Matthew 26:55 MEANING

Matthew 26:55
(55) Are ye come out as against a thief?--Better, as against a robber with swords and clubs. The word is the same as that used in John 18:40, of Harabbas, and points to the brigand chieftain of a lawless band as distinct from the petty thief of towns or villages.

I sat daily with you teaching in the temple.--The statement referred primarily, perhaps, to what had passed in the three days immediately preceding, but it looks beyond this in its wide generality, and is important as an indication, occurring in one of the first three Gospels, of a ministry in Jerusalem, which their narratives pass over. The "sitting" in the Temple implied that our Lord took the position of a teacher more or less recognised as such (comp. Note on Matthew 5:1), not that of one who was addressing the multitude without authority.

Verse 55. - The multitudes. St. Luke says that Christ addressed "the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and elders, which were come against him." He submitted to indignities, but he felt them deeply; he allowed himself to be treated as a malefactor, but was not insensible to the shame of being supposed to have been capable of acting as such. A thief; a robber. One at the head of a band of lawless ruffians, who would resist you with arms in their hands - a sicarius, a cutthroat, who lurked in secret places to murder the innocent. I sat daily with you (πρὸς ὑμᾶς, probably an interpolation from Mark). All the past week, at any rate, Christ had taught quietly and openly in the temple. He had none of the habits of the robber; he had not courted secrecy; he had no company of armed men to defend him; why did they not arrest him then? According to St. Luke, Christ adds, "But this is your hour, and the power of darkness."

26:47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave him for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!In that same hour said Jesus to the multitude,.... That is, to the heads and chief of them, the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders, as Luke says, Luke 22:52, for though it was in the dead of the night, and the company such, as they would not have chose to have been seen in at another time; yet so intent were they upon this affair, that they could not satisfy themselves without being in it, and seeing the issue of it; and this the Jews themselves confirm in their account; for they say (o), that the elders of Jerusalem took Jesus, and brought him to the city. Now in that same hour, immediately, that very moment, that Christ had made an end of rebuking Peter for his rash action, and reasoning with him upon it, he turned and addressed himself to these men, saying,

are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves, for to take me? as an highwayman, or notorious robber, that had done great mischief to the country; and being armed, and having associates, was not easy to be taken: the Syriac renders it, as a cut-throat: and the Persic, as a robber, and a cut-throat; a desperate villain, that would by no means yield, unless overpowered by numbers, by force of arms, by the dint of the sword, by knocks and blows: but how different from this, was the character of Jesus! who never did any injury to any man's person or property, but saved both; was meek, lowly, and humble in his deportment, throughout the whole of his life; never strove with men, or cried, and caused his voice, in any riotous manner, to be heard in the streets; and even when reviled, reviled not again, but took every insult patiently; and was now unarmed, and ready to submit at once; nay, before they could well come up to him, he asked them who they sought; and on mentioning his name, declared he was the person; and signified he was ready to surrender himself, only desired his disciples might have leave to go away: he adds,

I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. The business he was employed was not thieving and stealing, but teaching; and that wholesome doctrine, which he, as man, had received from his Father, and as the great prophet in Israel taught; and with such power and authority, as the Scribes and Pharisees did not: the place where he taught, was the temple; not a corner, or a private place, but a place of public worship, and of public resort: the time when he taught there, was the daytime, and day by day; for some days past, it had been his custom in the daytime to teach in the temple, and at night to go out, and abide in the Mount of Olives; and his continuance day by day in the temple, or his constant teaching there, is signified by sitting daily there, and teaching; unless it should be thought rather to have regard to the posture in which he taught; see Matthew 5:1. And yet, though this had been his common practice for some days past, and at other times before, yet no man laid hands on him then; which was not wanting to a good will in them, who were very desirous of it, and sought every opportunity to do it, but were prevented; either through fear of the people, or through Christ's making his escape from them; and particularly, by the singular providence and power of God, which restrained them, because his time was not yet come. However, Christ suggests by this, that they had no need to take such extraordinary methods to apprehend him, as to make use of one of his disciples to betray him; to come in the middle of the night to take him, and that in such great numbers, and with swords and staves, when he was every day with them in the temple,

(o) Toldos Jesu, p. 17.

Courtesy of Open Bible