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Verses 55-56

Matthew 26:55-56. In that same hour, Jesus said to the multitude And particularly unto the chief priests and elders, &c, Luke 22:52, Are ye come out as against a thief, &c. Or robber, that would make a desperate resistance, armed in this way with swords and staves, as if you came to seize me at the hazard of your lives? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple When you had opportunities in abundance to have secured me, if there had been any crime with which you could have charged me: yet then you laid no hold on me Ye took me not; so Mark. All this was done, &c. I know the reason of all this better than you yourselves do: you have hitherto been kept under a secret restraint, which is now removed; and this is your hour, in which God has let you loose against me, and the power of darkness is now permitted to rage with peculiar violence, Luke 22:53; for it is under the instigation of Satan and his infernal powers that you now act, with whatever pious names you may affect to consecrate the deed. That the Scriptures might be fulfilled That is, hereby those predictions of the prophets are fulfilled which were uttered under an infallible prescience that all these things would be done. “This,” says Dr. Doddridge, “was a consideration which, if duly applied, might have prevented his disciples from being offended at his sufferings: and it strongly intimated that he still kept up the claim, which he had formerly made, of being the Messiah; and that what he was now to go through was so far from being at all inconsistent with that claim, that, on the whole, it was absolutely necessary, in order to make it out to full satisfaction.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled Immediately, it seems, as soon as they saw him in the hands of his enemies, notwithstanding that they might have followed him with safety, as the priests had no design against them. “Perhaps, however, they were afraid that the action of Peter would be imputed to them all, and might bring their lives into danger. But, whatever they apprehended, their precipitate flight in these circumstances was the basest cowardice and ingratitude, considering not only how lately they had been warned of their danger, and what solemn promises they had made of a courageous adherence to Christ; but also what an agony they had just seen him in; what zeal he had a few moments before showed in their defence, what amazing power he had exerted to terrify his enemies into a compliance with that part of his demand which related to the safety of his friends, John 18:6-8; and especially that his prophecy of their continued usefulness in his church was equivalent to a promise of their preservation, whatever danger they might now meet with.” But thus our Lord’s prediction concerning their being offended and forsaking him, Matthew 26:31, was fulfilled; and by his permitting them to act in this false and cowardly manner, we may learn not to depend too confidently on the friendship and fidelity even of the very best of men.

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