Matthew 26:54
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
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(54) How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled?—The words indicate what one may reverently speak of as the source of the peace and calmness which had come to our Lord’s human soul out of the depths of its agony. All that was sharpest and most bitter was part of a pre-ordained discipline. Not otherwise could the Scriptures be fulfilled, which had painted, if we may so speak, the picture of the ideal Sufferer not less vividly than that of the ideal Conqueror and King. It was meet that He too should be made perfect through sufferings (Hebrews 2:10).

26:47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave him for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled ... - That is, the Scriptures which foretold of his dying for the world.

In some way that must be accomplished, and the time had come when, having finished the work which the Father gave him to do, it was proper that he should submit to death. This was said, doubtless, to comfort his disciples; to show them that his death was not a matter of surprise or disappointment to him; and that they, therefore, should not be offended and forsake him.

Mt 26:47-56. Betrayal and Apprehension of Jesus—Flight of His Disciples. ( = Mr 14:43-52; Lu 22:47-54; Joh 18:1-12).

For the exposition, see on [1365]Joh 18:1-12.

Ver. 51-54. Matthew relates this history shortly, but Mark much more, Mark 14:47; he saith no more than this, And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Luke also relates something of it, Luke 22:50,51, And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. John relates the same passage with some more particulars, John 18:10. Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? If any ask, how Christ and his disciples came to have a sword, he may be satisfied that they had two, from Luke 22:35-38, which verses being in none of the other evangelists, I have left to be spoken to in their order. The disciples seeing the officers laying hands on Christ, as was said Matthew 26:50, knowing what would follow, as Luke saith, one of them (St. John tells us it was Peter) drew a sword, and smote off the right ear of one of the high priest’s servants. John tells us his name was Malchus. Our Saviour reproveth Peter, commanding him to put up the sword again into its sheath, and telling him,

1. That he who taketh the sword should perish with the sword. It is to be understood of private persons taking up the sword to destroy their lawful magistrates; and this lesson it teacheth all Christians. Men must have the sword given orderly into their hands, before they may use it, and that no private person can have against the supreme magistrate.

2. Secondly, (saith our Saviour), I needed not thy help to defend me. If I were to make any defence, I could

pray to my Father, and he should

give me more than twelve legions of angels; there is therefore no need of thy drawing a sword in my defence.

3. The Scripture (saith he) must be fulfilled; it was prophesied of me that I should be thus used, and those prophecies must be fulfilled. Having reproved Peter, and silenced his passion, Luke tells us, he begged leave so far as to touch his ear, and he healed it; thus doing good to those that hated him, and working a miracle in the sight of them, which (had not their hearts been hardened) might have convinced them both of his innocency and his Divine power; but they take no notice of his kindness. Now he applies himself to the multitude of his enemies. But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled,.... That is, should Christ make such a request to his Father, and he should grant it, and an host of angels should be sent to rescue him, and he should be rescued by them; how then should the Scriptures, which speak of Christ's being taken, and led as a lamb to the slaughter, and of his various sufferings, and the circumstances of them, have their accomplishment? "declaring", as the Arabic version supplies, or as the Ethiopic version, "which say",

that thus it must be; that the Messiah must be apprehended, and suffer, and die. The several parts of the sufferings of the Messiah are foretold in the writings of the Old Testament; the spirit of Christ, in the prophets, testified before hand of them; as that he should be reproached and despised of men, Psalm 22:6, be spit upon, smote, and buffeted, Isaiah 1:5, be put to death, Psalm 22:15, and that the death of the cross,

Psalm 22:15, and be buried, Isaiah 53:9, and also the several circumstances of his sufferings, which led on to them, or attended them; as the selling him for thirty pieces of silver,

Zechariah 11:12, the betraying him by one of his familiar friends,

Psalm 41:9, the seizing and apprehending him, and which is particularly referred to here, Isaiah 53:7, his disciples forsaking him, Zechariah 13:7, and even his God and Father, Psalm 22:1, his suffering between two thieves, Isaiah 53:12, the parting of his garments, and casting lots on his vesture, Psalm 22:18, the giving him gall and vinegar when on the cross, Psalm 69:21, and not breaking any of his bones, Psalm 34:20, yea, the Scriptures not only declared, that these things should be; but the necessity of them also, that they must be; because of the purposes and decrees of God, which are eternal, immutable, and unfrustrable; for as God had determined on his salvation of his people by Christ, and that through his sufferings and death, these were determined by him also, even the time, nature, manner, and circumstances of them; and which the Scriptures declare, and therefore must be likewise; and because of the covenant of grace, which is sure, unalterable, and unchangeable; in which Christ agreed to assume human nature, to obey, suffer, and die in it, and so do his Father's will, which was to bear the penalty of the law, and undergo the sufferings of death, and which therefore must be, or Christ's faithfulness fail. Moreover, on account of the law and justice of God, which required his bearing the curse, as well as fulfilling the precept of the law: and especially on account of the salvation of his people, which could not be effected without them, they must be. Christ, in these words, discovers a very great concern for the fulfilling of Scripture; and that because it is the word of God, which must not be broken; and because throughout it he is spoken of, in the volume of it, it is written of him, to do the will of God; even in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms: and besides, he was the minister of the circumcision, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; and even agreeably to them, and upon the foundation of them, he had himself predicted his own sufferings: and as those were to be the rule of the faith and practice of his people in all ages, he was concerned for their accomplishment in every point; and which may teach us to value the Scriptures, and to be confident of the fulfilment of them in things yet future.

{z} But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

(z) By this questioning he answers a sly objection, for they might have asked him why he did not in this his great extremity of danger call to his Father for aid: but to this objection he answers by this question.

Matthew 26:54. Πῶς οὖν] How, in that case, could it be, if, that is, I were to be defended by thee or angel hosts, how could it be possible that, etc. In his comment on οὖν, Euthymius Zigabenus aptly analyses it as follows: εἰ μὴ οὕτως ἀναιρεθῷ. For πῶς, comp. on Matthew 23:33.

ὅτι] states the purport of the γραφαί, so that to complete the sense a λέγουσαι or γράφουσαι may be understood (Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 58 f.; Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 215): how shall the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must happen thus, and not otherwise? Jesus here alludes to the fact of His arrest, which, according to Scripture, is a necessary part of the destiny assigned Him; comp. Acts 4:28; Luke 24:25 f. We must not expect to find what is here referred to in any passages of Scripture in particular; suffice it to know, that all the predictions relating to the sufferings of the Messiah find their necessary fulfilment in the historical events of our Lord’s life, the arrest itself not excluded. Comp. Matthew 26:31.

The healing of the wounded servant is peculiar to Luke 22:51. It probably came to be engrafted upon the tradition at a later period; for this act of healing, in virtue of the peculiarity of its alleged occasion and character, as well as in virtue of its being the last which Jesus performed, would otherwise scarcely have been omitted by all the other evangelists; see also on Luke as above.Matthew 26:54. πῶς οὖν: refers to both forms of aid, that of the sword and that of angels (Grotius, Fritzsche); rescue in any form inconsistent with the predicted destiny of Messiah to be a sufferer.—ὅτι οὕτω, etc., the purport of all prophetic scripture is that thus it should be: apprehension and all that is to follow.54. But how then] Rather, how then, omit “but.”Matthew 26:54. Πῶς οὖν, κ.τ.λ., how then, etc.) The Saviour altogether voluntarily undertakes His Passion.—ὅτι, κ.τ.λ., that thus it must be) The Scriptures had said that thus it must be; see Matthew 26:56.[1155]

[1155] Jesus ever carried with Him “the law of God within His heart.”—V. g. [Psalm 40:8].Verse 54. - But how then (οϋν, i.e. if I now resist) shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be! There is no" but" in the original. In what way, Christ asks, shall God's determined counsel be accomplished, if you turn to the arm of the flesh, or if I use my Divine power to save myself? The will of God, as declared in Scripture, was that Jesus should be betrayed, seized, should suffer and die. Christ's will was one with the Father's and one with the Spirit's who inspired the Scripture, and therefore he must pass through each stage, undergo each detail, which the sacred volume specified. It was not merely that events were so arranged that they thus befell; nor merely that prophets of old foretold them; but there was some special moral duty and obligation in fulfilling them, which Christ, as one with the Father and the Holy Ghost, was minded to carry out in all perfection. Here was a ray of comfort for Peter and the other apostles. All was foreordained; its announcement in God's book proved it came from God, was under his control and ordering. Patience, therefore, and silent acquiescence were the duties now incumbent. "Be still, then, and know that I am God."
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