Matthew 17:23
And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
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(23) They were exceeding sorry.—St. Mark (Mark 9:32) and St. Luke (Luke 9:45) add that “they understood not the saying; it was hid from them, that they should not perceive it;” and that “they were afraid to ask Him.” Their sorrow was vague and dim, and they shrank from that which might make it more definite.

17:22,23 Christ perfectly knew all things that should befall him, yet undertook the work of our redemption, which strongly shows his love. What outward debasement and Divine glory was the life of the Redeemer! And all his humiliation ended in his exaltation. Let us learn to endure the cross, to despise riches and worldly honours, and to be content with his will.And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again - See Matthew 12:40. Mark and Luke add that they understood not that saying, and it was hid from them, and they were afraid to ask him. The reasons of this may have been,

1. They were strongly attached to him, and were exceedingly sorry (Matthew) at any intimation that he was soon to leave them. They learned with great slowness and reluctance, therefore, that he was to be treated in this manner.

2. They were not willing to believe it. They knew that he was the Messiah, but they supposed that he was to be a distinguished prince, and was to restore the kingdom to Israel, Acts 1:6. But to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and be put to death, appeared to them to be frustrating all these expectations.

3. Though what he said was plain enough, yet they did not understand it; they could not see how he could be the Messiah, and yet be put to death in this manner; nor did they understand it fully until after the resurrection.

22. And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them—Mark (Mr 9:30), as usual, is very precise here: "And they departed thence"—that is, from the scene of the last miracle—"and passed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know it." So this was not a preaching, but a private, journey through Galilee. Indeed, His public ministry in Galilee was now all but concluded. Though He sent out the Seventy after this to preach and heal, He Himself was little more in public there, and He was soon to bid it a final adieu. Till this hour arrived, He was chiefly occupied with the Twelve, preparing them for the coming events.

The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men … And they were exceeding sorry—Though the shock would not be so great as at the first announcement (Mt 16:21, 22), their "sorrow" would not be the less, but probably the greater, the deeper the intelligence went down into their hearts, and a new wave dashing upon them by this repetition of the heavy tidings. Accordingly, Luke (Lu 9:43, 44), connecting it with the scene of the miracle just recorded, and the teaching which arose out of it—or possibly with all His recent teaching—says our Lord forewarned the Twelve that they would soon stand in need of all that teaching: "But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, He said unto His disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears; for the Son of man shall be delivered," &c.: "Be not carried off your feet by the grandeur you have lately seen in Me, but remember what I have told you, and now tell you again, that that Sun in whose beams ye now rejoice is soon to set in midnight gloom." Remarkable is the antithesis in those words of our Lord preserved in all the three narratives—"The son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men." Luke adds (Lu 9:45) that "they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not"—for the plainest statements, when they encounter long-continued and obstinate prejudices, are seen through a distorting and dulling medium—"and were afraid to ask Him"; deterred partly by the air of lofty sadness with which doubtless these sayings were uttered, and on which they would be reluctant to break in, and partly by the fear of laying themselves open to rebuke for their shallowness and timidity. How artless is all this!

Ver. 22,23. Mark saith, Mark 9:30-32. And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. Luke saith, Luke 9:44,45, he said unto them, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying. It is said that Christ taught his disciples as they were able to hear, Mark 4:33. He tells them, John 16:12, he had many things to say unto them, but they could not bear them at that time. Christ a long time concealed the doctrine of his passion, and resurrection from the dead, from them, until he had confirmed them in the great point of his Divine power, and his being the true Messiah; now he begins to deliver this doctrine unto them, that what they should now soon see might not weaken their faith in him as the Messiah and the Son of God; partly in regard of that inveterate opinion which had possessed the generality of the Jews, that the Messiah should be a temporal prince, and should deliver the Jews from that servitude under which they were, and had for a long time been; partly in regard of the difficulty to conceive how he who was the Son of God could die. Once or twice before therefore he had begun to speak to them about his passion, Matthew 16:21. Moses and Elias had some discourse with him about it, Luke 9:31. The text saith, they understood it not; it was hid from them; they perceived it not; they were afraid to ask him.

They were exceeding sorry: possibly they were sorry that they could not understand it, and reconcile it to the notion of the Messias they had drank in; for it seems hard to assert they were sorry for what Christ said about his suffering, because the Scripture saith, they understood it not, thinking our Saviour had not spoken plainly of a matter of fact which should be, but that he intended something else besides what his words seemed plainly to import.

And they shall kill him,.... Put him to death, with the death of the cross; for the angels in rehearsing these words, affirm, that Christ told his disciples at this time, and in this place, whilst they were in Galilee, that he should be crucified, Luke 24:7.

And the third day he shall be raised again: this he said for their comfort; and it is observable, that when Christ speaks of his rising again, he makes mention of the exact time, the third day, on which he should rise, according to the types and prophecies of the Old Testament:

and they were exceeding sorry: that he should be betrayed into the hands of the Gentiles, fearing that another nation would come, and take away, and possess the worldly kingdom and grandeur they were dreaming of; and that he should die at all; and much more that he should die such a cruel and ignominious death, as that of the cross. They seem to have overlooked, and to have taken no notice of his rising again from the dead; which might have administered comfort to them, and have relieved them under their melancholy apprehensions of things; but this they understood not, nor indeed truly any part of what he had said; so Mark and Luke intimate: but then it may be said, how came they to be so very sorrowful, if they did not know what was said? To which may be replied, that this might be the reason of their sorrow, because they did not understand what he said, and they were afraid to ask; they could not tell how to reconcile the betraying of him into the hands of men, and his sufferings and death, with their notions, that the Messiah should abide for ever, and should set up a temporal kingdom, in great splendour and magnificence; and what he meant by rising again from the dead, they could not devise; they could not tell whether all this was to be understood in a literal, or mystical sense.

And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Matthew 17:23. ἐλυπήθησαν σφόδρα, they were all greatly distressed; but no one this time ventured to remonstrate or even to ask a question (Mark 9:32). The prediction of resurrection seems to have counted for nothing.

Verse 23. - Shall be raised again (ἐγερθήσεται); be wakened. This was always a subject of perplexity; and indeed, according to the other synoptists, "they understood not the saying; it was hid from them, and they perceived it not, and were afraid to ask him." Were exceeding sorry. They no longer rebuke him, as Peter had done (Matthew 16:22), or try to divert him from his purpose; they begin to realize the position, and to anticipate with poignant sorrow the overthrow of their hopes. Matthew 17:23
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