|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 23. - Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, come forward as a witness of the evil which thou hast heard. Thus he took no notice of the charge brought against him. But if I have spoken well, why smitest thou me? A quiet appeal to the conscience of the wretched upstart who dared to insult the Lord of glory. It is thus that the Lord explained the spirit of his own injunction, "Whosoever shall smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39). Nothing was gained by this private interrogatory except an appeal to the outside world of his hearers, and a call for testimony; and no decision could be legally taken against him without incriminating evidence. Dr. Farrar ('Life of Christ') has pointed out with great force that the chief priests and Pharisees, from their intestine animosities, had great difficulty in formulating any specific charge. The Pharisaic ratty, if they made a point of his doctrine and practice concerning the sabbath, would have been foiled by the Sadducean latitudinarians; and the priests did not dare to call in question his imperial cleansing of the temple, knowing that the Pharisees would immediately have justified the act. Consequently, Arums limited his inquiries to the supposed esoteric character of some private teachings to his initiated disciples - a charge that was refuted by the continual publicity and openness of all his teaching.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jesus answered him,.... For the high priest took no notice of him, nor any of the sanhedrim, though the action was so insolent and indecent, both as to the manner in which it was done, and the person, an officer, by whom it was done; and considering the circumstances of it, in the palace of the high priest, in his presence, and before so grand a council, and whilst a cause was trying; and it was a barbarous, as well as an impious action, considering the person to whom it was done. Wherefore Jesus replies to him, without making use of his divine power as the Son of God, or discovering any warmth of spirit, and heat of passion, as a man, mildly and rationally argues with him;
if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: meaning, either if he had, to his knowledge, delivered any wicked doctrine in the course of his ministry, or had at that time said any evil thing of the high priest, or any other person, he desires that he would make it to appear, and give proper proof and evidence of it:
but if well, why smitest thou me? If he had said nothing contrary to truth, reason, and good manners, then he ought not to be used and treated in such an injurious way. And moreover, the officer ought to have been corrected by the Council, and have been made to pay the two hundred "zuzim", or pence, the line for such an affront, according to the Jewish canon, or more, according to the dignity of the person abused (r).
(r) Misn. Bava Kama, c. 8. sect. 6.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. If I have spoken, &c.—"if I spoke" evil, in reply to the high priest. (Also see on Mr 14:54.)
if well—He does not say "If not" evil, as if His reply were merely unobjectionable: "well" seems to challenge more than this as due to His remonstrance This shows that Mt 5:39 is not to be taken to the letter.
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