The Son of man goeth - That is, is about to die. Going, going away, departing, etc., are frequently used in the best Greek and Latin writers, for death, or dying. The same words are often used in the Scriptures in the same sense.
It had been good for that man - Can this be said of any sinner, in the common sense in which it is understood, if there be any redemption from hell's torments? If a sinner should suffer millions of millions of years in them, and get out at last to the enjoyment of heaven, then it was well for him that he had been born, for still he has an eternity of blessedness before him. Can the doctrine of the non-eternity of hell's torments stand in the presence of this saying? Or can the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked consist with this declaration? It would have been well for that man if he had never been born! Then he must be in some state of conscious existence, as non-existence is said to be better than that state in which he is now found. It was common for the Jews to say of any flagrant transgressor, It would have been better for him had he never been born. See several examples in Schoettgen. See the case of Judas argued at the end of Acts 1 (note).
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.
They were exceeding sorrowful - John says John 13:22 “they looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” - that is, they anxiously looked one at another, conscious each one, except Judas, of no such intention, and each one beginning to examine himself to find whether he was the person intended.
This showed their innocence, and their attachment to Jesus. It showed how sensitive they were to the least suspicion of the kind. It showed that they were willing to know themselves, thus evincing the spirit of the true Christian. Judas only was silent, and was the last to make the inquiry, and that after he had been plainly pointed out Matthew 26:25, thus showing:
1.that guilt is slow to suspect itself;
2.that it shrinks from the light;
3.that it was his purpose to conceal his intention; and,
4.that nothing but the consciousness that his Lord knew his design could induce him to make inquiry.
The guilty would, if possible, always conceal their crimes. The innocent are ready to suspect that they may have done wrong. Their feelings are tender, and they inquire with solicitude whether there may not be something in their bosoms, unknown to themselves, that may be a departure from right feeling.
He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish - The Jews, at the observance of this ordinance, used a bitter sauce, made of bunches of raisins, mixed with vinegar and other seasoning of the like kind, which they said represented the clay which their fathers were compelled to use in Egypt in making brick, thus reminding them of their bitter bondage there.
This was probably the dish to which reference is made here. It is not improbable that Judas reclined near to our Saviour at the feast, and by his saying it was one that dipped “with him” in the dish, he meant one that was near to him, designating him more particularly than he had done before. John adds (John 13:23-30; see the notes at that place), that “there was leaning on Jesus‘ bosom one of his disciples whom Jesus loved” - referring to himself; that Simon Peter beckoned to him to ask Jesus more particularly who it was; that Jesus signified who it was by giving “Judas a sop” - that is, a piece of “bread” or “meat” dipped in the thick sauce; and that Judas, having received it, went out to accomplish his wicked design of betraying him. Judas was not, therefore, present at the institution of the Lord‘s Supper.
The Son of man, goeth - That is, the Messiah - the Christ. See the notes at Matthew 8:20.
As it is written of him - That is, as it is “written” or prophesied of him in the Old Testament. Compare Psalm 41:9 with John 13:18. See also Daniel 9:26-27; Isaiah 53:4-9. Luke Luke 22:22 says, “as it was determined.” In the Greek, as it was “marked out by a boundary” - that is, in the divine purpose. It was the previous intention of God to give him up to die for sin, or it could not have been certainly predicted. It is also declared to have been by his “determinate counsel and foreknowledge.” See the notes at Acts 2:23.
Woe unto that man - The crime is great and awful, and he will be punished accordingly. He states the greatness of his misery or “woe” in the phrase following.
It had been good - That is, it would have been better for him if he had not been born; or it would be better now for him if he was to be as “if” he had not been born, or if he was annihilated. This was a proverbial mode of speaking among the Jews in frequent use. In relation to Judas, it proves the following things:
1.that the crime which he was about to commit was exceedingly great;
2.that the misery or punishment due to it would certainly come upon him;
3.that he would certainly deserve that misery, or it would not have been threatened or inflicted; and,
4.that his punishment would be eternal.
If there should be any period when the sufferings of Judas should end, and he be restored and raised to heaven, the blessings of that “happiness without end” would infinitely overbalance all the sufferings he could endure in a limited time, and consequently it would not be true that it would have been better for him not to have been born. Existence, to him, would, on the whole, be an infinite blessing. This passage proves further that, in relation to one wicked man, the sufferings of hell will be eternal. If of one, then it is equally certain and proper that all the wicked will perish forever.
If it be asked how this crime of Judas could be so great, or could be a crime at all, when it was determined beforehand that the Saviour should be betrayed and die in this manner, it may be answered:
1. That the crime was what it was “in itself,” apart from any determination of God. It was a violation of all the duties he owed to God and to the Lord Jesus - awful ingratitude, detestable covetousness, and most base treachery. As such it deserved to be punished.
2. The previous purpose of God did not force Judas to do this. In it he acted freely. He did just what his wicked heart prompted him to do.
3. A previous knowledge of a thing, or a previous purpose to permit a thing, does not alter its “nature,” or cause it to be a different thing from what it is.
4. God, who is the best judge of the nature of crime, holds all that was done in crucifying the Saviour, though it was by his determinate counsel and foreknowledge, “to be by wicked hands,” Acts 2:23. This punishment of Judas proves, also, that sinners cannot take shelter for their sins in the decrees of God, or plead them as an excuse. God will punish crimes for what they “are in themselves.” His own deep and inscrutable purposes in regard to human actions will not change “the nature” of those actions, or screen the sinner from the punishment which he deserves.
Christ is soon coming in the clouds of heaven, and we must be prepared to meet Him, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. We are now to accept the invitation of Christ. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The words of Christ to Nicodemus are of practical value to us today: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” RC 22.3Read in context »
Judas knew how anxious they were to obtain Jesus and offered to betray Him to the chief priests and elders for a few pieces of silver. His love of money led him to agree to betray his Lord into the hands of His bitterest enemies. Satan was working directly through Judas, and in the midst of the impressive scene of the last supper, the traitor was devising plans to betray his Master. Jesus sorrowfully told His disciples that all of them would be offended because of Him that night. But Peter ardently affirmed that although all others should be offended because of Him, he would not be offended. Jesus said to Peter: “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31, 32. EW 166.1
I beheld Jesus in the garden with His disciples. In deep sorrow He bade them watch and pray, lest they should enter into temptation. He knew that their faith was to be tried, and their hopes disappointed, and that they would need all the strength which they could obtain by close watching and fervent prayer. With strong cries and weeping, Jesus prayed, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.” The Son of God prayed in agony. Great drops of blood gathered upon His face and fell to the ground. Angels were hovering over the place, witnessing the scene, but only one was commissioned to go and strengthen the Son of God in His agony. There was no joy in heaven. The angels cast their crowns and harps from them and with the deepest interest silently watched Jesus. They wished to surround the Son of God, but the commanding angels suffered them not, lest, as they should behold His betrayal, they should deliver Him; for the plan had been laid, and it must be fulfilled. EW 167.1
After Jesus had prayed, He came to His disciples; but they were sleeping. In that dreadful hour He had not the sympathy and prayers of even His disciples. Peter, who was so zealous a short time before, was heavy with sleep. Jesus reminded him of his positive declarations and said to him, “What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?” Three times the Son of God prayed in agony. Then Judas, with his band of armed men, appeared. He approached his Master as usual, to salute Him. The band surrounded Jesus; but there He manifested His divine power, as He said, “Whom seek ye?” “I am He.” They fell backward to the ground. Jesus made this inquiry that they might witness His power and have evidence that He could deliver Himself from their hands if He would. EW 167.2Read in context »
Arguments drawn from the Old Testament types also pointed to the autumn as the time when the event represented by the “cleansing of the sanctuary” must take place. This was made very clear as attention was given to the manner in which the types relating to the first advent of Christ had been fulfilled. GC 399.1
The slaying of the Passover lamb was a shadow of the death of Christ. Says Paul: “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. The sheaf of first fruits, which at the time of the Passover was waved before the Lord, was typical of the resurrection of Christ. Paul says, in speaking of the resurrection of the Lord and of all His people: “Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.” 1 Corinthians 15:23. Like the wave sheaf, which was the first ripe grain gathered before the harvest, Christ is the first fruits of that immortal harvest of redeemed ones that at the future resurrection shall be gathered into the garner of God. GC 399.2
These types were fulfilled, not only as to the event, but as to the time. On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His own death as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” That same night He was taken by wicked hands to be crucified and slain. And as the antitype of the wave sheaf our Lord was raised from the dead on the third day, “the first fruits of them that slept,” a sample of all the resurrected just, whose “vile body” shall be changed, and “fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Verse 20; Philippians 3:21. GC 399.3
In like manner the types which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service. Under the Mosaic system the cleansing of the sanctuary, or the great Day of Atonement, occurred on the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month (Leviticus 16:29-34), when the high priest, having made an atonement for all Israel, and thus removed their sins from the sanctuary, came forth and blessed the people. So it was believed that Christ, our great High Priest, would appear to purify the earth by the destruction of sin and sinners, and to bless His waiting people with immortality. The tenth day of the seventh month, the great Day of Atonement, the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, which in the year 1844 fell upon the twenty-second of October, was regarded as the time of the Lord's coming. This was in harmony with the proofs already presented that the 2300 days would terminate in the autumn, and the conclusion seemed irresistible. GC 399.4Read in context »