Mat_26:14-15. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
At what a price did the traitor sell our blessed Master! O ye who have been redeemed with his precious blood, set a high value upon him, think much of him, say much in praise of him! Remember these thirty pieces of silver, and never be guilty of despising the Lord of glory, as these chief priests did when they paid for him the price of a slave.
Mat_26:16-19. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
See the absolute control which Jesus has over the minds of men. He can have any man’s house that we wants, and he knows who will be glad to welcome him. Yet this same Jesus was about to die, and this shows how perfectly voluntary was his sacrifice. He was not forced to stand in our stead, nor was he compelled to suffer except by the constraint of his own great love. All was free, as became the freedom of his grace. Then, shall not our heart’s love flow out freely to him? Shall we need to be scourged to obedience? Oh, no, beloved! So let us think what we can voluntarily do in honour of our Divine Lord, who gave his all for us.
Mat_26:20-22. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful,
And well might they be sad.
Mat_26:22. And began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
What anguish does that question always stir within the heart and mind of every true believer! “Shall I ever betray my Lord and Master? Shall I every deny or forsake him?” God grant that none of us may ever do as Judas did!
Mat_26:23. And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
He who had been entrusted with the charge of the finances of the little band of Christ’s immediate disciples, he who carried the bag, was the one who was about to betray his Lord. Since then, Christ has often been betrayed by those who have been in positions of trust, those who have led the way among the disciples of Christ, those who have, as it were, been so familiar with Christ as to dip their hand with him in the dish.
Mat_26:24-25. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
Judas seems to have been the last to ask the question, “Master, is it I?” yet he was the guilty one, —the one who had already covenanted with the chief priests to sell his Lord.
Mat_26:26-31. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and give it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, 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. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then said Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
Observe our blessed Lord’s habit of quoting Scripture. He was able to utter words of infallible truth which had never before been used, ye he constantly quoted from the inspired Scriptures. Those who nowadays cavil at the Word of God, and yet profess to be followers of Christ, find no excuse for their conduct in the example that he has left us, for he even quoted Scripture sometimes when it might not have seemed to be necessary to do so. Brethren and sisters in Christ, have your Bible first in you hearts, then at your tongue’s end, I was going to say at your fingers’ end, so that you may always be able to give a good reason, a solid and divinely-authoritative reason, for any statement that you may make.
Mat_26:32-33. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
No doubt Peter said this from his heart, but “the heart is deceitful above all things.” Peter may have thought that he was stronger than his brethren, yet he was the very one who proved to be the weakest of the whole apostolic band. “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”
Mat_26:34. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, —
That is to say, before that period of time which was called the cock-crowing, —
Mat_26:34. Thou shalt deny me thrice.
According to Mark’s record, the cock was to crow once before Peter had denied his Lord thrice, and this it did; and when he had give his third denial, it crowed a second time, and then his slumbering conscience was awakened, and “he went out, and wept bitterly.” Some persons, who are well acquainted with the religious ceremonies of the Jews, say that the period called the cock-crowing was the time for the sacrifice of the morning lamb, and that it was about that time that Peter denied his lord.
Mat_26:35. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.
It is a great pity that peter said this after he had received so plain a warning from his Master, yet he was not alone in his boasting.
Mat_26:35. Likewise also said all the disciples.
They all felt quite sure that, under no circumstances, could they be so base as to forsake their Lord; and if you think of the washing of their feet by their Lord and Master, the wonderful words of Christ to which they had listened, and that solemn communion service in the large upper room, you may not be surprised that they felt themselves bound to Christ forever, —felt that they could never leave him, nor forsake him; yet they all did so.
Mat_26:36-39. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Christ had to tread the winepress alone, yet he showed how complete was his humanity by wishing to have a few choice friends near at hand. Yet even the chosen three failed him in his hour of greatest need.
Mat_26:40. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Peter had constituted himself the spokesman of the apostolic company, so the Master addressed the question to him, though it also applied to his companions: “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” They had all declared their devotion to him, yet they had fallen asleep while he had bidden them watch.
Mat_26:41-45. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again; for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.