Matthew 26

* The rulers conspire against Christ. (1-5) Christ anointed at

Bethany. (6-13) Judas bargains to betray Christ. (14-16) The

Passover. (17-25) Christ institutes his holy supper. (26-30) He

warns his disciples. (31-35) His agony in the garden. (36-46) He

is betrayed. (47-56) Christ before Caiaphas. (57-68) Peter

denies him. (69-75)1-5 Our Lord had often told of his sufferings as at a distance,

now he speaks of them as at hand. At the same time the Jewish

council consulted how they might put him to death secretly. But

it pleased God to defeat their intention. Jesus, the true

paschal Lamb, was to be sacrificed for us at that very time, and

his death and resurrection rendered public.
6-13 The pouring ointment upon the head of Christ was a token

of the highest respect. Where there is true love in the heart to

Jesus Christ, nothing will be thought too good to bestow upon

him. The more Christ's servants and their services are cavilled

at, the more he manifests his acceptance. This act of faith and

love was so remarkable, that it would be reported, as a memorial

of Mary's faith and love, to all future ages, and in all places

where the gospel should be preached. This prophecy is fulfilled.
14-16 There were but twelve called apostles, and one of them

was like a devil; surely we must never expect any society to be

quite pure on this side heaven. The greater profession men make

of religion, the greater opportunity they have of doing

mischief, if their hearts be not right with God. Observe, that

Christ's own disciple, who knew so well his doctrine and manner

of his life, and was false to him, could not charge him with any

thing criminal, though it would have served to justify his

treachery. What did Judas want? Was not he welcome wherever his

Master was? Did he not fare as Christ fared? It is not the lack,

but the love of money, that is the root of all evil. After he

had made that wicked bargain, Judas had time to repent, and to

revoke it; but when lesser acts of dishonesty have hardened the

conscience men do without hesitation that which is more

shameful.
17-25 Observe, the place for their eating the passover was

pointed out by Christ to the disciples. He knows those hidden

ones who favour his cause, and will graciously visit all who are

willing to receive him. The disciples did as Jesus had

appointed. Those who would have Christ's presence in the gospel

passover, must do what he says. It well becomes the disciples of

Christ always to be jealous over themselves, especially in

trying times. We know not how strongly we may be tempted, nor

how far God may leave us to ourselves, therefore we have reason

not to be high-minded, but to fear. Heart-searching examination

and fervent prayer are especially proper before the Lord's

supper, that, as Christ our Passover is now sacrificed for us,

we may keep this feast, renewing our repentance, our faith in

his blood, and surrendering ourselves to his service.
26-30 This ordinance of the Lord's supper is to us the passover

supper, by which we commemorate a much greater deliverance than

that of Israel out of Egypt. Take, eat; accept of Christ as he

is offered to you; receive the atonement, approve of it, submit

to his grace and his government. Meat looked upon, be the dish

ever so well garnished, will not nourish; it must be fed upon:

so must the doctrine of Christ. This is my body; that is,

spiritually, it signifies and represents his body. We partake of

the sun, not by having the sun put into our hands, but the beams

of it darted down upon us; so we partake of Christ by partaking

of his grace, and the blessed fruits of the breaking of his

body. The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the

wine. He gave thanks, to teach us to look to God in every part

of the ordinance. This cup he gave to the disciples with a

command, Drink ye all of it. The pardon of sin is that great

blessing which is, in the Lord's supper, conferred on all true

believers; it is the foundation of all other blessings. He takes

leave of such communion; and assures them of a happy meeting

again at last; "Until that day when I drink it new with you",

may be understood of the joys and glories of the future state,

which the saints shall partake with the Lord Jesus. That will be

the kingdom of his Father; the wine of consolation will there be

always new. While we look at the outward signs of Christ's body

broken and his blood shed for the remission of our sins, let us

recollect that the feast cost him as much as though he had

literally given his flesh to be eaten and his blood for us to

drink.
31-35 Improper self-confidence, like that of Peter, is the

first step to a fall. There is a proneness in all of us to be

over-confident. But those fall soonest and foulest, who are the

most confident in themselves. Those are least safe, who think

themselves most secure. Satan is active to lead such astray;

they are most off their guard: God leaves them to themselves, to

humble them.
36-46 He who made atonement for the sins of mankind, submitted

himself in a garden of suffering, to the will of God, from which

man had revolted in a garden of pleasure. Christ took with him

into that part of the garden where he suffered his agony, only

those who had witnessed his glory in his transfiguration. Those

are best prepared to suffer with Christ, who have by faith

beheld his glory. The words used denote the most entire

dejection, amazement, anguish, and horror of mind; the state of

one surrounded with sorrows, overwhelmed with miseries, and

almost swallowed up with terror and dismay. He now began to be

sorrowful, and never ceased to be so till he said, It is

finished. He prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass from

him. But he also showed his perfect readiness to bear the load

of his sufferings; he was willing to submit to all for our

redemption and salvation. According to this example of Christ,

we must drink of the bitterest cup which God puts into our

hands; though nature struggle, it must submit. It should be more

our care to get troubles sanctified, and our hearts satisfied

under them, than to get them taken away. It is well for us that

our salvation is in the hand of One who neither slumbers nor

sleeps. All are tempted, but we should be much afraid of

entering into temptation. To be secured from this, we should

watch and pray, and continually look unto the Lord to hold us up

that we may be safe. Doubtless our Lord had a clear and full

view of the sufferings he was to endure, yet he spoke with the

greatest calmness till this time. Christ was a Surety, who

undertook to be answerable for our sins. Accordingly he was made

sin for us, and suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust;

and Scripture ascribes his heaviest sufferings to the hand of

God. He had full knowledge of the infinite evil of sin, and of

the immense extent of that guilt for which he was to atone; with

awful views of the Divine justice and holiness, and the

punishment deserved by the sins of men, such as no tongue can

express, or mind conceive. At the same time, Christ suffered

being tempted; probably horrible thoughts were suggested by

Satan that tended to gloom and every dreadful conclusion: these

would be the more hard to bear from his perfect holiness. And

did the load of imputed guilt so weigh down the soul of Him of

whom it is said, He upholdeth all things by the word of his

power? into what misery then must those sink whose sins are left

upon their own heads! How will those escape who neglect so great

salvation?
47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed

disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our

services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes.

Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary

weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to

suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those

who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave him for they knew

not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, whom

they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!
57-68 Jesus was hurried into Jerusalem. It looks ill, and bodes

worse, when those who are willing to be Christ's disciples, are

not willing to be known to be so. Here began Peter's denying

him: for to follow Christ afar off, is to begin to go back from

him. It is more our concern to prepare for the end, whatever it

may be, than curiously to ask what the end will be. The event is

God's, but the duty is ours. Now the Scriptures were fulfilled,

which said, False witnesses are risen up against me. Christ was

accused, that we might not be condemned; and if at any time we

suffer thus, let us remember we cannot expect to fare better

than our Master. When Christ was made sin for us, he was silent,

and left it to his blood to speak. Hitherto Jesus had seldom

professed expressly to be the Christ, the Son of God; the tenor

of his doctrine spoke it, and his miracles proved it; but now he

would not omit to make an open confession of it. It would have

looked like declining his sufferings. He thus confessed, as an

example and encouragement to his followers, to confess him

before men, whatever hazard they ran. Disdain, cruel mocking,

and abhorrence, are the sure portion of the disciple as they

were of the Master, from such as would buffet and deride the

Lord of glory. These things were exactly foretold in the

fiftieth chapter of Isaiah. Let us confess Christ's name, and

bear the reproach, and he will confess us before his Father's

throne.
69-75 Peter's sin is truly related, for the Scriptures deal

faithfully. Bad company leads to sin: those who needlessly

thrust themselves into it, may expect to be tempted and

insnared, as Peter. They scarcely can come out of such company

without guilt or grief, or both. It is a great fault to be shy

of Christ; and to dissemble our knowledge of him, when we are

called to own him, is, in effect, to deny him. Peter's sin was

aggravated; but he fell into the sin by surprise, not as Judas,

with design. But conscience should be to us as the crowing of

the cock, to put us in mind of the sins we had forgotten. Peter

was thus left to fall, to abate his self-confidence, and render

him more modest, humble, compassionate, and useful to others.

The event has taught believers many things ever since, and if

infidels, Pharisees, and hypocrites stumble at it or abuse it,

it is at their peril. Little do we know how we should act in

very difficult situations, if we were left to ourselves. Let

him, therefore, that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he

fall; let us all distrust our own hearts, and rely wholly on the

Lord. Peter wept bitterly. Sorrow for sin must not be slight,

but great and deep. Peter, who wept so bitterly for denying

Christ, never denied him again, but confessed him often in the

face of danger. True repentance for any sin will be shown by the

contrary grace and duty; that is a sign of our sorrowing not

only bitterly, but sincerely.
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