See Matthew 26:58, 68-75, and associated notes. The minor discrepancies between the two accounts (the identities of Peter's questioners and the diffe... Read more
See Matthew 26:58, 68-75, and associated notes. The minor discrepancies between the two accounts (the identities of Peter's questioners and the differences in wording of their questions and Peter's replies) are easily accounted for by the nature of the scene, which was not a nicely linear conversation. The courtyard was undoubtedly filled with not only the High Priest's own household servants but with Temple guards and with servants who had been attending members of the Sanhedrin and were now awaiting the conclusion of their masters' business. At any given time, multiple people may have talking about the unusual events taking place, so that Peter may have found himself fielding questions from all sides; Matthew and Luke simply record different selections. Peter may also have denied Jesus more than three times as he became increasingly agitated; as the number three often symbolized completion, Jesus' warning that Peter would deny Him three times may not have been referring so much to the literal count as to the idea that Peter would completely and utterly repudiate Him. Also, as with alleged discrepancies of numbers elsewhere, the mention of a smaller number does not rule out the presence of a greater number of which the smaller was a subset (see Matthew 9:28-34, 20:24-29, and associated notes for other examples) Read less
See Matthew 26:36-46 and associated notes, While Luke's account of Jesus' prayers in Gethsemane is more condensed than Matthew's, he includes two det... Read more
See Matthew 26:36-46 and associated notes, While Luke's account of Jesus' prayers in Gethsemane is more condensed than Matthew's, he includes two details that Matthew does not; the angelic visitation that strengthened Jesus in the midst of His agony, and the phenomenon of Jesus' sweat becoming bloody in the midst of His anguish. The latter is a known medical phenomenon (the technical term for it is hematohidrosis) which can occur when a person is under extreme stress and is caused the breaking of tiny capillaries close to the sweat glands of the forehead, allowing small amounts of blood to mingle with the sweat.
The ministry of the angel to Jesus is another testimony that while fully God, He was also fully human. Having laid aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes, He was facing the agonies of Gethsemane with no more resources of physical or emotional strength than any other human being, save that He was free of all the impairments caused by sin. He was undoubtedly as weary as His disciples in both body and mind. It was while He was in this state that the angel appeared to Him, either providing fresh energy for the task ahead, or reassuring Him that He was squarely within the Father's will whatever came, or both. Read less
Most commentators agree that Jesus was making two points: first, reminding the disciples of how they had already seen the perfect provision and plan o... Read more
Most commentators agree that Jesus was making two points: first, reminding the disciples of how they had already seen the perfect provision and plan of God manifested, and second, commanding them to make preparations for the service into which they would move after His death and resurrection. While traveling in the lands of the Jews as His heralds, they were able to depend on godly men keeping the ancient customs of hospitality towards their brother Jews. But the missionary role to which they would shortly be called would take them out into the larger world, where it would be necessary to plan for travel expenses and self-defense. The idea was not that God would not provide as needed, but that they should make use of the resources and prudence that God had already given while continuing to make their needs known to Him.
Jesus' citation from Isaiah 53:12 appears to allude both to the details of His Passion (the primary meaning) and to the reason that the apostles would find themselves taking on a missionary role most probably never intended. Although Himself innocent and sinless, He was treated as if He were a lawbreaker both in the judgments rendered by the Sanhedrin and Pilate and in having the judgment of God poured out on Him. His crucifixion between two thieves provided a graphic picture of His having been identified with those who were utterly deserving of punishment. But Jesus' being counted as if He were a transgressor did not end with the Cross. When the apostles began their mission of evangelism in Jerusalem after the Resurrection, their preaching of Jesus as the Messiah and Redeemer brought them into direct conflict with the Jewish authorities, who still considered Jesus a heretic and blasphemer. It was increasingly severe persecution of those who identified with Jesus by these authorities that forced the apostles and those they had converted to scatter from Jerusalem, taking the Gospel with them into the Gentile world.
Jesus' disciples apparently did not understand His meaning, however; perhaps they thought that they would need to fight for the Kingdom, or to defend His person in the immediate future, and so they showed Him what they already had in the way of weaponry. Time being short, Jesus closed the topic rather than work through their misinterpretation of His words then and there. Read less
See Matthew 26:30-35 and associated notes. Jesus' prayer was not that Peter would be spared his temptation or his failure, but that he would not fall... Read more
See Matthew 26:30-35 and associated notes. Jesus' prayer was not that Peter would be spared his temptation or his failure, but that he would not fall into despair as did Judas and believe himself beyond repentance and forgiveness. The Peter who existed before his crushing fall was quick to anger, impulsive, boastful, and ambitious; the Peter who emerged from the consciousness of his profound failure was a much humbled and more compassionate man who was prepared to enter his role as God's herald of the Church Age, having learned to depend on God's strength and wisdom and not on his own. Read less
Following on Jesus' correction was a promise: these men who had remained faithfully with Him during His time of testing on earth would indeed have pla... Read more
Following on Jesus' correction was a promise: these men who had remained faithfully with Him during His time of testing on earth would indeed have places of honor in the coming kingdom, both in His sight (as symbolized by the privilege of feasting at the monarch's table) and in the sight of men (as symbolized by the role of judges). See also Matthew 19:27-29 and associated notes. Read less
Isaiah's words delivered both rebuke and warning: not only was Hezekiah wrong to court alliance with idolatrous Babylon, but Babylon would prove a wor... Read more
Isaiah's words delivered both rebuke and warning: not only was Hezekiah wrong to court alliance with idolatrous Babylon, but Babylon would prove a worse enemy than Assyria and would succeed where Assyria had failed in conquering Jerusalem and carrying Judah into exile. Hezekiah's own family would also suffer, with some being deported and some becoming court officials in Babylon (cf. Daniel 1:3-7). Those who became officials may also have become eunuchs, a fate any devout Jew would look on with in horror as emasculation was grounds for exclusion from the Jewish community (Deuteronomy 23:1). Read less
Merodach-baladan was nearing the end of a turbulent career in the politics of the Middle East. Twice ruler over Babylon and a consistent foe of the As... Read more
Merodach-baladan was nearing the end of a turbulent career in the politics of the Middle East. Twice ruler over Babylon and a consistent foe of the Assyrians, he was forced from his throne for the second time in 702 B.C. and was probably living in exile in Elam at the time his servants came to Hezekiah. He died around 700 B.C. He may not only have been interested in Hezekiah as a potential ally against Assyria but may also have heard rumors of the sign God had given Hezekiah, which would have been of interest to the Chaldean astronomers (II Chronicles 32:31).
Pleased and flattered by the friendly message, Hezekiah did not seek God's will in the matter; on His part, God remained silent. Led by his pride, Hezekiah gave the envoys a tour of his domain, probably meaning to impress them with his own importance. He may have thought this was no more than appropriate given the customs of hospitality of the time, but in doing so he revealed both Jerusalem's wealth and its defenses. Many commentators also believe that Hezekiah was entertaining the thought of an alliance with Babylon as a further hedge against Assyria, even though he had just been miraculously delivered from Sennacherib's invasion. Read less