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Jesus Led Away to Pilate (Mt 27:1, 2).
For the exposition of this portion, see on Joh 18:28, &c.
Remorse and Suicide of Judas (Mt 27:3-10).
3. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was
condemned--The condemnation, even though not unexpected, might well
fill him with horror. But perhaps this unhappy man expected, that, while
he got the bribe, the Lord would miraculously escape, as He had once and
again done before, out of His enemies' power: and if so, his remorse
would come upon him with all the greater keenness.
4. Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent
blood--What a testimony this to Jesus! Judas had been with Him in
all circumstances for three years; his post, as treasurer to Him and
gave him peculiar opportunity of watching the spirit, disposition, and
habits of his Master; while his covetous nature and thievish practices
would incline him to dark and suspicious, rather than frank and
generous, interpretations of all that He said and did. If, then, he
could have fastened on one questionable feature in all that he had so
long witnessed, we may be sure that no such speech as this would ever
have escaped his lips, nor would he have been so stung with remorse as
not to be able to keep the money and survive his crime.
5. And he cast down the pieces of silver--The sarcastic, diabolical
reply which he had got, in place of the sympathy which perhaps he
expected, would deepen his remorse into an agony.
6. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not
lawful for to put them into the treasury--"the Corban," or
chest containing the money dedicated to sacred purposes (see on
9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying-- (Zec 11:12, 13). Never was a complicated prophecy, otherwise hopelessly dark, more marvellously fulfilled. Various conjectures have been formed to account for Matthew's ascribing to Jeremiah a prophecy found in the book of Zechariah. But since with this book he was plainly familiar, having quoted one of its most remarkable prophecies of Christ but a few chapters before (Mt 21:4, 5), the question is one more of critical interest than real importance. Perhaps the true explanation is the following, from LIGHTFOOT: "Jeremiah of old had the first place among the prophets, and hereby he comes to be mentioned above all the rest in Mt 16:14; because he stood first in the volume of the prophets (as he proves from the learned DAVID KIMCHI) therefore he is first named. When, therefore, Matthew produceth a text of Zechariah under the name of Jeremy, he only cites the words of the volume of the prophets under his name who stood first in the volume of the prophets. Of which sort is that also of our Saviour (Lu 24:41), 'All things must be fulfilled which are written of Me in the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms,' or the Book of Hagiographa, in which the Psalms were placed first."
For the exposition, see on Mr 15:16-22.
For the exposition, see on Joh 19:18-30.
The Veil Rent (Mt 27:51).
51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom--This was the thick and gorgeously wrought veil which was hung between the "holy place" and the "holiest of all," shutting out all access to the presence of God as manifested "from above the mercy seat and from between the cherubim"--"the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest" (Heb 9:8). Into this holiest of all none might enter, not even the high priest, save once a year, on the great day of atonement, and then only with the blood of atonement in his hands, which he sprinkled "upon and before the mercy seat seven times" (Le 16:14) --to signify that access for sinners to a holy God is only through atoning blood. But as they had only the blood of bulls and of goats, which could not take away sins (Heb 10:4), during all the long ages that preceded the death of Christ the thick veil remained; the blood of bulls and of goats continued to be shed and sprinkled; and once a year access to God through an atoning sacrifice was vouchsafed--in a picture, or rather, was dramatically represented, in those symbolical actions--nothing more. But now, the one atoning Sacrifice being provided in the precious blood of Christ, access to this holy God could no longer be denied; and so the moment the Victim expired on the altar, that thick veil which for so many ages had been the dread symbol of separation between God and guilty men was, without a hand touching it, mysteriously "rent in twain from top to bottom"--"the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was NOW made manifest!" How emphatic the statement, from top to bottom; as if to say, Come boldly now to the Throne of Grace; the veil is clean gone; the mercy seat stands open to the gaze of sinners, and the way to it is sprinkled with the blood of Him--"who through the eternal Spirit hath offered Himself without spot to God!" Before, it was death to go in, now it is death to stay out. See more on this glorious subject on Heb 10. 19-22.
An Earthquake--The Rocks Rent--The Graves Opened, that the Saints Which Slept in Them Might Come Forth after Their Lord's Resurrection (Mt 27:51-53).
51. and the earth did quake--From what follows it would seem that
this earthquake was local, having for its object the rending of the
rocks and the opening of the graves.
52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which
slept arose--These sleeping saints (see on
were Old Testament believers, who--according to the usual punctuation
in our version--were quickened into resurrection life at the moment of
their Lord's death, but lay in their graves till His resurrection, when
they came forth. But it is far more natural, as we think, and consonant
with other Scriptures, to understand that only the graves were opened,
probably by the earthquake, at our Lord's death, and this only in
preparation for the subsequent exit of those who slept in them, when
the Spirit of life should enter into them from their risen Lord, and
along with Him they should come forth, trophies of His victory over the
grave. Thus, in the opening of the graves at the moment of the
Redeemer's expiring, there was a glorious symbolical proclamation that
the death which had just taken place had "swallowed up death in
victory"; and whereas the saints that slept in them were awakened only
by their risen Lord, to accompany Him out of the tomb, it was fitting
that "the Prince of Life . . . should be the First
that should rise from the dead"
1Co 15:20, 23;
54. Now when the centurion--the military superintendent of the
55. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed
Jesus--The sense here would be better brought out by the use of the
pluperfect, "which had followed Jesus."
56. Among which was Mary Magdalene--(See on