|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:13-27 Simon Peter denied his Master. The particulars have been noticed in the remarks on the other Gospels. The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water. The sin of lying is a fruitful sin; one lie needs another to support it, and that another. If a call to expose ourselves to danger be clear, we may hope God will enable us to honour him; if it be not, we may fear that God will leave us to shame ourselves. They said nothing concerning the miracles of Jesus, by which he had done so much good, and which proved his doctrine. Thus the enemies of Christ, whilst they quarrel with his truth, wilfully shut their eyes against it. He appeals to those who heard him. The doctrine of Christ may safely appeal to all that know it, and those who judge in truth bear witness to it. Our resentment of injuries must never be passionate. He reasoned with the man that did him the injury, and so may we.
Verse 19. - The οϋν connects the following incident with the thirteenth and fourteenth verses. The high priest. Hengstenberg, Godet, and Westcott here say that the high priest is Caiaphas, present i.e. at the examination over which Annas presides as the older man; but Renan, Meyer, Lange, Steinmeyer ('Passion and Resurrection History'), and Moulton, with many others, say Annas was here the high priest in question. Tholuck dismisses the idea of Annas altogether, and, by inverting the place of Ver. 24 or treating the ἀπεστείλε as pluperfect, suppose that Annas had sent the Lord to Caiaphas (so Calvin, De Wette, Hase, and others), who thus commenced his interrogatory. But the text of Ver. 24, now recovered, will not admit of this rendering. We find it far more satisfactory to accept this less formal examination, under the presidency of Annas, at which an attempt is made to put the Lord, if possible, to a test which will incriminate him. Keim says, "If Caiaphas were the acting high priest, and at the same time the soul of the movement against Jesus, it was for him and not for his father-in-law to take knowledge of the matter and report to the Sanhedrin." We must choose between two difficulties:
(1) Caiaphas is first spoken of as "high priest," who, as we know from the synoptists, conducted the examination-in-chief, and then that Annas, as conducting a preliminary examination, is also styled "high priest" without any explanation;
(2) or we must admit the supposition that after Caiaphas had asked these incriminating questions, Annas (who was not ἀρχιερεὺς), sent Jesus bound to Caiaphas the high priest. The former hypothesis is the easier. The high priest then asked Jesus concerning his disciples, the extent of his following, the number of his accomplices, the ramifications of the society or kingdom he professed to have founded, and concerning his doctrine, the secret teachings that held his followers together. He evidently knows the claims of Jesus well enough; his spies and officers have continually been dogging the steps of Jesus, and hitherto he has failed to gain evidence positively incriminating him. And as his representatives a few days ago were utterly foiled, notwithstanding their clever design, he hopes by his own ingenuity to entrap the Lord in his talk. Our Lord, anxious not to endanger his disciples, points to the publicity of his ministry, and appeals to all and sundry who have heard him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The high priest then asked Jesus,.... Being now brought from Annas to Caiaphas, who was the high priest and mouth of the sanhedrim, and to whom it appertained to hear and try a cause relating to doctrine. And what he did was by putting questions to him, instead of opening the charge against him, and calling for witnesses to support it. The person he interrogated was a greater high priest than himself; was that prophet Moses spoke of, to whom the Jews were to hearken, and no other than the Son of God, and King of Israel; who, when at twelve years of age, asked the doctors questions, and answered theirs, to their great astonishment. He first inquires
of his disciples, not so much who they were, and what they were, and how many they were, and where they were now, as for what purpose he gathered them together; whether it was not with some seditious views to overturn the present government, and set up himself as a temporal prince; and this he did, that he might be able to send him, with a charge against him, to the Roman governor: he did not ask for his disciples to come and speak on his behalf, if they had anything to say for him, which, by their canons (p), was allowed and encouraged:
"if any of the disciples (of the person accused) says, I have a crime to lay to his charge, they silence him; but if one of the disciples says, I have something to say in his favour, they bring him up, and place him between them; nor does he go down from thence all the day; and if there is anything in what he says, , "they hearken to him".''
The Jews indeed pretend (q) that after Jesus was found guilty, a herald went before him forty days declaring his crime, and signifying, that if anyone knew anything worthy in him, to come and declare it; but none were found: but this is all lies and falsehood, to cover their wickedness; no disciple of his was allowed to speak for him. The high priest next asked Jesus
of his doctrine; not for the sake of information and instruction, nor to see whether it was according to the Scriptures; but if it was a new doctrine, and his own, and whether it tended to idolatry or blasphemy, and whether it was factious and seditious, that so they might have wherewith to accuse him; for though they had got his person, they were at a loss for an accusation; and yet this self-same man that put these questions, and was fishing for something against him, had before given counsel to put him to death, right or wrong: all this was doing, and these questions were put to Jesus, whilst Peter was denying him.
(p) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 40. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 10. sect. 8. (q) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19-21. The high priest … asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine—probably to entrap Him into some statements which might be used against Him at the trial. From our Lord's answer it would seem that "His disciples" were understood to be some secret party. (Also see on Mr 14:54.)
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