Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.…
You have here an account of how our Lord, whilst partaking of the last supper with His disciples, predicted His betrayal. The disciples were greatly moved by the declaration: it is a good sign when we are less suspicious of others than of ourselves — "Lord, is it I?"
I. We regard the sayings of our Lord at this time as uttered with SPECIAL REFERENCE TO JUDAS, WITH THE MERCIFUL DESIGN OF WARNING HIM OF THE ENORMITY OF HIS PROJECTED CRIME, and thus, if possible, of withholding him from its commission. It is easy to see an adaptation between the words used by Christ and the feelings which may have been working in Judas. "The Son of Man goeth as it is written of Him." Judas may have thought that he was helping forward the work of the Messiah; the crucifixion was a determined thing. "Woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed." Judas was free in his treachery, acted from his own will, in obedience to his depraved passions, as if there had been no Divine fore. knowledge. Oh! the vanity of the thought that God ever places us under a necessity of sinning, or that because our sins may turn to His glory they will not also issue in our shame.
II. Let us now glance at another delusion to which it is likely that Judas gave indulgence; this is the delusion as to THE CONSEQUENCES, THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN BEING EXAGGERATED. There is such energy in conscience that it would hardly let a man run on flagrant acts of sin if there were not some drug by which it were lulled. It may be that Judas could hardly persuade himself that a Being so beneficent as Christ, whom he had seen healing the sick, could lay aside the graciousness of His nature, and avenge a wrong by surrendering the evil doer to interminable woe. But our Lord's words meet this delusion — "It had been good for that man if he had not been born." We expect to find Judas overawed by this saying.
III. IT REVEALS HIS UTTER MORAL HARDNESS. Christ had said, "Woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed." At this saying Judas asks, "Lord, is it I? " Numbers bear themselves proudly against Christ and His gospel and go forth from the very sanctuary, with the words of condemnation in their ears, to do precisely the things by which that sentence is incurred.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.