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Son of man sitting at the right hand of power ; that Son of man that now appears so mean and despicable, whom you see and trample upon (Isa. liii. 2, 3), you shall shortly see and tremble before. Now, one would think that such a word as this which our Lord Jesus seems to have spoken with a grandeur and majesty not agreeable to his present appearance (for, through the thickest cloud of humiliation, some rays of glory were still darted forth), should have startled the court, and, at least in the opinion of some of them, should have amounted to an arrest of judgment, and that they should have stayed process till they had considered farther of it; when Paul, at the bar, reasoned of the judgment to come, the judge trembled and adjourned the trial. Acts xxiv. 25. But these chief priests were so miserably blinded with malice and rage, that, like the horse rushing into the battle, they mocked at fear, and were not affrighted, neither believed they that it was the sound of the trumpet. Job xxxix. 22, 24. And see Job xv. 25, 26.

The high priest, upon this confession of his, convicted him as a blasphemer (ver. 63); He rent his clothes. Some think that the word signifies his pontifical vestments, which, for the greater state, he had put on, though in the night, upon this occasion. As before, in his enmity to Christ, he said he knew not what (John xi. 51, 52), so now he did he knew not what. If Saul's rending Samuel's mantle was made to signify the rending of the kingdom from him (1 Sam. xv. 27, 28), much more did Caiaphas's rending his own clothes signify the rending of the priesthood from him, as the rending of the veil, at Christ's death, signified the throwing of all open. Christ's clothes, even when he was crucified, were kept entire, and not rent; for when the Levitical priesthood was rent in pieces and done away, "This Man, because he continues ever, has an unchangeable priesthood."

They agreed that he was a blasphemer, and, as such, was guilty of a capital crime. Ver. 64. The question seemed to be put fairly, What think ye? But it was really prejudged, for the high priest had said, Ye have heard the blasphemy; he gave judgment first, who, as president of the court, ought to have voted last. So they all condemned him to be guilty of death ; what friends he had in the great sanhedrim, did not appear; it is probable that they had not notice.

They set themselves to abuse him, and, as the Philistines with Samson, to make sport with him. Ver. 65. It should seem that some of the priests themselves that had condemned him, so far forgot the dignity, as well as duty, of their place, and the gravity which became them, that they helped their servants in playing the fool with a condemned prisoner. This they made their diversion, while they waited for the morning, to complete their villany. If they did not think it below them to abuse Christ, shall we think any thing below us, by which we may do him honour ?

“In these outrages offered to our blessed Saviour, we have a clear proof of man's enmity to God, and of God's most free and unspeakable love to man. In the conduct and suffering of our Lord, we have the brightest pattern of meekness, fortitude, and compassion to sinners, that the earth ever witnessed. We perceive also the evil of sin, and the nature of our Christian calling, which is to follow the example of our blessed Saviour. Thus may we look forward with comfort to the time when we shall see the Son of man coming in his glory; and hope to be numbered with his glorified saints, when his persecutors and enemies are driven into everlasting destruction.” 66 4 *And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the

maids of the high priest : 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch ; and the cock crew. 69 ’And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. "And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them : "for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 °And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And | when he thought thereon, he wept.

I Matt. xxvi. 71; Luke xxii. 58 ; John xviii. 25. m Matt. xxvi. 73;

o Matt. xxvi. 75. | Or, he wept abundantly, or, he began to weep. We have here the story of Peter's denying Christ. It began in keeping at a distance from him. Peter had followed afar off (ver. 54), and now was

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k Matt. xxvi. 58, 59; Luke xxii, 55; John xviii. 16.

Luke xxii. 59: John xviii. 26. n Acts ii. 7.

beneath in the palace, at the lower end of the hall. Those that are shy of Christ, are in a fair way to deny him, that are shy of attending on holy ordinances, shy of the communion of the faithful, and loath to be seen on the side of despised godliness. It was occasioned by his associating with the high priest's servants, and sitting among

them. They that think it dangerous to be in company with Christ's disciples, because thence they may be drawn in to suffer for bim, will find it much more dangerous to be in company with his enemies, because there they may be drawn into sin against him.

The temptation was, his being charged as a disciple of Christ ; Thou also wert with Jesus of Nazareth. Ver. 67. This is one of them (ver. 69), for thou art a Galilean, one may know that by thy speaking broad. Ver. 70. It doth not appear that he was challenged upon it, or in danger of being prosecuted as a criminal for it, but only bantered upon it, and in danger of being ridiculed as a fool for it. While the chief priests were abusing the Master, the servants were abusing the disciples. Sometimes the cause of Christ seems to fall so much on the losing side, that every body has a stone to throw at it. Yet, all things considered, the temptation could not be called formidable ; it was only a maid that casually cast her eye upon him, and for aught that appears, without design of giving him any trouble said, Thou art one of them, to which he needed not to have made any reply, or might have said, And if I be, I hope that is no treason.

The sin was very great; he denied Christ before men, at a time when he ought to have confessed and owned him, and to have appeared in court a witness for him. Christ had often given notice to his disciples of his own sufferings; yet, when they came, they were to Peter as great a surprise and terror as if he had never heard of them before. He had often told them that they must suffer for him, must take up their cross, and follow him; and yet Peter is so terribly afraid of suffering, upon the very first alarm of it, that he will lie and swear, and do any thing to avoid it. When Christ was admired he could readily own him ; but now that he is deserted, he is ashamed of him, and will own no relation to him.

His repentance was very speedy. He repeated his denial thrice, and the third was worst of all, for then he cursed and swore, to confirm his denial; and that third blow, which, one would think, should have stunned him, and knocked him down, startled him, and roused him up. Then the cock crew the second time, which put him in mind of his Master's words, the warning he had given him, with that particular circumstance of the cock crowing twice ; by recollecting that, he was made sensible of his sin and the aggravations of it; and when he thought thereon he wept.

Fixing his mind

upon his sin, he wept. It is not a transient thought of that which is humbling, that will suffice, but we must dwell upon it. Or, what if this word should mean his laying a load upon himself, throwing confusion into his own face ? he did as the publican that smote his breast, in sorrow for sin ; and this amounts to his weeping bitterly.

Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall; and let him that hath fallen think of these things, and of his own offences, and return to the Lord with weeping and supplication, seeking forgiveness, trusting to be restored to the joy of salvation, and thenceforth established by the Holy Spirit.

CHAPTER XV.

1 Jesus brought bound, and accused before Pilate. 15 Upon the clamour of the common people

, the murderer Barabbas is loosed, and Jesus delivered up to be crucified. 17. He is crowned with thorns, 19 spit on, and mocked: 21 fainteth in bearing his cross : 27 hangeth between two thieves : 29 suffereth the triumphing reproaches of the Jeues : 39 but confessed by the centurion to be the Son of God : 43 and is honourably buried by Joseph.

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ND (straightway in the morning the chief priests lield a consultation

with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. 2 °And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews ? And he answering said unto nim, Thou sayest it. 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things: but lie answered nothing. 4.° And Pilate asked him again,

a Psal. ii. 2; Matt. xxrii. 1; Luke xxii. 66, xxiii. 1; John xviii. 28 ; Acts iii. 13; iv, 26.

• Matt, xavu. II. c Matt. xxvii. 18

d Isa, liii. 7; John xix. 9.

s Matt. xxvii. 20; Acts ii. 14.

saying, Answerest thou nothing ? behold how many things they witness against thee.

5But Jesus yet answered nothing ; so that Pilate marvelled. 6 Now Rat that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 And the multitude crying aloud began to deaire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews ? 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. 11 But 'the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.

e Matt. xxvii. 15; Luke xxiii. 17; John xviii. 39. Here we have a consultation held by the great sanhedrim for the effectual prosecution of our Lord Jesus. They met early in the morning about it, and went into a grand committee, to find out

ways and means to get him put to death ; they lost no time, but followed their blow in good earnest, lest there should be an uproar among the people. The unwearied industry of wicked people in doing that which is evil, would shame us for our backwardness and slothfulness in that which is good. They that war against Christ and thy soul, are up early; How long then wilt thou sleep, o sluggard ?

They deliver him up a prisoner to Pilate; they bound him. He was to be the great sacrifice, and sacrifices must be bound with cords. Psal. cxviii. 27. Christ was bound, to make bonds easy to us, and enable us, as Paul and Silas, to sing in bonds. It is good for us often to remember the bonds of the Lord Jesus, as bound with him who was bound for us. They led him through the streets of Jerusalem, to expose him to contempt, who, while he taught in the temple, but a day or two before, was bad in veneration; and we may well imagine how miserably he looked after such a night's usage as he had had ; so buffeted, spit upon, and abused. Their delivering him to the Roman power was a type of the ruin of their Church, which hereby they merited, and brought upon themselves; it signified that the promise, the covenant, and the oracles of God, and the visible church state, which were the glory of Israel, and had been so long in their possession,

be delivered up to the Gentiles. By delivering up the king, they do, in effect, deliver up the kingdom of God, which is therefore, as it were, by their own consent, taken from them, and given to another nation. If they had delivered up Christ, to gratify the desires of the Romans, or to satisfy any jealousies of theirs concerning him, it had been another matter; but they voluntarily betrayed him that was Israel's crown, to them that were Israeľs yoke.

The examining of him by Pilate upon interrogatories (ver. 2): Art thou the King of the Jews ? Dost thou pretend to be so, to be that Messiah whom the Jews expect as a temporal prince ?-Yea, saith Christ, it is as thou sayest, I am that Messiah, but not such a one as they expect. He is the King that rules and protects his Israel according to the spirit, who are Jews inwardly, by the circumcision of the Spirit, and the King that will restrain and punish the carnal Jews, who continue in unbelief.

Next follow the articles of impeachment exhibited against him, and his silence under the charge and accusation. The chief priests forgot the dignity of their place, when they turned informers, and in person accuse Christ of many things (ver. 3), and witness against him. Ver. 4. Many of the Old Testament prophets charge the priests of their times with great wickedness, in which well did they prophesy of these priests. See Ezek. xxii. 26 ; Hos. v. 1, vi. 9; Mic. ii. 11; Zeph. iii. 4 ; Mal. i. 6, i. 8. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans is said to be for the iniquity of priests that shed the blood of the just. Lam. iv. 13. Wicked priests are generally the worst of

The better any thing is, the worse it is when it is corrupted. Lay persecutors have been generally found more compassionate than ecclesiastics. These priests were very eager and noisy in their accusation ; but Christ answered nothing. Ver. 3. When Pilate urged him to clear himself, and was desirous he should (ver. 4), yet still he stood mute (ver. 5), he answered nothing, which Pilate thought very strange. He gave Pilate a direct answer (ver. 2), but would not answer the prosecutors and witnesses, because the things they alleged were notoriously false, and he knew Pilate himself was convinced they were so. As Christ spoke to admiration, so he kept silence to admiration.

men.

Pilate proposed to the people, to have Jesus released to them, since it was the custom of the feast to grace the solemnity with the release of one prisoner. The people expected and demanded that he should do as he had ever done to them (ver. 8); it was an ill usage, but they would have it kept up. Now Pilate perceived that the chief priests delivered up Jesus for enty, because he had got such a reputation among the people as eclipsed theirs. Ver. 10.

It was easy to see, comparing the eagerness of the prosecutors with the slenderness of the proofs, that it was not his guilt, but his goodness, not any thing mischievous or scandalous, but something meritorious and glorious, that they were provoked at. And, therefore, hearing how much he was the darling of the crowd, he thought that he might safely appeal from the priests to the people, and that they would be proud of rescuing him out of the priests' hands; and he proposed an expedient for their doing it without danger of an uproar; let them demand him to be released, and Pilate will readily do it, and stop the mouths of the priests with this that the people insisted upon his release. There was indeed another prisoner, one Barabbas, that had an interest, and would have some votes ; but he questioned not but Jesus would have more.

The people cried out to have Christ put to death, and particularly to have him crucified. It was a great surprise to Pilate, when he found the people so much under the influence of the priests, that they all agreed to desire that Barabbas, might be released. Ver. 11. Pilate opposed it all he could : What will ye that I shall do to him whom ye call the King of the Jews? Would not ye then have him released too ? Ver. 12. No, say they, Crucify him. The priests having put that in their mouths, they insist upon it; when Pilate objected, Why, what eril hath he done ? (a very material question in such a case) they did not pretend to answer it

, but cried out the more exceedingly, as they were more and more instigated and irritated by the priests, Crucify him, crucify him. Now the priests, who were very busy dispersing themselves and their creatures among the mob, to keep up the cry, promised themselves that it would influence Pilate two ways to condemn him :-1. It might incline him to believe Christ guilty, when there was so general an out-cry against him. Surely, might Pilate think, He must needs be a bad man, whom all the world is weary of. He would now conclude that he had been misinformed, when he was told what an interest he had in the people, and that the matter was not so. But the priests had hurried on the prosecution with so much expedition, that we may suppose that they who were Christ's friends, and would have opposed this cry, were at the other end of the town, and knew nothing of the matter. Note, It has been the common artifice of Satan, to put Christ and his religion into an ill name, and so to run them down. When once this sect, as they called it, comes to be everywhere spoken against, though without cause, then that is looked upon as cause enough to condemn it. But let us judge of persons and things by their merits, and the standard of God's word, and not prejudge by common fame and the cry of the country. 2. It might induce him to condemn Christ, to please the people, and indeed for fear of displeasing them. Though he was not so weak as to be governed by their opinion, to believe him guilty, yet he was so wicked as to be swayed by their outrage, to condemn him, though he believed him innocent; induced thereunto by reasons of state, and the wisdom of this world. Our Lord Jesus dying as a sacrifice for the sins of many, he fell a sacrifice to the rage many.

The consideration that no one ever was so cruelly and contemptuously treated, by men of every rank, as the only perfectly wise, holy, and excellent Person that ever appeared on earth, leads the serious mind to strong views of human depravity and enmity to God. These views, being applied to ourselves with the recollection that we all are such by nature, must exceedingly tend to self-abasement before God; while the view of his stupendous love in delivering up his well-beloved Son to this ignominious and cruel death, not sparing him, but making his soul a sacrifice for the sins of rebels and enemies, should cause the broken heart to overflow with wonder and grateful joy. Did we more constantly contemplate those scenes, we should not only derive peace and comfort from the Saviour's atoning blood, but should learn to copy his character in our lives, and more to abhor all those evil dispositions which marked the conduct of his persecutors. We should always find arguments, encouragements, and motives to live to his glory who died for us and rose again. 15 | And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto

them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. 16 "And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Pretorium ; and they call together the whole band. 17 And they clothed him with

of

g Matt. xxvii. 26; John xix. 1, 16.

h Matt. xxvii. 26.

purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head. 18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews ! 19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify bim.

21 'And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

i Matt. xxvii. 32; Luke xxiii. 26.

Pilate, to gratify the Jews' malice, delivers Christ to be crucified. Ver. 15. Willing to content the people, to do enough for them (so the word is), and make them easy, that he might keep them quiet, he released Barabbas unto them, who was the scandal and plague of their nation, and delivered Jesus to be crucified, who was the glory and blessing of their nation. Though he had scourged him before, hoping that would content them, and then not designing to crucify him, yet he went on to that; for no wonder that he who could persuade himself to chastise one that was innocent (Luke xxiji. 16), could by degrees persuade himself to crucify him.

Christ was crucified, for that was, 1. A bloody death, and without blood no remission. Heb. ix. 22. The blood is the life. Gen. ix. 4. Christ was to lay down his life for us, and therefore shed his blood. Blood made atonement for the soul (Lev. xvii

. 11), and, therefore, in every sacrifice of propitiation special order was given for the pouring out of the blood, and the sprinkling of that before the Lord. Now, that Christ might answer all these types, he shed his blood.

2. It was a painful death; the pains were exquisite and acute, for death made its assaults upon the vitals by the exterior parts, which are quickest of sense. Christ died, so as that he might feel himself die, because he was to be both the priest and the sacrifice; so that he might be active in dying, because he was to make his soul an offering for sin. Christ would meet death in its greatest terror, and so conquer it. 3. It was a shameful death, the death of slaves, and the vilest malefactors; so it was accounted among the Romans. The cross and the shame are put together. God having been injured in his honour by the sin of man, it is in his honour that Christ makes him satisfaction, not only by denying himself in, and divesting himself of, the honours due to his divine nature, for a time, but by submitting to the greatest reproach and ignominy the human nature was capable of being loaded with. Yet this was not the worst. 4. It was a cursed death ; thus it was branded by the Jewish law (Deut. xxi. 23); He that is hanged, is accursed of God, is under a particular mark of God's displeasure. It was the death that Saul's sons were put to, when the guilt of their father's bloody house was to be expiated. 2 Sam. xxi. 6. Haman and his sons were hanged. Esth. vii. 10; ix. 13. We do not read of any of the prophets of the Old Testament that were hanged; but now that Christ has submitted to be hanged upon a tree, the reproach and curse of that kind of death are quite rolled away, so that it ought not to be any hindrance to the comfort of those who die either innocently or penitently, nor any diminution froin, but rather an addition to the glory of those who die martyrs for Christ, to be as he was, hanged upon a tree.

Pilate, to gratify the gay humour of the Roman soldiers, delivered Christ to them, to be abused and spitefully treated, while they were preparing for the execution. They called together the whole regiment that was then in waiting, and they went into an inner hall, where they ignominiously abused our Lord Jesus, as a king, just as in the high priest's hall, his servants had ignominiously abused him as a Prophet and Saviour. 1. Do kings wear robes of purple or scarlet? They clothed him with purple. This abuse done to Christ in his apparel should be an intimation to Christians, not to make the putting on of apparel their adorning. Pet

. iii. 4. Shall a purple or scarlet robe be matter of pride to a Christian, which was matter of reproach and shame to Christ? 2. Do kings wear crowns ?

They platted a crown of thorns and put it on his head. A crown of straw, or rushes, would have been banter enough; but this was pain also. He wore the crown of thorns which we had deserved, that we might wear the crown of glory which he merited. Let us be taught by these thorns, as Gideon taught the men of Succoth, to hate sin, and be uneasy under it, and to be in love with Jesus Christ, who is here a lily among thorns. If we be at any time affficted with a thorn in the flesh, let it be our comfort, that our high priest is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having himself known what thorns in the flesh meant. 3. Are kings attended with the acclamations of their subjects

, 0 king, live for ever? That also is mimicked; they saluted him withHail, King of the Jews ; such a prince, and such a people, even good enough for one another. 4. Kings have sceptres put into their hand, marks of dominion, as the crown is of dignity; to imitate this, they put a reed in his right hand. Those who despise the authority of the Lord Jesus, as not to be

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