SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)

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Chapter 26

2 (Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1, 2). Attention Called to Sacrifice—Christ was crowned with thorns. His hands and feet were pierced by nails. Every step onward in the shameful scene was one of intense suffering. But it was God's purpose that publicity should be given to the whole transaction, point after point, scene after scene, one phase of humiliation reaching into another. It was appointed that these events should take place on the occasion of the Passover (Manuscript 111, 1897). 5BC 1100.7

3 (Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54; John 18:13). A Corrupted Priesthood—The priesthood had become so corrupt that the priests had no scruples in engaging in the most dishonest and criminal acts to accomplish their designs. Those who assumed the office of high priest prior to, and at, the time of Christ's first advent, were not men divinely appointed to the sacred work. They had eagerly aspired to the office through love of power and show. They desired a position where they could have authority, and practice fraud under a garb of piety, and thereby escape detection. The high priest held a position of power and importance. He was not only counselor and mediator, but judge; and there was no appeal from his decision. The priests were held in restraint by the authority of the Romans, and were not allowed the power of legally putting anyone to death. This power rested with those who bore rule over the Jews. Men of corrupt hearts sought the distinguished office of high priest, and frequently obtained it by bribery and assassination. The high priest, clad in his consecrated and expensive robes, with the breastplate upon his breast, the light flashing upon the precious stones inlaid in the breastplate, presented a most imposing appearance, and struck the conscientious, true-hearted people with admiration, reverence, and awe. The high priest was designed in an especial manner to represent Christ, who was to become a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec (The Review and Herald, December 17, 1872). 5BC 1100.8

No High Priest—With Caiaphas the Jewish high priesthood ended. The service had become base and corrupt. It had no longer any connection with God. Truth and righteousness were hateful in the eyes of the priests. They were tyrannical and deceptive, full of selfish, ambitious schemes. Such ministration could make nothing perfect; for it was itself utterly corrupt. The grace of God had naught to do with it. 5BC 1100.9

Virtually Caiaphas was no high priest. He wore the priestly robes, but he had no vital connection with God. He was uncircumcised in heart. Proud and overbearing, he proved his unworthiness ever to have worn the garments of the high priest. He had no authority from heaven for occupying the position. He had not one ray of light from God to show him what the work of the priest was, or for what the office was instituted (The Review and Herald, June 12, 1900). 5BC 1101.1

6-13 (Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). An Illustration of God's Methods—There are gifts that we rightly proportion to the character and necessities of the ones upon whom we bestow them. Not many of the poor would appreciate Mary's offering, or our Lord's sacrifice of Himself, which gift was the highest that could be given. That ointment was a symbol of the overflowing heart of the giver. It was an outward demonstration of a love fed by heavenly streams until it overflowed. And that ointment of Mary, which the disciples called waste, is repeating itself a thousand times in the susceptible hearts of others. 5BC 1101.2

The Lord God is profuse in His gifts to our world. The question may be asked, Why does the Lord show such waste, such extravagance in the multitude of His gifts that cannot be enumerated? The Lord would be so bountiful toward His human family that it cannot be said of Him that He could do more. When He gave Jesus to our world, He gave all heaven. His love is without a parallel. It did not stop short of anything.... 5BC 1101.3

To human reasoning the whole plan of salvation is a waste of mercies and resources. They are provided to accomplish the restoration of the moral image of God in man. The atonement is abundantly able to secure to all who will receive it, mansions in heaven. The supposed prodigality of Mary is an illustration of the methods of God in the plan of salvation; for nature and grace, related to each other, manifest the ennobling fullness of the Source from which they flow (Manuscript 28, 1897). 5BC 1101.4

14-16 (Mark 14:10, 11; Luke 22:3-5; 1 Timothy 6:10). No Outbreaking Sin—The love of money in the heart of Judas was growing with the exercise of his shrewd abilities. His practical financiering ability if exercised and enlightened and moulded by the Holy Spirit, would have been of great service to the little church, and by the sanctification of his spirit he would have had a clear insight, a correct discernment to appreciate heavenly things. But worldly policy plans were constantly cherished by Judas. There was no outbreaking sin on his part, but his sharp scheming, the selfish, parsimonious spirit that took possession of him, finally led him to sell his Lord for a small sum of money (Manuscript 28, 1897). 5BC 1101.5

Two Kinds of Experience Confused by Judas—There are two kinds of experience—the outside showing and the inward working. The divine and human were at work in the character of Judas. Satan was working the human, Christ the divine. The Lord Jesus longed to see Judas rise to his appointed privileges. But the human side of Judas’ character was confused with his religious sentiments, and treated by him as essential attributes. By taking this view of things, he left an open door for Satan to enter and take possession of the entire man. If Judas had practiced the lessons of Christ, he would have surrendered to Christ, he would have consecrated his heart fully to God; but his confused experience was misleading him (Manuscript 28, 1897). 5BC 1101.6

A Religious Fraud—The case of Judas has been presented to me as a lesson for all. Judas was with Christ through the entire period of the Saviour's public ministry. He had all that Christ could give him. Had he used his capabilities with earnest diligence, he could have accumulated talents. Had he sought to be a blessing, instead of a questioning, criticizing, selfish man, the Lord would have used him to advance His kingdom. But Judas was a speculator. He thought that he could manage the finances of the church, and by his sharpness in business get gain. He was divided in heart. He loved the praise of the world. He refused to give up the world for Christ. He never committed his eternal interests to Christ. He had a superficial religion, and therefore he speculated upon his Master and betrayed Him to the priests, being fully persuaded that Christ would not allow Himself to be taken. 5BC 1101.7

Judas was a religious fraud. He held up a high standard for others, but he himself utterly failed to reach the Bible standard. He did not bring the religion of Christ into his life. How many today are, like Judas, betraying their Lord? Those who follow dishonest practices in business, sacrifice Christ for gain and reveal a wisdom that is after Satan's order. Speculation for selfish gain will not be brought into the life of the man who has that faith which works by love and purifies the soul (Letter 40, 1901). 5BC 1102.1

(Mark 3:19.) Jesus Dealt Wisely With Judas—Christ knew, when He permitted Judas to connect with Him as one of the twelve, that Judas was possessed of the demon of selfishness. He knew that this professed disciple would betray Him, and yet He did not separate him from the other disciples, and send him away. He was preparing the minds of these men for His death and ascension, and He foresaw that should He dismiss Judas, Satan would use him to spread reports that would be difficult to meet and explain. 5BC 1102.2

The leaders of the Jewish nation were watching and searching for something that they could use to make of no effect the words of Christ. The Saviour knew that Judas, if dismissed, could so misconstrue and mystify His statements that the Jews would accept a false version of His words, using this version to bring terrible harm to the disciples, and to leave on the minds of Christ's enemies the impression that the Jews were justified in taking the attitude that they did toward Jesus and His disciples. 5BC 1102.3

Christ did not, therefore, send Judas from His presence, but kept him by His side, where He could counteract the influence that he might exert against His work (The Review and Herald, May 12, 1903). 5BC 1102.4

26-29. See EGW on 1 Corinthians 11:18-34, 23-26. 5BC 1102.5

28 (1 Corinthians 11:25; see EGW on Leviticus 17:11). The Peace-making Cup—The atoning sacrifice is full and sufficient. It is the new covenant, sealed with His blood, which was shed for many for the remission of sins. This Christ declared at the last supper. In this cup there is to those who drink in faith, peace-making, soul-cleansing efficacy. It is the balm of Gilead, which God has provided to restore health and soundness to the sin-stricken soul (Letter 108, 1899). 5BC 1102.6

31-35 (Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38; 1 Corinthians 10:12). The Self-sufficient Go On in Supposed Strength—Many today stand where Peter stood when in self-confidence he declared that he would not deny his Lord. And because of their self-sufficiency, they fall an easy prey to Satan's devices. Those who realize their weakness trust in a power higher than self. And while they look to God, Satan has no power against them. But those who trust in self are easily defeated. Let us remember that if we do not heed the cautions that God gives us, a fall is before us. Christ will not save from wounds the one who places himself unbidden on the enemy's ground. He lets the self-sufficient one, who acts as if he knew more than his Lord, go on in his supposed strength. Then comes suffering and a crippled life, or perhaps defeat and death (Manuscript 115, 1902). 5BC 1102.7

36-46 (Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; see EGW on Ecclesiastes 8:11). Satan Sought to Crush Christ—At the thought of the grievous character of the guilt of the world, Christ felt that He must go apart, and be alone. The hosts of darkness are there to make sin appear as extensive, deep, and horrible as possible. In his hatred of God, in falsifying His character, in manifesting irreverence, contempt, and hatred toward the laws of His government, Satan had made iniquity reach unto the heavens, and it was his purpose to swell iniquity to such great proportions, that it would make atonement seem impossible, so that the Son of God, who sought to save a lost world, should be crushed beneath the curse of sin. The working of the vigilant foe in presenting to Christ the vast proportions of transgression, caused such poignant pain that He felt that He could not remain in the immediate presence of any human being. He could not bear that even His disciples should witness His agony as He contemplated the woe of the world. Even His most dearly loved friends must not be in His companionship. The sword of justice was unsheathed, and the wrath of God against iniquity rested upon man's substitute, Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father. 5BC 1102.8

In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ suffered in man's stead, and the human nature of the Son of God staggered under the terrible horror of the guilt of sin, until from His pale and quivering lips was forced the agonizing cry, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:” but if there is no other way by which the salvation of fallen man may be accomplished, then “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Human nature would then and there have died under the horror of the sense of sin, had not an angel from heaven strengthened Him to bear the agony. 5BC 1103.1

The power that inflicted retributive justice upon man's substitute and surety, was the power that sustained and upheld the suffering One under the tremendous weight of wrath that would have fallen upon a sinful world. Christ was suffering the death that was pronounced upon the transgressors of God's law. 5BC 1103.2

It is a fearful thing for the unrepenting sinner to fall into the hands of the living God. This is proved by the history of the destruction of the old world by a flood, by the record of the fire which fell from heaven and destroyed the inhabitants of Sodom. But never was this proved to so great an extent as in the agony of Christ, the Son of the infinite God, when He bore the wrath of God for a sinful world. It was in consequence of sin, the transgression of God's law, that the Garden of Gethsemane has become pre-eminently the place of suffering to a sinful world. No sorrow, no agony, can measure with that which was endured by the Son of God. 5BC 1103.3

Man has not been made a sin-bearer, and he will never know the horror of the curse of sin which the Saviour bore. No sorrow can bear any comparison with the sorrow of Him upon whom the wrath of God fell with overwhelming force. Human nature can endure but a limited amount of test and trial. The finite can only endure the finite measure, and human nature succumbs; but the nature of Christ had a greater capacity for suffering; for the human existed in the divine nature, and created a capacity for suffering to endure that which resulted from the sins of a lost world. The agony which Christ endured, broadens, deepens, and gives a more extended conception of the character of sin, and the character of the retribution which God will bring upon those who continue in sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ to the repenting, believing sinner (Manuscript 35, 1895). 5BC 1103.4

(Genesis 3:1-24.) Eden and Gethsemane—The Garden of Eden with its disobedience and the Garden of Gethsemane with its obedience are presented before us. What a costly work was that in Eden! How much was involved in the fatal eating of the forbidden tree! But many are following in the very same footprints, in disobedience, in breaking away from the law of God. When men selfishly enter a course of disobedience to God they go on imperceptibly. They do not calculate what the sure result will be when they enter the path of temptation, and make but feeble efforts to resist, and some make none at all. But when the scroll is unrolled, and God looks over it, He will find that He has been denied in that place, dishonored in another place; and as the roll is opened more and more, the results of un-Christlike actions are revealed. The Word of God was not fed upon, therefore their actions were not the result of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God (Letter 69, 1897). 5BC 1103.5

The Garden of Eden with its foul blot of disobedience, is to be carefully studied and compared with the Garden of Gethsemane, where the world's Redeemer suffered superhuman agony when the sins of the whole world were rolled upon Him.... Adam did not stop to calculate the result of His disobedience (Manuscript 1, 1892). 5BC 1103.6

39. See EGW on Romans 8:11. 5BC 1103.7

42 (Mark 14:36; Luke 12:50; 22:42, 53; Philippians 2:7). Stronger Than Human Desire—The human nature of Christ was like unto ours, and suffering was more keenly felt by Him; for His spiritual nature was free from every taint of sin. Therefore His desire for the removal of suffering was stronger than human beings can experience. How intense was the desire of the humanity of Christ to escape the displeasure of an offended God, how His soul longed for relief, is revealed in the words, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” 5BC 1103.8

Yet Christ had not been forced to take this step. He had contemplated this struggle. To His disciples He had said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” “Now is your hour, and the power of darkness.” He had volunteered to lay down His life to save the world (The Signs of the Times, December 9, 1897). 5BC 1104.1

43 (Mark 14:40; Luke 22:45). Picture of a Sleeping Church—In this fearful hour of trial Christ's human nature longed even for the sympathy of His disciples. A second time He rose from the earth and went to them and found them sleeping. This was not a deep sleep. They were in a drowse. They had a limited sense of their Lord's suffering and anguish. In tenderness Jesus stood for a moment bending over them, and regarding them with mingled feelings of love and pity. In these sleeping disciples He sees a representation of a sleeping church. When they should be watching, they are asleep (Sufferings of Christ, 19, 20, found in The Signs of the Times, August 14, 1879). 5BC 1104.2

57 (John 18:13, 14). Need Not Be Instruments of Unrighteousness—Caiaphas was the one who was to be in office when type met antitype, when the true High Priest came into office. Each actor in history stands in his lot and place; for God's great work after His own plan will be carried out by men who have prepared themselves to fill positions for good or evil. In opposition to righteousness, men become instruments of unrighteousness. But they are not forced to take this course of action. They need not become instruments of unrighteousness, any more than Cain needed to (The Review and Herald, June 12, 1900). 5BC 1104.3

63, 64 (Mark 14:61, 62; Luke 22:70). A Wonderful Moment—This is one of the times when Christ publicly confessed His claim to be the Messiah, the One for whom the Jews had long looked. Weighted with such great results, it was to Christ one of the most wonderful moments of His life. He realized that all disguise must be swept away. The declaration that He was one with God must be openly made. His judges looked upon Him as only a man, and they thought Him guilty of blasphemous presumption. But He proclaimed Himself as the Son of God. He fully asserted His divine character before the dignitaries who had arraigned Him before their earthly tribunal. His words, spoken calmly, yet with conscious power, showed that He claimed for Himself the prerogatives of the Son of God (Manuscript 111, 1897). 5BC 1104.4

65 (Mark 14:63). Priestly Robes Not to Be Rent—The pattern of the priestly robes was made known to Moses in the mount. Every article the high priest was to wear, and the way it should be made, were specified. These garments were consecrated to a most solemn purpose. By them was represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ. They covered the priest with glory and beauty, and made the dignity of his office to appear. When clothed with them, the priest presented himself as a representative of Israel, showing by his garments the glory that Israel should reveal to the world as the chosen people of God. Nothing but perfection, in dress and attitude, in spirit and word, would be acceptable to God. He is holy; and His glory and perfection must be represented in the earthly service. Nothing but perfection could properly represent the sacredness of the heavenly service. Finite man might rend his own heart by showing a contrite and humble spirit; but no rent must be made in the priestly robes (The Youth's Instructor, June 7, 1900). 5BC 1104.5

An Outward Appearance—So perverted had the priesthood become that when Christ declared Himself the Son of God, Caiaphas, in pretended horror, rent his robe, and accused the Holy One of Israel of blasphemy. 5BC 1104.6

Many today who claim to be Christians are in danger of rending their garments, making an outward show of repentance, when their hearts are not softened nor subdued. This is why so many continue to make failures in the Christian life. An outward appearance of sorrow is shown for wrong, but their repentance is not that which needs not to be repented of (The Review and Herald, June 12, 1900). 5BC 1104.7

Christ's Heart Rent—How different was the true High Priest from the false and corrupted Caiaphas. Christ stood before the false high priest, pure and undefiled, without a taint of sin. 5BC 1105.1

Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race. By His suffering and death a new and living way was opened (The Review and Herald, June 12, 1900). 5BC 1105.2

(Leviticus 10:6.) A Positive Prohibition—It was the general custom for the garments to be rent at the death of friends. The only exception to this was in the case of the high priest. Even Aaron, when he lost his two sons because they did not glorify God as had been specified, was forbidden to show sorrow and mourning by rending his garments. The prohibition was positive [Leviticus 10:6 quoted] (Manuscript 102, 1897). 5BC 1105.3

The Condemned Pronounced Sentence on the Innocent—For thus rending his garment in pretended zeal, the high priest might have been arraigned before the Sanhedrin. He had done the very thing that the Lord had commanded should not be done. Standing under the condemnation of God, he pronounced sentence on Christ as a blasphemer. He performed all his actions toward Christ as a priestly judge, as an officiating high priest, but he was not this by the appointment of God. The priestly robe he rent in order to impress the people with his horror of the sin of blasphemy covered a heart full of wickedness. He was acting under the inspiration of Satan. Under a gorgeous priestly dress, he was fulfilling the work of the enemy of God. This has been done again and again by priests and rulers. 5BC 1105.4

The rent garment ended Caiaphas’ priesthood. By his own action he disqualified himself for the priestly office. After the condemnation of Christ he was unable to act without showing the most unreasonable passion. His tortured conscience scourged him, but he did not feel that sorrow that leads to repentance. 5BC 1105.5

The religion of those that crucified Christ was a pretense. The supposed holy vestments of the priests covered hearts that were full of corruption, malignity, and crime. They interpreted gain to be godliness. The priests were appointed, not by God, but by an unbelieving government. The position of priest was bought and sold like goods of merchandise. Thus it was that Caiaphas obtained the office. He was not a priest after the order of Melchisedec, by God's appointment. He was bought and sold to work wickedness. He never knew what it was to be obedient to God. He had the form of godliness, and this gave him the power to oppress (Manuscript 102, 1897). 5BC 1105.6