|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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!
Verse 48 - A sign. As they approached, Judas gave them a sign which would point out the person whom they were to seize. Probably these did not know Jesus by sight; at any rate, amid the crowd he might easily escape detection; it was also night, and even the Paschal moon might not enable the guards to distinguish faces under the shade of the dark olive grove. Whomsoever I shall kiss. In the East such salutation was common among friends, masters, and pupils; and it would awaken no surprise to see Judas thus salute his Teacher. Perhaps he desired to save appearances in the eyes of his fellow disciples. We marvel at the audacity and obduracy of one who could employ this mark of affection and respect to signal an act of the blackest treachery. That same is he whom you have to arrest. Hold him fast. As if he feared an attempt at rescue, or that Jesus might, as before (Luke 4:30; John 8:59), use his miraculous power to effect his escape.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign,.... By which it might be known who he was; for it being night, though they had lanterns and torches, as John says, John 18:3, yet Judas himself might not be able to discern, him, so as to point him out, until he came very near him: moreover, Christ and his apostles might be clothed alike, so that a mistake might be easily made, and one of them be took for him: and so the Jews say (l), that the two thousand men, they pretend were with him, were clothed with the same apparel; which story may take its rise from hence: add to this, that James, the son of Alphaeus, called the brother of our Lord, is reported to be very like unto him. Besides, it is very likely that the Roman soldiers, who were to be the principal persons in apprehending, binding, and carrying him away, might never have seen him, and so could not know him without some sign was given them; and which Judas gave them before he came out with them: and is as follows:
saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he, hold him fast. Judas might the rather pitch upon this to be the sign, partly because it might be what had been usual with the disciples, when they had been at any time absent from Christ, and which he admitted of; and partly because he might think this would best cover his treacherous designs, who, with all his wickedness, had not effrontery enough to come sword in hand and seize him in a violent manner, and besides, might not judge such a method advisable, had he impudence enough to prosecute it, lest this should put Jesus upon taking some measures to make his escape. The reason of his advice, "hold him fast", was, because he knew that once and again, when attempts were made to seize him, he easily disengaged himself, passed through the midst, and went his way; see Luke 4:30.
John 10:39; and therefore gave them this caution, and strict charge, lest, should he slip from them, he should lose his money he had agreed with the chief priests for; or to let them know, that when he was in their hands, he had made good his agreement, and should expect his money: and that it lay upon them then to take care of him, and bring him before the sanhedrim. The account the Jews themselves give of the directions of Judas, is not very much unlike this; who represent him advising in this manner, only as on the day before:
"gird yourselves ready about this time tomorrow, and the man whom shall worship and bow to, the same is he; behave yourselves like men of war, fight against his company, and lay hold on him (m).
(l) Toldos Jesu, p. 16. (m) Ib.
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