And there appeared an angel to him from heaven, strengthening him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)There appeared an angel unto him from heaven.—This and the following verses are omitted by not a few of the best MSS., but the balance of evidence is, on the whole, in their favour. Assuming their truth as part of the Gospel, we ask—(1) How came the fact to be known to St. Luke, when St. Matthew and St. Mark had made no mention of it? and (2) What is the precise nature of the fact narrated? As regards (2), it may be noted that the angel is said to have “appeared to him,” to our Lord only, and not to the disciples. He was conscious of a new strength to endure even to the end. And that strength would show itself to others, to disciples who watched Him afar off, in a new expression and look, flashes of victorious strength and joy alternating with throbs and spasms of anguish. Whence could that strength come but from the messengers of His Father, in Whose presence, and in communion with Whom He habitually lived (Matthew 4:11; John 1:51). The ministrations which had been with Him in His first temptation were now with Him in the last (Matthew 4:11). As to (1) we may think of one of the disciples who were present having reported to the “devout women,” from whom St. Luke probably, as we have seen, derived so much of the materials for his Gospel (see Introduction), that he had thus seen what seemed to him to admit of no other explanation.Matthew 26:44-46, where we took them in, as being a part of the history of our Saviour’s praying before his passion.
strengthening him; under his present distress, against the terrors of Satan, and the fears of death, by assuring him of the divine favour, as man, and of the fulfilment of the promises to him to stand by him, assist, strengthen, and carry him through what was before him; and by observing to him the glory and honour he should be crowned with, after his sufferings and death, find the complete salvation of his people, which would be obtained hereby, and which was the joy set before him; and which animated him, as man, to bear the cross, and despise the shame with a brave and heroic Spirit. Now, though God the Father could have strengthened the human nature of Christ, without making use of an angel; and Christ could have strengthened it himself, by his divine nature, to which it was united; but the human nature was to be brought into so low a condition, and to be left to itself, as to stand in need of the assistance of an angel: and this shows not only the ministration of angels to Christ, as man, but that he was at this present time made a little lower than the angels, who was the Creator and Lord of them; as he afterwards more apparently was, through the sufferings of death.And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)43. there appeared an angel] As after His temptation, Matthew 4:11. This and the next verse are not of absolutely certain authenticity, since they are omitted in A, B, and by the first corrector of א; and Jerome and Hilary say that they were omitted in “very many” Greek and Latin MSS. Their omission may have been due to mistaken reverence; or their insertion may have been made by the Evangelist himself in a later recension.Luke 22:43. Δὲ, but now [and at this moment!) The very appearance of the angel was a sign of His actually then drinking the cup, and of His prayer being granted [Hebrews 5:7], So utterly incapable is human reason of comprehending the profound depths of His agony in the garden, that some have in former times omitted this whole paragraph. See the Apparat. When His baptism is mentioned along with the cup, the cup means His internal passion [suffering], as, for instance, His desertion by the Father on the cross; the baptism means His external suffering: comp. Mark 10:38, note. Where the ‘cup’ is mentioned alone, His whole passion generally is understood, at least in such a way as that, under the internal, there is also included the external suffering.—ἐνισχύων, strengthening) not by exhortation, but by invigoration. The same verb occurs, Acts 9:19 [Paul, “when he had received meat, was strengthened”].
 AB 1 MS. of Memph. Theb. omit from ὤφθη to γῆν, Luke 22:43-44. Hilary 1062, writes, “Nec sane ignorandum a nobis est, et in Græcis et in Latinis codicibus complurimis vel de adveniente angelo, vel de sudore sanguinis, nil scriptum reperiri.” But Hilary, 1061, “(Lucas) angelum astitisse comfortantem eum, quo assistante orare prolixius cæperit ita ut guttis sanguinum corporis sudor efflueret (non Matt. et Marc.)” The Syrians are charged by Photius, the Armenians by Nicon, with having erased the passage in question. DQLXabc Vulg. and Euseb. Canons have it. Iren. 219, writes, “Nec (si veram carnem non habuisset) sudasset globos sanguinis.” Just, cum Tryph. p. 331 (Ed. Col.), also supports it.—E. and T.Verse 43. - And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. The Lord's words reported by St. Matthew were no mere figure of rhetoric. "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." The anguish and horror were so great that he himself, according to his humanity, must have before the time become the victim of death had he not been specially strengthened from above. This is the deep significance and necessity of the angel's appearance. So Stier and Godet, the latter of whom writes, "As when in the wilderness under the pressure of famine he felt himself dying, the presence of this heavenly being sends a vivifying breath over him, - a Divine refreshing pervades him, body and soul, and it is thus he receives strength to continue to the last the struggle."
The word most commonly used in the New Testament of seeing visions. See Matthew 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 1:11; Luke 22:43; Acts 2:17; Acts 7:35. The kindred noun ὀπτασία, wherever it occurs in the New Testament, means a vision. See Luke 1:2; Luke 24:23, etc.
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