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mean time, with all due zeal, and love, and duty, acknowledging the Father and the Son, that the joys of heaven may be anticipated in our souls, while the love of God is shed abroad there by his Spirit, which is given unto us; even something of that love wherewith he has loved Jesus pur incare nate Head.
Jesus in his way to the garden of Gethsemane, renews his caution to Peter and
the other apostles. MATT. xxvi. 31–35. MARK xiv. 27-31. LUKE xxii. 39. JOHN xviii. 1.
ND when Jesus had spoken these words, he came out from the
guest-chamber, and according to his usual custom, went forth with - his disciples over the brook Kedron to the mount of Olives, where there was a garden, into which he entered; and his disciples also followed him. Then Jesus says to them, All of you shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written (Zech. xiii. 7.) “ I will “ smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” But after that I am risen I will go before you into Galilee.* But Peter answered and said to him, Though all should be offended because of thee, yet I will never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, thatt even this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But Peter spake the more eagerly, and said to him, Though I should die with thee I will not deny thee in any manner or degree. Likewise also said all the disciples.
REFLECTIONS. So feeble is the heart of man, and yet so ready to trust to its own strength! So gracious is the Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, who gave himself to be smitten for his flock when they had forsaken him; and then returning, sought them out again, and fed them in richer pastures than before? How reasonable is it that our hearts should be fixed in the most inflexible resolution for his service! How tit that we should every one of us say, with the utmost determi. nation of soul, Lord, though I should die with thee, yet quill I not deny thee! For how could death wear a more graceful, or a more pleasing form, than when it met us close by our Saviour's side, and came as the seal of our fidelity to him ? Surely this is the language of many of our hearts before him, especially when warmed and animated by a sense of his dying love to us. Yet let us not be high-minded; for Peter, after this declaration, denied his Master ; and the same night in which they had protested they would never leave him, all the disciples forsook his and fled. Nor, on the other hand, let the view of that frailty discourage, though it ought to caution, us; for the time came when each of them behaved as they here spoke; and they who in his very presence
* It appears from Matt. xxviii. 16. that he mentioned a certain mountain there. + MARK. “To-day.” # The energy of the original cannot easily be reached in a version.
acted so weak a part, through the influences of his strengthening spirit, resisted unto blood, and loved not their livce unto death, for the testi, mony of Jesus.
which his disciples sleep, for which he reproves them, and warns them of
them to the place called Gethsemane. And when he was arived at the place, he says to eight of his disciples, Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder. And he took (the rest] with him, Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John. And he began to be in great dejection, amazement, and anguish of mind*,
Then he says to them, My. soul is surrounded with sorrow, even unto death; contin, ue here and watch with me, and pray that you may not enter into temptation.
And o when he was withdrawn about a stone's throw from them, he kneeled down, and then prostrated himself on his face to the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, that season of sorrow might pass from him. And he said, Abba Father, if it be possible (rand all things are possible with thee; take away this cup of bitternesst from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh to the three disciples, and finds them asleep. And he says to Peter, Simon, dost thou sleep? Couldst thou not watch one hour? [And then addressing them all] Were ye so unable to watch one hour with me? Watch and
that ye may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is forward, but the flesh is weak.- And he went away again the second time, and prayed, speaking much the same words, saying, O my Father, if this cup cannot pass from me without my drinking it, thy will be done. And returning back to his disciples he found them asleep again, for through fatigue and trouble their eyes were weighed down ; and when he admonished them again, they knew not what to answer him. And he left them and went away again, and prayed the third time, speaking the same words, or to the same effecit as before, saying, Father [I entreat thee] if thou pleasest, to take away this cup from mell; nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.
* The common translation falls short of the emphasis of the original, (which the author well illustrates.] There is reason to conclude that there was something extraordinary and supernatural in the case. |
Matt. " Let' this cup pass.” # It is plain the words were not entirely the same, and it is certain that Hoyos often signifies inatter,
!!! To suppose that our Lord prayed to be excused from suffering (the death of the cross] appears inconsistent with that steady constancy which he always shewed, and with John xii. 27, 28. § 148, where he disowns such a prayer. It seems much safer to expound it as Sir M. Hale does (Contemp. i. 8 9.) as relating to the terror and severity of his present combat. This throws great light on Heb. v.7. [See this point well illustrated by the author of Christ the Mediator.]
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more intensely; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down on the ground. And rising up from prayer, he came back to his disciples the third time, and again found them sleeping for sorrow, which had exhausted their spirits. And he said to them, Why do you still sleep? Arise and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. And as all this did not rouse them, he said to them ironically, now sleep on and take your rest. It is enough : the season of watching is over. Behold the hour is come, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us go: behold he that betrayeth me is just at hånd.
REFLECTIONS. On the most transient survey of this amazing story we cannot but fall into deep admiration. What a sight is here ! Let our souls turn aside to behold it with a becoming temper: and surely we must wonder how the disciples could sleep in the midst of a scene which might almost have awakened rocks and trees to compassion.
Behold the Prince of life, God's incarnate and only-begotten Son, drinking of the brook in the way; and not only tasting, but drawing in full draughts of that bitter cup which his heavenly Father put into his hands on this awful occasion. Let us behold him kneeling, and even prostrate on the ground, and there pouring out his strong cries and tears to him that was able to save him from death. Let us view him in this bloody agony, and say, If these things be done in the green tree, what shall be e'one in the dry? If even Christ himself was so depress ed with sorrow and amazement, and the distress and anguish he endured were such, that in his agony the sweat ran from him like great drops of blood, when our iniquities were laid upon him, and it pleased the Father to bruise him, and to put him to grief ; how must the sinner then be filled with horror, and with what dreadful agonies of anguish and despair will he be overwhelmed, when he shall bear the burden of his own iniquities, and God shall pour out all his wrath upon him? Behold, how fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God!
Here was no human enemy near our blessed Redeemer; yet such invisible terrors set themselves in array against him, that his very
soul was poured out like water ; nor was there any circumstance of his sufferings in which he discovered a greater commotion of spirit. Nerertheless, his pure and holy soul bare all this without any irregular perturbation. In all this he sinned not by a murmuring word, or an impatient thought: he shone the brighter for the furnace of affliction, and gave us at once the most wonderful and the most amiable pattern of resignation to the divine disposal, when he said, Father, not as I will, but as thou wilt. May this be our language under every trial ! Lord, we could wish it were; and we would maintain a holy watchsulness over our own souls, that it may be so! But in this respect, as, well as in
every other, we find that even when the spirit is willing, the fesh is weak. How happy is it for us that the blessed Jesus knows our frame, and has learnt, by what he himself suffered in our frail nature, to make the most compassionate allowance for its various infirmities! Let us learn to imitate this his gentle and gracious conduct, even in an hour of so much distress. Let us bear with and let us pity each other, not aggravating every neglect of our friends into a crime ; but rather speaking of their faults in the mildest terms, and making the most candid excuses for what we cannot defend. Let us exercise such a temper, even in the most gloomy and dejected moments of life; which surely may be well expected of us, who ourselves need so much compassion and indulgence almost from every one with whom we converse ; and, which is infinitely more, who owe our all to the forbearance of that God, of whose mercy it is that we are not utterly consumed.
Jesus is betrayed by Judas, and seized by the guard, to whom he voluntarily
surrenders himself, and is then forsaken by all his disciples. Matt. xxvi. 47–56. MARK xiv.43–52. LUKE xxii. 47-53. JOHN xviii. 2- 12.
*OW when our Lord retired to the garden, Judas also that be
trayed him knew the place; for Jesus often resorted thither with his disciples. Judas therefore taking with him a band of soldiers and some Jewish officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, comes thither with torches, and lamps, and weapons. And immediately, while he was yet speaking to his disciples, behold Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude from the chief priests, and scribes, and elders of the people, with swords and staves. Now he that betrayed him went before them, and had given them a signal, saying, He whom I shall kiss * is the person : lay hold of him and lead him away safely. And being come into the garden † he went directly to Jesus and Said, Hail, Rabbi, Rabbi, and then kissed him. But Jesus said to him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Judas! dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss? Then Jesus, knowing all things that were coming upon him, went forth towards his enemies, and said to them, Whom do you seck? They answered him, Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus says to them, I am he. And Judas also who betrayed him, stood with them. Then as soon as he said to them I am he, they drew back and fell to the ground. Then when they were recovered, he asked them again, Whom do ye seek? And they said to him as before. Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus answered I have told you that I am he : If therefore you seek me, let these my friends go their way; that the saying he uttered before might be accomplished, “ of those “ whom thou hast given me, I have lost none.”
Then they came and laid their hands upon Jesus, and took him firisoner. Now when the disciples saw what would be the consequence, they said to liim, Lord, shall we smite them with the sword? And behold one of them that were with Jesus, Simon Peter, having a sword,
* This was a common Jewish mode of salutation among friends after some absence.
† LUKE," he drew near, &c."
stretched out his hand and drew it with a rash zeal, and smote a servant of the high-priest, whose name was Malchus, and, striking at his head, cut off his right ear. Then Jesus said unto Peter, Return thy sword into the sheath again; for all that take the sword shall perish by the sword. Dost thou think that I cannot now entreat my Father, and he would presently furnish me with more than twelve legions of angels ? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled which have foretold that thus it must be? The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it? Then the band of Roman soldiers, with the captain and the Jewish officers, seized Jesus and bound him. But Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far; stay a moment:* and calling Malchus, he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said, in that same hour, to the chief-priests and to the captains of the temple-guard, and to the elders who were come, and to the multitude, Are you conie out as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me? When I was with you every day and sat teaching in the temple, you did not apprehend me, or stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness is now permitted to rage. And all this is done agreeably to the schemes of providence, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.
Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. And a certain youth, waked by the noise of the tumult, arose out of his bed, and having only a linen cloth thrown about his naked body, followed him. And the young men of the guards, suspecting him to belong to Jesus, laid hold on him. But he, leaving the sheet, fled away from them naked.
REFLECTIONS: The heroic behaviour of the blessed Jesus, in the whole period of his sufferings, will easily make itself observed by every attentive eye, though the sacred historians, according to their usual but wonderful simplicity, make no encomiums upon it. With what composure does he go forth to meet the traitor! With what calmness does he receive that malignant kiss! With what dignity does he deliver himself into the hands of his enemies, yet plainly shewing his superiority over them, and leading as it were even then captivity captive!
We see him generously capitulating for the safety of his friends, while he neglected his own; and afterwards, not only forbidding all the defence they attempted to make, but curing that wound which one of his enemies had received in this assault on him. With what meek majesty did he say, Suffer ye at least thus far! And he touched his ear, and healed him. We hear his words, we behold his actions with astonishment: but surely our indignation must rise within us, when we see so amiable and excellent a Person thus injured and abused; when we see the Son of man betrayed with a kiss ; betrayed by his intimate friend, who had eaten of his bread, and yet lifted up his heel against him ; and at the same time forsaken by all his disciples, even by him whom he
* The author understands this of Christ's desiring liberty to perform one act of compassion before he was bound. Campbell strongly objects to this sense, and renders the expression e&7€ EWS 7878 let this suffice : q. d. no more of this; let pass what is done.