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    CHAPTER 19


    1-3. Pilate took Jesus and scourged him--in hope of appeasing them. (See Mr 15:15). "And the soldiers led Him away into the palace, and they call the whole band" (Mr 15:16) --the body of the military cohort stationed there--to take part in the mock coronation now to be enacted.

    2. the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head--in mockery of a regal crown.
    - and they put on him a purple robe--in mockery of the imperial purple; first "stripping him" (Mt 27:28) of His own outer garment. The robe may have been the "gorgeous" one in which Herod arrayed and sent Him back to Pilate (Lu 23:11). "And they put a reed into His right hand" (Mt 27:29) --in mockery of the regal scepter. "And they bowed the knee before Him" (Mt 27:29).

    3. And said, Hail, King of the Jews!--doing Him derisive homage, in the form used on approaching the emperors. "And they spit upon Him, and took the reed and smote Him on the head" (Mt 27:30). The best comment on these affecting details is to cover the face.

    4, 5. Pilate . . . went forth again, and saith . . . Behold, I bring him forth to you--am bringing, that is, going to bring him forth to you.
    - that ye may know I find no fault in him--and, by scourging Him and allowing the soldiers to make sport of Him, have gone as far to meet your exasperation as can be expected from a judge.

    5. Then Jesus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!--There is no reason to think that contempt dictated this speech. There was clearly a struggle in the breast of this wretched man. Not only was he reluctant to surrender to mere clamor an innocent man, but a feeling of anxiety about His mysterious claims, as is plain from what follows, was beginning to rack his breast, and the object of his exclamation seems to have been to move their pity. But, be his meaning what it may, those three words have been eagerly appropriated by all Christendom, and enshrined for ever in its heart as a sublime expression of its calm, rapt admiration of its suffering Lord.

    6, 7. When the chief priests . . . saw him, they cried out--their fiendish rage kindling afresh at the sight of Him.
    - Crucify him, crucify him--(See Mr 15:14).
    - Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him--as if this would relieve him of the responsibility of the deed, who, by surrendering Him, incurred it all!

    7. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by oar law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God--Their criminal charges having come to nothing, they give up that point, and as Pilate was throwing the whole responsibility upon them, they retreat into their own Jewish law, by which, as claiming equality with God (see Joh 5:18 and Joh 8:59), He ought to die; insinuating that it was Pilate's duty, even as civil governor, to protect their law from such insult.

    8-11. When Pilate . . . heard this saying, he was the more afraid--the name "SON OF GOD," the lofty sense evidently attached to it by His Jewish accusers, the dialogue he had already held with Him, and the dream of his wife (Mt 27:19), all working together in the breast of the wretched man.

    9. and went again into the judgment hall, and saith to Jesus, Whence art thou?--beyond all doubt a question relating not to His mission but to His personal origin.
    - Jesus gave him no answer--He had said enough; the time for answering such a question was past; the weak and wavering governor is already on the point of giving way.

    10. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not to me?--The "me" is the emphatic word in the question. He falls back upon the pride of office, which doubtless tended to blunt the workings of his conscience.
    - knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?--said to work upon Him at once by fear and by hope.

    11. Thou couldest--rather, "shouldst."
    - have no power at all against me--neither to crucify nor to release, nor to do anything whatever against Me [BENGEL].
    - except it were--"unless it had been."
    - given thee from above--that is, "Thou thinkest too much of thy power, Pilate: against Me that power is none, save what is meted out to thee by special divine appointment, for a special end."
    - therefore he that delivered me unto thee--Caiaphas, too wit--but he only as representing the Jewish authorities as a body.
    - hath the greater sin--as having better opportunities and more knowledge of such matters.

    12-16. And from thenceforth--particularly this speech, which seems to have filled him with awe, and redoubled his anxiety.
    - Pilate sought to release him--that is, to gain their consent to it, for he could have done it at once on his authority.
    - but the Jews cried--seeing their advantage, and not slow to profit by it. If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend, &c.--"This was equivalent to a threat of impeachment, which we know was much dreaded by such officers as the procurators, especially of the character of Pilate or Felix. It also consummates the treachery and disgrace of the Jewish rulers, who were willing, for the purpose of destroying Jesus, to affect a zeal for the supremacy of a foreign prince" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. (See Joh 19:15).
    - When Pilate . . . heard that, . . . he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in--"upon"
    - the judgment seat--that he might pronounce sentence against the Prisoner, on this charge, the more solemnly.
    - in a place called the Pavement--a tesselated pavement, much used by the Romans.
    - in the Hebrew, Gabbatha--from its being raised.

    14. It was the preparation--that is, the day before the Jewish sabbath.
    - and about the sixth hour--The true reading here is probably, "the third hour"--or nine A.M.--which agrees best with the whole series of events, as well as with the other Evangelists.
    - he saith to the Jews, Behold your King!--Having now made up his mind to yield to them, he takes a sort of quiet revenge on them by this irony, which he knew would sting them. This only reawakens their cry to despatch Him.

    15. crucify your King? . . . We have no king but Cæsar--"Some of those who thus cried died miserably in rebellion against Cæsar forty years afterwards. But it suited their present purpose" [ALFORD].

    16. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified, &c.--(See Mr 15:15).


    17. And he bearing his cross--(See on Lu 23:26).
    - went forth--Compare Heb 13:11-13, "without the camp"; "without the gate." On arriving at the place, "they gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall [wine mingled with myrrh, Mr 15:23], and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink" (Mt 27:34). This potion was stupefying, and given to criminals just before execution, to deaden the sense of pain.

    Fill high the bowl, and spice it well, and pour
    The dews oblivious: for the Cross is sharp,
    The Cross is sharp, and He
    Is tenderer than a lamb.

    But our Lord would die with every faculty clear, and in full sensibility to all His sufferings.

    Thou wilt feel all, that Thou may'st pity all;
    And rather would'st Thou wrestle with strong pain
            Than overcloud Thy soul,
            So clear in agony,
    Or lose one glimpse of Heaven before the time,
    O most entire and perfect Sacrifice,
        Renewed in every pulse.

    18. they crucified him, and two others with him--"malefactors" (Lu 23:33), "thieves" (rather "robbers," Mt 27:38; Mr 15:27).
    - on either side one and Jesus in the midst--a hellish expedient, to hold Him up as the worst of the three. But in this, as in many other of their doings, "the scripture was fulfilled, which saith (Isa 53:12), And he was numbered with the transgressors"-- (Mr 15:28) --though the prediction reaches deeper. "Then said Jesus"--["probably while being nailed to the CROSS,"] [OLSHAUSEN], "FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO" (Lu 23:34) --and again the Scripture was fulfilled which said, "And He made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa 53:12), though this also reaches deeper. (See Ac 3:17; 13:27; and compare 1Ti 1:13). Often have we occasion to observe how our Lord is the first to fulfil His own precepts--thus furnishing the right interpretation and the perfect Model of them. (See on Mt 5:44). How quickly was it seen in "His martyr Stephen," that though He had left the earth in Person, His Spirit remained behind, and Himself could, in some of His brightest lineaments, be reproduced in His disciples! (Ac 7:60). And what does the world in every age owe to these few words, spoken where and as they were spoken!

    19-22. Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross . . . Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews . . . and it was written in Hebrew--or Syro-Chaldaic, the language of the country.
    - and Greek--the current language.
    - and Latin--the official language. These were the chief languages of the earth, and this secured that all spectators should be able to read it. Stung by this, the Jewish ecclesiastics entreat that it may be so altered as to express, not His real dignity, but His false claim to it. But Pilate thought he had yielded quite enough to them; and having intended expressly to spite and insult them by this title, for having got him to act against his own sense of justice, he peremptorily refused them. And thus, amidst the conflicting passions of men, was proclaimed, in the chief tongues of mankind, from the Cross itself and in circumstances which threw upon it a lurid yet grand light, the truth which drew the Magi to His manger, and will yet be owned by all the world!

    23, 24. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts; to every soldier--the four who nailed Him to the cross, and whose perquisite they were.
    - a part, and also his coat--the Roman tunic, or close-fitting vest.
    - without seam, woven from the top throughout--"perhaps denoting considerable skill and labor as necessary to produce such a garment, the work probably of one or more of the women who ministered in such things unto Him, Lu 8:3" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].

    24. Let us not rend it, but cast lots . . . whose it shall be, that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my raiment among them; and for my vesture they did cast lots-- (Ps 22:18). That a prediction so exceedingly specific--distinguishing one piece of dress from others, and announcing that while those should be parted amongst several, that should be given by lot to one person--that such a prediction should not only be fulfilled to the letter, but by a party of heathen military, without interference from either the friends of the enemies of the Crucified One, is surely worthy to be ranked among the wonders of this all-wonderful scene. Now come the mockeries, and from four different quarters:--(1) "And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads" in ridicule (Ps 22:7; 109:25; compare Jer 18:16; La 2:15). "Ah!"--"Ha," an exclamation here of derision. "Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself and come down from the cross" (Mt 27:39, 40; Mr 15:29, 30). "It is evident that our Lord's saying, or rather this perversion of it (for He claimed not to destroy, but to rebuild the temple destroyed by them) had greatly exasperated the feeling which the priests and Pharisees had contrived to excite against Him. It is referred to as the principal fact brought out in evidence against Him on the trial (compare Ac 6:13, 14), as an offense for which He deserved to suffer. And it is very remarkable that now while it was receiving its real fulfilment, it should be made more public and more impressive by the insulting proclamation of His enemies. Hence the importance attached to it after the resurrection, Joh 2:22" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. (2) "Likewise also the chief priests,%%


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