And he said unto them
The twelve apostles, as they were eating the passover, it being usual to talk and converse much at such a time; (See Gill on Matthew 26:21). With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I
not for the sake of eating; for though he was traduced as a glutton, and did often eat and drink in a free and familiar way, both at the tables of Pharisees, and of publicans and sinners; yet he was not a man given to appetite; witness his fast of forty days and forty nights, and his great negligence of himself, which sometimes obliged his disciples to pray him to eat; see ( John 4:31 John 4:34 ) . Indeed, according to the Jewish canons, it was not judged proper that a man should eat much on the day before the passover, that he might be hungry, and eat the passover, (Nwbatb) , "with desire" F12, or with an appetite. Our Lord may allude to this; but this was not the thing he meant; nor merely does he say this on account of the passover, as it was God's ordinance; though as he was made under the law, and that was in his heart, he had a great regard to it, and a delight in it, which he had shown in his frequent and constant attendance on it from his youth: but though he had kept many passovers, yet of none of them did he say what he does of this, which was his fourth passover from his entrance on his public ministry, and his last: two reasons are suggested in the text why he so greatly desired to eat this passover; the one is, because he should eat it "with" his disciples; an emphasis lies on the phrase, "with you", to whom, and not so much to the passover, and the eating of that, was his desire; as it is to all his people: it was so from everlasting, when he desired them as his spouse and bride; and in time, when he became incarnate, suffered, died, and gave himself for them: his desire is towards them whilst in unregeneracy, that they may be converted; and to them when converted, notwithstanding all their backslidings and revoltings. His desire is to their persons, and the comeliness and beauty of them, which he himself has put upon them; and to their graces, and the exercise of them, with which he is ravished; and to their company and communion with them, which he chooses and delights in: and his desire is towards their being with him to all eternity, and which he delighted in the fore views of from eternity; and is the joy set before him, and which carried him through his sufferings and death; and is the amount and accomplishment of all his prayers and intercession: and the other reason of this his strong desire in the text is, that this was the last passover, and that his sufferings and death were just at hand, and which he longed to have over; not that he desired these sufferings, for the sake of them, which could not be agreeable to, and desirable by his human nature; but because of the effects of them; since hereby justice would be satisfied, the law would be fulfilled, sin atoned for, and the salvation of his elect obtained; for whom he bore the strongest affection, and whom he loved with a love of complacency, and whose salvation he most earnestly desired, and even sufferings for the sake of it.
F12 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Pesachim, c. 10. sect. 1.