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Verses 20-25

Matthew 26:20-25. And when the even was come At the proper hour; he sat down with the twelve To taste first, according to the custom of those days, the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs, before the lamb was served up. After which they proceeded as is related in the note on Matthew 26:2. And as they did eat he said One of you shall betray me He had before told them, namely, Matthew 17:22, that the Son of man should be betrayed; he now comes to acquaint them, that one of them would be the traitor, and to point out the guilty person. And they were exceeding sorrowful They were sorrowful that he should be betrayed by any one, but more so that one of themselves should be the instrument of so horrible a crime: and began every one to say, Lord, is it I, that am this guilty creature? They do not appear to have asked this question because they mistrusted themselves, not knowing to how great a wickedness their hearts might lead them; but because each of them wanted to be freed from the suspicion of such an iniquity. He answered, He that dippeth, &c. “Grotius and others think this implies that Judas had placed himself so near his Master as to eat out of the same dish with him. But their way of lying on couches at meat must have made it inconvenient for two or more persons to eat in that manner. It is more probable that the disciples, being in the deepest distress, had left off eating, only Judas, to conceal his guilt, continued the meal, and was dipping his meat in a kind of a sauce named haroseth, (which they used on these occasions,) when Jesus happened to be putting his into it; which sauce, according to custom, was served up in a separate dish.” Macknight. The Son of man goeth through sufferings to glory, as it is written of him In the Scriptures; and determined in the divine counsels. See note on Acts 2:23. Yet this was no excuse for him that betrayed him: but wo to that man, &c. In pronouncing this wo upon the man by whom he should be betrayed, our Lord manifestly shows that the foreknowledge and prediction that he should suffer, and that by the treachery of Judas, laid no antecedent necessity upon Judas of doing this action, for if it had, it not only would have lessened the wo due to him, but would have taken away all his guilt. For no guilt can attach to any action which a man is laid under an absolute necessity of doing, and which to him is unavoidable. All that the prediction of Judas’s treachery implies is, that God with certainty foreknew how his will, left entirely to its own freedom, would determine on this occasion: and, it must be observed, it would have determined in the same way, if such determination had neither been foreknown nor foretold. See note on 1 Peter 1:2. It had been good for that man if he had not been born May not the same be said of every man that finally perishes? But who can reconcile this, if it were true of Judas alone, with the doctrine of universal salvation? For, if the torments of hell were not eternal, but, after suffering in them, though it might be millions of millions of years, guilty sinners should be rescued from them and brought to the enjoyment of heavenly blessedness, it still would be good for them that they had been born, inasmuch as they would still have a never-ending state of felicity before them. Then Judas, who betrayed him Who had in fact already betrayed him, Matthew 26:15, and was now waiting for an opportunity to deliver him privately into the hands of the chief priests, answered, Master Gr. Rabbi, or teacher, Is it I? The other disciples, in asking the same question, said each of them, κυριε , Lord, is it I? a title implying greater reverence than Judas was disposed to show his Master. As Judas was conscious of what he had already done, and was resolved still further to do, in betraying and delivering up his Divine Master, and could not but know that his whole conduct, and the very secrets of his heart, lay open to his inspection, he manifests by this question unparalleled impudence, as well as excessive hardness of heart. One would almost suppose, that he intended to insult Christ’s prescience as well as long-suffering. He, Jesus, said unto him, Thou hast said That is, It is as thou hast said: thou art the guilty person. Before this, when Christ discovered that he should be betrayed, he only told it in John’s ear, that Judas would be the traitor: and John told it to Peter, (see John 13:23-26;) but the rest knew nothing of it. Now Jesus plainly points him out before them all; which, impudent as he was, evidently confounded and struck him speechless. But whether he immediately left the company, as some infer from John 13:30; or whether that passage refers to what happened at a former supper, as others think, is a question which it is not easy to decide. One thing seems clear: if he withdrew at this time, he must have soon returned, as it appears, from Luke 22:21, that he was present when the Lord’s supper was instituted.

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