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MATT. xxvi. 17, 18.
Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover? And He said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples.
By the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, he means the day before that feast; for they are accustomed always to reckon the day from the evening, and he makes mention of this in which in the evening the Passover must be killed; for on the fifth day of the week they came unto Him. And this' one calls the day before the feast of un- 1 John leavened bread, speaking of the time when they came to Him, and another saith on this wise, Then came the day? Luke of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed; by 22, 7. the word came, meaning this, it was nigh, it was at the doors, making mention plainly of that evening. For they began with the evening, wherefore also each adds, when the Passover was killed.
And they say, Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover? So even from this it is manifest, that He had no house, no place of sojourning; and I suppose neither had they. For surely they would have entreated him to come there. But neither had they any, having now parted with all things.
And for what possible reason doth He send them to an unknown person? To shew by this also that He might have avoided suffering. For He Who prevailed over this man's mind, so that he received them, and that by words; what would He not have done with them that crucified Him, if it had been His will not to suffer? And what He did about the ass, this He did here also. For there too He Matt. saith, If any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, that 3. the Lord hath need of them; and so likewise here, The Master saith, I will keep the Passover at thy house. But I marvel not at this only, that he received Him, being unknown, but that expecting to bring upon himself such enmity and implacable hostility, he despised the enmity of the multitude.
Power of the Lord in commanding men's service.
But wherefore did He keep the Passover? To indicate by all things unto the last day, that He is not opposed to the Law.
After this, because they knew him not, He gave them a 1 Sam. sign, like as the Prophet touching Saul, saying, Thou shalt 10, 3. find one going up and carrying a bottle; and here, carrying a pitcher. And see again the display of his power. For He did not only say, I will keep the Passover, but He adds another thing also, My time is at hand. And this He did, at once continually reminding His disciples of the Passion, so that exercised by the frequency of the prediction, they should be prepared for what was to take place; and at the same time to shew to themselves, and to him that was receiving Him, and to all the Jews, which I have often mentioned, that not involuntarily doth He come to His Passion. And He adds, with My disciples, in order that both the preparation should be sufficient, and that the man should not suppose that He was concealing Himself.
Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve disciples. Oh the shamelessness of Judas! For he too was present there, and came to partake both of the 3 lit. salt mysteries, and of the meal3, and is convicted at the very table, when although he had been a wild beast, he would have become tame.
For this cause the Evangelist also signifies, that while they are eating, Christ speaks of His betrayal, that both by
Our Lord's merciful dealing with the traitor.
the time and by the table he might shew the wickedness of MATT. the traitor.
For when the disciples had done, as Jesus had appointed them, when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, He said, we are told, Verily, I say v. 21. unto you, that one of you shall betray Me. And before the supper, He had even washed his feet. And see how He spares the traitor. For He said not, such a one shall betray me; but, one of you, so as again to give him power of repentance by concealment. And He chooseth to alarm all, for the sake of saving this man. Of you, the twelve, saith He, that are every where present with me, whose feet I washed, to whom I promised so many things.
Intolerable sorrow thereupon seized that holy company. And John indeed saith, they were1 in doubt, and looked one! John 13, 22. upon another, and each of them asked in fear concerning himself, although conscious to themselves of no such thing. But this Evangelist saith, that being exceeding sorrowful, v.22.23. they began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I? Comp And He answered and said, He it is, to whom I shall give a 26. sop, when I have dipped it.
Mark at what time He discovered him. It was when it was His will to deliver the rest from this trouble, for they were even dead with the fear, wherefore also they were instant with their questions. But not only as desiring to deliver them from their distress He did this, but also as willing to amend the traitor. For since after having often heard it generally, he continued incorrigible, being past feeling, He being minded to make him feel more, takes off his mask.
For when being sorrowful they began to say, Is it I, Lord? v.23.24. He answered and said, He that dippeth with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me. The Son of Man goeth, as it is written of Him, but woe to the man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It had been good for that man if he had not been born.
Now some say that he was so bold as not to honour his Master, but to dip with Him: but to me Christ seems to have done this too, to shame him the more, and bring him over to a better disposition. For this act again has something more in it. But these things we ought not to pass by [2.]
Predestination no excuse for Judas.
HOMIL. at random, but they should be infixed in our minds, and LXXXI. wrath would find no place at any time.
For who, bearing in mind that supper, and the traitor sitting at meat with the Saviour of all, and Him Who was to be betrayed thus meekly reasoning, would not put away all venom of wrath and anger? See at any rate how meekly He conducts Himself towards him, The Son of Man goeth, as it is written of Him.
And these things again He said, both to restore the disciples, that they might not think the thing was a sign. of weakness, and to amend the traitor.
But woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. See again in His rebukes His unspeakable meekness. For not even here with invective, but more in the way of compassion, doth He apply what He saith, but in a disguised way again; and yet not his former senselessness only, but his subsequent shamelessness was deserving of the utmost indignation. For after this conviction he saith, Is it I, Lord? Oh insensibility! He enquires, when conscious to himself of such things. For the Evangelist too, marvelling at his boldness, saith this. What then saith the most mild and gentle Jesus? Thou sayest. And yet He might have said, O thou unholy, thou all unholy one; accursed, and profane; so long a time in travail with mischief, who hast gone thy way, and made satanical compacts, and hast agreed to receive money, and hast been convicted by Me too, dost thou yet dare to ask? But none of these things did He say; but how? Thou sayest? fixing for us bounds and rules of long suffering.
But some one will say, Yet if it was written that He was to suffer these things, wherefore is Judas blamed, for he did the things that were written? But not with this intent, but from wickedness. For if thou enquire not concerning the motive, thou wilt deliver even the devil from the charges against him. But these things are not, they are not so. For both the one and the other are deserving of countless punishments, although the world was saved. For neither did the treason of Judas work out salvation for us, but the wisdom of Christ, and the good contrivance of
God uses, but needs not, man's wickedness.
His fair skill, using the wickednesses of others for our Matt. advantage.
XXVI. 23. 24.
"What then," one may say, "though Judas had not betrayed Him, would not another have betrayed Him?” And what has this to do with the question? "Because if Christ must needs be crucified, it must be by the means of some one, and if by some one, surely by such a person as this. But if all had been good, the dispensation in our behalf had been impeded." Not so. For the Allwise knows how He shall bring about our benefits, even had this happened. For His wisdom is rich in contrivance, and incomprehensible. So for this reason, that no one might suppose that Judas had become a minister of the dispensation, he declares the wretchedness of the man. But some one will say again, "And if it had been good if he had never been born, wherefore did He suffer both this man, and all the wicked, to come into the world?" When thou oughtest to blame the wicked, for that having the power not to become such as they are, they have become wicked, thou leavest this, and busiest thyself, and art curious about the things of God; although knowing that it is not by necessity that any one is wicked.
"But the good only should be born," he would say, "and there were no need of hell, nor punishment, nor vengeance, nor trace of vice, but the wicked should either not be born at all, or being born should straightway depart."
First then, it were well to repeat to thee the saying of the Apostle, Nay' but, O man, who art thou that repliest against Rom. God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?
But if thou still demandest reasons, we would say this, that the good are more admired for being among the bad; because their long-suffering and great self-command is then most shewn. But thou takest away the occasion of their wrestlings, and conflicts, by saying these things. "What then, in order that these may appear good, are others punished?" saith he. God forbid, but for their own wickedness. For neither because they were brought into the world did they become wicked, but on account of their own wickedness; wherefore also they are punished. For how