Luke 22:33
And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.
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(33) Lord, I am ready to go with thee.—There is something like a latent tone of indignation as well as devotion. The disciple half-resented the thought that a special prayer should be necessary for him. Here, again, the Greek order of the words is more emphatic than the English, “With Thee am I ready . . .”



Luke 22:24 - Luke 22:37

It was blameworthy, but only too natural, that, while Christ’s heart was full of His approaching sufferings, the Apostles should be squabbling about their respective dignity. They thought that the half-understood predictions pointed to a brief struggle immediately preceding the establishment of the kingdom, and they wished to have their rank settled in advance. Possibly, too, they had been disputing as to whose office was the menial task of presenting the basin for foot-washing. So little did the first partakers of the Lord’s Supper ‘discern the Lord’s body,’ and so little did His most loving friends share His sorrows.

I. Our Lord was not so absorbed in His anticipations of the near Cross as to be unobservant of the wrangling among the Apostles.

Even then His heart was enough at leisure from itself to observe, to pity, and to help. So He at once turns to deal with the false ideas of greatness betrayed by the dispute. The world’s notion is that the true use and exercise of superiority is to lord it over others. Tyrants are flattered by the title of benefactor, which they do not deserve, but the giving of which shows that, even in the world, some trace of the true conception lingers. It was sadly true, at that time, that power was used for selfish ends, and generally meant oppression. One Egyptian king, who bore the title Benefactor, was popularly known as Malefactor, and many another old-world monarch deserved a like name.

Jesus lays down the law for His followers as being the exact opposite of the world’s notion. Dignity and pre-eminence carry obligations to serve. In His kingdom power is to be used to help others, not to glorify oneself. In other sayings of Christ’s, service is declared to be the way to become great in the kingdom, but here the matter is taken up at another point, and greatness, already attained on whatever grounds, is commanded to be turned to its proper use. The way to become great is to become small, and to serve. The right use of greatness is to become a servant. That has become a familiar commonplace now, but its recognition as the law for civic and other dignity is all but entirely owing to Christianity. What conception of such a use of power has the Sultan of Turkey, or the petty tyrants of heathen lands? The worst of European rulers have to make pretence to be guided by this law; and even the Pope calls himself ‘the servant of servants.’

It is a commonplace, but like many another axiom, universal acceptance and almost as universal neglect are its fate. Ingrained selfishness fights against it. Men admire it as a beautiful saying, and how many of us take it as our life’s guide? We condemn the rulers of old who wrung wealth out of their people and neglected every duty; but what of our own use of the fraction of power we possess, or our own demeanour to our inferiors in world or church? Have all the occupants of royal thrones or presidential chairs, all peers, members of Parliament, senators, and congressmen, used their position for the public weal? Do we regard ours as a trust to be administered for others? Do we feel the weight of our crown, or are we taken up with its jewels, and proud of ourselves for it? Christ’s pathetic words, giving Himself as the example of greatness that serves, are best understood as referring to His wonderful act of washing the disciples’ feet. Luke does not record it, and probably did not know it, but how the words are lighted up if we bring them into connection with it!

II. Verses 28 to 30 naturally flow from the preceding.

They lift a corner of the veil, and show the rewards, when the heavenly form of the kingdom has come, of the right use of eminence in its earthly form. How pathetic a glimpse into Christ’s heart is given in that warm utterance of gratitude for the imperfect companionship of the Twelve! It reveals His loneliness, His yearning for a loving hand to grasp, His continual conflict with temptations to choose an easier way than that of the Cross. He has known all the pain of being alone, and feeling in vain for a sympathetic heart to lean on. He has had to resist temptation, not only in the desert at the beginning, or in Gethsemane at the end, but throughout His life. He treasures in His heart, and richly repays, even a little love dashed with much selfishness, and faithfulness broken by desertion. We do not often speak of the tempted Christ, or of the lonely Christ, or of the grateful Christ, but in these great words we see Him as being all these.

The rewards promised point onwards to the perfecting of the kingdom in the future life. We notice the profound thought that the kingdom which His servants are to inherit is conferred on them, ‘as My Father hath appointed unto Me,’-that is, that it is a kingdom won by suffering and service, and wielded by gentleness and for others. ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.’ The characteristics of the future royalty of Christ’s servants are given in highly figurative language. A state of which we have no experience can only be revealed under forms drawn from experience; but these are only far-off approximations, and cannot be pressed.

The sacred Last Supper suggested one metaphor. It was the last on earth, but its sanctity would be renewed in heaven, and sadness and separation and the following grief would not mar the perfect, perpetual, joyful feast. What dim visions of rule and delegated authority may lie in the other promise of judging the twelve tribes of Israel, we must wait till we go to that world to understand. But this is clear, that continuing with Jesus here leads to everlasting companionship hereafter, in which all desires shall be satisfied, and we shall share in His authority and be representatives of His glory.

III. But Jesus abruptly recalls Himself and the Twelve from these remoter prospects of bliss to the nearer future of trial and separation.

The solemn warning to Peter follows with startling suddenness. Why should they be fighting about precedence when they were on the verge of the sorest trial of their constancy? And as for Peter, who had, no doubt, not been the least loud-voiced in the strife, he needed most of all to be sobered. Our narrow limits forbid our doing even partial justice to the scene with him; but we note the significant use of the old name ‘Simon,’ reminding the Apostle of his human weakness, and its repetition, giving emphasis to the address.

We note, too, the partial withdrawal of the veil which hides the spirit world from us, in the distinct declaration of the agency of a personal tempter, whose power is limited, though his malice is boundless, and who had to obtain God’s permission ere he could tempt. His sieve is made to let the wheat through, and to retain the chaff. It will be hard to empty this saying of its force. Christ taught the existence and operation of Satan; but He taught, too, that He Himself was Satan’s victorious antagonist and our prevailing intercessor. He is so still. He does not seek to avert conflict from us, but prays that our faith fail not, and Himself, too, fulfils the prayer by strengthening us.

Faith, then, conquers, and withstands Satan’s sifting. If it holds out, we shall not fall, though all the winds howl round us. We are not passive between the two antagonists, but have to take our share in the struggle. Partial failures may be followed by recovery, and even tend to increase our power to strengthen other tempted ones, by the experience gained of our own weakness, which deepens humility and forbearance with others’ faults, and by the experience of Christ’s strength, which makes us able to direct them to the source of all safety.

Peter’s passionate avowal of readiness to bear anything, if only he was with Christ, is the genuine utterance of a warm impulsive heart, which took too little heed of Christ’s solemn warning, and fancied that the tide of present feeling would always run as strong as now. Emotion fluctuates. Steadfast devotion is chary of mortgaging the future by promises. He who knows himself is slow to say, ‘I will,’ for he knows that ‘Oh that I may!’ is fitter for his weakness. Very likely, if Peter had been offered fetters or the scaffold then and there, he would have accepted them bravely; but it was a different thing in the raw, cold morning, after an agitating night, and the Master away at the far end of the great hall. A flippant maid’s tongue was enough to finish him then.

It is sometimes easier to bear a great load for Christ than a small one. Some of us could be martyrs at the stake more easily than confessors among sneering neighbours. Jesus had spared the Apostle in the former warning of his fall, but He spoke plainly at last, since the former had been ineffectual; and He addressed him by his new name of Peter, as if to heighten the sin of denial by recalling the privileges bestowed.

IV. The last part of the passage deals with the new conditions consequent on Christ’s departure.

The Twelve had been exempt from the care of providing for themselves while He was with them, but now they are to be launched into the world alone, like fledglings from the nest. Not that His presence is not with them or with us, but that His absence throws the task of providing for wants and guarding against dangers on themselves, as had not been the case during the blessed years of companionship. Hence the injunctions in verse 36 lay down the permanent law for the Church, while verse 37 assigns as its reason the speedy fulfilment of the prophecies of Messiah’s sufferings.

Substantially the meaning of the whole is: ‘I am on the point of leaving you, and, when I am gone, you must use common-sense means for provision and protection. I provided for you while I was here, without your co-operation. Remember how I did so, and trust Me to provide in future, through your co-operation.’

The life of faith does not exclude ordinary prudence and the use of appropriate means. It is more in accord with Christ’s mind to have a purse to keep money in, and a wallet for food-stores, than to go out, as some good people do, saying, ‘The Lord will provide.’ Yes, He will; but it will be by blessing your common-sense and effort. As to the difficulty felt in the injunction to buy a sword, our Lord would be contradicting His whole teaching if He was here commanding the use of arms for the defence of His servants or the promotion of His kingdom. That He did not mean literal swords is plain from His answer to the Apostles, who produced the formidable armament of two.

‘It is enough.’ A couple are plenty to fight the Roman Empire with. Yes, two too many, as was soon seen. The expression is plainly an intensely energetic metaphor, taking line with purse and scrip. The plain meaning of the whole is that we are called on to provide necessary means of provision and defence, which He will bless. The only sword permitted to His followers is the sword of the Spirit.22:21-38 How unbecoming is the worldly ambition of being the greatest, to the character of a follower of Jesus, who took upon him the form of a servant, and humbled himself to the death of the cross! In the way to eternal happiness, we must expect to be assaulted and sifted by Satan. If he cannot destroy, he will try to disgrace or distress us. Nothing more certainly forebodes a fall, in a professed follower of Christ, than self-confidence, with disregard to warnings, and contempt of danger. Unless we watch and pray always, we may be drawn in the course of the day into those sins which we were in the morning most resolved against. If believers were left to themselves, they would fall; but they are kept by the power of God, and the prayer of Christ. Our Lord gave notice of a very great change of circumstances now approaching. The disciples must not expect that their friends would be kind to them as they had been. Therefore, he that has a purse, let him take it, for he may need it. They must now expect that their enemies would be more fierce than they had been, and they would need weapons. At the time the apostles understood Christ to mean real weapons, but he spake only of the weapons of the spiritual warfare. The sword of the Spirit is the sword with which the disciples of Christ must furnish themselves.See the notes at Matthew 26:33-35. 33. I am ready, &c.—honest-hearted, warmly-attached disciple, thinking thy present feelings immovable as a rock, thou shalt find them in the hour of temptation unstable as water: "I have been praying for thee," therefore thy faith shall not perish; but thinking this superfluous, thou shalt find that "he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Pr 28:26).Ver. 33,34. This is more largely recorded by Matthew 26:33-35, and by Mark 14:27-30. And he said unto him,.... That is, Simon, or Simeon, said unto him, as the Syriac and Persic versions express it; he made a reply to Jesus, saying, as one fearless of danger, and confident in himself:

I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death; he suggests, that he was not afraid of Satan, nor of his temptations, of being sifted, shaken, and tossed by him: he was not to be frightened out of his faith by him, or to be scared with a prison, and death itself; he was ready for both; and they were welcome, come when they would; and rather than part from, or deny his Lord, he was then prepared to go with him, at once, to either of them. The phrase, to go, is not in the Syriac version.

{12} And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

(12) In setting before us the grievous example of Peter, Christ shows that faith differs much from a vain security.

Luke 22:33. εἰς φυλακὴν καὶ εἰς θάνατον: more definite reference to the dangers ahead than in any of the parallels.33. I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death] Rather, even into prison, even into death, and the order and emphasis should be, ‘Lord, with Thee I am ready,’ &c. This ‘flaring enthusiasm’ is always to be suspected of weakness. Proverbs 28:26; 1 Corinthians 10:12.Luke 22:33. Μετὰ σοῦ, with thee) These words, especially as being put in the beginning of the sentence, are emphatic. Comp. Psalm 18:30.[239] ἕτοιμος, ready) Peter has much trust in himself. [There had been need of full willingness and of no common power. It is not without good reason one may conjecture that Peter, in his so overweening self-confidence, had respect to those things which had been mentioned but a while before concerning the perseverance of the disciples and the intercession of the Lord (Luke 22:28; Luke 22:32). And no doubt both had their efficacy, but not that kind of efficacy which he at the time imagined they had.—V. g.]—εἰς, into) The most grievous of all trials are imprisonment and death [But it was not becoming that Jesus should be kept confined in a prison. From the time that He once began, He continued on, even until He breathed His last, without hindrance amidst the very bands (or “in the very hands”) of His enemies, and on the cross, to do and teach all that was good.—V. g.]

[239] Rather 29, “By thee (LXX. ἐν σοὶ) I have run through a troop, and by my God have I leaped over a wall.”—E. and T.Verse 33. - And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. This kind of confident enthusiasm is usually a sign of weakness. Jesus, the Heart-reader, knew too well what such a wild protestation was worth, and went on at once to predict his friend's and servant's awful fall, that very night.
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