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WHEN Jesus had said these things, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which he entered with his disciples.

Ver. 1.  Over the torrent, or brook Cedron,† which ran betwixt Jerusalem and Mount Olivet, in the valley of Cedron, or of Hennom, or of Josaphat, not of Cedars, as in many Greek copies.  See the history of Christ's Passion.  Matt. xxvi. and xxvii. Wi.

 

[†]  V. 1.  Cedron, not Cedrorum.  In most Greek copies, twn Kedrwn.  In some MSS. tou Kedron.  So the Protestant translation, the brook Cedron.


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Cedron

Cedron. Heb. nachal Kidron, may signify, "the shady torrent," or "vale," as it is styled by Josephus. It does not take its name from cedars. It is dry in summer, and when filled with water, in only three steps across. Doubdan xxvii. --- Cedron, to the east and south of Jerusalem, where Topheth and the sepulchres of the poor, and all unclean things, were placed. Here the pagans burnt their children in honour of Moloch. See 3 K. xv. 13. 2 Par. xxix. 16. and xxx. 14.

Brook of Cedron

[Hebrew Náhál Qidhrôn, "Wâdi Qidron"; only once "fields of Qidron"; John 18:1, ho cheimarros ho Kedron; in R.V., Kidron]. The name designates in Holy Writ the ravine on the east of Jerusalem, between the Holy City and the Mount of Olives. The word Cedron is usually connected with the root Qadár, "to be dark", and taken to refer to the colour of the stream or ravine; but its exact origin and precise meaning are really unknown. The Valley of Cedron begins with a slight depression near the Tombs of the Judges, a mile and a quarter north-west of Jerusalem. It runs first south towards the Holy city, and then turns nearly east, passing to the north of the tombs of the Kings. Next, it bends to the right towards the south, deepening as it follows this general direction between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Opposite St. Stephen's gate, it is fully 100 feet deep and about 400 feet broad; its bed is shaded by venerable olive-trees and crossed by an old bridge. Below the bridge, the valley presents the first traces of a torrent bed. It narrows gradually and sinks more rapidly leaving to the east the church of the tomb of the Blessed Virgin, and next, Gethsemani. A thousand feet from the old bridge, the valley is merely a deep gulley across which another bridge is thrown, and on the banks of which are, to the right, Mohammedan tombs, and to the left, the sepulchres of Josaphat, Absalom, St. James, and the Jewish cemetery. About a thousand feet farther, there is in a cave, on the right bank, the Fountain of the Virgin, and higher up, on the left, the village of Siloe. Somewhat farther down, the Tyropoeon valley falls from the right into the Cedron, which now expands down to the Valley of Hinnom. Here, the Cedron is about 200 yards wide, and has on its left the Mount of Offence. Shortly after the junction of the Valley of Hinom with the Cedron, there is Job's well, to the south of which Sir C. Warren found, in 1868-69, the shaft of a great rock-cut aqueduct. On leaving the Holy City, the Valley of the Cedron runs its winding and gradually precipitous course through the Wilderness of Judea to the north-western shore of the Dead Sea. The Cedron is perfectly dry during the summer and most of the winter. North of Jerusalem, it bears the name of Wâdi al-Jos (Valley of Nuts); between the city and the Mount of Olives, it is known as Wâdi Sitti Mariam (Valley of St. Mary), or again as the Valley of Josaphat (cf. Joel, iii, 2, 12); after leaving Jerusalem, it is called Wâdi en-Nâr (Valley of Fire), and also Wâdi er-Rahib (Valley of the Monks). Its whole length is some 20 miles in a straight line, and its descent nearly 4000 feet. Its bed east of Jerusalem is now about 40 feet higher than in ancient times. The Cedron is first mentioned in Holy Scripture in connection with David's flight from Absalom, during which he crossed it [2 Samuel 15:23]; and next, in connection with the prohibition to Semei against his ever crossing it [1 Kings 2:37]. It was at the torrent Cedron that King Asa burnt the filthy idol of his mother [1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16]. It was into it that Ezechias and Josias cast all the impurities which had polluted the House of the Lord (cf. 2 Chronicles 29:16; 30:14; 2 Kings 23:4, 6, 12). The torrent Cedron is last mentioned in the O.T. in Jeremiah 31:40, apparently as part of the common cemetery of Jerusalem. In the New Testament it is spoken of only once, in connection with Christ's going forth over it to Gethsemani (John 18:1). In the present day it is the desired resting-place of both Jews and Mussulmans, and the supposed scene of Last Judgment.

2 And Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place; because Jesus had often resorted thither together with his disciples. 3 Judas therefore having received a band of soldiers and servants from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

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4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them: Whom seek ye? 5 They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them.

Ver. 5.  Jesus here asks them, whom they were seeking, not as if he were ignorant of their errand, but to shew them, that of their own power they could do nothing, because, though he, whom they sought, was present, and stood before them, yet, they did not know him.  Theophyl.

 

--- The darkness of the night could not have been the reason why they did not see him, because, as the evangelist observes, they had lanterns and torches with them, and if they could not see him, at least they might have known him by his voice; for how could Judas, their leader, who was one of his own apostles, be unable to know him by his voice.  S. Chrys.




6 As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he; they went backward, and fell to the ground.

Ver. 6.  Jesus again shews the Jews his power, and works another miracle before them, to give them another opportunity of being converted; but they would not: they still persevere in their hardness of heart; he therefore now delivers himself up to them, as now they can have no excuse for their incredulity.  S. Chrys.


7 Again therefore he asked them: Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.


8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way. 9 That the word might be fulfilled which he said: Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one.

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10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus. 11 Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? 12 Then the band and the tribune, and the servants of the Jews, took Jesus, and bound him:
13 And they led him away to Annas first, for he was father in law to Caiphas, who was the high priest of that year.

Ver. 13.  Some are of opinion that Annas and Caiphas both dwelt in the same house.  V.



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14 Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

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15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest.

Ver. 15.  Peter followed Jesus, but at a distance, for he was afraid.  And so did another disciple.  S. Jerom, and S. Chrys. and after him, Theophyl. with some others, believe that this other disciple was S. John himself.  Calmet.


16 But Peter stood at the door without. The other disciple therefore, who was known to the high priest, went out, and spoke to the portress, and brought in Peter.

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17 The maid therefore that was portress, saith to Peter: Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith: I am not.

Ver. 17.  S. John gives here Peter's first denial, which is reunited to the other two by all the preceding evangelists.  This is one of the circumstances, which the others may have neglected, to unite three similar facts, and relating to the same object.  V.

 

--- S. Peter, the prince and head of the Church, was permitted to fall, to teach him to treat with more mildness and condescension those, whom he would afterwards have to raise out of the same miserable state of sin.  One weak and frail man is placed over another, that seeing him unhappily fallen, he may give him his kind and helping hand, to free him from that unhappy state, in which he knows himself to have been.  S. Chrys.

 

--- Of all which our divine Saviour suffered in the court of Caiphas, nothing so much affected him as the dangerous fall of Peter, the chief of all his apostles, who had received the most signal favours from him.  He had boasted that very night, that although all the rest of the disciples should abandon their master, he would never forsake him.  Yet, see the weakness and inconstancy of human nature; at the voice of a poor maid, he forthwith denies his master; repeats his denial a second, and a third time, and even swears with an imprecation, that he never knew the man.  O what is man, when he confides too much in himself!  Let us look to ourselves, and see, that we never fall into the same unfortunate state.  But if we have the misfortune to imitate this apostle in his fall, let us likewise imitate him in his speedy repentance: for immediately after his fall, going out, he wept bitterly; a practice which, it is said, he ever after retained, as often as he heard the cock crow.  Butler's Lives of the Saints.



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18 Now the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves. And with them was Peter also, standing, and warming himself. 19 The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world: I have always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort; and in secret I have spoken nothing. 21 Why asketh thou me? ask them who have heard what I have spoken unto them: behold they know what things I have said.

Ver. 21.  Why askest thou me?  Caiphas, in quality of judge, was to examine the crimes laid to the charge of the accused, by the testimony of the witnesses.  Wi.


22 And when he had said these things, one of the servants standing by, gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest thou the high priest so? 23 Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou me? 24 And Annas sent him bound to Caiphas the high priest.

Ver. 24.  Annas sent him bound to Caiphas.  Christ was but a little while there: for both the box on the ear, given to our Saviour, and S. Peter's denial, were at the house of Caiphas: so that S. John does not here observe the order of time.  Wi.



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25 And Simon Peter was standing, and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said: I am not.

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26 One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: Did I not see thee in the garden with him?

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Peter Denying Christ

Peter Denying Christ

One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: Did I not see thee in the garden with him?

27 Again therefore Peter denied; and immediately the cock crew. 28 Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor's hall. And it was morning; and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the pasch.

Ver. 28.  That they might eat the Pasch.  They, who by the Pasch will always understand the paschal-lamb, look upon it certain from these words, that the Scribes and Pharisees at least, had deferred eating the paschal-lamb, till Friday the 15th day, in the evening: but there are passages in the Scripture, which shew, that the word Pasch, or Phase, comprehended not only the paschal sacrifice of the lamb, but also the sacrifices, that were to be eaten with unleavened bread, during the seven days of the paschal solemnity, as Deut. xvi. 2. thou shalt offer up the Phase, or Pasch, to the Lord, of sheep and oxen.  And 1 Paralip. xxxv. 8. They gave to the priests to make the Phase, or Pasch, in altogether two thousand six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen.  The oxen, therefore, were also given, to make up the Pasch, and were comprehended by the word Pasch, or Phase.  It might, therefore, be these paschal sacrifices, and not the paschal-lamb, which the priests designed to partake of, and therefore would not enter into the palace of Pilate.  See Tillemont against Lamy, on the 2nd passage out of S. John, tom. ii. p. 696.  See also the Lexicon of Mr. Heure on the word Pâque.  Wi.



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29 Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: What accusation bring you against this man? 30 They answered, and said to him: If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up to thee. 31 Pilate therefore said to them: Take him you, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death; 32 That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he said, signifying what death he should die.

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33 Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him: Art thou the king of the Jews?

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34 Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done?

Ver. 35.  It pleased God, that Christ, who was to die both for the Jews and the Gentiles, should be betrayed by the one, and put to death by the other.  B.


36 Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.

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38 Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in him.

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39 But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the pasch: will you, therefore, that I release unto you the king of the Jews?

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40 Then cried they all again, saying: Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

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