Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Matthew 26:17 - 26:30

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Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Matthew 26:17 - 26:30


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Mat_26:17-19. 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 discip1es. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

Note their prompt obedience: “the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them.” In this respect, they set an example we shall do well to follow.

Mat_26:20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

This was the memorable night when the Jewish passover was to melt into the Lord’s supper, just as the stars of the morning dissolve into the daylight.

Mat_26:21. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

This saying of our Lord must have startled his disciples; they had all made great professions of affection for him, and for the most part those professions were true; but this sentence must have fallen like a bomb-shell among them: “One of you shall betray me.”

Mat_26:22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it?

They did not doubt their Lord’s declaration, they knew it must be true; and it produced in them deep emotion: “They were exceeding sorrowful.” It also wrought in them earnest self-examination; they did not any one of them say, “Lord, is it Judas?” Perhaps there was not one of them who could have thought so badly of Judas as to suppose that he would betray his Lord; they had such esteem for him that they had made him their treasurer. It is always wise for us to turn the glass of critical examination upon ourselves; we cannot do any good by suspecting our brethren. Suspicion stings like an adder; but we may do ourselves great service by suspecting and examining ourselves. Self-suspicion is near akin to humility and truthfulness; it was so with all but one of these disciples who began to say to Christ, “Lord, is it I?”

Mat_26:23-24. And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 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.

So, you see, dear friends, that a man may get very near to Christ, — ay, he may even dip his morsel in the same dish with his Lord, and yet he may betray him, even as Judas did. We may be very high in office; we may apparently be very useful; — I have no doubt that Judas was exceedingly useful to the twelve and to the Master; — and yet, for all that, we may betray him. God grant that we never may! Better far that we perished at our birth than that we should live to be traitors to our Lord.

Mat_26:25. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

And if he had not been a hopeless reprobate, this unmasking of him ought to have driven him to repentance. A man may secretly indulge in his heart a wretched design, and, when discovered, he may loathe it; but, alas! there was nothing in Judas which could respond to the grace of God.

Mat_26:26-28. 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 gave 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.

Go into any Romish church, and watch the priest’s performance at the altar, and see whether there is the least likeness between that mummery and this divinely appointed ordinance. I can hardly imagine two things which are so widely apart. How did the Lord’s supper ever grow into the mass? It must have taken long years of moss and ivy and lichen and all kinds of clinging things to overgrow the original, natural column which the Saviour set up, and to turn it into that mingle-mangle of which the Romanists and Ritualists think so much. The only safe rule is to keep close to Scripture in everything; for, if you add a little, somebody will add more; and if you alter one thing, the next person will alter another, and, by-and-by, you will not know what the original was. I have seen a peasant, in Italy, wearing a coat of which I believe neither man nor angel could tell which was the material of which it was originally made, for it had been patched so often; and, in like manner, if we did not know what was the original of the mass, it would be impossible for us now to tell, for it has been so patched and mended that it is not at all like the original. Let us, beloved, keep strictly to the letter of God’s Word, and also to the spirit of it, lest we err from the truth as so many others have done.

Mat_26:29-30. 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 Fathers kingdom. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Was it not brave of our dear Lord to join in singing a hymn at such a time as that, and under such circumstances? He knew that he was very soon to die; he was going out to his last dread conflict; yet he went to it singing a Psalm. It was to his Passion that he was going, — to Gethsemane’s agony and bloody sweat; yet he led the way there with a sacred song upon his lips: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” Now let us turn to Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians, at the eleventh chapter. We shall there see how this supper of the Lord had been changed, even in the few years since the death of the Master.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mat_26:17-30; and 1Co_11:20-34.



Mat_26:17-18. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples carne 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.

See here the blending of Christ’s humiliation and his Godhead. The Master had no room of his own in which he could keep the passover. He had not even where to lay his head; yet such was his power, that he had only to send messengers to one whom he knew, though perhaps the man knew not him; and as soon as ever the message was delivered, the large upper room, furnished and prepared, was at once freely tendered for the celebration of the supper. Jesus Christ, even in his lowest estate, had the hearts of all men beneath his control.

Mat_26:19-21. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. 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.

This was a very unpleasant thought to bring into the midst of those who were gathered there for the memorial feast, yet it was most suitable for such. a message to be spoken at the passover, for at its institution the Lord said to Moses, “With bitter herbs they shall eat it;” and here was something bitter enough. I hope we shall have our Master’s presence at the communion table, yet it will be well for our joy to be sobered with such a painful thought as this, — there may be a traitor with us even here.

Mat_26:22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

The habit of self-suspicion, rather than suspecting somebody else, is a good one. If there is anyone in this place who is going to commit a gross sin, why may it not be myself? The natural tendency of each one of us is to say, “I shall never do such a thing as that, I am sure.” Ah, me! If grace were truly reigning in our heart, we should each one be suspicious of itself, and not of others, and the question of each one would be, “Lord, is it I?” Not one of the apostles asked, “Lord, is it Judas?” or, “Is it So-and-so?” but every one of them began to say unto him, “Lord, is it I?”

Mat_26:23-24. And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 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.

Remember, this “woe” applies, not only to Judas Iscariot, but to anyone else who betrays Christ. Oh! if, under the pressure of persecution, or if, being bribed by some present pleasure, or if, through our own natural fickleness, we should betray our Master, woe unto us! May the Lord, by his almighty grace, keep us from committing such a sin as that! If we do betray our Lord, it would have been better for us that we had not been born.

Mat_26:25-26. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. And as they were eating, —

While yet the paschal supper was proceeding: “As they were eating,” —

Mat_26:26. Jesus took bread, and blessed it, —

Or, as the marginal reading says, “gave thanks for it,” —

Mat_26:26. And brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

That is to say, “This represents my body.” Our Lord could not possibly have meant that the bread was his body, for there was his body sitting whole and entire at the table; and they would have been astonished beyond measure if they had understood him literally. But they did not do so, for they were well used too the Oriental custom of leaving out the word for “like”, and just saying, “It is so-and-so.” Besides, Christ had also said, “I am the door,” “I am the way,” “I am the good Shepherd;” and there is also that striking sentence, “I am the rose of Sharon.” No idiot ever understood these passages literally; and those are more foolish than idiots who render literally these words: “This is my body.” They are wickedly, and wantonly, and willfully foolish, in thus misrepresenting our Saviour’s meaning.

Mat_26:27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

That is,” Drink of it, every one of you.” Was this the institution of the Lord’s supper? Yes; but what say the Romanists? Why, that the people may not drink of the cup, and so they keep it away from them; but our Saviour says to this representative company of all his disciples, “Drink ye all of it.”

Mat_26:28-29. 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.

“In that joy-day, that day of days, when the battle will have been fought, and the victory won for ever, then will I pledge you in my Father’s kingdom, and keep the feast with you for ever there.

Mat_26:30. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Oh, how brave it was ion the Master’s part to sing a Psalm just before he went out to be betrayed and to be crucified! Our second reading is also concerning the Lord’s supper. Turn to the first Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 11, verse 20. The Corinthian church, as I have often explained to you, was one that had no pastor. They had what is called “open” worship, everybody speaking who pleased; and there being no kind of government or discipline, they fell into every sort of disorder conceivable, and even the ordinance of the Lord’s supper was utterly degraded among them. Here is what Paul wrote to them: —

This exposition consisted of readings from Mat_26:17-30; and 1Co_11:20-34.



Mat_26:17-26. 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. 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 began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 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. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it.

So the Jewish Passover melted away into the Lord’s Supper. Indeed, so gently did the one dissolve into the other that we scarcely know whether this incident, relating to Judas Iscariot, occurred during the Passover or the Supper. According to one account, it would seem to be one; and according to another account, the other, but, indeed, the one ordinance was almost imperceptibly merged into the other. I want you carefully to notice, as we read this narrative through, whether you can see here any trace of an altar. Look with both your eyes, and see whether you can find any trace of a priest offering a sacrifice. Watch diligently to see whether you can perceive anything about kneeling down, or about the elevation or the adoration of “the host.” Why, even the Romish church knows better than to believe in what it practices. Most of you have seen copies of the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, himself a Catholic of the old school. How does he picture those who were at the institution of the Lord’s Supper? Why, they are all sitting around a table, with the Lord Jesus in their midst. I wonder that they exhibit, and still allow to be in their churches, a picture like that, which, painted by one of their own artists, most effectually condemns their base idolatry, in which a wafer-god is lifted up, to be adored by men, who must be besotted indeed before they can prostitute their intellects so grossly as to commit such an act of sin. What a rebuke to that idolatry is conveyed by this simple statement: “As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it,” —

Mat_26:26. And brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said. Take, eat; this is my body.

The Romanists do not even break the bread. They have a wafer so as to avoid anything like an imitation of the example set by our blessed Lord and Master. He took a piece of the bread which was provided for the paschal feast, — the ordinary unleavened bread, and he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said to them, “Take, eat, this is my body.” Not, of course, the literal body, which was there at the table; but this was the emblem of his body about to be broken on the cross on the behalf of all his people.

Mat_26:27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

“Every one of you, take your own personal share.” This also the Papists have perverted by denying the cup to the laity.

Mat_26:28-30. 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.

It was a social feast, somewhat funereal, and tinctured with sadness, for Jesus was about to go from them, to die, still, it was a joyous celebration, closing with a hymn. At the paschal feast, the Jews always sang Psalms 113-118. Probably our Lord sang all these through. At any rate, Christ and his apostles sang a hymn; and I always like to think of him as leading the little company, — going to his death with a song upon his lips, his voice full of melody, and made more sweet than ever by the near approach of Gethsemane and Calvary. I would like always to sing, whenever we come to the communion table, after the fashion in which they sang that night: “When they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” Now let us read what the apostle Paul writes concerning the Lord’s Supper.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mat_26:17-30; and 1Co_11:18-34.