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Catena Aurea by St. Thomas Aquinas
1. Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
2. And the Chief Priests and Scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
CHRYSOSTOM. The actions of the Jews were a shadow of our own. Accordingly if you ask of a Jew concerning the Passover, and the feast of unleavened bread, he will tell you nothing momentous, mentioning the deliverance from Egypt; whereas should a man inquire of me he would not hear of Egypt or Pharaoh, but of freedom from sin and the darkness of Satan, not by Moses, but by the Son of God;
GLOSS. (non occ.) Whose Passion the Evangelist being about to relate, introduces the figure of it, saying, Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
BEDE. Now the Passover, which is called in Hebrew “Phase,” is not so named from the Passion, but from the passing over, because the destroying angel, seeing the blood on the doors of the Israelites, passed over them, and touched not their first-born. Or the Lord Himself, giving assistance to His people, walked over them. But herein is the difference between the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread, that by the Passover is meant that day alone on which the lamb was slain towards the evening, that is, on the fourteenth day of the first month, but on the fifteenth, when the Israelites went out of Egypt, followed the feast of unleavened bread for seven days, up to the twenty-first of the same month. Hence the writers of the Gospel substitute one indifferently for the other. As here it is said, The day of unleavened bread, which is called the Passover. But it is signified by a mystery, that Christ having suffered once for us, has commanded us through the whole time of this world which is passed in seven days, to live in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
CHRYSOSTOM. Chrys. Hom. 79. in Matt.) The Chief Priests set about their impious deed on the feast, as it follows, And the Chief Priests and Scribes, &c. Moses ordained only one Priest, at whose death another was to be appointed. But at that time, when the Jewish customs had begun to fall away, there were many made every year. These then wishing to kill Jesus, are not afraid of God, lest in truth the holy time should aggravate the pollution of their sin, but every where fear man. Hence it follows, For they feared the people.
BEDE. Not indeed that they apprehended sedition, but were afraid lest by the interference of the people He should be taken out of their hands. And these things Matthew reports to have taken place two days before the Passover, when they were assembled in the judgment hall of Caiaphas.
3. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
4. And he went his way, and communed with the Chief Priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
5. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
6. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
THEOPHYLACT. Having already said that the Chief Priests sought means how they might slay Jesus without incurring any danger, he next goes on to relate the means which occurred to them, as it is said, Then entered Satan into Judas.
TITUS BOSTRENSIS. Satan entered into Judas not by force, but finding the door open. For forgetful of all that he had seen, Judas now turned his thoughts solely to covetousness.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 80. in Matt.) St. Luke gives his surname, because there was another Judas.
TITUS BOSTRENSIS. And he adds, one of the twelve, since he made up the number, though he did not truly discharge the Apostolic office. Or the Evangelist adds this, as it were for contrast sake. As if he said, “He was of the first band of those who were especially chosen.”
BEDE. There is nothing contrary to this in what John says, that after the sop Satan entered into Judas; seeing he now entered into him as a stranger, but then as his own, whom he might lead after him to do whatsoever he willed.
CHRYSOSTOM. (ut sup.) Observe the exceeding iniquity of Judas, that he both sets out by himself, and that he does this for gain. It follows, And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains.
THEOPHYLACT. The magistrates here mentioned were those appointed to take care of the buildings of the temple, or it may be those whom the Romans had set over the people to keep them from breaking forth into tumult; for they were seditious.
CHRYSOSTOM. (ut sup.) By covetousness then Judas became what he was, for it follows, And they covenanted to give him money. Such are the evil passions which covetousness engenders, it makes men irreligious, and compels them to lose all knowledge of God, though they have received a thousand benefits from Him, nay, even to injure Him, as it follows, And he contracted with them.
THEOPHYLACT. That is, he bargained and promised. And sought opportunity to betray him unto them, without the crowds, that is, when he saw Him standing by Himself apart, in the absence of the multitude.
BEDE. Now many shudder at the wickedness of Judas, yet do not guard against it. For whosoever despises the laws of truth and love, betrays Christ who is truth and love. Above all, when he sins not from infirmity or ignorance, but after the likeness of Judas seeks opportunity, when no one is present, to change truth for a lie, virtue for crime.
7. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.
8. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat.
9. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
10. And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
11. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?
12. And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
13. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.
TITUS BOSTRENSIS. Our Lord, in order to leave us a heavenly Passover, ate a typical one, removing the figure, that the truth might take its place.
BEDE. By the day of unleavened bread of the Passover, He means the fourteenth day of the first month, the day on which, having put away the leaven, they were accustomed to hold the Passover, that is, the lamb, towards evening.
EUSEBIUS. But should any one say, “If on the first day of unleavened bread the disciples of our Saviour prepare the Passover, on that day then should we also celebrate the Passover;” we answer, that this was not an admonition, but a history of the fact. It is what took place at the time of the saving Passion; but it is one thing to relate past events, another to sanction and leave them an ordinance to posterity. Moreover, the Saviour did not keep His Passover with the Jews at the time that they sacrificed the lamb. For they did this on the Preparation, when our Lord suffered. Therefore they entered not into the hall of Pilate, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. (John 18:28.) For from the time that they conspired against the truth, they drove far from them the Word of truth. Nor on the first day of unleavened bread, on which the Passover ought to be sacrificed, did they eat their accustomed Passover, for they were intent upon something else, but on the day after, which was the second of unleavened bread. But our Lord on the first day of unleavened bread, that is, on the fifth day of the week, kept the Passover with His disciples.
THEOPHYLACT. Now on the same fifth day He sends two of His disciples to prepare the Passover, namely, Peter and John, the one in truth as loving, the other as loved. In all things shewing, that even to the end of His life He opposed not the law. And He sends them to a strange house; for He and His disciples had no house, else would He have kept the Passover in one of them. So it is added, And they said, Where will thou that we prepare?
BEDE. As if to say, We have no abode, we have no place of shelter. Let those hear this, who busy themselves in building houses. Let them know that Christ, the Lord of all places, had not where to lay His head.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 81. in Matt.) But as they knew not to whom they were sent, He gave them a sign, as Samuel to Saul, as it follows, And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. (1 Sam. 10:3.)
AMBROSE. First observe the greatness of His divine power. He is talking with His disciples, yet knows what will happen in another place. Next behold His condescension, in that He chooses not the person of the rich or powerful, but seeks after the poor, and prefers a mean inn to the spacious palaces of nobles. Now the Lord was not ignorant of the name of the man whose mystery He knew, and that he would meet the disciples, but he is mentioned without a name, that he may be counted as ignoble.
THEOPHYLACT. He sends them for this reason to an unknown man: to shew them that He voluntarily underwent His Passion, since He who so swayed the mind of one unknown to Him, that He should receive them, was able to deal with the Jews just as He wished. But some say that He gave not the name of the man, lest the traitor knowing his name might open the house to the Pharisees, and they should have come and taken Him before that the supper was eaten, and He had delivered the spiritual mysteries to His disciples. But He directs them by particular signs to a certain house; whence it follows, And ye shall say to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, &c. And he will shew you an upper room, &c.
GLOSS. (non occ.) And perceiving these signs, the disciples zealously fulfilled all that had been commanded them; as it follows, And they went, and found as he had said unto them, and made ready the Passover.
BEDE. To explain this Passover, the Apostle says, Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. (1 Cor. 5:7.) Which Passover in truth must needs have been slain there, as it was so ordained by the Father’s counsel and determination. And thus although on the next day, that is, the fifteenth, He was crucified, yet, on this night on which the lamb was slain by the Jews, being seized and bound, He consecrated the beginning of His sacrifice, that is, of His Passion.
THEOPHYLACT. By the day of unleavened bread, we must understand that conversation which is wholly in the light of the Spirit, having lost all trace of the old corruption of Adam’s first transgression. And living in this conversation, it becomes us to rejoice in the mysteries of Christ. Now these mysteries Peter and John prepare, that is, action and contemplation, fervid zeal and peaceful meekness. And these preparers a certain man meets, because in what we have just mentioned, lies the condition of man who was created after the image of God. And he carries a pitcher of water, which signifies the grace of the Holy Spirit. But the pitcher is humbleness of heart; for He giveth grace to the humble, who know themselves to be but earth and dust.
AMBROSE. Or the pitcher is a more perfect measure, but the water is that which was thought meet to be a sacrament of Christ; to wash, not to be washed.
BEDE. They prepare the Passover in that house, whither the pitcher of water is carried, for the time is at hand in which to the keepers of the true Passover, the typical blood is taken away from the lintel, and the baptism of the lifegiving fountain is consecrated to take away sin.
ORIGEN. (in Matt. 26:18.) But I think that the man who meets the disciples as they enter into the city, carrying a pitcher of water, was some servant of a master of a house, carrying water in an earthen vessel either for washing or for drinking. And this I think is Moses conveying the spiritual doctrine in fleshly histories. But they who follow him not, do not celebrate the Passover with Jesus. Let us then ascend with the Lord united to us, to the upper part in which is the guestchamber, which is shewn by the understanding, that is, the goodman of the house, to every one of the disciples of Christ. But this upper room of our house must be large enough to receive Jesus the Word of God, who is not comprehended but by those who are greater in comprehension. And this chamber must be made ready by the goodman of the house, (that is, the understanding,) for the Son of God, and it must be cleaned, wholly purged of the filth of malice. The master of the house also must not be any common person having a known name. Hence He says mystically in Matthew, Go ye to such a one.
AMBROSE. Now in the upper parts he has a large room furnished, that you may consider how great were his merits in whom the Lord could sit down with His disciples, rejoicing in His exalted virtues.
ORIGEN. (ut sup.) But we should know that they who are taken up with banquetings and worldly cares do not ascend into that upper part of the house, and therefore do not keep the Passover with Jesus. For after the words of the disciples wherewith they questioned the goodman of the house, (that is, the understanding,) the Divine Person came into that house to feast there with His disciples.
14. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer:
16. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. As soon as the disciples had prepared the Passover, they proceed to eat it; as it is said, And when the hour was come, &c.
BEDE. By the hour of eating the Passover, He signifies the fourteenth day of the first month, far gone towards evening, the fifteenth moon just appearing on the earth.
THEOPHYLACT. But how is our Lord said to sit down, whereas the Jews eat the Passover standing? They say, that when they had eaten the legal Passover, they sat down, according to the common custom, to eat their other food.
It follows, And he said unto them, With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you, &c.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. He says this, because the covetous disciple was looking out for the time for betraying Him; but that he might not betray Him before the feast of the Passover, our Lord had not divulged either the house, or the man with whom He should keep the Passover. That this was the cause is very evident from these words.
THEOPHYLACT. Or He says, With desire have I desired; as if to say, This is My last supper with you, therefore it is most precious and welcome to Me; just as those who are going away to a distance, utter the last words to their friends most affectionately.
CHRYSOSTOM. Or He says this, because after that Passover the Cross was at hand. But we find Him frequently prophesying of His own Passion, and desiring it to take place.
BEDE. He first then desires to eat the typical Passover, and so to declare the mysteries of His Passion to the world.
EUSEBIUS. Or else; When our Lord was celebrating the new Passover, He fitly said, With desire have I desired this Passover, that is, the new mystery of the New Testament which He gave to His disciples, and which many prophets and righteous men desired before Him. He then also Himself thirsting for the common salvation, delivered this mystery, to suffice for the whole world. But the Passover was ordained by Moses to be celebrated in one place, that is, in Jerusalem. Therefore it was not adapted for the whole world, and so was not desired.
EPIPHANIUS. (adv. Hær. 30. 22.) Hereby we may refute the folly of the Ebionites concerning the eating of flesh, seeing that our Lord eats the Passover of the Jews. Therefore He pointedly said, “This Passover,” that no one might transfer it to mean another.
BEDE. Thus then was our Lord the approver of the legal Passover; and as He taught that it related to the figure of His own dispensation, He forbids it henceforth to be represented in the flesh. Therefore He adds, For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. That is, I will no more celebrate the Mosaic Passover, until, being spiritually understood, it is fulfilled in the Church. For the Church is the kingdom of God; as in Luke, The kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21.) Again, the ancient Passover, which He desired to bring to an end, is also alluded to in what follows; And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take ye, &c. For this gave He thanks, that the old things were about to pass away, and all things to become new.
CHRYSOSTOM. (conc. de Laz.) Remember then when thou sittest down to meat that after the meal thou must pray; therefore satisfy thy hunger, but with moderation, lest being overcharged thou shouldest not be able to bend thy knees in supplication and prayer to God. Let us not then after our meals turn to sleep, but to prayer. For Christ plainly signifies this, that the partaking of food should not be followed by sleep or rest, but by prayer and reading the holy Scripture. It follows, For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God come.
BEDE. This may be also taken literally, for from the hour of supper up to the time of resurrection He was about to drink no wine. Afterwards He partook both of meat and drink, as Peter testifies, Who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. (Acts 10:41.)
THEOPHYLACT. The resurrection is called the kingdom of God, because it has destroyed death. Therefore David also says, The Lord reigneth: He hath put on beauty, (Ps. 93:1.) that is, a beautiful robe, having put off the corruption of the flesh. (Isa. 63:1.) But when the resurrection comes, He again drinks with His disciples; to prove that the resurrection was not a shadow only.
BEDE. But it is far more natural, that as before of the typical lamb, so now also of the drink of the Passover, He should say that He would no more taste, until the glory of the kingdom of God being made manifest, the faith of the whole world should appear; that so by means of the spiritual changing of the two greatest commands of the law, namely, the eating and drinking of the Passover, you might learn that all the Sacraments of the law were to be transferred to a spiritual observance.
19. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
BEDE. Having finished the rites of the old Passover, He passes on to the new, which He desires the Church to celebrate in memory of His redemption, substituting for the flesh and blood of the lamb, the Sacrament of His own Flesh and Blood in the figure of the bread and wine, being made a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech. (Ps. 110:4.) Hence it is said, And he took bread, and gave thanks, (Heb. 7:21.) as also He had given thanks upon finishing the old feast, leaving us an example to glorify God at the beginning and end of every good work. It follows, And brake it. He Himself breaks the bread which He holds forth, to shew that the breaking of His Body, that is, His Passion, will not be without His will. And gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you.
GREGORY OF NYSSA. (Orat. de Bapt. Christ.) For the bread before the consecration is common bread, but when the mystery has consecrated it, it is, and it is called, the Body of Christ.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. (in Luc.) Nor doubt that this is true; for He plainly says, This is my body; but rather receive the words of thy Saviour in faith. For since He is the Truth, He lies not. (Ep. ad Calosyr.). a They rave foolishly then who say that the mystical blessing loses its power of sanctifying, if any remains are left till the following day. For the most holy Body of Christ will not be changed, but the power of blessing and the life-giving grace is ever abiding in it. (in Luc. ut sup.). For the life-giving power of God the Father is the only-begotten Word, which was made flesh not ceasing to be the Word, but making the flesh life-giving. What then? since we have in us the life of God, the Word of God dwelling in us, will our body be life-giving? But it is one thing for us by the habit of participation to have in ourselves the Son of God, another for Himself to have been made flesh, that is, to have made the body which He took from the pure Virgin His own Body. He must needs then be in a certain manner united to our bodies by His holy Body and precious Blood, which we have received for a life-giving blessing in the bread and wine. For lest we should be shocked, seeing the Flesh and Blood placed on the holy altars, God, in compassion to our infirmities, pours into the offerings the power of life, changing them into the reality of His own flesh, that the body of life may be found in us, as it were a certain life-giving seed. He adds. Do this in commemoration of me.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 46. in Joan.) Christ did this to bring us to a closer bond of friendship, and to betoken His love toward us, giving Himself to those who desire Him, not only to behold Him, but also to handle Him, to eat Him, to embrace Him with the fulness of their whole heart. Therefore as lions breathing fire do we depart from that table, rendered objects of terror to the devil.
BASIL. (Moral. Reg. 21. c. 3. Reg. Brev. ad int. 172.) Learn then in what manner you ought to eat the Body of Christ, namely, in remembrance of Christ’s obedience even unto death, that they who live may no more live in themselves, but in Him who died for them, and rose again. (2 Cor. 5:15.)
THEOPHYLACT. Now Luke mentions two cups; of the one we spoke above, Take this, and divide it among yourselves, which we may say is a type of the Old Testament; but the other after the breaking and giving of bread, He Himself imparts to His disciples. Hence it is added, Likewise also the cup after supper.
BEDE. He gave to them, is here understood to complete the sentence.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. lib. iii. c. 1.) Or because Luke has twice mentioned the cup, first before Christ gave the bread, then after He had given it, on the first occasion he has anticipated, as he frequently does, but on the second that which he has placed in its natural order, he had made no mention of before. But both joined together make the same sense which we find in the others, that is, Matthew and Mark.
THEOPHYLACT. Our Lord calls the cup the New Testament, as it follows, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you, signifying that the New Testament has its beginning in His blood. For in the Old Testament the blood of animals was present when the law was given, but now the blood of the Word of God signifies to us the New Testament. But when He says, for you, He does not mean that for the Apostles only was His Body given, and His Blood poured out, but for the sake of all mankind. And the old Passover was ordained to remove the slavery of Egypt; but the blood of the lamb to protect the first-born. The new Passover was ordained to the remission of sins; but the Blood of Christ to preserve those who are dedicated to God.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 46. in Joan.) For this Blood moulds in us a royal image, it suffers not our nobleness of soul to waste away, moreover it refreshes the soul, and inspires it with great virtue. This Blood puts to flight the devils, summons angels, and the Lord of angels. This Blood poured forth washed the world, and made heaven open. They that partake of it are built up with heavenly virtues, and arrayed in the royal robes of Christ; yea rather clothed upon by the King Himself. And since if thou comest clean, thou comest healthfully; so if polluted by an evil conscience, thou comest to thy own destruction, to pain and torment. For if they who defile the imperial purple are smitten with the same punishment as those who tear it asunder, it is not unreasonable that they who with an unclean heart receive Christ should be beaten with the same stripes as they were who pierced Him with nails.
BEDE. Because the bread strengthens, and the wine produces blood in the flesh, the former is ascribed to the Body of Christ, the latter to His Blood. But because both we ought to abide in Christ, and Christ in us, the wine of the Lord’s cup is mixed with water, for John bears witness, The people are many waters. (Rev. 17:15.)
THEOPHYLACT. But first the bread is given, next the cup. For in spiritual things labour and action come first, that is, the bread, not only because it is toiled for by the sweat of the brow, but also because while being eaten it is not easy to swallow. Then after labour follows the rejoicing of Divine grace, which is the cup.
BEDE. For this reason then the Apostles communicated after supper, because it was necessary that the typical passover should be first completed, and then they should pass on to the Sacrament of the true Passover. But now in honour of so great a Sacrament, the masters of the Church think right that we should first be refreshed with the spiritual banquet, and afterward with the earthly.
GREEK EXPOSITOR. (Eutychius Patriarch.) He that communicates receives the whole Body and Blood of our Lord, even though he receive but a part of the Mysteries. For as one seal imparts the whole of its device to different substances, and yet remains entire after distribution, and as one word penetrates to the hearing of many, so there is no doubt that the Body and Blood of our Lord is received whole in all. But the breaking of the sacred bread signifies the Passion.
21. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.
22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed.
23. And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. l. iii. c. 1.) When our Lord had given the cup to His disciples, He again spoke of His betrayer, saying, But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me, &c.
THEOPHYLACT. And this He said not only to shew that He knew all things, but also to declare unto us His own especial goodness, in that He left nothing undone of those things which belonged to Him to do; (for He gives us an example, that even unto the end we should be employed in reclaiming sinners;) and moreover to point out the baseness of the traitor who blushed not to be His guest.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 82. in Matt.) Yet though partaking of the mystery, he was not converted. Nay, his wickedness is made only the more awful, as well because under the pollution of such a design, he came to the mystery, as that coming he was not made better, either by fear, gratitude, or respect.
BEDE. And yet our Lord does not especially point him out, lest being so plainly detected, he might only become the more shameless. But He throws the charge on the whole twelve, that the guilty one might be turned to repentance. He also proclaims his punishment, that the man whom shame had not prevailed upon, might by the sentence denounced against him be brought to amendment. Hence it follows, And truly the Son of man goeth, &c.
THEOPHYLACT. Not as if unable to preserve Himself, but as determining for Himself to suffer death for the salvation of man.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 81. in Matt.) Because then Judas in the things which are written of him acted with an evil purpose, in order that no one might deem him guiltless, as being the minister of the dispensation, Christ adds, Woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed.
BEDE. But woe also to that man, who coining unworthily to the Table of our Lord, after the example of Judas, betrays the Son, not indeed to Jews, but to sinners, that is, to his own sinful members. Although the eleven Apostles knew that they were meditating nothing against their Lord, yet notwithstanding because they trust more to their Master than themselves, fearing their own infirmities, they ask concerning a sin of which they had no consciousness.
BASIL. (in Reg. Brev. ad int. 301.) For as in bodily diseases there are many of which the affected are not sensible, but they rather put faith in the opinion of their physicians, than trust their own insensibility; so also in the diseases of the soul, though a man is not conscious of sin in himself, yet ought he to trust to those who are able to have more knowledge of their own sins.
24. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
THEOPHYLACT. While they were enquiring among themselves who should betray the Lord, they would naturally go on to say to one another, “Thou art the traitor,” and so become impelled to say, “I am the best, I am the greatest.” Hence it is said, And there was also a strife among them which should be accounted the greatest.
GREEK EXPOSITOR. (Apollinarius in loc.) Or the strife seems to have arisen from this, that when our Lord was departing from the world, it was thought that some one must become their head, as taking our Lord’s place.
BEDE. As good men seek in the Scriptures the examples of their fathers, that they may thereby gain profit and be humbled, so the bad, if by chance they have discovered any thing blameable in the elect, most gladly seize upon it, to shelter their own iniquities thereby. Many therefore most eagerly read, that a strife arose among the disciples of Christ.
AMBROSE. If the disciples did contend, it is not alleged as any excuse, but held out as a warning. Let us then beware lest any contentions among us for precedence be our ruin.
BEDE. Rather let us look not what carnal disciples did, but what their spiritual Master commanded; for it follows, And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles, &c.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 65. in Matt.) He mentions the Gentiles, to shew thereby how faulty it was. For it is of the Gentiles to seek after precedence.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Soft words are also given them by their subjects, as it follows, And they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. Now they truly as alien from the sacred law are subject to these evils, but your preeminence is in humility, as it follows, But ye shall not be so.
BASIL. (in Reg. fus. dis. int. 30.) Let not him that is chief be puffed up by his dignity, lest he fall away from the blessedness of humility, but let him know that true humility is the ministering unto many. As then he who attends many wounded and wipes away the blood from their wounds, least of all men enters upon the service for his own exaltation, much more ought he to whom is committed the care of his sick brethren as the minister of all, about to render an account of all, to be thoughtful and anxious. And so let him that is greatest be as the younger. (ad int. 31.). Again, it is meet that those who are in the chief places should be ready to offer also bodily service, after our Lord’s example, who washed His disciples’ feet. Hence it follows, And he that is chief, as he that doth serve. But we need not fear that the spirit of humility will be weakened in the inferior, while he is being served by his superior, for by imitation humility is extended.
AMBROSE. But it must be observed, that not every kind of respect and deference to others betokens humility, for you may defer to a person for the world’s sake, for fear of his power, or regard to your own interest. In that case you seek to advance yourself, not to honour another. Therefore there is one form of the precept given to all men, namely, that they boast not about precedence, but strive earnestly for humility.
BEDE. In this rule however, given by our Lord, the great have need of no little judgment, that they do not indeed like the kings of the Gentiles delight to tyrannize over their subjects, and be puffed up with their praises, yet notwithstanding that they be provoked with a righteous zeal against the wickedness of offenders.
But to the words of the exhortation He subjoins His own example, as it follows, For which is greater, he who sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? But I am among you, &c.
CHRYSOSTOM. As if He says, Think not that thy disciple needs you, but that you do not need him. For I who need no one whom all things in heaven and earth need, have condescended to the degree of a servant.
THEOPHYLACT. He shews Himself to be their servant, when He distributes the bread and the cup, of which service He makes mention, reminding them that if they have eaten of the same bread, and drunk of the same cup, if Christ Himself served all, they ought all to think the same things.
BEDE. Or He speaks of that service wherewith, according to John, He their Lord and Master washed their feet. Although by the word itself serving, (John 13:5.) all that He did in the flesh may be implied, but by serving He also signifies that He poureth forth His blood for us.
28. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
29. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
30. That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
THEOPHYLACT. As the Lord had denounced woe to the traitor, so on the other hand to the rest of the disciples He promises blessings, saying, Ye are they which have continued with me, &c.
BEDE. For not the first effort of patience, but long-continued perseverance, is rewarded with the glory of the heavenly kingdom, for perseverance, (which is called constancy or fortitude of mind,) is, so to say, the pillar and prop of all virtues. The Son of God then conducts those who abide with Him in His temptations to the everlasting kingdom. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. (Rom. 6:5.) Hence it follows, And I give to you a kingdom, &c.
AMBROSE. The kingdom of God is not of this world, But it is not equality with God, but likeness to Him, unto which man must aspire. For Christ alone is the full image of God, on account of the unity of His Father’s glory expressed in Him. But the righteous man is after the image of God, if for the sake of imitating the likeness of the Divine conversation, He through the knowledge of God despises the world. Therefore also we eat the Body and Blood of Christ, that we may be partakers of eternal life. Whence it follows, That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. For the reward promised to us is not food and drink, but the communication of heavenly grace and life.
BEDE. Or the table offered to all saints richly to enjoy is the glory of a heavenly life, wherewith they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled, resting in the long-desired enjoyment of the true God. (Matt. 5:6.)
THEOPHYLACT. He said this not as if they would have there bodily food, or as if His kingdom were to be a sensible one. For their life then shall be the life of angels, as He before told the Sadducees. (Mat. 22:30, Luke 20:36) But Paul also says that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink. (Rom. 14:17.)
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. By means of the things of our present life He describes spiritual things. For they exercise a high privilege with earthly kings, who sit at their table as guests. So then by man’s estimation He shews who shall be rewarded by Him with the greatest honours.
BEDE. This then is the exchange to the right hand of the Most High, (Ps. 118:15.) that those who now in lowliness rejoice to minister to their fellow-servants, shall then at our Lord’s table on high be fed with the banquet of everlasting life, and they who here in temptations abide with the Lord being unjustly judged, shall then come with Him as just judges upon their tempters. Hence it follows, And sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
THEOPHYLACT. That is, the unbelievers condemned out of the twelve tribes.
AMBROSE. But the twelve thrones are not as it were any resting-places for the bodily posture, but because since Christ judges after the Divine likeness by knowledge of the hearts, not by examination of the actions, rewarding virtue, condemning iniquity; so the Apostles are appointed to a spiritual judgment, for the rewarding of faith, the condemnation of unbelief, repelling error with virtue, inflicting vengeance on the sacrilegious.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 64. in Matt.) What then will Judas also sit there? Observe what the law was which God gave by Jeremiah, If I have promised any good, and thou art counted unworthy of it, I will punish you. (Jerem. 18:10.) Therefore speaking to His disciples He did not make a general promise, but added, Ye who have continued with me in my temptations.
BEDE. From the high excellence of this promise Judas is excluded. For before the Lord said this, Judas must be supposed to have gone out. They also are excluded whoever having heard the words of the incomprehensible Sacrament, have gone backwards. (John 6:67.)
31. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
BEDE. Lest the eleven should be boastful, and impute it to their own strength, that they almost alone among so many thousands of the Jews were said to have continued with our Lord in His temptations, He shews them, that if they had not been protected by the aid of their Master succouring them, they would have been beaten down by the same storm as the rest. Hence it follows, And the Lord said unto Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired thee, that he may sift thee as wheat. That is, he hath longed to tempt you and to shake you, as he who cleanses wheat by winnowing. Wherein He teaches that no man’s faith is tried unless God permits it.
THEOPHYLACT. Now this was said to Peter, because he was bolder than the rest, and might feel proud because of the things which Christ had promised.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Or to shew that men being as nought, (as regards human nature, and the proneness of our minds to fall,) it is not meet that they should wish to be above their brethren. Therefore passing by all the others, He comes to Peter, who was the chief of them, saying, But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 82. in Matt.) Now He said not, ‘I have granted,’ but I have prayed. For He speaks humbly as approaching unto His Passion, and that He may manifest His human nature. For He who had spoken not in supplication, but by authority, Upon this rock I will build my Church, and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, (Matt. 16:18.) how should He have need of prayer that He might stay one agitated soul? He does not say, “I have prayed that thou deny not,” but that thou do not abandon thy faith.
THEOPHYLACT. For albeit thou art for a time shaken, yet thou boldest stored up, a seed of faith; though the spirit has shed its leaves in temptation, yet the root is firm. Satan then seeks to harm thee, because he is envious of my love for thee, but notwithstanding that I have prayed for thee, thou shalt fall. Hence it follows, And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. As if He says, After that thou hast wept and repented thy denial of Me, strengthen thy brethren, for I have deputed thee to be the head of the Apostles. For this befits thee who art with Me, the strength and rock of the Church. And this must be understood not only of the Apostles who then were, but of all the faithful who were about to be, even to the end of the world; that none of the believers might despair, seeing that Peter though an Apostle denied his Lord, yet afterwards by penitence obtained the high privilege of being the Ruler (ἐπιστάτης) of the world.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Marvel then at the superabundance of the Divine forbearance: lest He should cause a disciple to despair, before the crime was committed, He granted pardon, and again restored him to his Apostolic rank, saying, Strengthen thy brethren.
BEDE. As if to say, As I by prayer protected your faith that it should not fail, so do you remember to sustain the weaker brethren, that they despair not of pardon.
AMBROSE. Beware then of boasting, beware of the world; he is commanded to strengthen his own brethren, who said, Master, we have left all, and followed thee. (Matt. 19:27.)
BEDE. Because the Lord said He had prayed for Peter’s faith, Peter conscious of present affection and fervent faith, but unconscious of his coming fall, does not believe he could in any way fall from Christ. As it follows, And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee to prison and to death.
THEOPHYLACT. He burns forth indeed with too much love, and promises what is impossible to him. But it behoved him as soon as he heard from the Truth that he was to be tempted, to be no longer confident. Now the Lord, seeing that Peter spoke boastfully, reveals the nature of his temptation, namely, that he would deny Him; I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou thrice deny, &c.
AMBROSE. Now Peter although earnest in spirit, yet still weak in bodily inclination, is declared about to deny his Lord; for he could not equal the constancy of the Divine will. Our Lord’s Passion has rivals, but no equal.
THEOPHYLACT. From hence we draw a great doctrine, that human resolve is not sufficient without the Divine support. For Peter with all his zeal, nevertheless when forsaken of God was overthrown by the enemy.
BASIL. (in Reg. Brev. ad int. 8.) We must know then, that God sometimes allows the rash to receive a fall, as a remedy to previous self-confidence. But although the rash man seems to have committed the same offence with other men, there is no slight difference. For the one has sinned by reason of certain secret assaults and almost against his will, but the others, having no care either for themselves or God, knowing no distinction between sin and virtuous actions. For the rash needing some assistance, in regard to this very thing in which he has sinned ought to suffer reproof. But the others, having destroyed all the good of their soul, must be afflicted, warned, rebuked, or made subject to punishment, until they acknowledge that God is a just Judge, and tremble.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. l. iii. c. 2.) Now what is here said concerning the foregoing denial of Peter is contained in all the Evangelists, but they do not all happen to relate it upon the same occasion in the discourse. Matthew and Mark subjoin it after our Lord had departed from the house where He had eaten the Passover, but Luke and John before He went out from thence. But we may easily understand either that the two former used these words, recapitulating them, or the two others anticipating them: only it rather moves us, that not only the words but even the sentences of our Lord, in which Peter being troubled used that boast of dying either for or with our Lord, are given so differently, as rather to compel us to believe that he thrice uttered his boast at different parts of our Lord’s discourse, and that he was thrice answered by our Lord, that before the cock crowed he should deny Him thrice.
35. And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
36. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
37. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
38. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Our Lord had foretold to Peter that he should deny Him; namely, at the time of His being taken. But having once made mention of His being taken captive, He next announces the struggle that would ensue against the Jews. Hence it is said, And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, &c.For the Saviour had sent the holy Apostles to preach in the cities and towns the kingdom of heaven, bidding them to take no thought of the things of the body, but to place their whole hope of salvation in Him.
CHRYSOSTOM. (in illud ad Rom. 16. Salutate Priscillam.) Now as one who teaches to swim, at first indeed placing his hands under his pupils, carefully supports them, but afterward frequently withdrawing his hand, bids them help themselves, nay even lets them sink a little; so likewise did Christ deal with His disciples. At the beginning truly He was present to them, giving them most richly abundance of all things; as it follows, And they said unto them, Nothing. But when it was necessary for them to shew their own strength, He withdrew from them for a little His grace, bidding them do something of themselves; as it follows, But now he that hath a purse, that is, wherein to carry money, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, that is, to carry provisions in. And truly when they had neither shoes, nor girdle, nor staff, nor money, they never suffered the want of any thing. But when He allowed them purse and scrip, they seem to suffer hunger, and thirst, and nakedness. As if He said to them, Hitherto all things have been most richly supplied to you, but now I would have you also experience poverty, therefore I hold you no longer to the former rule, but I command you to get purse and scrip. Now God might even to the end have kept them in plenty, but for many reasons He was unwilling to do so. First that they might impute nothing to themselves, but acknowledge that every thing flowed from God; secondly, that they might learn moderation; thirdly, that they might not think too highly of themselves. For this cause while He permitted them to fall into many unlooked for evils, He relaxed the rigour of the former law, lest it should become grievous and intolerable.
BEDE. For He does not train His disciples in the same rule of life, in time of persecution, as in the time of peace. When He sent them to preach, He ordered them to take nothing in the way, ordaining in truth, that He who preaches the Gospel should live by the Gospel. But when the crisis of death was at hand, and the whole nation persecuted both the shepherd and the flock, He proposes a law adapted to the time, allowing them to take the necessaries of life, until the rage of the persecutors was abated, and the time of preaching the Gospel had returned. Herein He leaves us also an example, that at times when a just reason urges, we may intermit without blame somewhat of the strictness of our determination.
AUGUSTINE. (cont. Faust. lib. xxii. c. 77.) By no inconsistency then of Him who commands, but by the reason of the dispensation, according to the diversity of times are commandments, counsels, or permissions changed.
AMBROSE. But He who forbids to strike, why does He order them to buy a sword? unless perchance that there may be a defence prepared, but no necessary retaliation; a seeming ability to be revenged, without the will. Hence it follows, And he who has not, (that is, a purse,) let him sell his garment, and buy a sword.
CHRYSOSTOM. What is, this? He who said, If any one strike you on the right cheek, turn unto him the other also, (Matt. 5:39.) now arms His disciples, and with a sword only. For if it were fitting to be completely armed, not only must a man possess a sword, but shield and helmet. But even though a thousand had arms of this kind, how could the eleven be prepared for all the attacks and lying in wait of people, tyrants, allies, and nations, and how should they not quake at the mere sight of armed men, who had been brought up near lakes and rivers? We must not then suppose that He ordered them to possess swords, but by the swords He points at the secret attack of the Jews. And hence it follows, For I say unto you, that this that is written must be accomplished in me: And he was numbered with the transgressors. (Isa. 53:12.)
THEOPHYLACT. While they were contending among themselves above concerning priority, He saith, It is not a time of dignities, but rather of danger and slaughter. Behold I even your Master am led to a disgraceful death, to be reckoned with the transgressors. For these things which are prophesied of Me have an end, that is, a fulfilment. Wishing then to hint at a violent attack, He made mention of a sword, not altogether revealing it, lest they should be seized with dismay, nor did He entirely provide that they should not be shaken by these sudden attacks, but that afterwards recovering, they might marvel how He gave Himself up to the Passion, a ransom for the salvation of men.
BASIL. (Reg. Brev. int. 31.) Or the Lord does not bid them carry purse and scrip and buy a sword, but predicts that it should come to pass, that in truth the Apostles, forgetful of the time of the Passion, of the gifts and law of their Lord, would dare to take up the sword. For often does the Scripture make use of the imperative form of speech in the place of prophecy. Still in many books we do not find, Let him take, or buy, but, he will take, he will buy.
THEOPHYLACT. Or He hereby foretels to them that they would incur hunger and thirst, which He implies by the scrip, and sundry kinds of misery, which he intends by the sword.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Or else; When our Lord says, He who hath a purse, let him take it, likewise a scrip, His discourse He addressed to His disciples, but in reality He regards every individual Jew; as if He says, If any Jew is rich in resources, let him collect them together and fly. But if any one oppressed with extreme poverty applies himself to religion, let him also sell his cloak and buy a sword. For the terrible attack of battle shall overtake them, so that nothing shall suffice to resist it. He next lays open the cause of these evils, namely, that He suffered the penalty due to the wicked, being crucified with thieves. And when it shall have come at last to this, the word of dispensation will receive its end. But to the persecutors shall happen all that has been foretold by the Prophets. These things then God prophesied concerning what should befall the country of the Jews, but the disciples understood not the depth of His words, thinking they had need of swords against the coming attack of the traitor. Whence it follows; But they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords.
CHRYSOSTOM. And in truth, if He wished them to use human aid, not a hundred swords would have sufficed; but if He willed not the assistance of man, even two are superfluous.
THEOPHYLACT. Our Lord then was unwilling to blame them as not understanding Him, but saying, It is enough, He dismissed them; as when we are addressing any one, and see that he does not understand what is said, we say, Well, let us leave him, lest we trouble him. But some say, that our Lord said, It is enough, ironically; as if He said, Since there are two swords, they will amply suffice against so large a multitude as is about to attack us.
BEDE. Or the two swords suffice for a testimony that Jesus suffered voluntarily. The one indeed was to teach the Apostles the presumption of their contending for their Lord, and His inherent virtue of healing; the other never taken out of its sheath, to shew that they were not even permitted to do all that they could for His defence.
AMBROSE. Or, because the law does not forbid to return a blow, perhaps He says to Peter, as he is offering the two swords, It is enough, as though it were lawful until the Gospel; in order that there may be in the law, the knowledge of justice; in the Gospel, perfection of goodness. There is also a spiritual sword, that you may sell your patrimony, and buy the word, by which the nakedness of the soul is clothed. There is also a sword of suffering, so that you may strip your body, and with the spoils of your sacrificed flesh purchase for yourself the sacred crown of martyrdom. Again it moves, seeing that the disciples put forward two swords, whether perhaps one is not of the Old Testament, the other of the New, whereby we are armed against the wiles of the devil. Therefore the Lord says, It is enough, because he wanted nothing who is fortified by the teaching of both Testaments.
39. And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
BEDE. As He was to be betrayed by His disciple, our Lord goes to the place of His wonted retirement, where He might most easily be found; as it follows, And he came out, and went, as he was want, to the mount of Olives.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. By day He was in Jerusalem, but when the darkness of night came on He held converse with His disciples on the mount of Olives; as it is added, And his disciples followed.
BEDE. Rightly does He lead the disciples, about to be instructed in the mysteries of His Body, to the mount of Olives, that He might signify that all who arc baptized in His death should be comforted with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
THEOPHYLACT. Now after supper our Lord betakes Himself not to idleness or sleep, but to prayer and teaching. Hence it follows, And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray, &c.
BEDE. It is indeed impossible for the soul of man not to be tempted. Therefore he says not, Pray that ye be not tempted, but, Pray that ye enter not into temptation, that is, that the temptation do not at last overcome you.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But not to do good by words only, He went forward a little and prayed; as it follows, And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast. You will every where find Him praying apart, to teach you that with a devout mind and quiet heart we should speak with the most high God. He did not betake Himself to prayer, as if He was in want of another’s help, who is the Almighty power of the Father, but that we may learn not to slumber in temptation, but rather to be instant in prayer.
BEDE. He also alone prays for all, who was to suffer alone for all, signifying that His prayer is as far distant from ours as His Passion.
AUGUSTINE. (de Qu. Evang. lib. ii. qu. 50.) He was torn from them about a stone’s cast, as though He would typically remind them that to Him they should point the stone, that is, up to Him bring the intention of the law which was written on stone.
GREGORY OF NYSSA. But what meaneth His bending of knees? of which it is said, And he kneeled down, and prayed. It is the way of men to pray to their superiors with their faces on the ground, testifying by the action that the greater of the two are those who are asked. Now it is plain that human nature contains nothing worthy of God’s imitation. Accordingly the tokens of respect which we evince to one another, confessing ourselves to be inferior to our neighbours, we have transferred to the humiliation of the Incomparable Nature. And thus He who bore our sicknesses and interceded for us, bent His knee in prayer, by reason of the man which He assumed, giving us an example, that we ought not to exalt ourselves at the time of prayer, but in all things be conformed to humility; for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. (James 4:6, 1 Pet. 5:5.)
CHRYSOSTOM. Now every art is set forth by the words and works of him who teacheth it. Because then our Lord had come to teach no ordinary virtue, therefore He speaks and does the same things. And so having in words commanded to pray, lest they enter into temptation, He does the same likewise in work, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. He saith not the words, If thou wilt, as if ignorant whether it was pleasing to the Father. For such knowledge was not more difficult than the knowledge of His Father’s substance, which He alone clearly knew, according to John, As the Father knoweth me, even so have I known the Father. (John 10:15.) Nor says He this, as refusing His Passion. For He who rebuked a disciple, who wished to prevent His Passion, (Matt. 16:23.) so as even after many commendations, to call him Satan, how should He be unwilling to be crucified? Consider then why it was so said. How great a thing was it to hear that the unspeakable God, who passes all understanding, was content to enter the virgin’s womb, to suck her milk, and to undergo every thing human. Since then that was almost incredible which was about to happen, He sent first indeed Prophets to announce it, afterwards He Himself comes clothed in the flesh, so that you could not suppose Him to be a phantom. He permits His flesh to endure all natural infirmities, to hunger, to thirst, to sleep, to labour, to be afflicted, to be tormented; on this account likewise He refuses not death, that He might manifest thereby His true humanity.
AMBROSE. He says then, If thou wilt, remove this cup from me, as man refusing death, as God maintaining His own decree.
BEDE. Or He begs the cup to be removed from Him, not indeed from fear of suffering, but from His compassion for the first people, lest they should have to drink the cup first drunk by Him. Therefore He says expressly, not, Remove from Me the cup, but this cup, that is, the cup of the Jewish people, who can have no excuse for their ignorance in slaying Me, having the Law and the Prophets daily prophesying of Me.
DIONYSIUS OF ALEXANDRIA. (Dion. de Martyr. c. 7.) Or when He says, Let this cup pass from me, it is not, let it not come to Me, for unless it had come it could not pass away. It was therefore when He perceived it already present that He began to be afflicted and sorrowful, and as it was close at hand, He says, Let this cup pass; for as that which has passed can neither be said not to have come nor yet to remain, so also the Saviour asks first that the temptation slightly assailing Him may pass away. And this is the not entering into temptation which He counsels to pray for. But the most perfect way of avoiding temptation is manifested, when he says, Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. For God is not a tempter to evil, but lie wishes to grant us good things above what we either desire or understand. Therefore He seeks that the perfect will of His Father which He Himself had known, should dispose of the event, which is the same will as His own, as respects the Divine nature. But He shrinks to fulfil the human will, which He calls His own, and which is inferior to His Father’s will.
ATHANASIUS. (de Incarn. et cont. Ar.) For here He manifests a double will. One indeed human, which is of the flesh, the other divine. For our human nature, because of the weakness of the flesh, refuses the Passion, but His divine will eagerly embraced it, for that it was not possible that He should be holden of death.
GREGORY OF NYSSA. (non occ.) Now Apollinaris asserts that Christ had not His own will according to His earthly nature, but that in Christ exists only the will of God who descends from heaven. Let him then say what will is it which God would have by no means to be fulfilled? And the Divine nature does not remove His own will.
BEDE. When He drew near His Passion, the Saviour also took upon Him the words of weak man; as when something threatens us which we do not wish to come to pass, we then through weakness seek that it may not be, to the end that we also may be prepared by fortitude to find the will of our Creator contrary to our own will.
43. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
45. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow.
46. And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
THEOPHYLACT. To make known unto us the power of prayer that we may exercise it in adversity, our Lord when praying is comforted by an Angel. (Matt. 4:11.)
BEDE. In another place we read that Angels came and ministered unto Him. In testimony then of each nature, Angels are said both to have ministered to Him and comforted Him. For the Creator needed not the protection of His creature, but being made man as for our sakes He is sad, so for our sakes He is comforted.
THEOPHYLACT. But some say that the Angel appeared, glorifying Him, saying, O Lord, Thine is the power, for Thou art able to vanquish death, and to deliver weak mankind.
CHRYSOSTOM. And because not in appearance but in reality He took upon Himself our flesh, in order to confirm the truth of the dispensation He submits to bear human suffering; for it follows, And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly.
AMBROSE. Many are shocked at this place who turn the sorrows of the Saviour to an argument of inherent weakness from the beginning, rather than taken upon Him for the time. But I am so far from considering it a thing to be excused, that I never more admire His mercy and majesty; for He would have conferred less upon me had He not taken upon Him my feelings. For He took upon Him my sorrow, that upon me He might bestow His joy. With confidence therefore I name His sadness, because I preach His cross. He must needs then have undergone affliction, that He might conquer. For they have no praise of fortitude whose wounds have produced stupor rather than pain. He wished therefore to instruct us how we should conquer death, and what is far greater, the anguish of coming death. Thou smartedst then, O Lord, not from thy own but my wounds; for he was wounded for our transgressions. And perhaps He is sad, because that after Adam’s fall the passage by which we must depart from this world was such that death was necessary. Nor is it far from the truth that He was sad for His persecutors, who He knew would suffer punishment for their wicked sacrilege.
GREGORY. (Mor. 24. c. 17.) He has expressed also the conflict of our mind in itself, as death approaches, for we suffer a certain thrill of terror and dread, when by the dissolution of the flesh we draw near to the eternal judgment; and with good reason, for the soul finds in a moment that which can never be changed.
THEOPHYLACT. Now that the preceding prayer was of His human nature, not His divine, as the Arians say, is argued from what is said of His sweat, which follows, And his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
BEDE. Let no one ascribe this sweat to natural weakness, nay, it is contrary to nature to sweat blood, but rather let him derive therefrom a declaration to us, that He was now obtaining the accomplishment of His prayer, namely, that He might purge by His blood the faith of His disciples, still convicted of human frailty.
AUGUSTINE. (Prosp. ex Aug. Sent. 68.) Our Lord praying with a bloody sweat represented the martyrdoms which should flow from His whole body, which is the Church.
THEOPHYLACT. Or this is proverbially said of one who has sweated intensely, that He sweated blood; the Evangelist then wishing to shew that He was moistened with large drops of sweat, takes drops of blood for an example. But afterwards finding His disciples asleep for sorrow, He upbraids them, at the same time reminding them to pray; for it follows, And when he rose from prayer and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping.
CHRYSOSTOM. For it was midnight, and the disciples’ eyes were heavy from grief, and their sleep was not that of drowsiness but sorrow.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. lib. iii. c. 4.) Now Luke has not stated after which prayer He came to His disciples, still in nothing does he disagree with Matthew and Mark.
BEDE. Our Lord proves by what comes after, that He prayed for His disciples whom He exhorts by watching and prayer to be partakers of His prayer; for it follows, And he saith unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
THEOPHYLACT. That is, that they should not be overcome by temptation, for not to be led into temptation is not to be overwhelmed by it. Or He simply bids us pray that our life may be quiet, and we be not cast into trouble of any kind. For it is of the devil and presumptuous, for a man to throw himself into temptation. Therefore James said not, “Cast yourselves into temptation,” but, When ye are fallen, count it all joy, (Jam. 1:2.) making a voluntary act out of an involuntary.
47. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
48. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
49. When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
50. And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
51. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
52. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?
53. When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
GLOSS. (non occ.) After first mentioning the prayer of Christ, St. Luke goes on to speak of His betrayal wherein He is betrayed by His disciple, saying, And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. He says, he that was called Judas, holding his name as it were in abhorrence; but adds, one of the twelve, to signify the enormity of the traitor. For he who had been honoured as an apostle became the cause of the murder of Christ.
CHRYSOSTOM. For just as incurable wounds yield neither to severe nor soothing remedies, so the soul when once it is taken captive, and has sold itself to any particular sin, will reap no benefit from admonition. And so it was with Judas, who desisted not from His betrayal, though deterred by Christ by every manner of warning. Hence it follows, And drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Unmindful of the glory of Christ, he thought to be able to act secretly, daring to make an especial token of love the instrument of his treachery.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Conc. 1. de Laz.) Now we must not depart from admonishing our brethren, albeit nothing comes of our words. For even the streams though no one drink therefrom still flow on, and him whom thou hast not persuaded to-day, peradventure thou mayest to-morrow. For the fisherman after drawing empty nets the whole day, when it was now late takes a fish. And thus our Lord, though He knew that Judas was not to be converted, yet ceased not to do such things as had reference to him. It follows, But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
AMBROSE. It must be used I think by way of question, as if he arrests the traitor with a lover’s affection.
CHRYSOSTOM. And He gives him his proper name, which was rather like one lamenting and recalling him, than one provoked to anger.
AMBROSE. He says, Betrayest thou with a kiss? that is, dost thou inflict a wound with the pledge of love? with the instruments of peace dost thou impose death? a slave, dost thou betray thy Lord; a disciple, thy master; one chosen, Him who chose thee?
CHRYSOSTOM. But He said not, “Betrayest thou thy Master, thy Lord, thy Benefactor,” but the Son of man, that is, the humble and meek, who though He were not thy Master and Lord, forasmuch as He has borne himself so gently toward thee, should have never been betrayed by thee.
AMBROSE. O great manifestation of Divine power, great discipline of virtue! Both the design of thy traitor is detected, and yet forbearance is not withheld. He shews whom it is Judas betrays, by manifesting things hidden; He declares whom he delivers up, by saying, the Son of man, for the human flesh, not the Divine nature, is seized. That however which most confounds the ungrateful, is the thought that he had delivered up Him, who though He was the Son of God, yet for our sakes wished to be the Son of man; as if He said, “For thee did I undertake, O ungrateful man, that which thou betrayest in hypocrisy.
AUGUSTINE. The Lord when He was betrayed first said this which Luke mentions, Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? next, what Matthew says, Friend, wherefore art thou come? and lastly, what John records, Whom seek ye?
AMBROSE. Our Lord kissed him, not that He would teach us to dissemble, but both that He might not seem to shrink from the traitor, and that He might the more move him by not denying him the offices of love.
THEOPHYLACT. The disciples are inflamed with zeal, and unsheath their swords. But whence have they swords? Because they had slain the lamb, and had departed from the feast. Now the other disciples ask whether they should strike; but Peter, always fervent in defence of his Master, waits not for permission, but straightway strikes the servant of the High Priest; as it follows, And one of them smote, &c.
AUGUSTINE. He who struck, according to John, was Peter, but he whom he struck was called Malchus.
AMBROSE. For Peter being well versed in the law, and full of ardent affection, knowing that it was counted righteousness in Phineas that he had killed the sacrilegious persons, struck the High Priest’s servant.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. lib. iii. c. 5.) Now Luke says, But Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far; which is what Matthew records, Put thy sword up into its sheath. Nor will it move you as contrary thereto, that Luke says here that our Lord answered, Suffer ye thus far, as if He had so spoken after the blow to shew that what was done had pleased Him so far, but He did not wish it to proceed farther, seeing that in these words which Matthew has given, it may rather be implied that the whole circumstance in which Peter used the sword was displeasing to our Lord. For the truth is, that upon their asking, Lord, shall we strike with the sword? He then answered, Suffer ye thus far, that is, be not troubled with what is about to happen. They must be permitted to advance so far, that is, to take Me, and so to fulfil the things which were written of Me. For he would not say, And Jesus answering, unless He answered this question, not Peter’s deed. But between the delay of their words of question to our Lord and His answer, Peter in the eagerness of defence struck the blow. And two things cannot be said, though one may be said and another may be done, at the same time. Then, as Luke says, He healed him who was struck, as it follows, And he touched his ear, and healed him.
BEDE. For the Lord is never forgetful of His lovingkindness. While they are bringing death upon the righteous, He heals the wounds of His persecutors.
AMBROSE. The Lord in wiping away the bloody wounds, conveyed thereby a divine mystery, namely, that the servant of the prince of this world, not by the condition of His nature but by guilt, should receive a wound on the ear, for that he had not heard the words of wisdom. Or, by Peter so willingly striking the ear, he taught that he ought not to have a ear outwardly, who had not one in a mystery. But why did Peter do this? Because he especially obtained the power of binding and loosing; therefore by his spiritual sword he takes away the interior ear of him who understandeth not. But the Lord Himself restores the hearing, shewing that even they, if they would turn, might be saved, who inflicted the wounds in our Lord’s Passion; for that all sin may be washed away in the mysteries of faith.
BEDE. Or that servant is the Jewish people sold by the High Priests to an unlawful obligation, who, by the Passion of our Lord, lost their right ear; that is, the spiritual understanding of the law. And this ear indeed is cut off by Peter’s sword, not that he takes away the sense of understanding from those that hear, but manifests it withdrawn by the judgment of God from the careless. But the same right ear in those who among the same people have believed, is restored by the Divine condescension to its former office.
It follows, Then said Jesus unto them, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and slaves? &c.
CHRYSOSTOM. For they had come at night fearing an outbreak of the multitude, therefore He says, “What need was there of these arms against one who was always with you?” as it follows, When I was daily with you.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Whereby He does not blame the chiefs of the Jews that they had not sooner prepared their murderous designs against Him, but convicts them of having presumptuously supposed they had attacked Him against His will; as if He says, “Ye did not take Me then, because I willed it not, but neither could ye now, did I not of My own accord surrender Myself into your hands.” Hence it follows, But this is your hour, that is, a short time is permitted you to exercise your vengeance against Me, but the Father’s will agrees with Mine. He also says, that this power is given to darkness, i. e. the Devil and the Jews, of rising in rebellion against Christ. And then is added, And the power of darkness.
BEDE. As if He says, Therefore are ye assembled against Me in darkness, because your power, wherewith ye are thus armed against the light of the world, is in darkness. But it is asked, how Jesus is said to be addressing the chief priests, the officers of the temple, and the elders, who came to Him, whereas they are reported not to have gone of themselves, but to have sent their servants while they waited in the hall of Caiaphas? The answer then to this contradiction is, that they came not by themselves, but by those whom they sent to take Christ in the power of their command.
54. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed affar off.
55. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
56. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
57. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
58. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
59. And about, the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan.
60. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
AMBROSE. The wretched men understood not the mystery, nor had reverence unto an outpouring of compassion so merciful, that even His enemies He suffered not to be wounded. For it is said, Then look they him, &c. When we read of Jesus being holden, let us guard against thinking that He is holden with respect to His divine nature, and unwilling through weakness, for He is held captive and bound according to the truth of His bodily nature.
BEDE. Now the Chief Priest means Caiaphas, who according to John was High Priest that year.
AUGUSTINE. But first He was led to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, as John says, then to Caiaphas, as Matthew says, but Mark and Luke do not give the name of the High Priest.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 83. in Matt.) It is therefore said, to the house of the High Priest, that nothing whatever might be done without the consent of the chief of the Priests. For thither had they all assembled waiting for Christ. Now the great zeal of Peter is manifested in his not flying when he saw all the others doing so; for it follows, But Peter followed afar off.
AMBROSE. Rightly he followed afar off, soon about to deny, for he could never have denied if he had clung close to Christ. But herein must he be revered, that he forsook not our Lord, even though he was afraid. Fear is the effect of nature, solicitude of tender affection.
BEDE. But that when our Lord was going to His Passion, Peter followed afar off represents the Church about to follow indeed, that is, to imitate our Lord’s Passion, but in a far different manner, for the Church suffers for herself, our Lord suffered for the Church.
AMBROSE. And by this time there was a fire burning in the house of the High Priest; as it follows, And when they had kindled a fire, &c. Peter came to warm himself, because his Lord being taken prisoner, the heart of his soul had been chilled in him.
PSEUDO-AUGUSTINE. (App. Serm. 79.) For to Peter were delivered the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to him were entrusted an innumerable multitude of people, who were wrapped up in sin. But Peter was somewhat too vehement, as the cutting off the car of the High Priest’s servant betokens. If he then who was so stern and so severe had obtained the gift of not sinning, what pardon would he have given to the people committed to him? Therefore Divine Providence suffers him first to be holden of sin, that by the consciousness of his own fall he might soften his too harsh judgment towards sinners. When he wished to warm himself at the fire, a maid came to him, of whom it follows, But a certain maid beheld him, &c.
AMBROSE. What meaneth it, that a maid is the first to betray Peter, whereas surely men ought the more easily to have recognised him, save that that sex should be plainly implicated in our Lord’s murder, in order that it might also be redeemed by His Passion? But Peter when discovered denies, for better that Peter should have denied, than our Lord’s word should have failed. Hence it follows, And he denied, saying, Woman, I know him not.
AUGUSTINE. (ut sup.) What ails thee, Peter, thy voice is suddenly changed? That mouth full of faith and love, is turned to hatred and unbelief. Not yet awhile is the scourge applied, not yet the instruments of torture. Thy interrogator is no one of authority, who might cause alarm to the confessor. The mere voice of a woman asks the question, and she perhaps not about to divulge thy confession, nor yet a woman, but a door-keeper, a mean slave.
AMBROSE. Peter denied, because he promised rashly. He does not deny on the mount, nor in the temple, nor in his own house, but in the judgment-hall of the Jews. There he denies where Jesus was bound, where truth is not. And denying Him he says, I know him not. It were presumptuous to say that he knew Him whom the human mind can not grasp. For no one knoweth the Son but the Father. (Matt. 11:17). Again, a second time he denies Christ; for it follows, And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou wert also one of them.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. lib. iii. c. 6.) And it is supposed that in the second denial he was addressed by two persons, namely, by the maid whom Matthew and Mark mention, and by another whom Luke speaks of. With respect then to what Luke here relates, And after a little while, &c. Peter had already gone out of the gate, and the cock had crowed the first time, as Mark says; and now he had returned, that, as John says, he might again deny standing by the fire. Of which denial it follows, And Peter said, Man, I am not.
AMBROSE. For he preferred to deny himself rather than Christ, or because he seemed to deny being of the company of Christ, he truly denied himself.
BEDE. In this denial then of Peter we affirm that not only is Christ denied by him who says that He is not Christ, but by him also, who, being a Christian, says he is not.
AMBROSE. He is also asked a third time; for it follows, And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. ut sup.) What Matthew and Mark call after a little while, Luke explains by saying, about the space of one hour after; but with regard to the space of time, John says nothing. Likewise when Matthew and Mark record not in the singular but in the plural number those who conversed with Peter, while Luke and John speak of one, we may easily suppose either that Matthew and Mark used the plural for the singular by a common form of speech, or that one person in particular addressed Peter, as being the one who had seen him, and that others trusting to his credit joined in pressing him. But now as to the words which Matthew asserts were said to Peter himself, Truly thou art one of them, for thy speech bewrayeth thee; as also those which to the same Peter John declared to have been said, Did not I see thee in the garden? whereas Mark and Luke state that they spoke to one another concerning Peter; we either believe that they held the right opinion who say that they were really addressed to Peter; (for what was said concerning him in his presence amounts to the same as if it had been said to him;) or that they were said in both ways, and that some of the Evangelists related them one way, some the other.
BEDE. But he adds, For he is a Galilæan; not that the Galilæans spoke a different language from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who indeed were Hebrews, but that each separate province and country having its own peculiarities could not avoid a vernacular tone of speech. It follows, And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.
AMBROSE. That is, I know not your blasphemies. But we make excuse for him. He did not excuse himself. For an involved answer is not sufficient for our confessing Jesus, but an open confession is required. And therefore Peter is not represented to have answered this deliberately, for he afterwards recollected himself, and wept.
BEDE. Holy Scripture is often wont to mark the character of certain events by the nature of the times in which they take place. Hence Peter who sinned at midnight repented at cock-crow; for it follows, And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. The error he committed in the darkness of forgetfulness, he corrected by the remembrance of the true light.
AUGUSTINE. (ut sup.) The cock-crow we understand to have been after the third denial of Peter, as Mark has expressed it.
BEDE. This cock must, I think, be understood mystically as some great Teacher, who rouses the listless and sleepy, saying, Awake, ye righteous, and sin not.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 83. in Joan.) Marvel now at the case of the Master, who though He was a prisoner, had exercised much forethought for His disciple, whom by a look He brought to Himself, and provoked to tears; for it follows, And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.
AUGUSTINE. (ut sup.) How we should understand this, requires some careful consideration; for Matthew says, Peter was sitting without in the hall, which he would not have said unless the transaction relating to our Lord were passing within. Likewise also, where Mark said, And as Peter was beneath in the hall, he shews that the things he had been speaking of took place not only within but in the upper part. How then did our Lord look upon Peter? not with His bodily face, since Peter was without in the hall among those who were warming themselves, while these things were going on in the inner part of the house. Wherefore, that looking upon Peter seems to me to have been done in a divine manner. And as it was said, Look thou, and hear me, (Ps. 13:3.) and, Turn and deliver my soul, (Ps. 6:4.) so I think the expression here used, The Lord turned and looked upon Peter.
BEDE. For to look upon him is to have compassion, seeing that not only while penance is being practised, but that it may be practised, the mercy of God is necessary.
AMBROSE. Lastly, those whom Jesus looks upon weep for their sins. Hence it follows, And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. Why did he weep? Because he sinned as man. I read of his tears, I do not read of his confession. Tears wash away an offence which it is shame to confess in words. The first and second time he denied and wept not, for as yet our Lord had not looked upon him. He denied the third time, Jesus looked upon him, and he wept bitterly. So then if thou wilt obtain pardon, wash away thy guilt in tears.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Now Peter did not dare to weep openly, lest he should be detected by his tears, but he went out and wept. Ho wept not because of punishment, but because he denied his beloved Lord, which was more galling than any punishment.
63. And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.
64. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?
65. And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.
66. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,
67. Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:
68. And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go.
69. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
70. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.
71. And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. lib. iii. c. 7.) The temptation of Peter which took place between the mockings of our Lord is not related by all the Evangelists in the same order. For Matthew and Mark first mention those, then Peter’s temptation; but Luke has first described the temptations of Peter, then the mockings of our Lord, saying, And the men that held Jesus mocked him, &c.
CHRYSOSTOM. Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, sustains and suffers the mockings of the ungodly, giving us an example of patience.
THEOPHYLACT. Likewise the Lord of prophets is derided as a false prophet. It follows, And they blindfolded him. This they did as a dishonour to Him who wished to be accounted by the people as a prophet. But He who was struck with the blows of the Jews, is struck also now by the blasphemies of false Christians. And they blindfolded Him, not that He should not see their wickedness, but that they might hide His face from them. But heretics, and Jews, and wicked Catholics, provoke Him with their vile actions, as it were mocking Him, saying, Who smote thee? while they flatter themselves that their evil thoughts and works of darkness are not known by Him.
AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. ut sup.) Now our Lord is supposed to have suffered these things until morning in the house of the High Priest, to which He was first led. Hence it follows, And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? &c.
BEDE. They wished not for truth, but were contriving calumny. Because they expected that Christ would come only as man, of the root of David, they sought this of Him, that if He should say, “I am the Christ,” they might falsely accuse Him of claiming to Himself the kingly power.
THEOPHYLACT. He knew the secrets of their hearts, that they who had not believed His works would much less believe His words. Hence it follows, And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe, &c.
BEDE. For He had often declared Himself to be the Christ; as when he said, l and my Father are one, (John 10:30.) and other such like things. And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me. For He had asked them how they said Christ was the Son of David, whereas David in the Spirit called Him his Lord. But they wished neither to believe His words nor to answer His questions. However, because they sought to accuse falsely the seed of David, they hear something still farther; as it follows, Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
THEOPHYLACT. As if he said, There is no time left to you any longer for discourses and teaching, but hereafter shall be the time of judgment, when ye shall see Me, the Son of man, sitting on the right hand of the power of God.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Whenever sitting and a throne are spoken of God, His kingly and supreme majesty is signified. For we do not imagine any judgment-seat to be placed, on which we believe the Lord of all takes His seat; nor again, that in any wise right hand or left hand appertain to the Divine nature; for figure, and place, and sitting, are the properties of bodies. But how shall the Son be seen to be of equal honour and to sit together on the same throne, if He is not the Son according to nature, having in Himself the natural property of the Father?
THEOPHYLACT. When then they heard this, they ought to have been afraid, but after these words they are the more frantic; as it follows, All said, &c.
BEDE. They understood that He called Himself the Son of God in these words, The Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power of God.
AMBROSE. The Lord had rather prove Himself a King than call Himself one, that they might have no excuse for condemning Him, when they confess the truth of that which they lay against Him. It follows, And he said, Ye say that I am.
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. When Christ spoke this, the company of the Pharisees were very wroth, uttering shameful words; as it follows, Then said they, What need we any further witness? &c.
THEOPHYLACT. Whereby it is manifest, that the disobedient reap no advantage, when the more secret mysteries are revealed to them, but rather incur the heavier punishment. Wherefore such things ought to be concealed from them.
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