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An Exposition Of The Gospels by The Most Rev. John Macevilly D.D.

In this chapter, is recorded the washing of His disciples’ feet by our Lord, with all its circumstances, calculated to point out the great humility practised by our Lord (1–8). His threat addressed to Peter, who, out of reverence, first refused to have his feet washed by his heavenly Master. Peter’s instant submission (8–12). Our Lord’s address to His disciples, inculcating, after His own example, the practice of humility (12–17). His allusion to the treason of Judas, which He expressed in a rather general way (18–21). The trepidation into which the Apostles were thrown in consequence (22). The questioning of our Lord by St. John, at the instance of Peter, to know who the traitor was (23–25). Our Lord gives a sign for having him known, after which the traitor left, to carry out his wicked designs (25–31). He inculcates brotherly love, as a distinctive mark of His followers (32–35). He predicts the denial of Him by Peter (38).

Commentary

1. “Before the festival day of the Pasch.” This occurred on the evening of the fourth month (Nisan). According to the Jewish computation of festivals, the feast of the following day, commenced on the evening of the preceding, and closed on the evening of the day itself. Hence, the Pasch was celebrated “between the two evenings,” of Thursday and Friday. The other Evangelists agree in saying (Matthew 26:17; Luke 22:7; Mark 14:22), that our Lord celebrated the Pasch on the first day of Azyms. St. John says it occurred on the day before. Both accounts are true. It was on the festival itself, according to the Jewish computation of festivals, which commenced on the previous evening. It was on the day before, according to the civil computation of time which St. John, who wrote sixty years after this, followed. Hence, he uses the phrase, “before the festival day of the Pasch.” He does not say, before the Pasch, because the Pasch had commenced, when the occurrence here referred to regarding the supper, etc., took place.

“Jesus knowing,” as God, from eternity; as man, from His conception; “that He should pass” through the gates of death, now at hand—and His Resurrection and Ascension—“from this world to the Father.” There seems to be an allusion to the meaning of the word, “Pasch,” which signifies, a passage. The words also convey, that our Lord, when the destined hour had come, had voluntarily offered Himself for death, which He foresaw.

“Having loved His own.” Apostles and familiar friends and domestics, as is clear from the following history. “Who were in the world,” whom He was about to leave behind Him, exposed to the miseries and perils of this world, from which He was about to depart, when returning to a place of rest in His Father’s bosom. These He now views with an eye of compassionate tenderness, and with feelings of increased pity and love.

“Unto the end.” Some understand, the end of His life. Others, the consummation or perfect exhibition of love, which He manifested by washing their feet—a thing He never did before also by giving His sacred body and blood in the Eucharist, and by the following discourse, breathing love and affection. Finally, by giving His life for them.

“Loving to the end,” according to those, would mean, the most perfect, most intense and demonstrative love.

2. “And when supper was ended.” On this occasion the Paschal supper took place, when the Paschal lamb was partaken of in a standing posture. To this Paschal supper, there cannot be reference here, as our Lord clearly partook of the supper referred to here in a reclining posture, for “He rose from it” (v. 4). There was, besides, a common or ordinary Jewish supper, which took place, immediately after the Paschal supper, in order to satiate the cravings of hunger, for which the Paschal lamb would not suffice, considering the number who should, by law, partake of one lamb. The guests partook of this, as of any other supper, in a reclining posture. It is very likely that it is to this latter supper, reference is made here, at the close of which took place the washing of the Apostles’ feet. The washing of the feet occurred before the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, our Lord having again resumed His reclining posture (v. 12), before He instituted it. The circumstance of the washing of the disciples’ feet before the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, denoted or symbolized the purity of heart required at all times, for the proper reception of the adorable sacrament. On the very eve of His ignominious death, rendered bitter by the fact that the treason of one of His own disciples, whom the devil impelled to so horrible a crime, had a great share in bringing it about, He leaves us an undying memorial of His love in instituting the Blessed Eucharist, and an unexampled manifestation of humility, in washing His disciples’ feet, the traitor, not excluded, who was an instrument in the hands of the devil.

The Evangelist uses the words, “the devil having put it into the heart,” etc., to denote the enormity of the crime, which was more than human; nay, even diabolical, in its nature.

3. “Knowing that the Father,” etc. This shows the excess of our Lord’s humility, in washing His disciples feet. He did this with a full knowledge that He was Lord of the universe. That although in a state of passing weakness, His Father had already, by an ineffable communication, bestowed on Him, all power, “had given Him all things”—without exception—“into His hands.” He knew His origin, “that He came from God,” by an eternal generation, and came forth from Him, in time, by assuming human flesh in His Incarnation; and that He was about to return to His Father, “and goeth to God,” to reap the full fruit of glory, which He so well merited. The predestined “hour” having now arrived, He wishes to leave an example of the most exalted virtues—love and humility—to all future generations.

In this, two things are worthy of observation: 1st, Our Lord while about to perform a great act of humility, had before Him a full knowledge of His infinite dignity, which rendered His humility more conspicuous; 2ndly, that He did this, on the eve of His Passion, to show His excessive love for His disciples, and for us all.

4. “He riseth from supper.” This refers to the common or ordinary Jewish supper, which succeeded the Paschal supper. Likely, there still lay scattered on the table, some of the food used.

“And layeth aside His garments.” “Garments,” in the plural, by common scriptural usage, is employed for the singular. It designates one, viz., the outer garment, which our Lord laid aside, to be more expedite, and in order to assume more perfectly the appearance and costume of a slave, who wore one, and only one short garment. A slave was not allowed flowing robes.

“And having taken a towel, girded Himself.” The Evangelist records not only the washing of the feet, but, all the circumstances, which clearly demonstrate how perfectly our Lord, in order to show His excessive humility, put on the appearance of a slave, on this occasion.

5. “Began to wash the feet,” etc. This is an account, in a general way, of what took place. It is not meant to be conveyed that our Lord washed the feet of any other of the disciples before He washed those of Peter; or that having washed the feet of the others, He proceeded to wash his. In this verse, is contained only a general statement of what took place. The Evangelist comes to particulars, and describes things in order afterwards; or, the words of the verse may mean, He commenced to make preparation for the coming operation.

6. “He cometh, therefore, to Simon Peter.” “Therefore,” in order to commence what He intended, He came to Simon Peter, in the first place, as having been constituted head of the Apostolic College.

“Dost thou?” etc. Thou, and my, are emphatic, expressive of the infinite distance between them in point of dignity. “Thou,” the Eternal Son of God, Himself, God. I, a contemptible worm, a miserable sinner. Peter speaks thus out of feelings of the profoundest reverence, as the Baptist did at Baptism (Matthew 3:14).

“Dost Thou wash,” prepare or mean to wash? Peter not knowing the full import or mysterious significance of our Redeemer’s mode of acting, fancied our Lord meant merely to consult for their bodily comfort.

7. Our Lord conveys to Peter, that He did not well comprehend the import of what He was saying, regarding the washing of his feet; that this action had a deep meaning, a mysterious signification, which Peter would understand hereafter. Our Lord Himself seems to explain it, to a certain extent, in verse 14, where He says, it was meant to convey a lesson of humility. As to other mysterious meanings, it was very likely reserved for him, to know after the Spirit of truth would have come down on them.

8. Peter, whose natural vehemence showed itself on many occasions, is now vehement in his humility and reverence for his Lord, of whom he believed it to be unworthy, as supreme Lord and master, to condescend to wash His disciples’ feet. Out of humility and reverence, he refuses to submit to it. Our Lord then, alluding to the mystical signification of this washing of the feet, which probably denoted purity of soul, tells him, if he persists in his refusal, which would amount to obstinate disobedience; then, he would be excluded from all participation in the great Eucharistic banquet, which He was about instituting. “No part with Me,” most probably, refers to the Blessed Eucharist, in which the devout communicant is made one with our Lord, who becomes his food, and forms a portion of him.

Likely, our Lord’s threat does not include utter exclusion from Him, and reprobation from grace and glory; though it seems likely, from following verse 9, that this was the sense in which Peter understood it, as the threat urges him to an opposite extreme, as consenting to more than was asked from him.

9. Peter, at once terrified by the threat of exclusion from our Lord, which he undersood in the strictest sense, consents to more than was required. He would have Him wash his head also and his hands. From which it is clear, the foregoing refusal sprang from love and reverence, rather than from disobedience.

10. Our Lord says, alludes to the condition of those coming forth from a bath, who having washed their entire person, now only need to remove from their feet the stains they contracted from walking naked in the dust. This was elicited by Peter’s desire to have his hands and head also washed. He wishes to convey to Peter and the disciples present, that they needed no further washing than that of their feet; that they were by His grace, free from grievous sins, and only needed to be cleansed from these sins contracted through human frailty in their passage through life. Of this the cleansing of their feet was symbolical. It may be, He alludes to venial transgressions. Or, if He alludes to mortal sins contracted by men, who had been heretofore in grace, they need to be purified from those before approaching the Holy Eucharist. In this allusion to bodily cleanliness, is evidently contained an allusion to moral or spiritual purity, as is clear from the application made in the following words, “and you are clean, but not all,” which is allusive to Judas, as in following verse, “They were clean,” either by the water of Baptism; or, by faith in Him and obedience to His words (15:3).

11. Out of consideration for the feelings of Judas, of whose treasonable designs He was well aware, He refrained from mentioning his name. He reminds him of his state, with a view to his correction and repentance.

12. “Being sat down again,” in continuation of the supper, before instituting the Eucharist, “He said to them,” calling their attention, to the spiritual lesson He meant to convey in the washing of their feet, as appears from His words to St. Peter (v. 7).

13. “Master and Lord, and you say well; for, I am so.” Not only as God, but also as Man, was He their Lord and Master, who not only taught them exteriorly; but, by His interior grace, enlightened their intellects and impelled their wills to do good and obey His heavenly precepts.

14. If He, their Lord and Superior, condescended to wash their feet, they should, with greater reason, wash each other’s feet. This He inculcates literally, when necessity or charity required it, as was sometimes done in the infancy of the Church. Hence, among the commendations of widows is mentioned, “Si sanctorum pedes lavit,” (1 Tim. 5:10). But what is particularly inculcated here, is, the thing signified by this washing of feet, viz., the exercise of charity and humility towards our neighbour.

“To wash each other’s feet,” is to be understood more according to the spirit. than the letter; always in a moral, rather than a literal sense; though, on occasions, the literal sense, or literally washing each other’s feet, is enjoined.

15. Our Lord now teaches, by act, what He before taught by words, when He said, “Learn of Me, because, I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). Similar is His teaching (Matthew 20:25–28; Luke 20:26, 27).

16. By a proverbial expression, He inculcates the equity of His precept. He thus perseveres in inculcating humility, and feelings of self-abasement, as He foresaw, that some among them would inordinately aspire to superiority and authority over their fellows.

17. “If you knew these things,” viz., that charity and humility are to be practised, as I make no doubt you do, and understand them speculatively.

“You shall be blessed,” in hope and peace of soul here, and eternal fruition hereafter, “if you do them,” by accomplishing them in deed, and persevering to the end.

18. In saying you shall be happy in the fulfilment of My precepts, I cannot say so of you all. “I know whom I have chosen,” to the Apostolic office. I know the hearts and dispositions of all, who are deserving of that office, and who are not; who are to persevere in My love and service, and who are not; who, on the contrary, are to betray Me and sell me to My enemies.

“I elected twelve, and one is a devil” (6:70).

“But, I have still chosen him among my Apostles;” (the sentence is to be filled up by the addition of the above clause), that My passion and death for mankind being brought about by him, whom I loaded with favours; the Scriptures which principally regarded Me, be fulfilled. “He that eateth bread with Me,” etc. The Scripture in question regarded originally the trials of David, and the ingratitude shown Him by His trusted, but faithless councillor, Achitophel. (2 Kings 20:16, etc.) It principally, however, and mystically referred to Christ and His Passion, which was to commence with the treason of His ungrateful Apostle and be brought about by him. Our Lord, foreseeing the treason of His apostate disciple, and knowing his evil disposition, had still chosen him to the Apostleship; thus drawing good out of evil and verifying the Scripture, which contained the decree of God regarding His Passion and its mode of accomplishment. “Eateth bread with Me,” indicates great familiarity and friendship. “Shalt lift his heel against Me,” is allusive to the kick of vicious animals injuring their master. Others understand the figure to be allusive to wrestlers, who strive to trip up each other; or to men, who in a race, strive to trip their rivals and cause them to fall.

In the Septuagint reading, it is (Psalm 40:10), “Magnificavit super me supplantationem,” “hath greatly supplanted Me.”

19. “At present I tell you,” etc. I now forewarn you of it, lest you might be scandalized at My admitting a traitor among My friends, as if I did not know it; so that seeing My prescience and My prediction on the subject verified by the event, “you may believe” in My Divinity, “that I am He,” the long expected Messiah, whom I proclaimed Myself to be, viz., the Saviour of mankind.

20. “Amen, Amen, I say to you.” The words of this verse are explained in Commentary on Matthew (c. 10:40). Commentators are perplexed as to their connexion in the context with what precedes or follows. This great diversity of opinion shows it to be no easy matter to explain it.

There is a great preponderance of authorities in favour of the opinion, which holds that our Lord has in view in this verse to strengthen and console His followers, in the several trials they would have to endure in the faithful discharge of their duty, by the recollection, that they were His own vicegerents and representatives; and if they should have to suffer, so had He; and it was by suffering, they would be partakers of His rewards and glory.

Corlui, however (in hunc locum), is of opinion, that there is no connexion whatever; that the Evangelist omits words spoken by our Redeemer, between which words omitted by the Evangelist and the words of this verse, there is a connexion; so that the connexion is traceable to some other words spoken by our Redeemer, but omitted here.

21. “When Jesus said these things, He was troubled in spirit.” He voluntarily permitted the inferior faculties of His soul to feel sorrow and indignation at the criminal treachery of Judas, which he was soon to carry into effect, as well as his base ingratitude. No doubt, the fore-knowledge of his damnation, which was to follow his act of suicide in hanging himself with a halter, deeply affected the merciful soul of our Divine Lord. (For a full explanation of this passage to v. 30, see Matthew 26:21–26, Commentary.)

“And He testified,” openly declared what He before had only insinuated (v. 19), “and said,” adding, solemnly, to His seemingly incredible declaration, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you shall betray Me.”

When did our Lord say this? Was it before the institution of the Blessed Eucharist? Some hold it was. Others, following the order of narrative given by St. Luke (22:21), hold that it was after the institution, He uttered these words; and that Matthew and Mark describe this by anticipation. St. Augustine (Lib. 3, de Consensi Evang. c. 1), and other Expositors, reconcile the narrative of the Evangelists, by saying, our Lord referred to the treason of Judas both before and after the institution of the Blessed Eucharist. The order of events was, probably, as follows: after the Paschal supper was over, and when the common Jewish supper, which succeeded it, had commenced, our Lord rose from table, while they were engaged at the common supper, and washed His disciples’ feet, and then reclining, said all that is recorded in this chapter from verse 12 to this verse 21. Then, troubled in spirit, He refers to the traitor, and on each one asking, “Is it I, Lord?” and Jesus replying, “Thou hast said it” (Matthew 26:25), He instituted the Blessed Eucharist. After which, He again refers to the traitor, as in Luke (22:21). Then, Peter asked John, to know of whom He spoke, and our Lord answers, “to whom I shall reach bread dipped” (v. 26). Whereupon, Judas, on receiving the morsel at our Lord’s hands, after the devil had entered into Him, withdraws. After that, our Lord delivered the following beautiful discourse to His disciples.

22. The disciples, in their terror and anxious state of perplexity, each asked, “Is it I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22).

23. Our Lord then institutes the Blessed Sacrament, and this is omitted by St. John, as this Adorable Institution is fully recorded by the three other Evangelists. St. John fully details (6.), the promise of this institution, with all its circumstances. After the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, our Lord again refers to the treason of Judas, and the events occurred, which are recorded in this verse (23), and the subsequent part of this chapter.

“Leaning on Jesus’s bosom.” This happened owing to the mode of sitting or reclining at table, according to the custom then prevalent in Judea. It does not mean, that he was actually lying on our Saviour’s bosom; but, that he sat next Him, so that his head naturally fell back on our Saviour’s bosom, when he spoke to Him. This was a mark of special favour.

“One of His disciples whom Jesus loved.” This refers to St. John himself. He omits expressly mentioning his own name, out of a feeling of modest humility.

24. “Beckoned to him,” either by signs, or in a very low tone of voice, so as not to be heard by others. Peter may, possibly, have in view, to prevent the actual betrayal of our Lord, if necessary, by force, as in the case of Malchus, the High Priest’s servant.

25. “He, therefore, leaning on the breast of Jesus.” From the position John held at table next to our Lord, he had his head quite near the breast of his Divine Master (v. 23). Now, on being asked by Peter, he turned towards him, and again leaning on the breast of Jesus, questioned Him, “Who is it?” It would appear from verses 28, 29, that all this was said in so low a tone of voice, as not to reach the other Apostles.

26. “Bread dipped.” The prevalent custom in the East was to use the hand as the instrument for conveying food to the mouth. It was also customary to have a dish filled with some sauce, into which all were wont, in common, to dip pieces of bread before eating it. Hence, when our Lord says, “he that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish,” etc. (Matthew 26:23), He only refers to the traitor, in a general way, as forming part of the company, and as one of His intimate friends. Now, He gives a secret, special intimation by saying, “he, to whom I shall reach bread dipped,” and suiting the action to the word, handed it to Judas Iscariot. From this, St. John clearly saw Judas was the person referred to. Very likely, Judas, purse-bearer and almoner to our Lord and to the Apostolic College, occupied a place near our Lord, St. John being on the other side of Him, as it would be difficult to reach a morsel except to one immediately near Him. This distinction both as to the place he held, and the handing a morsel dipped, which was also regarded as a privilege and mark of special favour, only helped to aggravate the heinous ingratitude of Judas.

27. “Satan entered into him.” Already had Judas yielded to the suggestions and temptations of the devil (v. 2). But now, the fiend takes full possession of him, rendering him utterly reprobate, driving him on recklessly to destruction. Judas now becomes a tool in his hands, to perpetrate the greatest crime, the betrayal of his Divine Master and benefactor. The communication between our Lord and St. John relative to the horrid treason of Judas was conducted in an under-tone, unperceived by others. Now, our Lord, in an audible tone, addresses Judas, “that which thou dost, do it quickly.” This is permissive, not mandatory, as if He said in the language of stern, indignant reproach: I know your wicked designs; I fear not your worst; I am prepared for the consequences of your base treason. “What you do,” you are prepared and determined to do, you may as well do at once.

28, 29. Although some at least may have known, that Judas was the traitor referred to; still, they did not understand the words of our Lord to convey that the execution of his treasonable designs was so near at hand. They thought that Judas was only commissioned to procure at once what might be required for the coming week or seven days of the Paschal solemnity, or to distribute alms to the poor.

30. The two preceding verses, 28, 29, would seem to convey, parenthetically an observation of the Evangelist, who returns to the narrative regarding Judas. He, on receiving the morsel, and being informed by our Lord, in reply to his question (Matthew 26:25), that it was to him reference was made, “went out immediately,” on seeing that his treasonable design was discovered, and that he was excluded by our Lord from His society for ever. He may have been resolved on losing no time; lest our Redeemer might possibly arrange to escape, as He often did before; and so, he would lose the stipulated sum of thirty pieces of silver. He may have been also apprehensive that the other Apostles, on discovering his wicked designs, might lay violent hands on him.

“And it was night.” A time well suited for carrying out treasonable designs.

From this, to chapter 18:, the Evangelist records the beautiful discourse, which our Lord delivered as a valedictory address to His beloved disciples, on the eve of His departure from them, full of tenderness, and replete with solid instruction as to their line of action in the future circumstances of difficulty and peril which awaited them, when His visible presence would be withdrawn from them.

31. “When, therefore, he was gone out.” The Evangelist refers to this circumstance, solely for the purpose of accurately noting the time.

“Glorified,” or shortly to be glorified. The past tense is put, to denote what would certainly take place in the future, just at hand. The Son of Man was to be glorified in His Passion, through which the redemption of man was to be accomplished, and His victory over death, sin and hell brought about.

He was also to be “glorified” in the wonderful events that were to occur at His death—the darkness, the earthquake—which proclaimed that God was suffering; also in the events that were to succeed it, His glorious Resurrection and Ascension, the sending down of the Holy Ghost as promised, all which proclaimed Him to be God. Now, this Passion, the source of His glory, was about to commence, owing to the betrayal of His apostate disciple.

“And God is glorified in Him,” since, by Him and His Sacred Passion, the leading Attributes of God, His justice, and hatred of sin, His eternal mercy and love for His creatures, are set forth in the clearest light.

32. “And if God is glorified in Him.” “If,” means since—since God is glorified in Him … “will also (in time) glorify Him,” render this Son of Man and his humanity, glorious, “in Himself,” by Himself, since the latent Deity, to which his humanity is united, will display itself and show Him to be the Son of God; and that, “immediately,” in the miraculous and stupendous events accompanying His Passion now at hand, and in the wonderful events, which are to succeed, to be completed by His Assumption, or, rather, Ascension, when He shall enter into the glory of His Father.

33. “Little children.” This is the consoling language of endearment and tender affection expressed by Him, now on the point of leaving them.

“Yet a little while,” etc. He refers to His approaching Passion just at hand, which had virtually commenced with the treason of Judas, who had just left, to put in execution his criminal designs. In these words, He confirms His assertion that He was to be glorified immediately. Some understand, “yet a tittle while,” of the interval that was to elapse between this and His Ascension. But, as His intercourse with them between His Resurrection and Ascension was that of an Immortal and Divine Being, rather than of a mortal man, and as He will not be with them then in His usual mortal condition and familiarity as heretofore; hence, His words are generally understood of His approaching Passion.

“You shall ask Me,” in your difficulties and perplexities, with view of receiving strength, advice and consolation, “and as I said to the Jews,” meaning the Jewish people generally, or their chief men in Jerusalem, on two occasions (7:34; 8:21, and on the last occasion, repeating the dreadful prediction of their reprobation, “you shall die in your sins.” “Whither I go, you cannot come.” The Apostles will be anxious to follow Him to heaven and share in His glory, and rest from their labours. But, they will not be able to attain to it “now,” as they are destined to spread the Gospel throughout the earth. It is only after great labours, persecution and suffering, to be completed by shedding their blood, they will be allowed to follow Him and share in His rest. Unlike the Jews, who would not find Him, and die in their sins, He consoles His disciples, His “own children,” with the assurance that, after having passed through the gates of death and an ordeal of suffering, final glory and rest shall be their assured portion (v. 36).

Some Expositors connect “now,” not with, “I say to you,” but with “come.” “You cannot come now,” implying, as He says, verse 36, “Thou shalt follow hereafter.”

34. “A new Commandment I give unto you, that you love one another.” In this sentence, after which should be placed a full stop, is conveyed the substance of the precept. In the next sentence, commencing with the words, “As I have loved you, that you also love one another,” is conveyed the mode, or rather, standard of its fulfilment. There is a diversity of opinion, as to how it could be called “new,” since love for one another was a leading principle of the old law (Leviticus 19:18). (See also Commentary, Matthew 5:43.) It is generally agreed upon, that our Lord calls it “new,” as promulgated by Himself; 1st, because He made it the badge or distinguishing mark of his followers; 2ndly, because of the new and exalted standard proposed for its observance, “as I have loved you,” or, because of the persons to whom it was first promulgated, who ignored it speculatively, owing to the false glossary of the Pharisees, who inferred from the word, “love thy neighbour or friend;” therefore, hate thy enemy; and practically ignored it owing to the universal selfishness and corruption prevalent, when the Gospel was first preached.

35. This was the distinctive mark or badge by which Christians were known and distinguished from all others. There were several distinctive marks for distinguishing men of several countries, of different religions, and professions in life; but, the marks of our Lord’s true followers, without distinction of country, rank, profession, was the sincere and practical love of one another, a love, such as Christ had for us, who unselfishly made every sacrifice for us, even to the laying down of His life for us. “Greater love no man hath,” etc. (15:13), “and we ought to lay down our life for our brethren” (1 John 3:16). The love of the early Christians for one another was a subject of admiration to Pagans, who frequently exclaimed, “See, how these Christians love one another!” and the happy source of many conversions to the Christian faith.

36. St. Peter, absorbed in the thought that his Master was to depart from him, and seemingly listening in a heedless way, to the rest of the discourse, now with characteristic ardour, joined to great love for his Divine Master, asks, “Lord, whither goest Thou?” Our Lord, answering not Peter’s question regarding the place; but, replying to Peter’s intention of following Him to danger, even to death, tells how “he cannot follow Him now.” He is not yet prepared to die. His faith is not sufficiently strong to enable him to face death, now. So his hour is not yet come. His work for the Gospel is still before him; and his death, which will not be unlike that of his Divine Master, will open for him the gates of everlasting bliss. He will follow Him, hereafter, at some future day.

37. In the fulness of his love and zeal, and over confident in his own strength, which was partly the cause of his fall, by exposing himself unnecessarily to the proximate occasion of sinning against faith, he professes himself ready and willing to follow his Master to any place, ever so beset with danger: nay, ready to lay down his life for Him.

38. Our Lord tells Peter that far from going to death with Him, he will deny Him, and that before dawn of the following morning (see Matthew 26:34). Likely, our Lord predicted this twice, 1st, in the Supper Hall, as here, and Luke (22:34); 2ndly, on their way to Gethsemane, after leaving the Supper Hall, as in Matthew and Mark (14:30). St. Mark says, “before the cock crows twice,” referring to the first and second crowing of the cock. The first crowing of the cock occurred at midnight; and took place after Peter’s first denial. The second, at day dawn. This latter took place after Peter’s third denial—so that before the second crowing of the cock, Peter denied Him thrice, as is here clearly predicted.








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