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not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.
The Lord does not oppose force to force, superior force to inferior. In that same hour of persecution,—that “hour” to which He had all along been looking forward and which He knew was now “come”l_He suppressed His conscious power, and contented Himself with simply answering the motley crowd, composed as it was of chief men among the priests, the custodians of the Temple, and other members of the Jewish Council, besides their creatures and the Roman soldiers; reasoning with them so far at least as to show the unreasonableness of their conduct. It is the language of lofty irony. One would think they were come to apprehend a dangerous bandit. So many men, and weapons! He had been calmly seated,' occupying the posture of a Teacher, daily in the Temple. Then they dared not touch Him. An invisible hand had held them back. But now the hour is come. Their hour who were leagued with the power of darkness ;5 to which power, in His readiness to fulfil His predicted mission, He is prepared for the time to submit. These were men who “ loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Now Satan seems unchained. Fear seizes on all the Disciples; even on him who but now stoutly advanced to defend his Master and assail the enemy. The incident that follows further proves the general panic. This young man was probably one who lived near, lived possibly in some house or cottage in that garden. Roused it might be out of his sleep by the tumult and glare of the torches, he seems to have descended just as he was, without waiting to dress himself, to ascertain the cause. He, following Christ, who was probably not unknown to him, and whom he grieved to see thus led away, was laid hold of as a i St. Matt. xxvi. 55.
* See the ori word. 2 St. John vii. 30; viii. 10; xii. 5 St. Luke xxii. 53. 27, 28; xvii. 1.
6 St. Johu xviii, 2. 3 St. Luke xxii. 52.
supposed accomplice, or it might be out of mere wantonness, by some of the crowd who had by this time, in the absence of anticipated opposition, recovered their spirits. His narrow escape is graphically described, as he breaks away from his captors, leaving in their hands the sheet in which, after the manner of the East, he had been wrapped. It all marks the terror of that time.?
CHRIST A CAPTIVE.
St. John xviii. 12-14.
Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to Annas first ; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
The band of Roman soldiers, at the bidding of their commander, assisted by the hirelings of the Jewish Council,? now proceed to bind the willing Captive. He who, with more ease than the typical Samson of old, could have burst these bonds "as a thread when it toucheth the fire," suffers Himself to be “led as a lamb to the slaughter.” Why the Lord should have been brought before Annas first, instead of being taken direct to Caiaphas,—who, as the Evangelist mentions this second time, was High-priest that same memorable year,- we cannot tell. “The narrative evidently rests upon 1 Amos ii. 16.
in-law, was made high-priest. It ? Our rendering may mislead. The would appear from this verse that article is found also with the last of Annas, as ex-high-priest, and possibly the three specified. The Colort and retaining in the view of the Jews the Chiliarch and the Servants of the the legitimate high-priesthood, was Jews.
counted still as having the office; he 3 St. Jolin xi. 49, 51.
.. had influence enough to procure Annas was deposed by the actual high-priesthood for five Valerius Gratus, and after several of his sons, after his own deposition. changes, Joseph or Caiaphas, his son- Jos. Antt. xx. 9, 1. A substitute, or
some arrangement with regard to the High-priesthood now unknown to us.”! None but a genuine historian however would have mentioned this. Caiaphas, as the Evangelist again is careful to remind us,” had already suggested a salve to the public conscience touching the jndicial murder of Jesus. He had prejudged the case, He had long since made up his mind that, whether innocent or guilty, Jesus must be put to death. Before this judge the Victim is next brought,3_Himself the Judge of all the earth,- to be not judged, but condemned.
PETER DENIES TIIM.
St. Jolin xviii. 15-18.
And Simon Peler followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals ; for it was cold : and they warmed themselves : and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
The betrayal by Judas, though more dreadful, is almost less startling than the denial by Peter. We are less prepared for the cowardice of the one than for the treachery of the other. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” At the general desertion in the garden, and dis
deputy to the high priest, appears to
| Friedlieb, quoted in Alford.
3 St. Matt. xxvi. 57; St. Luke xxii. 51.
persion of the Disciples, two of them, Peter and John (for he doubtless is intended here and elsewhere by this phrase “that other Disciple ” ?), timid yet true, after that first flight are found to follow afar off. The one, by virtue of his acquaintance with the High-priest and his household, is permitted to pass in unchallenged. The other, having no such right of entrance, remains waiting outside the gate, to see the end. The one finding that his companion has not entered with him, and knowing that he will be equally interested in the proceedings, presently goes to the porteress (whose office, in the greater simplicity of Jewish manners, was often discharged by women) and, being known to her, procures the
the admission of the other. This door-keeper seems to have been not ill-disposed. She must have been aware of John's connection with Jesus. When therefore at his request Peter also was admitted, what more natural than the question which she asked in passing? But what more sad than the Apostle's answer; first perhaps in the surprise and timidity of the moment, but afterwards (so prolific a thing is sin) persisted in; repeated, and repeated again; till thrice he denies his Lord ? ? Here then we leave the unhappy Apostle awhile, within the court or quadrangle of the building where the High-priest dwelt; mingled with the crowd of servants and attendants waiting there to see the end ;3 warming himself with them in that chill night air, over the brazier of burning charcoal, which at that season it was customary to provide. For he was wet with the dews of Olivet, and his heart too at this time was cold within him. “Where now are those words which he said, 'Why cannot I follow Thee now ?' and, 'I will lay down my life for Thy sake?' To deny himself to be a Disciple, is this to follow the Master ? To quail at the challenge of a maid-servant, is it thus he lays down his life for his Lord ? Surely in this fall of Peter we may see that Christ is not only denied by him who denies Him to be the Christ, but by him also who,
· St. John xx. 2, 3, 4, 8. Compare other. A second and greater infidelity xiii. 23; xix, 26, 27; xxi. 7, 20, 23, is the punishment of he first, and
very often the occasion of a third.”_ ? “ One temptation unresisted sel- Quesnel. dom fails of being succeeded by an- 3 St. Matt. xxvi. 58.
whether in word or deed, will not confess himself to be a Christian."i Christ may be denied in other ways than by
.? word of mouth. When the sworn soldier and servant of Christ does what Christ forbids, neglects what Christ commands, then even more than Peter does he deny his Lord.
CHRIST BEFORE ANNAS.
St. John xviii. 19-23.
The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world ; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me ? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me ?
The former of these two points of interrogation the Lord passes over. He takes no notice of the question, throwing
. over His fearful followers the shield of silence. But to the latter He rejoins that there is no need of this questioning and examination, for He had nothing secret or clandestine to confess. From the Synagogues of Galilee, from the Temple at Jerusalem, they might summon witnesses as to His daily words. It was not with Him,' He professes, as with some teachers, who say one thing in public, and in private another. He was not double-tongued. This questioning was super· Aug. in S. Jo. Tr. cxiii. 2.
synagogues, of which there were many, 2 Tit. i. 16.
and the Temple, which was but one. 3 Alford notes that by the omission * In the original of v. 20 we have of the article before the word syna- the pronoun twice emphatically exgogue, distinction is made between pressed.