« ElőzőTovább »
because it had been foretold that Jesus should be a victim. He had the same opportunities as the rest, but while their names are had in honour for evermore, his conduct justifies the solemn proverb. Born he had been for the highest opportunity, but so had he abused it that he might well wish that he had been never born ; never been known than known only for this.
THE SAME SUBJECT continued.
St. John xiii. 23-26.
Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.
This incident can only be understood by a reference to the manners and customs of the East, where at their feasts the guests reclined on couches placed round the table, so that the head of one would naturally be towards the breast of another. Thus placed, nearest to his Lord, and at His right hand, was our Evangelist himself; who, it must be observed, never mentions himself by name, but prefers to use this distinguishing phrase. And indeed, though the - Lord loved them all, there seems to have been some especial
tenderness in His regard for this particular Disciple; so much so as, without envy, to have obtained for him this title. Nor until towards the Saviour's Passion did he come to know how much he was beloved. Now first, when death is drawing nigh, we hear this term.? Between this Disciple also and St. Peter there seems to have existed a strong friendship. We find them continually, as here, associated together. So, as in any doubtful matter, friend generally has recourse to friend, Peter's natural impulse here is to apply first to John. Their eyes met. They exchanged glances of mutual surprise. And as the latter was nearest to their Lord, and known to be especially dear to Him, there would be special reason, as there was special facility, for him to become the mouthpiece of his brethren, and to propose the question which all longed to ask. So Peter makes a sign 3 to John, which he readily understood; and availing himself of his position in the affections, and nigh unto the person, of his Lord,-a thrice recorded fact,
1 For the manner at table was to lean behind whom Peter leans forward to on the left elbow, and as our Evangc- communicate with John; Janos, the list s head reclined on his Master's brother of John, is on our Lord's left. breast, it is plain that he must have Lampe says, “Let the Papacy look to been also at His right hand. In the it how it claims primacy for Peter, famous picture by Leonardo da ci, when John obtains the first place at the in the Convent of Le Grazie at Milan, table and in the heart of Christ, and our Evangelist is thus on our Lord's Peter himself needs his patronage." right; next to him is Judas Iscariot ;
the leans back, and lays his head upon that gentle breast, and whispers, probably, “Lord, who is it ?” And the Lord answers, not aloud probably, but to the ear of the questioner, in the same manner as the question was proposed; answers, not by giving the dishonoured name, but by giving a sign which would sufficiently indicate who it was that was about to do this deed. For to call by name was a mark of friendship and of favour, or it was the manner of calling to account and of rebuke. But the former, this treacherous one had already forfeited; and the time for the latter was not yet come. Not yet therefore will the Lord name him by his name, though afterwards we find Him in the garden using in sternness and just reproach this very compellation. But our Evan
· St. John xix, 26, 27; xxi. 20–24. stances as to position, all is made Bengel characteristically remarks, “It plaio. is better to be loved by Jesus than to • Vv. 23, 25; ch. xxi. 20. be celebrated by name."
5 The word in v. 23 denotes simply 2 Bengel.
the act of reclining at table with the • Chrysostom potes that if, after bead towards the breast of the neightelling us that Peter had nodded to bour on the left hand. The word in John to ask, our Evangelist had v. 25 denotes the falling back in a added nothing more, we should have mood of affection on that breast, been casting about for reasons why Compare Pliny, Ep. iv. 22. he should thus apply in particular to 6 St. Matt. xxvi. 50; St. Luko xxii. him; but by mentioning these ciroum- 48.
gelist here notes it, taking care again? to distinguish the false disciple from the true.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xiii. 26, 27.
And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
The custom in the East at these meals seems to have been for the host to dip a morsel of bread in something which might impart to it a relish or flavour,-in this case, probably, “ a piece of the unleavened bread, dipped in the broth made of bitter herbs," 2_and to offer it to one and another of the guests ;3 a relic doubtless of those primitive times and manners in which hospitality was shown by the host waiting personally upon his guests, as did Abraham ; or by sending portions to them from his own table, as did Joseph ;5 or by reaching forth to them of what was before him, as did Boaz; 6 not leaving them to shift for themselves, as our Lord seems to have reproved one of the Pharisees for doing." Then Satan entered into Judas; not for the first time, but for the last time; not now by way of earliest suggestion, but to the consummation of his crime. Already had he meditated it;' already had he covenanted with the Chief Priests and Captains ; now, like the wild beast in his lair, he is but watching his opportunity. Then it is, but not till then, that the Lord addresses to him that word which to the rest of the Disciples is dark enough. This is no direction to his deed of darkness. It is no permission to sin. It is but as when the martyr has been delivered to his tormentors, an 1 V. 2 above; ch. vi. 71.
6 Ruth ii. 14. ? Alford. Ex. xii. 8.
· St. Luke vii. 44-46. 3 St. Luke ix. 16; X. 8.
* So in the original. See I. Wil+ Gen. xviii. 8.
liams On the Gospels, Part v. scc. 5. 3 Gen. xliii. 31-34.
9 V. 2 above.
innocent to the executioner. All hope of escape cut off, all expectation of life abandoned, he requests the small favour of a speedy despatch. And indeed whatever deeper or hidden meaning, whatever of mystery the words contained, Judas might have been checked and instructed by them. He might have interpreted this proverbial saying (for such it seems) as a call to him, if he had any business taking him away for a time from that society he should have so dearly prized, to make haste to discharge it, and return with speed; as indeed the rest, the honest and innocent ones, interpreted the words.? As regards our Saviour Himself, this promptness for His Passion may be read side by side with that other saying some time before, when He foresaw all the dreary way before Him, and the Cross at the end of the journey. “I have a Baptism,” He says, “ to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished !”3 We may see in it that spirit which finds its echo and imitation afterwards in the profession of His faithful follower, “I am now ready to be offered." It marks the voluntariness of
.” the offering.* The true Isaac resigns Himself to be laid on the altar, upon the wood.
THE SAME SUBJECT—-continued.
St. John xii. 28-30.
Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the
1 “He was commanded now to do he was commanded to do.”—Mozley, the act, but it was his own act which Ruling Ideas, p. 109. 3 V. 29. 3 See Cowper's fine hymn (Olney Hymns, Bk. ii. Lv.):
* With all His sufferings full in view,
And woes to us unknown,
'Twas love that urged Him on," It may recall (to apply reverently such an illustration) the famous soliloquy:
“If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly.”—Macbeth, 1. vii. + St. John x. 17, 18.
bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast ; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
What a glimpse this incidental statement gives us of the social and domestic life of our Lord and His Apostles! From it we learn that they had a common fund;' that they were careful punctually to attend the religious Festivals, and to provide for their due observance, and to provide things honest in the sight of all men, and that they were forward to remember the poor; judging, seemingly, festival time a fit time for alms, and though poor themselves, yet acting upon that counsel, “ If thou hast little, do thy diligence gladly to give of that little.” 3 And now Judas is impatient to be gone. His palm itches, with Balaam, for the wages of unrighteousness. With Cain, he goes out from the presence of the Lord.4 Now he rises from that Table where he had been washed, and instructed, and fed, and hastens to betray his benefactor. Again the Evangelist notes that he does this after partaking of his Lord's bounty; after that sign of a covenant of peace which pagans even would not break. And as he passed, he seems to have asked low that question, “Master, is it I?” and to have received the answer which should even then have arrested him on the verge of the abyss, “ Thou hast said." Thou hast named the author of the deed. Thou art the man. He calls Him Master from
1 “ Judas was therefore the almoner 19, 20; St. Luke xii. 33. Alford of Christ; and surely if his office of surmises that “the gift to the poor treasurer exposed him to fiery tempta- might be, to help them to procure the tion, the insight which he must have Paschal Lamb." obtained, in his other capacity, into 3 Tobit iv. 8. The verse, from the the depth of human misery, and the old version, is included among the height of Divine love, should have sentences at the Offertory. sufficed to quench the flame. Here · The dreadful parallel between was the antidote side by side with the Judas and Ahitophel has been already poison.”—A Plain Commentary. noticed ; that between him and Cain
Against the Feast," i.e., for the and Balaam is hardly less striking. offerings during the Feast. The Com. St. Jude 11-13; 2 St. Pet. ii. 12-22 ; mentators note this primitive pattern Gen. iv. 16. of a Church Fund, and that by the 5 St. Matt. xxvi. 25. He uses the Lord's example here we are to in- word Rabbi. The rest (v. 22 above) terpret the injunctions of St. Matt. vi. bad addressed Him as Lord.