Matthew 26:42
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
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(42) If this cup may not pass away from me.—There is a slight change of tone perceptible in this prayer as compared with the first. It is, to speak after the manner of men, as though the conviction that it was not possible that the cup could pass away from Him had come with fuller clearness before His mind. and He was learning to accept it. He finds the answer to the former prayer in the continuance, not the removal. of the bitter agony that preyed on His spirit. It is probably at this stage of the trial that we are to place the sweat like “great drops of blood” and the vision of the angel of Luke 22:43-44.

Matthew 26:42-45. He went away again the second time — For the sorrow of his soul still continued; and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup, &c. — If it be necessary, in pursuance of the great end for which I came into the world, that I should endure these grievous sufferings, thy will be done — I acquiesce in thy appointment, how painful soever it may be to flesh and blood: and he came and found them asleep again — He returned thus frequently to his disciples, that by reading his distress in his countenance and gesture, they might be witnesses of his passion. Our Lord’s pains on this occasion were intense beyond expression, for he went away the third time to pray, saying the same words as before, that is, offering petitions to the same effect, and in the same spirit of intense desire and perfect resignation. It appears, however, from Luke, that his inward conflict was greater than before, for notwithstanding that an angel was sent from heaven to strengthen his human nature, left to suffer, it seems, without its usual support from the divine, yet the sense of his sorrows so increased, that he was thrown into an agony, and his whole body was strained to such a degree, that his blood was pressed through the pores of his skin along with his sweat, and fell down in great drops to the ground: a circumstance which was the more extraordinary as he was now in the open air, and that in the cool of the night. “Some, indeed, have interpreted Luke’s expression, his sweat was as it were great drops of blood, in a metaphorical sense; fancying that, as those who weep bitterly are said to weep blood, so they may be said to sweat blood who sweat excessively by reason of hard labour or acute pain. But others more justly affirm that our Lord’s sweat was really mixed with blood to such a degree, that its colour and consistency was as if it had been wholly blood.” — Macknight. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith, Sleep on now, &c. — For by your watching you can show no further kindness and concern for me, who am now to be delivered into the hands of my enemies. Some late interpreters translate this with an interrogation thus, Do ye still sleep on and take your rest? This appears at first to suit better the words which follow, Arise, let us be going. “I cannot, however,” says Dr. Campbell, “help favouring the more common, which is also the more ancient, translation.” Nor is there any inconsistency between this order, which contains an ironical reproof, very natural in such circumstances, and the exhortation which follows, Arise, behold, the hour is at hand — The long-expected hour, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners — “The Greek word, αμαρτωλων, expresses more here than is implied in the English term sinners. Our Lord thereby signified, that he was to be consigned to the heathen, whom the Jews called, by way of eminence, αμαρτωλοι, because they were idolaters. See Galatians 2:15. For a similar reason they were also called ανομοι, lawless, impious, as destitute of the law of God.”

26:36-46 He who made atonement for the sins of mankind, submitted himself in a garden of suffering, to the will of God, from which man had revolted in a garden of pleasure. Christ took with him into that part of the garden where he suffered his agony, only those who had witnessed his glory in his transfiguration. Those are best prepared to suffer with Christ, who have by faith beheld his glory. The words used denote the most entire dejection, amazement, anguish, and horror of mind; the state of one surrounded with sorrows, overwhelmed with miseries, and almost swallowed up with terror and dismay. He now began to be sorrowful, and never ceased to be so till he said, It is finished. He prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass from him. But he also showed his perfect readiness to bear the load of his sufferings; he was willing to submit to all for our redemption and salvation. According to this example of Christ, we must drink of the bitterest cup which God puts into our hands; though nature struggle, it must submit. It should be more our care to get troubles sanctified, and our hearts satisfied under them, than to get them taken away. It is well for us that our salvation is in the hand of One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. All are tempted, but we should be much afraid of entering into temptation. To be secured from this, we should watch and pray, and continually look unto the Lord to hold us up that we may be safe. Doubtless our Lord had a clear and full view of the sufferings he was to endure, yet he spoke with the greatest calmness till this time. Christ was a Surety, who undertook to be answerable for our sins. Accordingly he was made sin for us, and suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust; and Scripture ascribes his heaviest sufferings to the hand of God. He had full knowledge of the infinite evil of sin, and of the immense extent of that guilt for which he was to atone; with awful views of the Divine justice and holiness, and the punishment deserved by the sins of men, such as no tongue can express, or mind conceive. At the same time, Christ suffered being tempted; probably horrible thoughts were suggested by Satan that tended to gloom and every dreadful conclusion: these would be the more hard to bear from his perfect holiness. And did the load of imputed guilt so weigh down the soul of Him of whom it is said, He upholdeth all things by the word of his power? into what misery then must those sink whose sins are left upon their own heads! How will those escape who neglect so great salvation?It is probable that our Lord spent considerable time in prayer, and that the evangelists have recorded rather "the substance" of his petitions than the very "words." He returned repeatedly to his disciples, doubtless to caution them against danger, to show the deep interest which he had in their welfare, and to show them the extent of his sufferings on their behalf

Each time that he returned these sorrows deepened. Again he sought the place of prayer, and as his approaching sufferings overwhelmed him, this was the burden of his prayer, and he prayed the same words. Luke adds that amid his agonies an angel appeared from heaven strengthening him. His human nature began to sink, as unequal to his sufferings, and a messenger from heaven appeared, to support him in these heavy trials. It may seem strange that, since Jesus was divine John 1:1, the divine nature did not minister strength to the human, and that he that was God should receive strength from an "angel." But it should be remembered that Jesus came in his human nature not only to make an atonement, but to be a perfect example of a holy man; that, as such, it was necessary to submit to the common conditions of humanity - that he should live as other people, be sustained as other people, suffer as other people, and be strengthened as other people; that he should, so to speak, take no advantage in favor of his piety, from his divinity, but submit it in all things to the common lot of pious people. Hence, he supplied his wants, not by his being divine, but in the ordinary way of human life; he preserved himself from danger, not as God, but by seeking the usual ways of human prudence and precaution; he met trials as a man; he received comfort as a man; and there is no absurdity in supposing that, in accordance with the condition of his people, his human nature should be strengthened, as they are, by those who are sent forth to be ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation, Hebrews 1:14.

Further, Luke adds Luke 22:44 that, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The word "agony" is taken from the anxiety, effort, and strong emotion of the wrestlers in the Greek games about to engage in a mighty struggle. Here it denotes the extreme anguish of mind, the strong conflict produced in sinking human nature from the prospect of deep and overwhelming calamities.

"Great drops of blood," Luke 22:44. The word rendered here as "great drops" does not mean drops gently falling on the ground, but rather thick and clammy masses of gore, pressed by inward agony through the skin, and, mixing with the sweat, falling thus to the ground. It has been doubted by some whether the sacred writer meant to say that there was actually "blood" in this sweat, or only that the sweat was "in the form" of great drops. The natural meaning is, doubtless, that the blood was mingled with his sweat; that it fell profusely - falling masses of gore; that it was pressed out by his inward anguish; and that this was caused in some way in view of his approaching death. This effect of extreme sufferings, of mental anguish. has been known in several other instances. Bloody sweats have been mentioned by many writers as caused by extreme suffering. Dr. Doddridge says (Note at Luke 22:44) that "Aristotle and Diodorus Siculus both mention bloody sweats as attending some extraordinary agony of mind; and I find Loti, in his "Life of Pope Sextus V.," and Sir John Chardin, in his "History of Persia," mentioning a like phenomenon, to which Dr. Jackson adds another from Thuanus." It has been objected to this account that it is improbable, and that such an event could not occur. The instances, however, which are referred to by Doddridge and others show sufficiently that the objection is unfounded. In addition to these, I may observe that Voltaire has himself narrated a fact which ought forever to stop the mouths of infidels. Speaking of Charles IX of France, in his "Universal History," he says: "He died in his 35th year. His disorder was of a very remarkable kind; the blood oozed out of all his pores. This malady, of which there have been other instances, was owing to either excessive fear, or violent agitation, or to a feverish and melancholy temperament."

Various opinions have been given of the probable causes of these sorrows of the Saviour. Some have thought it was strong shrinking from the manner of dying on the cross, or from an apprehension of being "forsaken" there by the Father; others, that Satan was permitted in a special manner to test him, and to fill his mind with horrors, having departed from him at the beginning of his ministry for a season Luke 4:13, only to renew his temptations in a more dreadful manner now; and others that these sufferings were sent upon him as the wrath of God manifested against sin that God inflicted them directly upon him by his own hand, to show his abhorrence of the sins of people for which he was about to die. Where the Scriptures are silent about the cause, it does not become us confidently to express an opinion. We may suppose, perhaps, without presumption, that a part or all these things were combined to produce this awful suffering. There is no need of supposing that there was a single thing that produced it; but it is rather probable that this was a rush of feeling from every quarter - his situation, his approaching death, the temptations of the enemy, the awful suffering on account of people's sins, and God's hatred of it about to be manifested in his own death - all coming upon his soul at once sorrow flowing in from every quarter - the "concentration" of the sufferings of the atonement pouring together upon him and filling him with unspeakable anguish.

Mt 26:36-46. The Agony in the Garden. ( = Mr 14:32-42; Lu 22:39-46).

For the exposition, see on [1364]Lu 22:39-46.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:43".

He went away again the second time,.... To the same place as before, or at some little distance; after he had reproved his disciples for their sleeping, and had exhorted them to watchfulness and prayer, suggesting the danger they were liable to, and the condition they were in:

and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy will be done. The sense of this prayer to his God and Father is, that if his sufferings and death could not be dispensed with; if it was not consistent with the decrees of God, and the covenant of grace, that he should be excused from them; or if the glory of God, and the salvation of his people required it, that he must drink up that bitter cup, he was content to do it; desiring in all things to submit unto, and to fulfil his Father's will, though it was so irksome and disagreeable to nature.

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
Matthew 26:42 ff. Πάλιν ἐκ δευτέρου] a well-known pleonasm. John 21:15; Acts 10:15. Comp. δεύτερον πάλιν, Plat. Polit. p. 260 D, αὖθις πάλιν (p. 282 C), and such like. We sometimes find even a threefold form: αὖθις αὖ πάλιν, Soph. Phil. 940, O. C. 1421.

εἰ] not quandoquidem (Grotius), but: if. The actual feelings of Jesus are expressed in all their reality in the form of acquiescence in that condition of impossibility (οὐ δύναται) as regards the divine purpose which prevents the thing from being otherwise.

τοῦτο] without τὸ ποτήριον (see the critical remarks): this, which I am called upon to drink.

ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸ πίω] without my having drunk it; if it cannot pass from me unless it is drunk.

γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου] this is the ὑπακοὴ μεχρὶ θανάτου σταυροῦ, Php 2:8; Romans 5:19. Observe in this second prayer the climax of resignation and submission; His own will, as mentioned in Matthew 26:39, is completely silenced. Mark’s account is here less precise.

Matthew 26:43. ἦσαν γὰρ, κ.τ.λ.] for their eyes (see on Matthew 8:3) were heavy (weighed down with drowsiness). Comp. Eur. Alc. 385.

Matthew 26:44. ἐκ τρίτου] belongs to προσηύξ. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:8.

τ. αὐτ. λόγ.] as is given at Matthew 26:42.

Matthew 26:42-46. Further progress of the agony.—That Jesus had not yet reached final victory is apparent from His complaint against the disciples. He came craving, needing a sympathy He had not got. When the moment of triumph comes He will be independent of them.

Matthew 26:42. Ἐάν μὴ, κ.τ.λ., except, etc.) Whilst Jesus drank the cup it passed away.—πίω, I drink) And now by this very utterance of that word He brings Himself nearer to the act of drinking.—γενηθήτω, be done) The prayer of Jesus approached now nearer to suffering; cf. Matthew 26:39. Behold His obedience.

Verse 42. - Again the second time. A pleonastic expression, as in John 4:54; John 21:16, etc., calling especial attention to "the numerical re-repetition of the Saviour's prayer" (Morison). St. Matthew alone gives the words of this second prayer, which differs in some respects from the first. The possibility of the cup passing away was considered no longer; the continuance of the trial showed that it was not to he. If this cup may (can) not pass away from me... thy will be done. He accepts the cup; his human will coincides with the Divine will; he acquiesces with perfect self-resignation. The cup, relatively to the circumstances, could not pass away from the Saviour. Matthew 26:42
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