Luke 22

CHAPTER XXII.

The chief priests and scribes plot our Lord's destruction, 1, 2.

Judas, at the instigation of the devil, betrays him, 3-6.

He eats his last supper with his disciples, 7-18.

Institutes the eucharist, 19, 20.

Announces one of his disciples as the traitor, 21-23:

The contention which should be greatest, 24-30.

Warns Peter against Satan's devices, 31, 32.

Peter's resolution, 33.

His denial foretold, 34.

Tells his disciples to make prudent provision for their own

support, 35-37.

The two swords, 38.

He goes to the Mount of Olives, and has his agony in the garden,

39-46.

Judas comes with a mob, 47, 48.

Peter cuts off the ear of the high priest's servant, which

Christ heals by a touch, 49-51.

He addresses the chief priests and captains of the temple,

52, 53.

They lead him to the high priest's house, and Peter follows and

denies his Master, 54-60.

Christ looks upon him, he is stung with remorse, and weeps

bitterly, 61, 62.

Jesus is mocked, and variously insulted, 63-65.

The next morning he is questioned before the council, 66, 67.

He acknowledges himself to be the Son of God, 68-70.

They condemn him, 71.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXII.

Verse 1. The feast of unleavened bread, &c.] See this largely

explained, Ex 23:14; Le 23:2-40, and on Mt 26:2.

Verse 2. They feared the people.] The great mass of the people

seem to have been convinced that Christ was at least a prophet

sent from God; and it is likely they kept steady in their

attachment to him. The multitude, who are represented as

clamouring for his blood at the crucifixion, appear to have been a

mere mob, formed out of the creatures of the chief priests and

Pharisees.

Verse 3. Then entered Satan into Judas] The devil filled the

heart of Judas with avarice; and that infamous passion led him to

commit the crime here specified. This at once accounts for the

whole of this most unprincipled and unnatural transaction. None

but a devil, or he who is possessed by one, could have been guilty

of it:-let the living lay this to heart. A minister of the Gospel,

who is a lover of money, is constantly betraying the interests of

Christ. He cannot serve two masters; and while his heart is

possessed with the love of pelf, the love of God and zeal for

perishing souls cannot dwell in him. What Satan could not do by

the envy and malice of the high priests and Pharisees, he effects

by Judas, a false and fallen minister of the Gospel of God. None

are so dangerous to the interests of Christianity as persons of

this stamp.

Verse 4. And captains] Among the priests who were in waiting at

the temple, some were appointed φυλακες, for a guard to the

temple; and over these were στρατηγοι commanding officers: both

sorts are mentioned by Josephus, War, b. vi. c. 5. s. 3. Bp. PEARCE,

See another sense of captains, in Clarke's note on "Mt 27:65".

Dr. Lightfoot supposes these to have been the captains over the

watches; for in three places the priests kept watch and ward in

the temple, viz. in Beth Abtenes, in Beth Nitsots, and in Beth

Mokad. The Levites also in twenty-one places more, Middoth, chap.

i. Though these watches consisted of several persons in each,

there was one set over them, as the captain or head of that watch.

He thinks that Matthew, Mt 27:65, refers to one of these:

Ye have a watch of your own; let some of them be sent to guard

the sepulchre. The captain of the temple, he supposes to have been

the chief or head of all these watches; and thus he was captain of

the captains. In the same Talmudical tract it is said, The ruler

of the mountain of the temple (i.e. captain of the temple) takes

his walks through every watch with torches lighted before him: if

he found any upon the watch, that was not standing on his feet, he

said, Peace be with thee: but if he found him sleeping, he struck

him with a stick, and he might also burn his clothes. And when it

was said by others, What noise is that in the court? the answer

was, It is the noise of a Levite under correction, whose garments

they are burning, because he slept upon his watch. This custom

casts light on Re 16:15: Behold, I come as a thief: blessed is he

that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and

they see his shame. It is easy to distinguish this captain of the

mountain of the temple from the ruler of the temple, or sagan: the

former presided over the guards; the latter over the whole service

of the temple. We have them both distinguished, Ac 4:1: there is

the captain of the temple; and Annas, who was the sagan. See

Lightfoot.

Verse 5. They-covenanted to give him money.] Matthew says thirty

pieces, or staters, of silver, about 4. 10s. English, the

common price of the meanest slave. See Clarke on Mt 26:15.

Verse 6. And he promised] That is, to do it-εξωμολογησε: or, He

accepted the proposal. See Wakefield.

Verse 7. The passover] πασχα, Lu 22:1, is the name of the

festival; τοπασχα here is supposed to be the name of that on

which they feasted, viz. the sacrificed paschal lamb. But see the

notes on Matt. 26, and especially the observations at the end of

that chapter. See Clarke on Mt 26:75

Verse 8. - 13. He sent Peter and John, &c.] See the subject of

these verses largely explained on Mt 26:17-19, and Mr 14:13, 15.

Verse 14. And when the hour was come] That is, the evening. See

Mt 26:20, and Mr 14:17.

Verse 15. With desire I have desired] A Hebraism for, I have

desired most earnestly. Our Lord's meaning seems to be, that,

having purposed to redeem a lost world by his blood, he ardently

longed for the time in which he was to offer himself up. Such love

did the holy Jesus bear to the human race. This eucharistic

passover was celebrated once, by way of anticipation, before the

bloody sacrifice of the victim of salvation, and before the

deliverance it was appointed to commemorate; as the figurative

passover had been likewise once celebrated before the going out of

Egypt, and the deliverance of God's chosen people. Quesnel.

Verse 16. Until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.] That is,

until that of which the passover is a type is fulfilled in my

death, through which the kingdom of God, or of heaven, (See

Mt 3:2,) shall be established among men.

Verse 17. He took the cup] This was not the sacramental cup, for

that was taken after supper, Lu 22:20, but was the cup which was

ordinarily taken before supper.

Divide it among yourselves] Pass the cup from one to another;

thus the cup which Christ gave to the first person on his right

hand continued to be handed from one to another, till it came to

the last person on his left.

Verse 18. I will not drink of the fruit of the vine] That is,

before the time of another passover, the Holy Ghost shall descend,

the Gospel of the kingdom be established, and the sacramental

supper shall take place of the paschal lamb; for in a few hours

his crucifixion was to take place. See Clarke on Mt 26:29.

Verse 19. Took bread] See the nature and design of the Lord's

Supper explained in Clarke's notes on Mt 26:26-29.

This do in remembrance of me.] That the Jews, in eating the

passover, did it to represent the sufferings of the Messiah, as

evident from the tract Pesachim, fol. 119, quoted by Schoettgen.

Why do we call this the great hallel? (i.e. the hymn composed of

several psalms, which they sung after the paschal supper.) Ans.

Because in it these five things are contained: 1. The exodus from

Egypt. 2. The dividing of the Red Sea. 3. The promulgation of the

law. 4. The resurrection of the dead. And, 5. The sufferings of

the Messiah. The first is referred to, Ps 114:1,

When Israel went out of Egypt, &c. The second in Ps 114:3,

The sea saw it and fled. The third in Ps 114:4,

The mountains skipped like rams, &c. The fourth in Ps 116:9,

I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. The fifth

in Ps 115:1,

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory;

for thy mercy and thy truth's sake. See Clarke on Mt 26:30.

Verse 20. This cup is the new testament in my blood] Perhaps it

might be better to paraphrase the passage thus: This cup which is

poured out for you, signifies the blood of the new covenant, which

is shortly to be ratified in (or by) the shedding of my blood.

Or, This cup is the new covenant, poured out for you with my

blood:-that is, the paschal sacrifice and my sacrifice happen

together. But see Kypke.

It does not appear that our Lord handed either the bread or the

cup to each person; he gave it to him who was next to him, and, by

handing it from one to another, they shared it among themselves,

Lu 22:17. In this respect the present mode of administering the

Lord's Supper is not strictly according to the original

institution.

Verse 21. The hand of him that betrayeth me, &c.] What can be

desired more, says Dr. Lightfoot, as a demonstration that Judas

was present at the eucharist? And, whereas the contrary is

endeavoured to be proved out of John 13, nothing is made out of

nothing; for there is not one syllable throughout that whole

chapter of the paschal supper, but of a supper before the feast of

the passover.

Verse 22. The Son of man goeth] That is, he is about to die,

απερχεσθαιοιχεσθαι, abire, going, going away, and departing,

are used, by the best Greek and Latin writers, for death and

dying. See Rosenmuller.

Verse 23. They began to inquire among themselves]

See Clarke on Mt 26:23; "Mt 26:24".

Verse 24. There was also a strife among them] There are two

different instances of this sort of contention or strife mentioned

by the evangelists, each of which was accompanied with very

different circumstances; one by Matthew, in Mt 18:1, &c., by

Mark, Mr 9:33, &c.; and by Luke, in Lu 9:46, &c. That contention

cannot have been the same with this which is mentioned here. The

other, related in Mt 20:20, &c., and Mr 10:35, &c., must be what

Luke intended here to record; and this strife or contention was

occasioned by the request which Zebedee's wife made to our Lord in

favour of her sons, James and John; but, then, Luke has mentioned

this very much out of the order of time, it having happened while

our Lord and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem:

Mt 20:17; Mr 10:32. See Bp. PEARCE.

Verse 25. Are called benefactors.] The very Greek word used by

the evangelist, ευεργεται, was the surname of some of the

Ptolemies of Egypt; Ptolemy Euergetes, i.e. the Benefactor. It was

a custom among the ancient Romans to distribute part of the lands

which they had conquered on the frontiers of the empire to their

soldiers; those who enjoyed such lands were called beneficiarii,

beneficed persons; and the lands themselves were termed beneficia,

benefices, as being held on the beneficence of the sovereign; and

it is no wonder that such sovereigns, however tyrannical or

oppressive they might have been in other respects, were termed

benefactors by those who were thus dependent on their bounty.

Verse 26. Let him be as the younger] Dr. Lightfoot justly

conjectures that Peter was the eldest of all the disciples; and he

supposes that the strife was kindled between him and the sons of

Zebedee, James and John. These three disciples were those whom

Christ had distinguished by peculiar marks of his favour; and

therefore it is natural to conclude that the strife lay between

these three, the two brothers and Peter. Shall we or Peter be at

the head? Neither, says our Lord. Let him, Peter, who is chief (ο

μειζων, the eldest) among you, be as, John, ονεωτερος, the

younger. The younger part of the disciples do not appear to have

taken any part in this contention; and our Lord shows Peter, and

the sons of Zebedee, that they must be as unambitious as the

younger in order to be acknowledged as his disciples. Dr.

Lightfoot thinks that Peter was the mover of this strife, and

therefore our Lord rebukes him by name.

Verse 29. I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath

appointed unto me] The Codex Alexandrinus, with some other MSS.,

the later Syriac, and Origen, read in the first clause, διαθηκην,

a covenant. I appoint unto you a COVENANT, as my Father hath

appointed unto me a kingdom:-Ye shall be ministers of the new

covenant, as I am king in that spiritual kingdom to which it

relates. This is a curious reading: but our Lord is probably to be

understood as promising that they should get a kingdom-a state of

blessedness, as he should get it-they must go through much

tribulation in order to enter into the kingdom of God. So the Son

of man suffered that he might enter into his glory: for the joy

that was set before him, he endured the cross, and despised the

shame, and is set down on the right hand of God.

Verse 30. Sit on thrones] See Clarke on Mt 19:28. Marcion left

the whole of this verse out, according to Epiphanius: probably because

he did not understand it.

Verse 31. Simon, Simon] When a name is thus repeated in the

sacred writings, it appears to be always intended as an expression

of love, manifested by a warning voice. As if he had said, While

thou and the others are contending for supremacy, Satan is

endeavouring to destroy you all: but I have prayed for thee, as

being in most danger.

Satan hath desired-you] That is, all the apostles, but

particularly the three contenders: the plural pronoun, υμας,

sufficiently proves that these words were not addressed to Peter

alone. Satan had already got one, Judas; he had nearly got

another, Peter; and he wished to have all. But we see by this

that the devil cannot even tempt a man unless he receive

permission. He desires to do all evil; he is permitted only to

do some.

Verse 32. I have prayed for thee] From the natural forwardness

and impetuosity of thy own spirit, thou wilt be brought into the

most imminent danger; but I have supplicated for thee, that thy

faith may not utterly fail-εκλειπη, from εκ, out, and

λειπω, I fail, to fall utterly or entirely off. Peter's faith

did fail, but not utterly: he did fall, but he did not fall

off, apostatize, or forsake his Master and his cause finally, as

Judas did. Every body sees, from Peter's denial of his Lord, that

his faith did fail, and his great courage too; and yet they read,

in the common translation, that Christ prayed that it might not

fail: can they then conceive that our Lord's prayer was heard? The

translation which I have given above removes this embarrassment

and apparent contradiction. It was certainly Peter's advantage

that our Lord did pray for him; but it was not so much for his

honour that he should stand in need of such a prayer, beyond all

others. Lightfoot.

When thou art converted] Restored to a sense of thy folly and

sin, and to me and my cause-establish these thy brethren. All the

disciples forsook Jesus and fled, merely through fear of losing

their lives; Peter, who continued for a while near him, denied his

Master with oaths, and repeated this thrice: our Lord seems to

intimate that, after this fall, Peter would become more cautious

and circumspect than ever; and that he should become uncommonly

strong in the faith, which was the case; and that, notwithstanding

the baseness of his past conduct, he should be a proper instrument

for strengthening the feeble minded, and supporting the weak. His

two epistles to the persecuted Christians show how well he was

qualified for this important work.

Verse 34. The cock shall not crow this day] Mt 26:34, and

Mr 14:30, say,

this night; both expressions are right, because the Jewish day,

of twenty-four hours, began with the evening, and ended at the

evening of the following day. On Peter's denial, see the notes on

Mt 26:31-35.

Verse 35. When I sent you without purse] See the notes on

Mt 10:9, 10.

Verse 36. He that hath no sword] Bishop PEARCE supposes that the

word μαχαιραν, sword, has been inserted here from what is said in

Lu 22:38, as it is evident our Lord never intended to make any

resistance, or to suffer a sword to be used on the occasion; see

Mt 26:52. The word stands rather oddly in the passage: the

verse, translated in the order in which it stands, is as follows:

And he who hath none, let him sell his garment and buy-a sword.

Now it is plain that the verb πωλησατω, let him buy, may be

referred to πηραν a scrip, in the former part of the verse:

therefore if, according to the bishop's opinion, the word sword be

omitted, the passage may be understood thus: "When I sent you out

before, Lu 10:1, &c., I intended you to continue itinerants only

for a few days, and to preach the Gospel only to your country-men;

therefore you had but little need of a staff, purse, or scrip, as

your journey was neither long, nor expensive; but now I am about

to send you into all the world, to preach the Gospel to every

creature; and, as ye shall be generally hated and persecuted for

my sake, ye shall have need to make every prudent provision for

your journey; and so necessary will it be for you to provide

yourselves victuals, &c., for your passage through your

inhospitable country, that, if any of you have no scrip or wallet,

he should sell even his upper garment to provide one." Others, who

are for retaining the word sword, think that it was a proverbial

expression, intimating a time of great difficulty and danger, and

that now the disciples had need to look to themselves, for his

murderers were at hand. The reader will observe that these words

were spoken to the disciples just before he went to the garden of

Gethsemane, and that the danger was now so very near that there

could be no time for any of them to go and sell his garment in

order to purchase a sword to defend himself and his Master from

the attack of the Jewish mob.

Judea was at this time, as we have already noticed, much

infested by robbers: while our Lord was with his disciples, they

were perfectly safe, being shielded by his miraculous power.

Shortly they must go into every part of the land, and will need

weapons to defend themselves against wild beasts, and to

intimidate wicked men, who, if they found them totally

defenceless, would not hesitate to make them their prey, or take

away their life. However the matter may be understood, we may rest

satisfied that these swords were neither to be considered as

offensive weapons, nor instruments to propagate the truth. The

genius and spirit of the Christian religion is equally against

both. Perhaps, in this counsel of our Lord, he refers to the

contention about supremacy: as if he had said, Instead of

contending among yourselves about who shall be the greatest, ye

have more need to unite yourselves against the common enemy, who

are now at hand: this counsel was calculated to show them the

necessity of union among themselves, as their enemies were both

numerous and powerful.

Verse 37. Must yet be accomplished] Probably meaning that,

though this prophecy did refer to some particular matter in the

time of the prophet, yet it farther (ετι) related to Christ, and

could not have its complete accomplishment but in his crucifixion

as a criminal.

For the things concerning me have an end.] As if he had said, My

work is now almost done; yours is only beginning; I am now about

to be crucified and numbered with the transgressors; think what

will be done to you, and what ought to be done by you; and then

think if this be a time for you to be contending with each other.

Lightfoot.

Verse 38. Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto

them, It is enough.] These words cannot be well understood as

being an answer to the supposed command of Christ, for every one

who had no sword to go and sell his garment and buy one; for, in

this case, they were not enough, or sufficient, as nine of the

disciples must be without any instrument of defence; but they may

be understood as pointing out the readiness and determination of

Peter, and perhaps some others, to defend our Lord: Thou shalt

not be treated as a transgressor; here are two swords, and we will

fight for thee. In Lu 22:33, Peter had said, he

was ready to go with Christ either to prison or death; which

showed his strong resolution to stand by and defend his Master,

even at the expense of his life. But, alas, he depended too much

on himself!

It is enough. The meaning probably is, there is enough said on

the subject; as immediately after this he entered into his agony.

I must here confess that the matter about the swords appear to

me very obscure. I am afraid I do not understand it, and I know of

none who does. Schoettgen and Lightfoot have said much on the

subject; others have endeavoured to get rid of the difficulty by

translating μαχαιραν a knife, which was necessary on long journeys

for providing forage and fuel; as they were to depend wholly on

their own industry, under God, for all the necessaries of life,

while going through the nations of the earth, preaching the Gospel

to Jews and Gentiles. I cannot say which sense the reader should

prefer.

Verse 40. When he was at the place] Viz. Gethsemane. On this

agony of our Lord see the notes on Mt 26:36-46.

Verse 43. There appeared an angel-from heaven] It was as

necessary that the fullest evidence should be given, not only of

our Lord's Divinity, but also of his humanity: his miracles

sufficiently attested the former; his hunger, weariness, and agony

in the garden, as well as his death and burial, were proofs of the

latter. As man, he needs the assistance of an angel to support his

body, worn down by fatigue and suffering.

See Clarke on Lu 22:44.

Verse 44. Prayed more earnestly] With greater emphasis and

earnestness than usual, with strong crying and tears, Heb 5:7;

the reason given for which is, that he was in an agony. Kypke well

observes, Vox αγωνια summum animi angorem et dolorem

indicat; et idem est, quod αδημονειν, Mt 26:37; Mr 14:34.

"The word αγωνια (agony) points out the utmost anguish and grief

of soul, and is of the same import with αδημονειν in Matthew and

Mark." See Clarke on Mt 26:37.

Drops of blood] See Clarke on Mt 26:38. Some have thought

that the meaning of the words is, that the sweat was so profuse

that every drop was as large as a drop of blood, not that the

sweat was blood itself: but this does not appear likely. There

have been cases in which persons in a debilitated state of body,

or through horror of soul, have had their sweat tinged with blood.

Dr. Mead from Galen observes, Contingere interdum, poros ex multo

aut fervido spiritu adeo dilatari, ut etiam exeat sanguis per eos,

fiatque sudor sanguineus. "Cases sometimes happen in which,

through mental pressure, the pores may be so dilated that the

blood may issue from them; so that there may be a bloody sweat."

And Bishop PEARCE gives an instance from Thuanus (De Thou) of an

Italian gentleman being so distressed with the fear of death that

his body was covered with a bloody sweat. But it is fully evident

that the fear of death could have no place in the mind of our

blessed Lord. He was in the bloom of life, in perfect health, and

had never suffered any thing from disease of any kind; this sweat

was most assuredly produced by a preternatural cause. See at the

end of the chapter. See Clarke on Lu 22:71.

Verse 48. Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?] Dost thou

attempt to kiss me as a friend, while thou art delivering me up

into the hands of my enemies? We need not wonder at all this, as

Satan himself had entered into the heart of this traitor, see

Lu 22:3; consequently we can expect nothing from him but what

is fell, deceitful, and cruel.

Verse 50. Cut off his right ear.] See Clarke on Mt 26:51.

Verse 51. Suffer ye thus far.] Or, Suffer me to go thus far.

As they had now a firm hold of Christ, Mt 26:50, he wished them

to permit him to go as far as Malchus, whose ear was cut off, that

he might heal it. See the objections brought against this

interpretation answered by Kypke; and see the examples he

produces. However, the words may be understood as an address to

his disciples: Let them proceed; make no resistance; for in this

way only are the Scriptures to be fulfilled.

Verse 53. I was daily with you in the temple] Alluding to the

four preceding days, during the whole of which he taught in the

temple, see Lu 21:37, and Mt 21:17.

This is your hour, and the power of darkness.] That is, the time

in which you are permitted to unrein your malice; which ye could

not do before, because God did not permit you; and so perfectly

are ye under his control that neither you nor the prince of

darkness can proceed a hair's breadth against me but through this

permission: see at the end of the chapter. What a comfortable

thought is it to the followers of Christ, that neither men nor

demons can act against them but by the permission of their

heavenly Father, and that he will not suffer any of those who

trust in him to be tried above what they are able to bear, and

will make the trial issue in their greater salvation, and in his

glory!

Verse 56. A certain maid beheld him] Or, Attentively beholding

him, ατενισασα. And this she did by the help of the light of

the fire at which Peter sat.

Verse 57. And he denied him] See the notes on Mt 26:58, 69, &c.

Verse 61. The Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.]

See Clarke on Mt 26:75,

where this delicate reproof is particularly noted.

Verse 62. And Peter went out] The word Peter is omitted by

BDKLM, and many other good MSS., with some of the ancient

versions. Griesbach leaves it out of the text.

Verse 63. Mocked him, and smote him.] This and the following

verses are placed by Matthew and Mark before the relation of

Peter's denial. For their explanation, see on Mt 26:67, 68.

Verse 68. And if I also ask you] Concerning the Christ, in case

ye cannot give me such an answer as may prove I am not the Christ,

ye will not let me go; for I know ye are determined to put me to

death.

Verse 69. Hereafter] From this very time, αποτουνυν. The

kingdom of God is now going to be set up. See the note on

Mt 16:27, 28.

Verse 70. Art thou then the Son of God?] They all insisted on an

answer to this question, and the high priest particularly put it

to him, Mt 26:63.

Verse 71. We ourselves have heard] We have heard him profess

himself the Son of God; he is therefore guilty of blasphemy, and,

as an impious pretender to a Divine mission, we must proceed

against and condemn him to death. See Clarke on Mt 26:66. Thus

they proceeded as far as they could; he must now be brought before

Pilate, as the Jews had no power to put him to death. His trial

before Pilate is related in the subsequent chapter.

ON our Lord's agony in the garden, related in the 43d and 44th

verses, Lu 22:43, 44 much has been written, but to little

purpose. The cause of this agony seems not to have been well

understood; and there have been many wild conjectures concerning

it. Some think it was occasioned by "the Divine wrath pressing in

upon him; for, as he was bearing the sin of the world, God looked

on and treated him as if he were a sinner." There is something

very shocking in this supposition; and yet it is truly astonishing

how general it is. The ministry of the angel, in this case, is a

sufficient refutation of this opinion; for what sort of strength

could an angel give Christ against God's indignation? Angelic

strength could not enable him to bear either the sin of the world

or God's wrath. If an angel could have succoured him in this, an

angel might have made the whole atonement. Indeed, the ministry of

the angel, who must have been sent from God, and sent in love too,

is a full proof that God's wrath was not poured out on our blessed

Redeemer at this time. Dr. Lightfoot conjectures that his conflict

in the garden was with a devil, who appeared to him in a bodily

shape, most horrible; and that it was through this apparition

that he began to be sore amazed, and very heavy, Mr 14:33; for,

as Satan assaulted the first Adam in a garden in a bodily shape,

it is not unreasonable to conclude that in the same way he

assaulted the second Adam in a garden. St. Luke tells us, Lu 4:13,

that when the devil had finished all his temptations, he departed

from him for a season: this season in the garden, probably, was

the season, or fit opportunity, for him to return-the prince of

this world came and found nothing in him, Joh 14:30. But, though

there was nothing in the immaculate Jesus on which Satan could

work, yet he might, as the doctor supposes, assume some horrible

shape, in order to appal his mind, and shake his firmness; and the

evangelist seems to intimate that he had desired to be permitted

to try or sift the disciples in this way, see Lu 22:31; and it is

probable that it is to some personal, horrid appearance, that the

apostle alludes when he speaks of the messenger of Satan that

buffeted him, 2Co 12:7. The angel, therefore, from

heaven, may be supposed to come against this angel from hell;

and, as the one appeared to terrify, the other appeared to

strengthen him. It was not necessary to exert the Divine power to

crush this devil, and therefore an angel from heaven is sent to

counteract his influence. This is the sum of Dr. Lightfoot's

reasonings upon this very difficult subject.

Others suppose that, while our Lord was praying intensely in the

garden, the extreme fervour of his application to God in the

behalf of the poor deluded Jews, and in behalf of the world, was

too much for his human nature to support; that he, in consequence,

fell into a swoon, in which he had a VISION of an angel coming

from heaven to strengthen him. Let these sentiments stand on their

respective merits.

What renders this circumstance more difficult is, that there is

no mention of it in any of the other evangelists: and it is worthy

of remark that, among many of the ancients, the authenticity of

these two verses, the 43d and 44th, Lu 22:43, 44 has been

doubted, and in consequence they are omitted in several MSS., and

in some versions and fathers. The Codex Alexandrinus and the

Codex Vaticanus, the two oldest MSS. in the world, omit both

verses; in some other very ancient MSS. they stand with an

asterisk before them, as a mark of dubiousness; and they are

both wanting in the Coptic Fragments published by Dr. Ford. They

are however extant in such a vast number of MSS., versions, and

fathers, as to leave no doubt with most critics of their

authenticity. After all that has been said, or perhaps can be said

on this subject, there will remain mysteries which only the bright

light of the eternal world can sufficiently illustrate. That

Christ was now suffering, the just for the unjust, that he might

bring us to God, and that he was bearing in his body the

punishment due to their sins, I have no doubt: and that the agony

of his mind, in these vicarious sufferings, caused the effusion

from his body, of the bloody sweat, may be easily credited without

supposing him to be at all under the displeasure of his heavenly

Father; for, as God can see nothing but as it is, he could not see

him as a sinner who was purity itself. In every act, Jesus was

that beloved Son in whom the Father was ever well pleased.

As to the angel strengthening him, probably no more is meant by

it than a friendly sympathizing of one of those heavenly beings

with their Lord in distress: this circumstance is the most

difficult in the whole relation; but, understood thus, the

difficulty is removed; for what strength could the highest angel

in heaven afford to our blessed Lord in his atoning acts? Surely,

none. The bare supposition is insupportable. But, if we allow that

the angel came to sympathize with him during his passions the

whole account will appear plain and consistent.

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