concluded with eating a little bread and drinking a cup of wine. Jesus, therefore, when he instituted the Lord’s supper, did not appoint any new rite, but appropriated an old one to a new purpose. Hence the propriety of the expression, This do in remembrance of me. Do it no longer in remembrance of the deliverance from Egypt, but in remembrance of me, who, by dying for you, will bring you out of spiritual bondage, a bondage far worse than the Egyptian, under which your fathers groaned, and will establish you in the glorious liberty of God’s children: do it in remembrance of me, who, by laying down my life, will ransom you from sin, and death, and hell; and will set open the gates of heaven to you, that you may enter immortality and triumph. Likewise also the cup after supper — This the Jews termed the cup of thanksgiving, it being the cup usually given by the master of the family to each after supper: and Matthew says, Jesus took this, and gave thanks. For, at the institution of the sacrament, he not only gave thanks before he brake and distributed the bread, but before he delivered the cup, to show how infinitely we are obliged to God for our spiritual food, the flesh and blood of his Son, which nourishes the divine life in the soul. Saying, This cup is the new testament, or covenant, (as the word διαθηκη rather means,) in my blood — Here is an undeniable figure, whereby the cup is put for the wine in the cup. And this is called, the new covenant in Christ’s blood, which could not possibly mean that it was the new covenant itself, but only the seal of it, and the sign of that blood, which was shed to confirm it. In other words, as the expression, this is my body, signifies, This is the representation of my body; so, this is my blood of the new covenant, must signify, This is the representation of my blood. And Christ’s meaning in the passage is: All of you, and all my disciples in all ages, must drink of this cup, because it represents my blood, shed for the remission of men’s sins; my blood, in which the new covenant between God and man is ratified; so that this institution exhibits to your joyful meditation the grand foundation of men’s hopes, and perpetuates the memory of the same to the end of the world.

We here see, then, that it is a primary end of this solemn service, to bring to the devout remembrance of Christians the death of their Master, as the foundation of the remission of their sins; and, in short, the whole mercy of the new covenant, as founded on the shedding of his blood. Therefore, they err who make the keeping up of the memory of Christ’s death in the world, as a simple fact, the only end of the Lord’s supper. We may observe, further, that “from our Lord’s words, here recorded, and from those wherewith the apostle has concluded his account of the Lord’s supper, 1 Corinthians 11:26, As often as ye eat this bread, &c., ye do show ( καταγγελλετε, ye preach, ye declare) the Lord’s death till he come, it appears this sacrament was instituted, not only to bring Christ’s sufferings, and the consequence thereof, to the remembrance of his disciples, but to demonstrate the truth of these things to the world, in all ages. In this view, the Lord’s supper is the strongest proof of his integrity, and of the truth of his mission; for if he had been an impostor, and was to have suffered death on account of his deluding the people, is it to be imagined that he would have instituted any rite with a view to preserve the memory of his having suffered punishment for the worst of crimes? No: this is beyond all human belief. And therefore, since by this institution he has perpetuated the memory of his own sufferings, it is a strong presumption that he was conscious of his own innocence, that his character was really what the evangelists have represented it to be, and that our faith in him, as the Son of God, is well founded.” — Macknight.


Verses 21-23

Luke 22:21-23. But behold πλην ιδου. This particle ( πλην, verumtamen, nevertheless, or notwithstanding) “is a proof,” says Bengelius, “that Judas was present at the Lord’s supper;” for it shows that Christ’s discourse is continued without interruption; and it appears, from Luke 22:14, that when he sat down to the supper and begun the discourse, the twelve were with him: Dr. Lightfoot was of the same opinion, who says, “What can be desired more, as a demonstration that Judas was present at the eucharist?” Thus also Henry: “By the placing this after the institution of the Lord’s supper, it seems plain that Judas did receive that supper, did eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” On which he observes, “There have been those who have eaten bread with Christ, and yet have betrayed him.” According to Matthew and Mark, however, Jesus pointed out Judas, as the traitor, to the disciples at this supper, before the institution of the sacrament, as at a prior supper (see John 13:23, &c.) he had done to John. Perhaps he did it both before and after he instituted the eucharist. So Dr. Macknight thought. “Our Lord,” says he, “was now deeply affected with his own thoughts, for he uttered some of the things twice that lay heaviest upon his spirit, as persons in great concern are wont to do; particularly after delivering the sacramental cup, and telling them that his blood was shed for them, he mentioned the treachery of Judas a second time. And this second declaration came in very properly after the institution of the sacrament, which exhibits the highest instance of his love to mankind; his dying to obtain the remission of their sins. For it showed that the person who could deliberately do so great an injury to so kind a friend, must have been a monster, the foulness of whose ingratitude cannot be reached by the force of language.” The hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table — “Manus quæ sacram cænam sumpsit, quæque hostibus perfidam fidem dedit.” The hand which took the sacred supper, and which gave a perfidious promise to enemies. So Bengelius. And truly the Son of man goeth — That is, dieth; as it was determined — See on Matthew 26:24-25.


Verses 24-27

Luke 22:24-27. And there was also a strife among them, &c. — Of the kind of contentions here spoken of there are two instances recorded by the evangelists, evidently different from each other, and each attended with very different circumstances. The former is mentioned by Matthew 18:1-4; by Mark 9:33-37; and by Luke 9:46. This certainly is not that here referred to. The other, recorded Matthew 20:20, &c.; and Mark 10:35, &c., is thought, by most commentators, to be that which Luke here speaks of. See the notes on these two last mentioned passages. Some, however, are of opinion, that a third contention of a similar kind arose among the disciples, at this last paschal supper which our Lord ate with them; and that it arose from some expressions which he dropped respecting the glory of his heavenly kingdom, which the disciples erroneously interpreted of a glorious temporal kingdom, which they continued to expect him to erect. And it must be acknowledged, that the manner in which Luke introduces his account of this dispute here, favours this interpretation of the passage. For, immediately after he had informed us of the disciples beginning to inquire among themselves which of them it was that should betray Christ, he proceeds to say, And there was also a strife among them which of them should be accounted the greatest. Be this as it may, if it really was a third contention of the same sort with those which had occurred before, it appears that Christ composed it by the arguments which he had made use of for the same end formerly. For, he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, &c. — Among the Gentiles, they are reckoned the greatest men who have the greatest power, and who exercise it in the most absolute manner. Such, however, have at times affected the pompous title of benefactors, ( ευραγεται, a surname which some of the kings of Egypt and Syria assumed,) and thereby have tacitly acknowledged that true greatness consists in goodness. But your greatness shall not be like theirs; shall not consist in temporal power over your fellow-creatures, or in honour or dignity among them, though it should be joined with an affectation of titles which denote qualities truly honourable. Whosoever desires to be great among you, let him be so by his humility and by his serviceableness to the rest, in imitation of me, your Master, whose greatness consists in this, that I am become the servant of you all. He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger — According to the manner of the Jews, the aged expected great service and submission from the young; and he that is chief — He that presides over the rest in any office of peculiar trust and influence; as he that doth serve — Let him be as humble and condescending as the servant. For whether is greater — Which of the two is naturally accounted greater by a stranger who happens to come in; he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? — That stands and waits upon the guests? Is not he that sitteth at meat? — Accounted greater? But I am among you as he that serveth — These words may, no doubt, have a respect to the whole of Christ’s life; yet they seem to refer more particularly to his having lately washed the disciples’ feet, as John informs us, John 13:14. See notes on Matthew 20:25; Matthew 20:28. “It seems to have been our Lord’s view,” says Dr. Campbell, “in these instructions, not only to check in his apostles all ambition of power, and every thing which savoured of a desire of superiority and dominion over their brethren; but also to restrain that species of vanity which is near akin to it, the affectation of distinction from titles of respect and dignity. Against this vice particularly the clause under consideration seems to be levelled. The reflection naturally suggested by it is, How little are any, the most pompous epithets which men can bestow, worthy the regard of a good man, who observes how vilely, through servility and flattery, they are sometimes prostituted on the most undeserving.”


Verses 28-30

Luke 22:28-30. Ye have continued with me in my temptations εν τοις πειρασμοις μου, in my trials and afflictions: and his whole life was little else than one continued series of them, particularly from the time of his entering on his public ministry. And I appoint unto you a kingdom — I will preserve you in all your temptations and trials here, and will confer on you a kingdom of glory hereafter: I appoint, not a primacy to one, but a kingdom to every one; and that on the same terms as my Father hath appointed to me — Who have fought and conquered. That ye may eat and drink at my table, &c. — That ye may enjoy the highest happiness as guests, not as servants, and the highest dignity, not as subjects, but as princes. Now as these honours, which I shall hereafter confer on you, are incomparably beyond those about which you seem so solicitous, let a consideration of this awaken a nobler ambition in your minds, than that which appears now to influence them; and, instead of contending for superiority over each other, in my church militant, in which you must expect to meet with continual reproach and suffering, aspire after high degrees of that celestial glory, which you are to share with me in my church triumphant. See on Matthew 19:28-29. The words seem to be primarily applicable to the twelve apostles, and secondarily to all Christ’s servants and disciples, whose spiritual powers, honours, and delights, are here represented in figurative terms, with respect to their advancement both in the kingdom of grace and glory.


Verses 31-34

Luke 22:31-34. And the Lord said, &c. — To make his disciples humble and watchful, and kindly affectionate one to another, Christ assured them, that Satan was seeking to destroy them all by his temptations. As if he had said, O Simon, Simon, behold Satan — As in the case of Job; (Job 2:4-5;) hath desired to have you — My apostles, εξητησατο υμας, hath required you, or sought you out; or requested permission, as Dr. Campbell translates it; to sift you as wheat — To assault you by furious and violent temptations, or to try you to the uttermost. I must assure thee, therefore, that an hour of terrible trial is just at hand, which will press harder than thou art aware, on thee and all thy companions here. But I — Forseeing the danger to which thou, Peter, wilt be peculiarly exposed, I have graciously prevented thee with my watchful care; and have prayed for thee — For thou wilt be in the greatest danger of all my disciples; in order that thy faith fail not — Altogether. And when thou art converted — Renewed to repentance, or hast returned to thy duty, as επιστρεψας may be rendered; when thou art recovered from thy fall, and confirmed again in faith and holiness; strengthen thy brethren — All that are weak in faith, or shaken in mind by the approaching trial, and ready to relinquish the service they have undertaken. When thou art recovered by the grace of God, do what thou canst to recover others; when thy own faith is strengthened, labour to confirm the faith of others, and to establish them; when thou hast found mercy, encourage others to hope that they also shall find it. And do thine utmost, all the remainder of thy days, by word and deed, to engage all, over whom thou hast any influence, to a steady adherence to my cause in the midst of the greatest difficulties, and especially by setting them an example of eminent faith and fortitude. And he said, Lord, I am ready to go with thee to prison and to death — So Peter thought at this time: and such was his present intention and resolution; but he was not sufficiently acquainted with himself, nor aware of his own weakness. See on Matthew 26:33-35. And he saith, I tell thee, Peter — I most assuredly say unto thee; the cock shall not crow this day — Or rather, it shall not be the time of cock-crowing to-day, see on Mark 14:39; before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me — And shalt solemnly disclaim all regard to me. So terrified shalt thou be at the faces of these enemies whom thou now defiest. In other words, notwithstanding thy pretended affection and fortitude, a few hours shall not pass till, in great consternation at the dangers with which I and my disciples shall be threatened, thou shalt basely deny, three several times, that thou art my disciple. Peter therefore had no reason to be elated, though on a former occasion he had confessed Jesus to be the Son of God. And his behaviour in this instance affords a very affecting example of human vanity, in the midst of the greatest weakness.


Verses 35-37

Luke 22:35-37. And he said, When I sent you without purse, &c. — “Our Lord, having finished what he had to say to Peter in particular, now turned to the other disciples, and put them in mind how they had been prohibited, when they were first sent out, to make any provision for their journey, and directed to rely wholly on God; and that, though they had accordingly gone away without purse, scrip, and shoes, they had never wanted any thing, but had had abundant provision made for them by the kindness of men whom God had disposed to befriend them: but he told them that matters were now altered; they were to be violently assaulted by their enemies, were to meet with the strongest temptations, and to be so hotly persecuted by their countrymen, that they could no longer expect any succour at their hands; for which reason, he ordered them in their future journeys to provide money, and clothes, and swords for themselves: that is, besides relying on the Divine Providence, as formerly, they were to use all prudent precautions in fortifying themselves against the trials that were coming on them.” — Macknight. Or rather, these commands to arm themselves against dangers, are to be considered merely as predictions and warnings given them of the dangers and trials they were to meet with. For the predictions of the prophets are often announced under the form of commands. Thus Isaiah, foretelling the destruction of the family of the king of Babylon, Isaiah 14:21, says, Prepare slaughter for his children, &c. And Jeremiah, foretelling in like manner the destruction of the Jews, exhibits God as thus addressing them, Jeremiah 9:17-18, Call for the mourning women, &c. And in the prophecy of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 39:17-19) and in the Apocalypse (Revelation 19:17-18) this allegoric spirit is carried so far, that orders are given to brute animals to do what the prophet means only to foretel they would do. For this prophecy that is written, must yet be accomplished — As all the other predictions of the prophets concerning me must also be: and he was numbered with the transgressors — Prepare, therefore, to meet a most violent persecution; for I, your Leader, am to be treated as a malefactor, and of course you, my followers, will not escape suffering. Nor are these trials at a distance, they are just at hand. For the things which are written concerning me have an end — Are now drawing to a period, are upon the point of being accomplished. And they said, Behold, here are two swords — Our Lord’s disciples, mistaking his meaning about the swords, replied, they had two: the reason why they had any at all, probably, was, that they might defend themselves against robbers in their journey from Galilee and Perea; and from the beasts of prey, which in those parts were very frequent, and dangerous in the night- time: And he said unto them, It is enough — To show them their mistake, he told them that two swords were sufficient, which it is evident they could not have been for so many men, had he meant what he said in a literal sense. He only meant, This will be a time of extreme danger; to meet which, it will be necessary to be prepared by faith, fortitude, and patience.


Verses 39-46

Luke 22:39-46. He went, as he was wont — As was his custom every night; to the mount of Olives — See on Matthew 26:30-32. And when he was at the place — When he had entered the garden of Gethsemane; he said, Pray that ye enter not into temptation — Having forewarned them of the lamentable effect which his sufferings would have upon them; that they would all stumble that very night, according to the prophecy of Zechariah, he exhorted them to pray that the temptation might not entirely prevail against them, and cause their faith to fail altogether. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast — Namely, not only from the other disciples, whom he had left at the entrance into the garden, but from Peter, James, and John, whom he had taken with him farther into it: kneeled down Matthew, fell on his face; Mark, fell on the ground; and prayed, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup — The Greek rather means, “O that thou wouldst remove this cup!” ει being evidently a particle of wishing. Therefore, in Mark it is, He prayed, that if it were possible the hour might pass from him; saying, Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; take away this cup from me. It seems, he first kneeled and prayed, as Luke here says; then, in the vehemence of his earnestness, he fell on his face, and spake the words recorded by Matthew and Mark. In the mean time, his prayer, though most fervent, was accompanied with due expressions of resignation; for he immediately added, (Matthew,) Nevertheless, not as (Mark, what) I will, but as (Mark, what) thou wilt; or, as Luke here has it, not my will, but thine be done. And there appeared an angel — Probably standing near him in a visible form; strengthening him — Lest his body should sink and die before the time; and perhaps suggesting such holy consolations as were most proper to animate his soul in such a struggle. It is probable, that during this time of suffering the divine nature had withdrawn its usual support. And being in an agony — Probably now conflicting with the powers of darkness; feeling the weight of the wrath of God, due to the sins of mankind, and at the same time surrounded with a mighty host of devils, who exercised all their force, subtlety, and malice to persecute, distract, and oppress his wounded spirit; he prayed more earnestly — Than before, even with stronger cries and tears; and his sweat — Cold as the weather was; was as it were great drops of blood — Which, by the vehement distress of his soul, were forced out of the pores of his body, in so great a quantity as afterward united in large, thick, grumous drops, and even fell to the ground. Thus Jesus suffered unspeakable sorrows in his soul, as long as the divine wisdom saw fit. At length he obtained relief, being heard in that which he feared, (Hebrews 5:7,) or, on account of his piety, or perfect submission to the will of his Father, as απο της ευλαβειας, may be translated.


Verse 45-46

Luke 22:45-46. And when he rose up from prayer — After this dreadful conflict; and was come to his disciples — Namely, the third time; notwithstanding the repeated admonitions he had given them, he again found them sleeping — And that, as the evangelist says, for sorrow — The sensations of grief which they felt at the sight of their Master’s distress so overpowering them, that they sunk into sleep; a circumstance which shows how much they were affected with his sufferings. And said unto them, Why sleep ye — Why do you still persist to sleep at such a season as this? I call upon you yet once more, to rise and pray, lest ye enter into and fall by the approaching most dangerous temptation. See the various circumstances attending this dreadful scene of our Lord’s sufferings in the garden more fully elucidated in the notes on Matthew 26:36-46; and Mark 14:32, &c.


Verse 47-48

Luke 22:47-48. And while he yet spake, behold, a multitude had entered the garden, consisting of persons of very different stations and offices in life; and Judas went before them — To lead them to the place, and show them the man they wanted, by kissing him. See on Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-49. Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? — Dost thou make my condescending kindness the occasion of thy base treachery, and use that as the signal of it, which, among men, is the usual token either of love or homage? And dost thou thus betray him who is thy Lord and Master, and whom thou canst not but know to be the Messiah, entitled in the Scriptures, the Son of man? And dost thou think that he can be imposed upon by this poor artifice? or that God, who has promised him so glorious and triumphant a kingdom, will not punish such baseness and cruelty to him? “There is great reason to believe,” says Dr. Doddridge, “that our Lord uses this phrase of the Son of man to Judas on this occasion, (as he had done the same evening at supper, twice in a breath,) in the sense here given. And it adds a spirit to these words that has not often been observed, which the attentive reader will discern to be attended with much greater strength and beauty, than if our Lord had only said, Dost thou betray me with a kiss?”


Verses 49-51

Luke 22:49-51. When they which were about him saw what would follow — That the band was just going to seize Jesus, or had already seized him, and were about to lead him away; they said, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? — Thou didst allow us to have two swords, shall we now make use of them? Surely never can there be a greater occasion for doing it: and we doubt not but, few as we are, thou canst render us victorious over this armed multitude. They did not wait for an answer from Jesus, but one of them — Namely, Peter, immediately smote the servant of the high-priest — One who, it is probable, was the forwardest, and seemed peculiarly officious in seizing Christ. Peter struck full at his head, intending to cleave him down, but the stroke glanced a little on one side, so that he only cut off his right ear. Jesus said, Suffer ye thus far — Let me go to the wounded man, and have my hands at liberty, while I do one more act of mercy. And he touched his ear, and healed him — Putting the ear on again, which was cut off, or creating a new one in the place of it. It may not be improper to observe, that two other interpretations are given of the clause, Suffer ye thus far. “All antiquity,” says Dr. Campbell, “seems agreed in understanding our Lord’s expression as a check to his disciples, by intimating that they were not to proceed further in the way of resistance, as it was not to such methods of defence that he chose to recur: and what is recorded by the other evangelists, as likewise said on the occasion, strongly confirms this explanation.” Dr. Whitby thinks that Christ spake thus to the soldiers, desiring them thus far to suffer the rash opposition of his disciples, and not to proceed to violence against them, on account of the assault made, and injury done by one of them, which he would immediately repair; for it follows, and he healed him. “And this,” adds the doctor, “he said and did partly to show, that he, who had such power to heal, and (John 18:6) to throw down his enemies, was taken willingly, and not for want of power to preserve himself: and partly to preserve his apostles from their assaults.” It must be acknowledged that all these interpretations are plausible; but the first, which is adopted by Elsner, Doddridge, Macknight, Wesley, and many others, seems as probable as either of the others, and certainly exhibits the mercy and benevolence of our Lord in the most amiable and striking point of view. And one would have thought, that such a generous piece of kindness to his enemies would have so overcome them, that they would have proceeded no further against him. But, alas! their hearts were hardened! How illustriously did our Lord now exemplify his own rule of doing good to them that hate us, as he afterward did that which enjoins us to pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us.


Verse 52-53

Luke 22:52-53. Jesus said unto the chief priests, captains, &c. — The soldiers and servants were sent to apprehend Jesus, but these chief priests, &c. came of their own accord; and, it seems, kept at a distance during the scuffle, but drew near when they understood that Jesus was taken. Be ye come out as against a thief? — See on Matthew 26:55-56. This is your hour — Before which you could not take me; and the power of darkness — The time when Satan has power.


Verses 54-62

Luke 22:54-62. Then took they him, and brought him into the high-priest’s house — See on Matthew 26:57; and Mark 14:53; Mark 14:51. When they had kindled a fire, Peter sat down among them — See the story of Peter’s three-fold denial of Christ elucidated at large in the notes on Matthew 26:69-75; and Mark 14:66-72. Another saw him, and said — Observe here, in order to reconcile the four evangelists, that divers persons concurred in charging Peter with belonging to Christ. 1st, The maid that let him in, afterward seeing him at the fire, first put the question to him, and then positively affirmed that he was with Christ. 2d, Another maid accused him to the standers by, and gave occasion to the man here mentioned to renew the charge against him, which caused the second denial. 3d, Others of the company took notice of his being a Galilean, and were seconded by the kinsman of Malchus, who affirmed he had seen him in the garden. And this drew on the third denial. And about an hour after — So he did not recollect himself in all that time.


Verses 63-65

Luke 22:63-65. And the men that held Jesus mocked him — What has just been related concerning Peter, passed while the priests examined Jesus, of which examination, before Luke gives an account, he mentions the following remarkable circumstance, namely, that the men who held Jesus mocked him and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, struck him on the face — These circumstances are placed by Matthew and Mark after the council’s condemning him. Perhaps he was abused in the same manner both before and after his condemnation. Certainly “his judges and their retinue were abundantly capable of being thus unjust and barbarous toward him. Nevertheless, what Luke has said here, does not necessarily oblige us to suppose this. He might conclude his account of Peter’s denials with relating what followed upon our Lord’s being condemned, because it happened immediately after the last denial; and to show what a load of indignity was laid at once on the Son of God; namely, that while the most zealous of all his disciples was denying him with oaths and imprecations, the servants and others were insulting him in the most barbarous manner.” — Macknight. Saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? — “This usage of Christ,” says Dr. Hammond, “refers to that sport so ordinary among children, called μυινδα, in which it is the manner, first to blindfold, then to strike, (Luke 22:63,) then to ask who gave the blow, and not to let the person go till he had named the right man who had struck him. It was used on this occasion to reproach our blessed Lord, and to expose him to ridicule.” Many other things spake they blasphemously against him — The expression is remarkable. They charged him with blasphemy, because he said he was the Son of God: but the evangelist fixes that charge on them, because he was really so.


Verses 66-71

Luke 22:66-71. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people, and the chief-priests, &c., came together — When the band of soldiers arrived at the high-priest’s with Jesus, they found many of the chief-priests, and the scribes, and the elders assembled there. (Mark 14:53.) Some persons of distinction, however, may have been absent, whose coming the rest would wait for. Wherefore, although the soldiers brought Jesus to the high- priest’s a while after midnight, his trial did not begin till about three in the morning: the intermediate time being spent in procuring witnesses, in sending for the absent members, in gathering the clerks and officers of the court, and in fitting up an apartment for the trial. For, that Jesus was tried by the council, not in the temple, as many suppose, but in the high-priest’s palace, is evident from John 18:28, where we are expressly told, that they led Jesus from Caiaphas’s house to the pretorium. Saying, Art thou the Christ? tell us — Dost thou give up the pretensions thou hast formerly made, or dost thou maintain them? If thou art indeed the Messiah, tell us plainly, and it will bring matters to a short issue. It seems, these wretches hoped to gain a great advantage against Jesus either way; if he confessed it, they would condemn him on that confession; and if he denied it, they would expose him on that denial, as afraid to maintain the pretensions he had made. And he said, If I tell you — That I am the Christ, and give you the most convincing proofs of it, you are resolved that you will not believe. And if I ask you — What you have to object against the proofs I produce; you will not answer me — Here he seems to refer to their silence, when he put a question to them which would have led them to his own authority, Luke 20:5-7. Nor let me go — If I be not the Christ, you ought to answer the arguments by which I prove that I am; if I be, you ought to let me go; but you will do neither: you will only overbear me with renewed violence. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit, &c. — The day will come, when ye shall see the Son of man, who now stands in this despised and lowly form at your tribunal, exalted to all the dignity and glory which that high title imports; sitting on the right hand of the power of God — And coming with irresistible strength to take vengeance on the proudest of his enemies. See on Matthew 26:59-64; and Mark 14:53-65. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? — A number of them cried out together, feigning great astonishment at the blasphemy, as they were pleased to call it, of his answer, and desiring him to repeat it, lest they might have mistaken him, asked, Art thou then the Son of God? — Both these, the Son of God, and the Son of man, were known titles of the Messiah, the one taken from his divine, and the other from his human, nature. And he said unto them, Ye say that I am — This, according to the Jewish manner of speaking, was a plain and strong affirmation of the thing expressed. When the high-priest heard our Lord’s second reply, he solemnly rent his clothes, crying out, that he had spoken blasphemy; and, appealing to the council, he said, What need we any further witness? (Luke 22:71.) And they said, What need we, &c. — The council replied, As you have justly observed, what need have we of witnesses now, seeing we ourselves have heard in what manner he hath blasphemed? And being asked what punishment he deserved, they answered, that he deserved death. Matthew 26:26; Matthew 26:66.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 22:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-22.html. 1857.

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Monday, May 27th, 2019
the Sixth Week after Easter
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