The year of the redeemed is now come, which had been from eternity fixed in the divine counsels, and long looked for by them that waited for the consolation of Israel. After the revolutions of many ages, it is at length come, Isa. 63:4. And, it is observable, it is in the very first month of that year that the redemption is wrought out, so much in haste was the Redeemer to perform his undertaking, so was he straitened till it was accomplished. It was in the same month, and at the same time of the month (in the beginning of months, Exod. 12:2), that God by Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, that the Antitype might answer the type. Christ is here delivered up, when the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, Luke 22:1. About as long before that feast as they began to make preparation for it, here was preparation making for our Passover’s being offered for us. Here we have,
I. His sworn enemies contriving it (Luke 22:2), the chief priests, men of sanctity, and the scribes, men of learning, seeking how they might kill him, either by force of fraud. Could they have had their will, it had been soon done, but they feared the people, and the more for what they now saw of their diligent attendance upon his preaching.
II. A treacherous disciple joining in with them, and coming to their assistance, Judas surnamed Iscariot. He is here said to be of the number of the twelve, that dignified distinguished number. One would wonder that Christ, who knew all men, should take a traitor into that number, and that one of that number, who could not but know Christ, should be so base as to betray him; but Christ had wise and holy ends in taking Judas to be a disciple, and how he who knew Christ so well yet came to betray him we are here told: Satan entered into Judas, Luke 22:3. It was the devil’s work, who thought hereby to ruin Christ’s undertaking, to have broken his head; but it proved only the bruising of his heel. Whoever betrays Christ, or his truths or ways, it is Satan that puts them upon it. Judas knew how desirous the chief priests were to get Christ into their hands, and that they could not do it safely without the assistance of some that knew his retirements, as he did. He therefore went himself, and made the motion to them, Luke 22:4. Note, It is hard to say whether more mischief is done to Christ’s kingdom by the power and policy of its open enemies, or by the treachery and self-seeking of its pretended friends: nay, without the latter its enemies could not gain their point as they do. When you see Judas communing with the chief priests, be sure some mischief is hatching; it is for no good that they are laying their heads together.
III. The issue of the treaty between them. 1. Judas must betray Christ to them, must bring them to a place where they might seize him without danger of tumult, and this they would be glad of. 2. They must give him a sum of money for doing it, and this he would be glad of (Luke 22:5): They covenanted to give him money. When the bargain was made, Judas sought opportunity to betray him. Probably, he slyly enquired of Peter and John, who were more intimate with their Master than he was, where he would be at such a time, and whither he would retire after the passover, and they were not sharp enough to suspect him. Somehow or other, in a little time he gained the advantage he sought, and fixed the time and place where it might be done, in the absence of the multitude, and without tumult.