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18. And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master, the Teacher, saith, My time is at hand, the time of my death, or, more probably, the time of observing the feast, I will keep the passover at thy house, with my disciples.
This person Jesus was acquainted with, although his disciples were not. To account for his freedom in thus bespeaking the use of another person's house, it is said, upon the authority of Jewish writers, that at the time of the passover, and of the feast of unleavened bread, when Jerusalem was so full of strangers, no person was required to pay for lodgings; but those who came out of the country were allowed the free use of the houses of the inhabitants *.
19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them, and they made ready the passover.
They carried a lamb to the temple, to be killed by the priests, or performed this office themselves, and atterwards roasted it whole for supper.
20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve, to eat the passover.
And, as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me, deliver me up.
This he said by way of reproach and complaint, as what was peculiarly unbecoming one who had received from him so many marks of kindness.
Lightfoot, v. ii. p. 255, English,
22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began, every one of them, to say unto him, Lord, Master, is it I?
This they said more with a view to clear themselves from suspicion, than from an apprehension that they could be guilty of such a crime.
23. And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall deliver me up.
Judas sat so near to Jesus that they used the same dish at the same time. Describing the traitor by this circumstance, he points him out with sufficient plainness to the disciples, as the person to whom he alluded.
24. The son of man goeth, as it is written of him, i. e. goeth to suffering and death, agreeably to the
predictions of Scripture; but woe unto that man by whom the son of man is delivered up! It had been good, it were better, for that man if he had not been born.
Jesus acknowledges that what he was about to suffer had been foretold by the Divine Being, by means of his prophets, and that it was therefore what he and his dis ciples ought to acquiesce in : yet he observes that this circumstance would by no means preserve from punishment the person who should be the principal instrument in bringing it upon him. The expression, “ It had been good for him if he had never been born," is a proverbial phrase, and not to be understood literally: for it is not consistent with our ideas of the Dive ine goodness to make the existence of any being a curse to him, or to cause him to suffer more misery, upon the whole, than he enjoys happiness. Rather than do this God would not have created him at all. But as it is usual to say of men who are to endure some grievous punishment or dreadful calamity, that it would have been better for them never to have been born, Christ, foreseeing what Juuas would bring upon himself, by delivering up his master into the hands of his enemies, applies this language to him. Job, (iii. 3.) when in trouble, wished that he had never been born, although his life had, upon the whole, been very happy.
25. Then Judas, which delivered him up, answered and said, Master, Is it I? He saith unto him, Thou hast said.
The last words, thou hast said, are a Hebrew phrase, which, in such connections, signifies the same thing as yes, or, it is. Had Judas remained entirely silent, while cach of the other disciples appeared so eager to clear himself, a strong suspicion of guilt must immediately have fallen upon him. This he hoped to avoid by boldly asking the same question as the rest, to which he expecied no answer would have been returned: but Christ disappointed him by declaring that he was the man.
26. And, as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, rather blessed God, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take eat, this is my body, i. e. a representation of my body.
The design of the ordinance which Christ was now instituting, might be easily collected from that in which they had been just engaged: for as the passover was instituted to commemorate the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage, so the bread and wine were intended to commemorate the benefits communicated to mankind by the death of Christ. Nothing could be more natural than to understand these words of Christ, this is my body, figuratively; since it was customary for the master of the family at this feast to say, this is the Lord's passover; though he thereby meant no more than, This is the memorial of God's passing over
our houses. The blessing was not applied to the bread
gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.
28. For this is my blood of the New Testament,
This is a representation of my blood of the new covenant. The law of Moses was the old covenant; when this was read to the people of Israel, and they consented to it, Moses took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you, concerning all these words, Exod. xxiv. 8.; intimating, by this action, that the covenant between God and the children of Israel was now ratified; the mutual assent of both parties being accompanied with the sprinkling of blood, which was used when solemn bargains or agreements were made. To this ceremony our Lord here alludes, when he calls his blood the blood of the covenant, and intimates hereby, that the new covenant, or new institution, which he had introduced, was compleated and finished by his death.
Which is shed for many, The Mosaic covenant was limited to the descendants of Abraham, and therefore the blood by which it was ratified, was shed for a few; for a comparatively small portion of mankind: but the benefits of Christ's death were to reach to Gentiles as well as Jews, even to all mankind: therefore his blood is said to be shed for many.
For the remission of sins.
For the recovery, i. e. of mankind from the condition of Gentiles, to the condition of the privileged people say unto
of God, or from the condition of sinners to the condition of saints. 29. But, and, I
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.
This is the last time I shall drink wine with you, until I drink it a second time with you, after my resurrection, when the kingdom of God, my Father, will commence in the world.
30. And when they had sung an hymn, or psalm, they went out into the mount of Olives.
The word here rendered sung, may signify repeated or recited a hymn: for we are told that it was customary at the Jewish passover, to recite six psalms of praise and thanksgiving, one half before the passover meal, and the other half afterwards: it is to this practice that these words may refer.
31. Then saith Jesus unto them, all ye shall be offended because of me, i. e. made to fall off from me, this night ; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
You who are my disciples, being deprived of me your leader and protector, shall be scattered abroad, through fear of my enemies; for, as the prophet speaks, the usual consequence of smiting the shepherd is, that the sheep are scattered abroad, Zech. xiii. 7. To strengthen their faith in him, and to prevent an utter defection, he proceeds to tell them that he should rise from the dead, and appear to them in Galilee after that event.
32. But, after I am risen again, I will go before