Matthew 26:21
And as they did eat, he said, Truly I say to you, that one of you shall betray me.
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(21) One of you shall betray me.—The words would seem to have been intentionally vague, as if to rouse some of those who heard them to self-questioning. They had not, it is true, shared in the very guilt of the Traitor, but they had yielded to tendencies which they had in common with him, and which were dragging them down to his level. They had joined him in his murmuring (Matthew 26:8), they had been quarrelling, and were about to renew their quarrel, about precedence (Mark 9:34, Luke 22:24). It was well that the abyss should be laid bare before their eyes, and that each should ask himself whether he were indeed on the point of falling into it.

26:17-25 Observe, the place for their eating the passover was pointed out by Christ to the disciples. He knows those hidden ones who favour his cause, and will graciously visit all who are willing to receive him. The disciples did as Jesus had appointed. Those who would have Christ's presence in the gospel passover, must do what he says. It well becomes the disciples of Christ always to be jealous over themselves, especially in trying times. We know not how strongly we may be tempted, nor how far God may leave us to ourselves, therefore we have reason not to be high-minded, but to fear. Heart-searching examination and fervent prayer are especially proper before the Lord's supper, that, as Christ our Passover is now sacrificed for us, we may keep this feast, renewing our repentance, our faith in his blood, and surrendering ourselves to his service.As they did eat ... - The account contained in these verses is also recorded in Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:21-22. John says that before Jesus declared that one of them should betray him, "he was troubled in spirit, and testified;" that is, he "felt deeply" in view of the greatness of the crime that Judas was about to commit, and the sufferings that he was to endure, and "testified," or gave utterance to his inward feelings of sorrow.Mt 26:17-30. Preparation for and Last Celebration of the Passover Announcement of the Traitor, and Institution of the Supper. ( = Mr 14:12-26; Lu 22:7-23; Joh 13:1-3, 10, 11, 18-30).

For the exposition, see on [1362]Lu 22:7-23.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:25". And as they did eat,.... The passover lamb, the unleavened bread, and bitter herbs: he said it was usual, whilst they were thus engaged, to discourse much about the reason and design of this institution. What they talked of may be learnt from what follows (y):

"it is an affirmative precept of the law, to declare the signs and wonders which were done to our fathers in Egypt, on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, according to Exodus 13:3, "remember this day", &c. and from whence on the night of the fifteenth? from Exodus 13:8, "and thou shalt show thy son", &c. at the time that the unleavened bread, and bitter herbs lie before thee. And though he has no son, or though they are wise, and grown up, they are bound to declare the going out of Egypt; and everyone that enlarges, or dwells long on the things that happened and came to pass, lo! he is praiseworthy. It is a command to make known to children, even though they do not ask; as it is said, "and thou shalt show thy son": according to the son's knowledge, his father teaches him; how if he is a little one, or foolish? he says to him, my son, all of us were servants, as this handmaid, or this servant, in Egypt; and on this night the holy, blessed God redeemed us, and brought us into liberty: and if the son is grown up and a wise man, he makes known to him what happened to us in Egypt, and the wonders which were done for us by the hands of Moses, our master; all according to the capacity of the son. And it is necessary to make a repetition on this night, that the children may see, and ask, and say, how different is this night from all other nights? until he replies to them, and says to them, so and so it happened, and thus and thus it was.--If he has no son, his wife asks him; and if he has no wife, they ask one another, how different is this night? and though they are all wise men, everyone asks himself alone, how different is this night? and it is necessary to begin with reproaches, and end with praise, how? he begins and declares, how at first our fathers were in the days of Terah, and before him, deniers (of the divine being), and wandering after vanity, and following idolatrous worship; and he ends with the law of truth, how that God brought us near to himself, and separated us from the nations, and caused us to draw nigh to his unity; and so begins and makes known, that we were servants to Pharaoh in Egypt, and all the evils he recompensed us with; and ends with the signs and wonders which were wrought for us, and with our liberties: and he that expounds from--"a Syrian was my father, ready to perish": till he has finished the whole section: and every one that adds and enlarges in expounding this section, lo! he is praiseworthy. And everyone that does not say these three words on the night of the fifteenth, cannot be excused from blame; and they are these, the passover, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs: "the passover", because God passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt, as it is said, Exodus 12:27, "the bitter herbs", because the Egyptians made bitter the lives of our fathers in Egypt: "the unleavened bread", because they were redeemed: and these things all of them are called the declaration, or showing forth.''

Christ now took up some part of the time, at least, whilst they were eating, in discoursing with his disciples about the traitor:

he said, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me; meaning to the chief priests and Scribes, who should condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles, to be mocked, scourged, and crucified, as he had told them some time before, Matthew 20:18, though he did not tell them as now, that it should be done by one of them; he had indeed signified as much as this two days before, at the supper in Bethany, but none seemed to understand whom he meant, but Peter and John, and the thing wore off their minds; and therefore he mentions it again to them, with great seriousness, and in the most solemn manner, declaring it as a certain and undoubted truth.

(y) Maimon. ib. c. 7. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Vid. c. 8. 2, 3, 4, 5. & Haggadah Shel. Pesach. p. 5, 6, 7, 8.

And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
Matthew 26:21. Ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν] whilst they were eating, but previous to the institution of the supper, Matthew 26:26, which is at variance with Luke 22:21. The correct version of the matter is unquestionably that of Matthew, with whom John also agrees in so far as he represents the announcement of the betrayer as having taken place immediately after the feet-washing and the accompanying discourse, Matthew 13:21 ff.Matthew 26:21. παραδώσει με, shall betray me. General announcement, without any clue to the individual, as in Mk. Matthew 26:18.Verse 21. - As they did eat. The details of the Paschal feast are expounded by rabbinical authors, though there is little in St. Matthew's account to lead us to conclude that our Lord observed them on this occasion. The ceremonial usually practised was as follows: The head of the family, sitting in the place of honour, took a cup of wine and water mixed ("the first cup"), pronounced a thanksgiving over it, and, having tasted it, passed it round to the guests; the master washed his hands, the others performing their ablutions at a later part of the service; the dishes were placed on the table; after a special benediction had been spoken over the bitter herbs, the master and the rest of the company took a bunch of these, dipped it in the appointed sauce, and ate it; an unleavened cake was broken and elevated with a prescribed formula; the second cup was filled, the history of the festival was proclaimed, Psalm 113-118, were recited, and the cup was drunk. Now began the proper Paschal meal with a general washing of hands; the lamb was cut into pieces, anda portion given to each, with a bit of the unleavened bread and bitter herbs dipped in the sauce, called by St. John (John 13:26) "the sop." At the end of the meal, which was supplemented by other viands (which, however, were probably eaten before the lamb), the third cup, named by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:16) "the cup of blessing," was drunk, and the solemn grace after meat was uttered. It would be necessary to examine St. John's Gospel to see how the ritual fitted into the actual details of the last Supper; we have to deal with St. Matthew's account. Verily I say unto you. Christ thus prepares the apostles for the incredible statement which he is about to make. One of you; εϊς ἐξ ὑμῶν. One out of your number, my chosen companions. He had before spoken vaguely of his betrayal (see Matthew 17:22; Matthew 20:18; Matthew 26:2). By thus showing his knowledge of the coming treachery, and yet declining to denounce the traitor by name, he may have given Judas a last chance of repentance before the final act. St. Matthew omits the washing of the disciples' feet, and the strife about pre-eminence.
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