Matthew 26:46-56 “Jesus’ Parting Words”

Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ The Redeemer Church Manhattan KS, 27 Oct 2013


26:45 Then He comes toward His disciples and says to them, “Are y’all going to sleep the rest [of the night away] and rest yourselves? Look, the hour has drawn near, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners!”

26:46 “Get yourselves up; let’s go! Look, the one who is betraying me has drawn near.”

26:47 And while He is still speaking, look, here comes Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a numerous crowd with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

26:48 Now, the one betraying Him had given to them a sign saying,

“Whoever I kiss, that’s the man; grab Him!”

26:49 So, approaching Jesus right away, he said, “Hello, Rabbi,” and kissed His cheek.

26:50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, what’s up?”

Then they approached and assaulted Jesus with their [own] hands and grabbed Him.

26:51 And look, one of the men with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword,

then, after striking at the servant of the high priest, severed his ear from him.

26:52 Then Jesus says to him, “Return your sword into its sheath,

for all those who take up sword will perish by sword.

26:53 Or do y’all think that I am not able to ask a favor of my Father

and He will station alongside me right now more than twelve legions of angels?

26:54 How then would the scriptures be fulfilled that it has to happen like this?”

26:55 During that time, Jesus said to the crowds,

“Have you come out as against a robber with swords and staves to take me into custody?

I was sitting teaching before y’all [day] by day in the temple, and y’all didn’t grab me.

26:56 But the entirety of this has happened

in order that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Then all the disciples left Him and fled.


Have I ever told y’all about the time I got a detention hall in high school? The dreaded detention hall was for bad kids. It meant you had to stay after school for an hour in a designated room. That meant you missed the bus, and that meant your parents had to make a special trip to pick you up, and so they’d know you had misbehaved. I can picture the classroom in my mind, but I don’t remember what class it was – It might have been Bible. The teacher gave us all an assignment and told us to be quiet and work on it while he left the room for a moment. Well, as soon as he was gone, we did what any group of thirty high school kids would do: We started talking and playing around. The longer the teacher was gone, the more rowdy things got, until kids were up out of their chairs, throwing paper airplanes and stuff. Well, while everything was going crazy inside the classroom, a voice from the back of the room brought an immediate change to the situation. “Teacher’s coming!” Two little words brought instant silence and order. It cut through the fog of our foolishness and reminded us of who we were and what we were supposed to be doing, and it reminded us of who the teacher was and what he could do. So, when the teacher stepped into the classroom, it appeared that we had all been diligently studying the whole time he was gone. That’s when my teacher said, “I’m giving every one of you a detention hall!” What? Well, it turned out that he had gone down to the central intercom system and set it to monitor the classroom so that he could hear all our noise while he was away. We had never had a teacher do that before, so it took us by surprise, but we were caught, and that was my first and only d-hall.


You know, there are times when everything is going crazy and you need someone to cut through the fog, reminding everybody who they were and what they are supposed to do. Jesus does this very thing in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we’ll see, there’s quite a chaotic situation with soldiers crashing through the woods, disciples waking up and panicking, and Judas betraying Jesus. But in the middle of it all, Jesus speaks an exhortation to each group of people in the garden, cutting through the fog to remind them of who He is, who they are, what they should be doing, and what God is doing.


As we re-enter the story of the Passion Week, Jesus has done the Passover meal in Jerusalem and taken His disciples back to their bivouac on the next hill over. They’re in a privately-owned olive orchard called Gethsemane, and Jesus has been praying late into the night. The disciples have been in and out of sleep, but now Jesus wakes them up as the next step in the drama of our salvation takes place.


26:46 “Get yourselves up; let’s go! Look, the one who is betraying me has drawn near.”

ἐγείρεσθε ἄγωμεν· ἰδοὺ ἤγγικεν[1] ὁ παραδιδούς με.


26:47 And while He is still speaking, look, here comes Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a numerous crowd with swords and staves[2], from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Καὶ ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἰδοὺ ᾿Ιούδας εἶς τῶν δώδεκα ἦλθε, καὶ μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ ὄχλος πολὺς μετὰ μαχαιρῶν καὶ ξύλων ἀπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων τοῦ λαοῦ.

·         This “crowd/multitude” mentioned in Matthew and Mark is explained by John and Luke in their Gospels as consisting of a squad of soldiers, together with officers of the chief priests and Pharisees (a.k.a. “captains of the temple”), and the elders, and they are all carrying lanterns and torches as well as weapons (John 18:3, Luke 22:52) made of metal and wood – swords and clubs or sticks of some kind.

·         And there is Judas, out in front of this crowd, leading them toward Jesus[3].

·         The people as well as the weapons have just come from the priests and elders who had met with Judas and issued the warrant for Jesus’ arrest. The next verse seems to go back in time to that meeting:


26:48 Now, the one betraying Him had given to them a sign saying, “Whoever I kiss, that’s the man; grab Him!”

ὁ δὲ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς σημεῖον[4] λέγων· ὅν ἂν φιλήσω[5], αὐτός ἐστι· κρατήσατε αὐτόν.

·         The parallel account in Mark 14:44 includes a second command from Judas to “take Him away securely.”


26:49 So, approaching Jesus right away, he said, “Hello, Rabbi,” and kissed His cheek.

καὶ εὐθέως προσελθὼν τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ εἶπε· χαῖρε, ῥαββί, καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν.

·         Judas greets Jesus with the same word that the angel used when greeting Jesus’ mother Mary (“Hail, Mary”); it’s also the way Jesus greeted Mary after His resurrection. It was literally an exhortation to rejoice[6].

·         This happened before the advent of electric lights, so it would be dark in the middle of the night, and even with torches and a full moon, it might be hard to see who is who among the trees in the orchard, thus they worked out this signal ahead-of-time so they could seize/arrest/grab the right guy.

·         In our culture, a kiss is not something guys do in greeting, but in that time and place it was a normal expression of brotherhood. This word for “kiss” shows up again in the next verse with an extra preposition attached to it which means “against the side of” – the custom was just to get the side of your face next to the other person and make a smacking sound with your lips, nothing sensual. The equivalent expression in our time and place might be a bear hug or a clap on the shoulder.

o       Now, it’s possible that the word for “kiss” here in v. 49, which has a prefix on it that means “up against the side of,” means that Judas gave Jesus an extra-affectionate kiss – maybe on both cheeks instead of just on one.[7]

o       However, it’s also possible that the word might indicate that Judas tried to sidle up to kiss Jesus but didn’t actually complete the gesture. I say that because…

·         The parallel account in the gospel of John (18:4-9) says that Jesus beat Judas to the punch and asked the crowd, “Who are you looking for?” then proclaimed, “I’m the one!”

·         The effect on the crowd of religious leaders and guards was stunning; they all fell backward onto the ground as though blasted by the divine power of Jesus. As soon as they recovered and started picking themselves up off the ground, Jesus asserted a second time, “I told you that I am the one; so if you’re seeking me, let my disciples go.” By doing this, Jesus asserts control of the situation and lets everyone know that Judas is not in control.

·         Things are probably happening pretty fast, but at some point, Jesus turns to Judas:


26:50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, what’s up?”

Then they approached and assaulted Jesus with their [own] hands and grabbed Him.

ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἑταῖρε, ἐφ᾿ ᾧ[8] πάρει; τότε προσελθόντες ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας ἐπὶ τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν καὶ ἐκράτησαν αὐτόν.

·         In Luke’s parallel account (22:48-49), Jesus adds, “Judas, Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

·         Knowing full well that Judas was not coming as a friend, Jesus still greets him peacefully as a friend, but the last word in Jesus’ greeting lets Judas know he doesn’t belong there. It’s like He’s saying, “And why do you happen to be in the neighborhood?”

o       If you’re reading a New American Standard Version, you’ll see the operative verb “do” is in italics, which means the command is not actually in the Greek text.

o       I prefer the way New King James renders it, “Why have you come?”

o       The Greek word for “what” and the preposition “upon” are in the expression Jesus uses, so I think our phrase, “What’s up?” very much fits the meaning.[9]

·         Why would Jesus choose this response?

o       If you interpret it the way the NAS, NIV, and ESV render it, one of the themes of this passage is highlighted, the theme that Jesus is in control and is not being taken against His will. “Go ahead and do it.”[10]

o       However, since I’m siding with the KJV here, I think that Jesus is calling Judas to stop and think about why he’s doing what he’s doing, giving him yet one more chance to repent. It’s not a “What’s up,” as in, “I’m not up-to-date with you, so please fill me in,” it’s more like, “I know you’re up to no good, so you wanna fess up?”[11]

·         Now, at the same time, another one of the disciples, realizing what is going on, says, “Lord, shall we strike with our swords?” (Luke 22:49) – Jesus had just told them earlier that evening to bring a couple of swords with them (Luke 22:36-38), and that, together with the apparent power struggle of soldiers being knocked to the ground by Jesus’ words and a healthy dose of Zealot theology about the Messiah overthrowing the government made it a foregone conclusion that it was now time to fight, so, without waiting for Jesus to answer the question,


26:51 And look, one of the men with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword, then, struck the servant of the high priest and severed his ear from him.

καὶ ἰδοὺ εἶς τῶν μετὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἀπέσπασε τὴν μάχαιραν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πατάξας τὸν δοῦλον τοῦ ἀρχιερέως ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον.

·         Perhaps Matthew, Mark and Luke relied on Peter’s testimony and omitted his name out of respect, but John (18:10) tells us that it was Simon Peter who was swinging the sword – and that the injured man’s name was Malchus, and that it was his right ear that he lost. Details like that tell us that John was an eyewitness.

·         Since John knew the servant’s name, that might indicate that Malchus was an acquaintance of John’s. Or, perhaps more likely in my opinion, Malchus became an acquaintance of John later. It would be easy to imagine the impact that this encounter with Jesus in the Garden had on Malchus,

o       this Jesus who could knock a crowd of men to the ground with a word,

o       this Jesus who could heal his bloody, chopped-off ear with just a touch (Luke 22:51),

o       this Jesus who was so popular that He had to be captured in the middle of the night,

o       this Jesus who was so squeaky clean that it took a ton of false witnesses to stick anything on Him.

o       The events of this night could well have been a turning point for Malchus to become a follower of Jesus and a friend of John, I don’t know.

·         Now, what would you have been thinking in circumstances like these? You’re in the middle of an armed mob crashing through the woods intent on capturing you, with a group of fellow-campers who are swinging swords and bolting in terror, and you’ve been up all night sweating blood. Would you be thinking, “Hey, this looks like a great time to give a little devotional message!” but that’s exactly what Jesus did! What an amazing teacher Jesus is!


26:52 Then Jesus says to him, “Return your sword into its sheath, for all those who take up sword will perish by sword.

τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ἀπόστρεψόν σου τὴν μάχαιράν εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς· πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν ἐν μαχαιρᾳ[12] απολουνται.[13]

·         It appears that Jesus made up a proverb on the spot. Proverbial speech is not intended to be a promise that there are no exceptions; proverbs tell what is the general rule. So, how should this proverb be applied?

·         Is Jesus saying that we should never use weapons? Categorically, no.

o       God affirmed soldiers like Moses, Joshua and Gideon and David and their exploits in war.

o       When the soldiers asked John the Baptizer what they should do to get ready for the Messiah, John did not tell them to lay down their swords; he just told them not to be greedy.

o       When the centurion with the sick servant came to Jesus for help, Jesus did nothing to discourage the centurion from continuing his career as a soldier,

o       nor did Peter discourage Cornelius the army captain from his vocation.

o       Remember that Jesus told His disciples to carry swords that night, so He is not against carrying weapons.

·         My opinion is that the swords were to be kept visible as a deterrent to anyone who happened to be up to no good. Just the sight of a few swords strapped to the sides of the 11 disciples would be enough to keep most troublemakers at a respectful distance.

·         However, there comes a point at which a threat is so imminent that, if you have a weapon available, you have to seriously consider using it in defense.

·         And there is a time to use lethal force in defending yourself, your household, and your community, but if you’re going to fight, you’ve got to be ready to die fighting.

·         I think that Jesus is telling His disciples that their calling is not as soldiers. “They are attempting, out of turn, to do more than God’s calling allows or permits” (Calvin). They are to be the spiritual leaders of His church, instead. They can’t afford to go dying by the sword. They need to stay alive to nurture the church and die only because they are witnesses to the name of Jesus in martyrdom, not in some accidental way when swords and missles are flying everywhere.

·         Jesus is reminding them of who they are and what they’re supposed to be doing. He also reminds them of who He is and what He is doing in the parallel accounts of Luke and John.

o       He says in Luke 22:51, to “allow[14] even this,” explaining in John 18:11, “The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?”

o       Jesus is saying, “It’s o.k. to let them take me now. Don’t fight it. I am supposed to die, so don’t you die fighting to keep me alive. I’m still in control of this situation, and it’s all going to turn out good, you’ll see!”

o       Do you still not see that I have the power to bring this whole posse to a screeching halt if I wanted to?


26:53 or do y’all think that I am not able to ask a favor of my Father and He will station alongside me right now more than twelve legions of angels?

ἢ δοκεῖς ὅτι οὐ δύναμαι ἄρτι παρακαλέσαι τὸν πατέρα μου, καὶ παραστήσει μοι πλείους[15] ἣ δώδεκα λεγεῶνας[16] ἀγγέλων;

·         If the numbers in Thayer’s Greek Dictionary are correct for how many soldiers are in a legion, then we’re talking more than 73,200 ground troops plus 8,712 mounted troops! (cf. 2 Kings 6:17)

·         The word translated “giveKJV/provideNKJ/sendESV/put at my disposalNAS,NIV” is a compound of two Greek words “para” – meaning “alongside” and “histemi” meaning to “stand in place.” Bam! Over 80,000 heavenly warriors could hit the ground running. There would be no problem taking out the temple guard… and the entire Roman army, for that matter. Especially considering it’s kinda hard to kill an angel.

·         Jesus is even now exhorting His disciples, using a question He’s asked before in Mathew 22:42, “Who do you think I am? Do you still think I’m just a man? Just a helpless victim of circumstances? Not the Lord of Hosts with all the angels of heaven at my command? Come on, get it straight in your heads!”

·         All this power could be at Jesus’ command with just a word. Do you see the incredible restraint Jesus used to allow Himself to be captured, tortured, and killed when He could have easily prevented it?

·         What held Him back? It was His promises recorded in the Bible:


26:54 How then would the scriptures be fulfilled that it has to happen like this?

πῶς οὖν πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ ὅτι οὕτω δεῖ γενέσθαι;

·         The Bible tells us who God is and what God is supposed to do too!

·         What scriptures were fulfilled by this secret abduction of Jesus? Jesus doesn’t say exactly here, although He does narrow it down to the writings of the prophets in the Bible a couple of verses later. I think this is especially in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7-9, “He was oppressed and He Himself was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth, like the lamb is led to the slaughter… From the prison and from the judgment-hall He was taken… He was torn away from the land of the living, from the rebellion of my people, the stroke went towards Him. And His grave was given to be with wicked men, however, in His martyrdom, it was with a rich man, because He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in His mouth.” (NAW)

·         It had to happen this way. God had said that the Messiah would suffer unjustly and that the punishment due for sin would fall upon Him instead of upon His people. The wages of sin is death, so that meant the Messiah had to die – in the fullest sense of that word. That’s why Jesus didn’t use the power at His disposal to stop this outrageous midnight priest posse. Jesus died on purpose for us to take the blow of God’s wrath aimed at our own sin. He was intentionally fulfilling the word of God.


26:55 During that time, Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber with swords and staves to take me into custody? I was sitting teaching before y’all [day] by day in the temple, and y’all didn’t grab me.

᾿Εν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ εἶπεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τοῖς ὄχλοις· ὡς ἐπὶ λῃστὴν ἐξήλθετε[17] μετὰ μαχαιρῶν καὶ ξύλων συλλαβεῖν με; καθ᾿ ἡμέραν πρὸς ὑμᾶς[18] ἐκαθεζόμην διδάσκων ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, καὶ οὐκ ἐκρατήσατέ με.


26:56 But the entirety of this has happened in order that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ τῶν προφητῶν. Τότε οἱ μαθηταὶ πάντες ἀφέντες αὐτὸν ἔφυγον.

·         Do you see how Jesus is still in control? Now He’s exhorting the guards. “I haven’t committed any violent crimes. You are acting inappropriately to use violence to capture me and take me into custody.”

·         “Furthermore, if all you’re doing is arresting me for teaching something you don’t agree with, you priests and elders were negligent for not correcting me while I was teaching at the temple and you were standing there listening.

·         “We all know the real reason you are taking me into custody during the dead of night while everybody else is asleep; it’s because you have no legitimate reason for taking me. You know that if you did this during the daylight, everybody would protest that I have done nothing wrong. Capturing me this way testifies that you know you are doing wrong! Do you see that? Would you even now repent of your unjust, man-centered ways?”

·         Do you see the gracious character of God to let people know when they are doing wrong and give them opportunity to repent? Jesus could have called down fire from heaven and torched them all right then and there with no explanation. Instead, He would die that some of them might be saved – perhaps even Melchus being one of those saved!

·         Jesus is intent that the scriptures be fulfilled, ready to suffer and die in order to fulfill them. We’ve already seen how the betrayal for 30 pieces of silver fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah, and we’ve seen how Jesus suffering the wrath of God against sin in our place would fulfill Isaiah 53, and there are many more prophecies, such as Psalm 22, which prophecied in detail His crucifixion. This is one reason Jesus gives His captors for what’s happening.

·         The parallel passage in Luke 22:53 mentions another reason why the religious leaders captured him in this clandestine way: “This is your hour and the power of darkness,” Jesus said. They were of the darkness – spiritual darkness which does not tolerate truth and honesty, therefore they loved the darkness, and they captured Jesus in the dark of night. This exposes their need to get right with God. If they would listen, then even now they could find salvation.

·         Meanwhile, all the disciples fled.

o       Disciples were not supposed to separate themselves from their mentor without the mentor’s permission, so when the disciples left, they were abandoning Jesus, forsaking Him, deserting their post as disciples. This was a serious break. It was the end of their discipleship with Jesus, as far as they were concerned.

o       What loneliness Jesus must have felt when this happened, yet He knew this would fulfill the prophecy of Zecheriah 13:7, “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.”

o       The parallel account in the Gospel of Mark (14:51-52) adds an eyewitness detail of the disciples’ escape. It says that a young man who followed Jesus was there in the garden, and one of the soldiers grabbed him[19], but he managed to get free by wriggling or tearing out of his clothes, leaving the soldier holding his clothes while he ran away naked. Can you imagine the adrenaline going through that guy’s veins! Some think it was Mark himself, since he was the only Gospel writer who mentions the incident.


When things are going crazy, remember the gist of Jesus parting words as He was being captured:

1. Remember who Jesus is – He was not a mere man

26:53 “You think that I am not able to get my Father to station

more than twelve legions of angels alongside me right now? No problem!

Jesus is the Almighty Lord of Hosts; He can do anything. Never forget that!

2. Remember who you are – What is your calling? What does that mean you are supposed to do?

26:52 Jesus told Peter, “Sheath your sword; everybody that lives by the sword tends to die by it too.

Is your calling as a soldier? Then get good at fighting and fulfill your calling.

But if it’s not, don’t go trying to be like someone else.

Stay in your lane and do what God had called you to do.

You are first and foremost a child of God!

3. Think about what you are doing and repent if you’re doing what you are not supposed to do.

26:50 Jesus asked Judas, “What’s up?”

When things start getting out of hand and you need to focus, ask yourself:

What’s up? What am I trying to do these days?

Am I doing something that I just have no business doing? Like the cohort that was coming out armed as though Jesus was some kind of bandit?

What are you doing? Do you need to confess that you’re showing disrespect to Jesus and stop doing what the Bible says is wrong?

4. Think about what God is doing: When it looks like everything is falling apart, Remember that Scripture will be fulfilled; God will work out His plan of redemption.

In verses 54 and 56, Jesus kept coming back to the principle that

He was all about fulfilling the Scriptures.

“All this has happened that the scriptures might be fulfilled.”

Jesus has a plan that He is working out.

It has to do with saving people from every tongue and tribe and nation

and living in loving community with them forever in heaven.

That’s the real thing going on back of all the crazy news stories you read.


In the everyday chaos of our lives, we need to hear these exhortations from Jesus to crystallize our think­ing and remind us who God is and what He’s doing, and who we are and what we’re supposed to be doing.

[1] This Greek word has to do with “nearness,” not with “hands,” so I prefer to avoid the English figure of speech “at hand.”

[2] The meaning of this word and use of the item is uncertain. It is one of the few places in the Greek Bible where this word for “wood” is used in the context of weapons. The wooden weapon used for hitting people was usually called a rhabdos. Xulon is also the Greek word for “cross” in Acts and the Petrine epistles (stauros in the rest of the New Testament). 2 Sam. 21:19 details the parts of a spear, calling the shaft the xula. This would support the KJV “stave” here, although all the other occurrences of “stave” in the KJV (outside of Jesus’ capture) are from a different Greek word in the Septuagint, so this seems to be a specialized word, perhaps describing a particular kind of pole in the temple armory. It is unclear whether these sticks of wood were intended for beating Jesus, prodding Him, hanging him, or if they were fuel for a fire or mounts for lanterns. From the parallel passages in John and Luke which pair weapons with lanterns, I would guess these xulwn in Matthew were poles for holding lanterns rather than clubs for beating Jesus. By the way, the placement of the phrase, “from the chief priest and elders…” is as ambiguous in Greek as it is in my English translation as to whether it was the crowd or the weapons which had come from the priests and elders. Perhaps both; the Old Testament temple had guards (1 Chron. 9:17-29) and an armory (2 Ki. 11:10, 2 Chron. 23:9). Albert Barnes commented that it would have been the Roman soldiers stationed at the temple who would have the swords, and that the rest were armed with clubs or sticks, not staves. Vincent liked “staves.”

[3]  Luke 22:47 – προηρχετο “went before”

[4] Cf. συσσημον in Mk. 14:44

[5] In the Septuagint, this word is used to describe Jacob kissing his father Isaac, his cousin Rachel, his uncle Laban, his brother Esau, and his son Joseph. David is kissed by the prophet Samuel at his anointing, and David kisses Jonathan in parting, as well as other venerable persons after becoming King. This word is also used for romantic kisses of the strange woman in Proverbs and of the married couple in Song of Solomon. The Ephesian elders kissed Paul in farewell, and Paul commanded the churches four times to greet one another with a holy kiss.

[6] Half the time this word appears in imperative form in the N.T., it is a greeting, and the other half it is the command to “rejoice.” (Matthew 5:12; 26:49; 27:29; 28:9; Mark 15:18; Luke 1:28; 10:20; John 19:3; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 2:18; 3:1; 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; 1 Peter 4:13; 2 John 1:10)

[7] Calvin seems to say that Judas was trying to appear disconnected from the cohort, just happening to show up that evening at the same time as the soldiers. He says that the kiss was a “pretext of compassion.” A.T. Robertson and Wm. Hendriksen suggest that the prefix could indicate intensity or it could have no additional meaning as some prefixes lost meaning over time.

[8] The majority of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament have the Dative case of the relative pronoun as above, connecting it to the preposition and making Jesus’ utterance a question. Without giving any manuscript basis, the Critical texts change the relative pronoun to the Accusative case, making the grammar even more awkward. All the English versions which follow the Critical GNT insert the command “Do” which is not in the Greek text to make it work. This does not seem right to me. There is no need to make this change to protect Jesus’ divine omnipotence; it could be a rhetorical question designed to give Judas – even at this extremity of his betrayal – the chance to confess his sin.

[9] Another reason I think this is a question is the similarity between Jesus’ response here and that of Peter in Acts 10:21b "Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?" (τίς ἡ αἰτία δι᾿ ἣν πάρεστε; - notice it’s just like Jesus’ response with a preposition followed by a relative pronoun followed by the indicative of pareimi.)

[10] Vincent also takes this position.

[11] This is also the reading of the Syriac and Latin Bibles, and is Hendriksen’s and A.T. Robertson’s position. Robertson cites Deissman in support of this position.

[12] Some editions of the Greek New Testament (Critical and my e-Sword Patristic) have a different spelling (μαχαίρῃ) for this word, but there is no difference in meaning. I retained the text of the majority of Greek manuscripts since neither the Nestle-Aland nor the UBS Critical editions offered a manuscript basis in their textual apparatus for the different spelling.

[13] The majority of Greek manuscripts read a synonym with the same parsing (ἀποθανοῦνται). However, the earliest manuscript with this reading is the Freer Gospels dated to the 5th Century (only one this old). The Textus Receptus (T.R.) and the Critical editions instead use the word απολουνται, which is found in the Majority of the oldest (Uncial and Papyrus) Greek manuscripts, dating back to the 3rd and 4th Century (at least 3 manuscripts this old). Curiously, the NIV follows the Byzantine majority with “die” whilst the rest follow the more ancient reading “perish,” but they are synonyms, after all.

[14] I recognize that the NAS, ESV, and NAS render this verb “No/stop,” but that is not the meaning of this word, it has to do with permission, allowing, being longsuffering. For instance, in all ten other instances that this word occurs in the New Testament, the NASB translates it, “permit,” “allow,” “leave,” or “let.”

[15] According to the Nestle-Aland critical apparatus, the editors of the Critical text departed from the traditional Greek New Testament on the basis of a mere four manuscripts (א, Β, D, and 0133) – albeit ancient ones. Their reading is πλειω – the neuter or masculine form of the same word (πλείους, found in several thousand Greek manuscripts and the T.R. and Patriarchal editions). This comparative would need to match in gender with the noun it is modifying; “Angels” is mascu­line, “legions” is feminine in the Critical editions and masculine in the T.R. and Majority, and the number “twelve” does not have gender. It seems that either spelling could work grammatically, setting “more than” to agree in gender with “twelve” or with “legions.” In addition, Critical editions omit the ἣ (“than”) on the basis of six Greek manuscripts (א, Β, D, L, Θ, & 700). With manuscripts as old as A, C, & W on the side of the majority, I see no reason to support the 6 variants. However, the comparative (pleious/w) can be translated “more than” with or without the particle (e), so it makes no difference in meaning. The KJV, NAS, NIV, & ESV all translate it the same (“more than 12 legions of angels”).

[16] For some reason, Critical editions change one vowel in the middle of the word “legions” to make it feminine, so that it disagrees with “angels,” which is masculine, technically disconnecting the two words from each other. No manuscript evidence is given in the critical apparatus of the Nestle-Aland or the United Bible Societies Critical editions for this move although support is given in N-A for alternate spellings which match the word “angels” in א, A, C, K, L, and Θ, which might lead one to the conclusion that the spelling of the Critical editions might be supported by B, D, and W. At any rate, even the followers of the Critical edition’s variants choose the grammar of the majority text, with “legions” modifying “angels.”

[17] Critical editions of the GNT read εξηλθατε here. No manuscript evidence was offered in the critical apparatus of N-A or the UBS editions for this variation from the majority of Greek manuscripts. It is just a spelling variant, though (1st Aorist vs. 2nd Aorist), no different in meaning. Over time, there appear to have been shifts toward the popular use of the 2nd Aorist spellings of some Greek words. We have seen similar things happen the English language over the course of a mere two centuries.

[18] Because this phrase “before you” is missing in three ancient Greek manuscripts (א, Β, and L – plus four manuscripts from the middle ages), Critical editions omit the phrase. Other manuscripts of the same antiquity (A, C, D) have the phrase which is carried in the vast majority of Greek manuscripts throughout time, so I see no reason to support the omission. Once again, the context is such that the phrase isn’t absolutely necessary, although the inclusion of the phrase brings the fact home a little more clearly that the priests had given permission and tacit approval of Jesus to move freely and teach in the temple, so their clandestine man-stealing was truly hypocritical.

[19] Jesus’ exhortation to the guards may have been important in lessening their resolve to round up all the disciples, re­mind­ing them that they did not have a strong case against even Jesus. Even in this, prophecy was fulfilled; the disciples were preserved.