Matthew 26:43
And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(43) He came and found them asleep again.—The motive of this return we may reverently believe to have been, as before, the craving for human sympathy in that hour of awful agony. He does not now rouse them or speak to them. He looks on them sorrowfully, and they meet His gaze with bewildered and stupefied astonishment. “They wist not what to answer Him” (Mark 14:40).

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.

Ver. 42,43. Mark saith Mark 14:39,40, And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy), neither wist they what to answer him. Saying the same words. How our translation came to translate this so I cannot tell, in the Greek it is ton aut on logon, which must be translated, the same word, or the same speech, not words (if that were the evangelist’s sense). But that it is not, for, as it is plain our Saviour used more than one word, so it is as plain it was not the same speech, or form of words, for we have met with four different forms already: our Lord prayed but thrice, so as he could not say the same speech. But logon here signifies matter—speaking the same matter, or to the same sense, and this we translate it, Mark 1:45 10:10, and in a multitude of other texts, in correspondence with the Hebrew rbd he comes to them a second time, and findeth them asleep. So quickly did they find the truth of what he had but now taught them, that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, for there is no doubt but they did what they could to keep themselves awake.

And he came and found them asleep again,.... For they were aroused and awaked, in some measure, by what he had said to them; but no sooner was he gone but they fell asleep again, and thus he found them a second time; or, "he came again and found them asleep"; so read the Vulgate Latin, the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel:

for their eyes were heavy; with sleep through fatigue, sorrow, &c. Mark adds, "neither wist they what to answer him", Mark 14:40; they were so very sleepy, they knew not how to speak; or they were so confounded, that he should take them asleep a second time, after they had had such a reproof, and exhortation from him, that they knew not what answer to make him; who probably rebuked them again, or gave them a fresh exhortation.

And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 26:43. καθεύδοντας: again! surprising, one would say incredible on first thoughts, but not on second. It was late and they were sad, and sadness is soporific.

Matthew 26:43. Γὰρ, κ.τ.λ., for, etc.) The cause of their sleeping a second time [‘Aetiologia;’ see Appendix].—βεβαρημένοι, weighed down. Such slothfulness frequently overpowers the godly when it is least becoming.

Verse 43. - He came and found them asleep (sleeping) again. In the best manuscripts "again" is connected with the verb "came." This was his second visit; he was still craving for their sympathy, still desirous of their safety under temptation. Heavy (βεβαρημένοι). Weighed down with drowsiness; St. Mark adds, "Neither wist they what to answer him." He partially aroused them, but they were too overcome with sleep to enter fully into the situation or to attend to the obvious duty before them. Matthew 26:43
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