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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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John 19

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Verse 1

1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him .

Ver. 1. Took Jesus and scourged him ] So God scourgeth every son whom he receiveth, Hebrews 12:6 . One Son he had that was sine corruptione et flagitio, without corruption and shame, but none that was sine corruptione et flagello, withouit corruption and scourging. In him therefore that rule held not, Flagitium et flagellum, sicut acus et filum, Punishment follows sin, as the thread follows the needle.

Verse 2

2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,

Ver. 2. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns ] Prickly and sharp as the point of a sword (so the word signifieth). Ακανθη videtur ortum a voce ακη , cuspis, acies, mucro. (Pasor.) And our Saviour being of the finest constitution, must needs be extremely sensible. The soldiers did this (it is thought) by the command of Pilate, to give content to the Jews, and to move them thereby (if it might be) either to condemn him or commiserate him. But nothing would do but his death; these blood hounds would not otherwise be satisfied. Godfrey of Boulogne, first king of Jerusalem, refused to be crowned with a crown of gold, saying that it became not a Christian there to wear a crown of gold, where Christ for our salvation had sometime worn a crown of thorns. Some report that he would not be otherwise crowned than with a crown of thorns, as he kneeled at our Saviour’s sepulchre; to testify (perhaps) that he did dedicate his head and life to Christ crucified, and despised not for his sake a crown of thorns here so he might wear a crown of glory with him in heaven. Tradunt coronam spineam ei esse impositam flexis genibus ad sepulchrum Dominicum procumbenti. (Bucholcer.) Canutus, for like purpose, set his crown upon the crucifix. It is not fit, since the head was crowned with thorns, that the members should be crowned with rosebuds, saith Zanchius.

Verse 3

3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Ver. 3. And said, Hail, King of the Jews ] They scoff at him, as a ridiculous and stage player king, whom therefore they clothed with purple, which was a colour affected by the emperors and nobility of Rome; as Herod, for like cause clothed him in white, εν εσθητι λαμπρα , a colour much worn by the nobility of the Jews, James 2:2 .

And they smote him with their hands ] So do hypocrites still by their unchristian practice when they bend the knee to Christ with ludibrious devotion. They have the voice of Jacob, but the hands of Esau. Their words are God’s, their deeds the devil’s, as John Capocius told Pope Innocent III, preaching peace and sowing discord. Verba tua Dei plane sunt, facta vero diaboli videntur. Your words are clearly from God, truly your deeds seem to be of the devil.

Verse 4

4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

Ver. 4. That ye may know that I find no fault ] But why did he not then deliver him out of their hands? Pusillanimity (cowardliness) and popularity would not suffer him; but howsoever he shall give testimony to his innocence. So when Dr Weston was gone from Mr Bradford, martyr (with whom he previously had conference), the keeper told Bradford that the doctor spoke openly that he saw no cause why they should burn him. This Weston being prolocutor (spokesman) in the divinity schools at Oxford, when Cranmer was brought forth to dispute, thus began the disputation, Convenistis hodie, fratres, profligaturi detestandam illam haeresin de veritate corporis Christi in Sacramento, &c. You are assembled today brothren, to overthrow that destable heresy conceriing the body of Christ in the sacrament. At which various learned men burst out into a great laughter, as though even in the entrance of the disputation he had bewrayed himself and his religion. God will have such words fall sometimes from the mouths of persecutors, either wittingly, or by mistake, as shall one day rise up in judgment, and out of their own mouths condemn them.

Verse 5

5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

Ver. 5. Pilate saith, Behold the man ] q.d. If ye be men, take pity upon a man so miserably misused; and if ye be good men, let him go who is innocent. But these monsters, like those beasts at Ephesus, had put off manhood; and for good men among them, it fared with Pilate, pleading for Christ, as it did with him at Nola in the story, who when he was commanded by the Roman censor to go and call the good men of the city to appear before him, went to the churchyards, and there called at the graves of the dead, "O ye good men of Nola, come away, for the Roman censor calls for your appearance," for he knew not where to call for a good man alive.

Verse 6

6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him , crucify him . Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him : for I find no fault in him.

Ver. 6. Crucify him, crucify him ] So afterwards the primitive persecutors cried out, Ad bestias, ad bestias, Christianos ad leones, To the beasts, to the beasts, Christians, to the lions, imputing the cause of all public calamities to them, as Tertullian testifieth. So they cried out at Geneva against Farellus, when the bishop first convented him, In Rhodanum, in Rhodanum, Into the Rhone River, into the Rhone, as the Papists still cry out against the professors of the truth, Ad ignem, ad ignem, to the fire with them, to the fire with them. Tollantur sacrilegi, tollantur. Let the wicked be destroyed, destroyed. Indeed in the form and style of their own sentence condemnatory, they pretend a petition to the secular power, In visceribus Iesu Christi ut rigor iuris mitigetur, atque ut parcatur vita; In the body of Jesus Christ so softened the rigour of the law and so that life was spared, so they will seem outwardly to be lambs, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Witness that chancellor of Salisbury, Dr Jeffery, who was not only contented to give sentence against certain martyrs, but also hunted after the high sheriff, not allowing him to spare them, though he would. So Harpsfield, archdeacon of Canterbury, being at London when Queen Mary lay dying, made all post-haste home to despatch those six whom he had then in his cruel custody; and those were the last that suffered for religion in Queen Mary’s reign.

I find no fault in him ] No wonder! For he was (as Peter saith) "A lamb without blemish" (of original sin), "and without spot" (of actual sin), 1 Peter 1:18 . Neither was it without a sweet providence of God that he should be so often absolved from the desert of death, that thereby we might escape the manifold deaths that we had so well deserved.

Verse 7

7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

Ver. 7. The Jews answered him, &c. ] When they saw that the treason they laid to his charge would not do the deed, they accused him of blasphemy another while, that by some means or other they might take away his life. Thou, and such as thou (said Bonner to Thomas Brown, martyr), report I seek your blood; to whom he answered, Yea, my lord, indeed ye be a bloodsucker; and I would I had as much blood as is water in the sea for you to suck. Another unknown good woman told this bishop in a letter, that he had such store of Christ’s lambs already in his butcher’s stall, that he was not able to drink all their blood, lest he should break his belly, and therefore he let them lie still and die for hunger. My lord (said Mr Saunders to Bonner), you seek my blood, and you shall have it; I pray God you may be so baptized in it, that you may hereafter loathe bloodsucking, and become a better man.

Verse 8

8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

Ver. 8. He was the more afraid ] Christ’s innocence did before triumph in Pilate’s conscience. But now, that he hears that he made himself the Son of God, he was in a mighty maze, "he was afraid," saith the text, of lifting up his hand against God. The greatest men, if not utterly debauched and satanized, cannot but quake at the apprehension of God: and as the worms, when it thunders, wriggle into the corners of the earth; Caligula (that dared his Jove to a duel with that hemistich in Homer, η μ αναειρ η εγω σε , Either kill me, or I will kill thee), when it thundered, covered his eyes with his cap, running under the bed or any bench hole. (Sueton. in Calig.)

Verse 9

9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.

Ver. 9. Whence art thou? ] He questioneth not Christ of his country, but of his condition, q.d. Art thou a man or a God? Such a dunghill deity, he meant, as the heathens worshipped. And therefore our Saviour would not once answer him. Especially since if he should have asserted his Deity, Pilate likely would have acquitted and dismissed him; whereas Christ knew that he was now and here to be condemned. There are those who think that Pilate’s wife’s dream was from the devil, who sought thereby to have hindered the work of our redemption, which could not be wrought but by the death of Christ.

Verse 10

10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

Ver. 10. Speakest thou not unto me ] No, and yet St Paul saith, he "witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate," 1 Timothy 6:13 ; because he had said sufficient before, and was now ready to seal up the truth with his blood. But to be delivered he would not once open his mouth to Pilate. So Mr Saunders had so wholly devoted himself to the defence of Christ’s cause that he forbade his wife to sue for his delivery; and when other of his friends had by suit almost obtained it, he discouraged them, so that they did not follow their suit. I pray you let me make labour for you, said one Cresswell to Master Bradford. You may do what you will, said Bradford. But tell me what suit I shall make for you, quoth Cresswell. Forsooth, said the other, what you will do, do it not at my request; for I desire nothing at your hands. If the Queen will give me life, I will thank her; if she will banish me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her; if she will condemn me to perpetual imprisonment, I will thank her. Life in God’s displeasure is worse than death; and death in his true fear is true life.

I have power to crucify thee ] To crucify an innocent man? Who gave him that power? But profane persons bear themselves overly bold upon their power, as if they were little gods within themselves. So Caesar told Metellus he could as easily destroy him as bid it to be done. So Caligula, speaking to the consuls, I laugh, said he, to think that I can kill you with a nod of my head, and that this fair throat of my wife’s shall be presently cut if I but speak the word. Rideo quod uno nutu meo iugulare vos possim, et uxori tam bona cervix, simul ac iussero, demetur.

Verse 11

11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Ver. 11. Except it were given thee from above ] Therefore be good in thine office, lest thou give a dear account to him that is higher than the highest, as Solomon hath it; who therefore calls the judgment seat "the holy place,"Ecclesiastes 8:10; Ecclesiastes 8:10 . Pilate was afterwards kicked off the bench by Gaius, for his perverting of justice, and, for grief and shame, became his own death’s man.

Verse 12

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

Ver. 12. But the Jews cried out, saying, &c. ] They returned again to their former accusation, and enforced it. One way or other they are bent to have his blood. In King Edward VI’s days, when the Duke of Somerset was cleared of the treason laid to his charge, yet he must suffer (so his potent enemies would have it) for I know not what slight suspicions of felony. At which time also, Sir Thomas Arundel was, among others, with some difficulty condemned. Unhappy man (saith the historian) who found the doing of anything, or of nothing, dangerous alike.

Verse 13

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Ver. 13. When Pilate therefore heard that saying ] That saying, and the base fear of being shent by Caesar, makes him warp and go against his conscience. But should not judges be men of courage? Should not the standard be of steel? the chief posts in the house be heart of oak? Solomon’s tribunal was under propped with lions, to show what metal a magistrate should be made of. It is a mercy to have judges, modo audeant quae sentiunt, saith the orator, so they dare do their consciences. (Cic. pro Milone.)

Verse 14

14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

Ver. 14. Behold your King ] q.d. A likely matter that this poor man should affect the kingdom; and not rather that he is like to lose his life, by forged cavillation. Christ himself was misreported and falsely accused, saith Father Latimer, both as touching his words and meaning also. Korah and his complices object to the meekest of men with one breath, pride, ambition, usurpation of authority, Invenies apud Tacitum frequentatas accusationes maiestatis: unicum crimen eorum qui crimine vacabant. (Lips. in Tacit.)

Verse 15

15 But they cried out, Away with him , away with him , crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

Ver. 15. We have no king but Caesar ] Why but, Is there no king in Sion? is her counsellor perished? saith the prophet, Micah 4:9 . Did not these men look for a Messiah? Or if not, will they reject the Lord from being their King? Oh, how blind is malice, how desperately set upon its ends and enterprises! But in Christ’s kingdom this is wonderful, saith Zanchius, that this King willeth and causeth that the kingdoms of the world be subject to his kingdom; and again he willeth and causeth that his kingdom be also subject to the kingdoms of the world. In regno Christi hoc mirabile est, quod iste rex vult et efficit. (Zanch. Miscel.)

Verse 16

16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

Ver. 16. Then delivered he him, &c. ] Overcome by their importunity, and over awed by the fear of Caesar to condenm the innocent. It was Cato’s complaint, that private men’s thieves are laid by the heels, and in cold irons; but these public thieves that wrong and rob the commonwealth sit in scarlet, with gold chains about their necks. Sinisterity is an enemy to sincerity. a All self-respects and corrupt ends must be laid aside by men in authority and justice, as Moses speaks, that is, pure justice without mud must run down,Deuteronomy 16:20; Deuteronomy 16:20 . Durescite, durescite, said the smith to the duke, that dared not do justice.

a Privatorum fures in nervo et compedibus vitam agunt; publici in auro et purpura visuntur. Gellius, Attic Nights, l. 11. c. 18. 2:349

Verse 17

17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

Ver. 17. And he, bearing his cross, &c. ] This was the Roman fashion (as Plutarch relates it), that every condemned person should bear that cross that anon should bear him. a Hence grew that expression of our Saviour, "He that will be my disciple must take up his cross," and so "fill up that which is behind,"Colossians 1:24; Colossians 1:24 .

Into a place called the place of a skull ] Where his tender heart was pierced with grief, no doubt, at the sad sight of such a slaughter of men made by sin; like as it could not but be a sore cut and corrosive to Mauritius, to see his wife and children slain before him, when himself was also to be next stewed in his own broth. St John is exact in setting down our Saviour’s sufferings, and this for one.

a τω σωματι των κολαζομενων εκαστος εκφερει τον εαυτου σταυρον . Plut.

Verse 18

18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

Ver. 18. Where they crucified him ] An ignominious, accursed, and dolorous death; for he was nailed to the tree in the hands and feet, which are the most sensible parts, as fullest of sinews; and therefore (in so fine a body as his especially) of most exquisite sense. Look wistly upon sin in this glass, and love it if thou canst. For our sins were the nails and ourselves the traitors that fastened him to the tree. Pilate and his soldiers, Judas and the Jews, were all set to work by us. Learn to lay the blame on thyself, and say, It was my gluttony that reached a cup of gall and vinegar to his mouth; mine incontinence that provided stripes for his back; mine arrogance that platted a crown of thorns upon his head; mine inconstance that put a reed into his hand; my treachery that nailed his hands and feet; my vanity that grieved his soul to the death; my self-love that thrust a spear into his side, &c. Adsum ego qui feci. (Virgil.)

Verse 19

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Ver. 19. Jesus of Nazareth, &c. ] To persuade the people to bow superstitiously at the name of Jesus, Papists commonly (but ridiculously) teach in their pulpits, that Christ himself on the cross bowed his head on the right side, to reverence his own name, which was written over it; as Sir Edwin Sands relates from his own experience.

Verse 20

20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

Ver. 20. In Hebrew, Greek, and Latin ] In Hebrew, for the Jews who gloried in the law; in Greek, for the Grecians who gloried in wisdom; in Latin, for the Romans who most gloried in dominion and power. As if Pilate should have said, This is the King of all religion, having reference to the Hebrews; of all wisdom, to the Greeks; of all power, to the Romans. The Holy Ghost would also hereby commend unto us the dignity and study of these three languages, to be retained for ever in the Church of Christ.

Verse 21

21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.

Ver. 21. Write not, The King of the Jews ] They would needs be mending Magnificat, as they say; and this of pure spite, that the disgrace might rest only upon Christ, and not at all reflect upon their nation. Whereas, in truth, nothing so ennobleth, as any the least relation to Christ. Bethlehem, where he was born, is, though the least, yet therefore "not the least among the cities of Judah,"Matthew 2:6; Matthew 2:6 ; Micah 5:2 . Among those that were marked,Revelation 7:5; Revelation 7:5 , Judah is reckoned first, of all the tribes by Leah’s side, because our Lord sprang out of Judah; and Naphtali is named first among those that came by Rachel’s side, because at Capernaum (in that tribe) Christ dwelt; which therefore also is said to be lifted up to heaven,Matthew 11:23; Matthew 11:23 . Ut utrobique superemineat Christi praerogativa.

Verse 22

22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

Ver. 22. What I have written, I have written ] i.e. I am unchangeably resolved it shall stand. So God saith, I am that I am; that is, I am yesterday, and today, and the same for ever. Learn we may of Pilate to be constant to a good cause. a Marcellus the pope would not change his name, according to the custom, to show his immutability, that he was no changeling.

a Non retractat homo profanus, quod, vere licet, sine mente et consilio de Christo scripsit. Cal.

Verse 23

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

Ver. 23. Took his garments ] Christ, as Elias, being now to ascend into heaven, did willingly let go his garments; and the rather that he might clothe us with his righteousness. Let us suffer with joy by the spoiling of our goods, as knowing in ourselves (not only by books or relation of others) that we have in heaven a better and more enduring substance, Hebrews 10:32 . But what a wise fool was Sir Thomas Moore, who being brought to the Tower, a malefactor, and one of the officers demanding his upper garment for a fee, meaning his gown, he said he should have it; and took him his cap, saying, it was the uppermost garment that he had. So, when he was to be beheaded, he said to the hangman, I pray you let me lay my beard over the block, lest you should cut it. He thought it no glory, unless he might die with a mock in his mouth. These be the world’s wizards.

Now the coat was without seam ] Christi tunica est unica: they that rent it by schisms, are worse than the rude soldiers. There can be no greater sin committed, saith Cyprian, than to break the unity of the Church: yea, though one should suffer martyrdom, yet cannot he expiate his thereby sin of discord. This, saith Chrysostom, is a bold, but a true speech of Cyprian. a And like to this, is that of Oecolampadius to the Lutherans in Switzerland; Our error may be pardoned, so that Christ by faith be apprehended, Discordiam, neque si sanguinem fundamus, expiabimus, but the blot of our discord we cannot wash off with our heart blood. (Oecol. ad fratres in Suevia.)

a Inexpiabilis discordiae macula martyrii sanguine ablui et passione purgari non potest. Cypr. de Unit. Eccles. Chrysost. Hom. xi. ad Ephes.

Verse 24

24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, 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. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Ver. 24. That the Scripture might be fulfilled ] So exactly is the Old Testament fulfilled in the New. The testimonies whereof are cited not only by way of accommodation, but because they are the proper meaning of the places. The soldiers could not cast the dice upon our Saviour’s garments, but it was foretold. This shows that our redemption by Christ is no imposture, but a plot of God’s own contriving. Let this settle us against all doubtings.

Verse 25

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

Ver. 25. Now there stood by the cross, &c. ] The men were fled, the women stood to it. Souls have no sexes. Manoah’s wife was the more manly of the two. Priscilla is sometimes set before Aquila. When St Paul came first to Philippi, he had none that would hear him, but a few women, Acts 18:18 ; Rom 16:3 ; 2 Timothy 4:19 ; Acts 16:13 .

Verse 26

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

Ver. 26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother ] In the midst of his miseries he thinks of his mother, and takes care for her well-doing after his decease. Doctor Taylor, the martyr, among other things he said to his son at his death, laid this charge upon him: When thy mother is waxed old, forsake her not, but provide for her to thy power, and that she lack nothing; for so will God bless thee, and give thee long life upon earth and prosperity. The Athenians punished such with death as nourished not their aged parents. And St Paul saith, that to requite parents is good and acceptable before God, 1 Timothy 5:4 . καλον , sc. coram hominibus. (Scult.)

Verse 27

27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home .

Ver. 27. The disciple took her, &c. ] A precious depositum; trust the house was the better she abode in; yet dare we not deify her, as the Papists; as neither will we vilify her, as the author of the Female Glory basely slanders some of us, that we rudely call her Moll, God’s maid. Os durum! Horsh speech! Our parents, saith the heathen, are our household gods, θεοι εφεστιοι . (Hierocles.) Honour them we must both in word and deed. That our Saviour here calls her woman, and not mother, was either because he would not add to her grief, who was now pierced to the soul with that sword Simeon spake of,Luke 2:35; Luke 2:35 ; or, lest he should create her further trouble, if she had been known to be his mother; or, for that, being now in his last work, and ready way to heaven, he knew none after the flesh. Thomas Watt, martyr, spake thus at his death to his wife and six children: Wife and my good children, I must now depart from you; therefore henceforth know I you no more, &c. But whereas Christ commends the care of his mother to his beloved disciple, with, Behold thy mother, the Samians used the like speech, when to the richer of the citizens, the mothers of those who died in the wars were given to be maintained by them, Σοι ταυτην διδωμι την μητερα .

Verse 28

28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

Ver. 28. That the Scripture might be fulfilled ] It is a high point of heavenly wisdom to do our ordinary business in obedience to God’s command, and with an aim at his glory; to go about our earthly affairs with heavenly minds, and in serving men to serve God; to taste God in the creature, and whether we eat or drink, or whatever else we do, to set up God, 1 Corinthians 10:31 . Every action is a step either to heaven or hell. The poor servant in being faithful to his master, "serves the Lord Christ," Colossians 3:24 , who was more careful here of fulfilling the Scripture and working out our salvation, than of satisfying his own most vehement thirst.

Verse 29

29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Ver. 29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar ] Cold comfort: they used to give others wine to comfort them, according to Proverbs 31:6 , and mingled myrrh with the wine ( granum thuris in calice vini ), that might attenuate their blood, and so help to despatch them; as also to cause a giddiness in them, that they might be the less sensible of their pain. But they dealt much worse with our Saviour, mingling for him, in mockery, vinegar and gall, to add to his other misery. This he drank, that we might drink of the heavenly nepenthes, that torrent of pleasure, Psalms 16:11 .

Verse 30

30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Ver. 30. It is finished ] Christ would not off the cross till all were done that was here to be done; that which remained being rather a play than a work to him. The consideration whereof should cast us into a real ecstasy of joy and admiration; nothing like that counterfeit ecstasy whereinto Rondeletius saw a priest at Rome to feign himseff to fall whenever he heard those words of Christ, Consummatum est, It is finished. But the physician observing this counterfeit careful in his fall to lay his head in a soft place, he suspected the dissimulation, and by the threats of a club quickly recovered him.

Verse 31

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Ver. 31. Because it was the preparation ] Their preparation to the sabbath began at three of the clock in the afternoon? a The best and wealthiest of them, even those that had many servants, did with their own hands further the preparation; so that sometimes the masters themselves would chop herbs, sweep the house, cleave wood, kindle the fire. Our ancestors also were wont to give over work on the Saturday, when it rang to even song. And usually as men measure to God in preparation, he re-measureth to them in blessing. King Edgar ordained that Sunday should be solemnized in this land from Saturday, nine of the clock, till Monday morning. The Jews, before their preparation, had their fore-preparation; and before their sabbath, their fore-sabbath, their sabbatulum ante sabbatum. b Those of Tiberias began the sabbath sooner than others; those at Tsepphore continued it longer, adding De profano ad sacrum. We are now so far from this, that we trench upon the holy time, and say, "When will the sabbath be over?" yea, in too many places God’s sacred sabbath is made the voider and dunghill for all refuse businesses; as by others, it is made as Bacchus’ orgies, with ales, May games, c &c. So that it should be named according to these men’s observing of it, Daemoniacus potius quam Dominicus, The devil is prefrred to God, as Alsted hath it. (Encyclopaedia.)

a They might go no farther on the preparation day than three parsae, i.e. twelve miles, lest coming home too late they might not have leisure to prepare. Buxt. Synagog. Judaica. In Meth. Curandi, cap. de Catal. p. 98.

b προπαρασκευη , Matthew 27:62 . προσαββατον , Mark 15:42 . Ante sabbatum Vetus ecclesia vigiliam vocabat. Buxtorf.

c The merrymaking and sports associated with the first of May. ŒD

Verse 32

32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.

Ver. 32. Brake the legs of the first ] The good thief also had his legs broken and his life taken away; though by his repentance he made his cross a Jacob’s ladder, whereby angels descended to fetch up his soul.

Verse 33

33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

Ver. 33. And saw that he was dead already ] He took his own time to die; and therefore, John 19:30 , it is said, "that he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost;" whereas other men bow not the head till they have given up the ghost. He also cried with a loud voice and died, which shows that he lacked not strength of nature to have lived longer if he had wished.

Verse 34

34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Ver. 34. But one of the soldiers with a spear ] What an odd conceit is that of the Papists, that from the Greek word λογχη , have made this soldier’s name Longinus! a and to make up the tale, they tell the people, that whereas before he had been blind, by the anointing of his eyes with the watery blood that came out of Christ’s side, he received his sight, became a Christian, a martyr, a canonized saint, and that his relics were afterwards worshipped. The lance and nails that tormented Christ were graced with a holy day by Pope Innocent VI, and this eulogy, Ave ferrum triumphale, intrans pectus tu vitale caeli pandis ostia, &c. b

There came out blood and water ] The pericardium being pierced, which nature hath filled with water to cool the heat of the heart. Hereto St John alludes, when he saith,1 John 5:6; 1 John 5:6 , that "Christ came by water and blood," to teach us, that he justifieth none by his merit but when he sanctifieth by his Spirit. Possumus etiam hinc asseverare ex latere Christi fluxisse nostra sacramenta, saith Calvin, We may safely say that our sacraments issued out of Christ’s side.

a Notetur turpis pontificiorum lapsus in Longino, et inscitia Graecae linguae. Cartw.

b In Deorum numerum relatus ut de Francis. Bembus. Hist. Ven.

Verse 35

35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

Ver. 35. And he that saw it, &c. ] Nothing so sure as sight. One eyewitness is more than ten ear-witnesses. a It is probable that the apostles that were so conversant with our Saviour had their dairies, wherein they recorded his daily oracles, and other occurrences, and out of which they compiled the Gospels.

His record is true ] The gospel is called the testimony, Isaiah 8:20 , because it beareth witness to itself. The law is called light ( lex, lux ), because by itself it is seen to be of God, as the sun is seen by its own light.

a Plus valet oculatus testis unus quam auriti decem. Ex quibus postea Historia Evangelica est contexta. Scult. Annal.

Verse 36

36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

Ver. 36. Not a bone of him was broken ] So he appeared to be the true Paschal Lamb, that was roasted whole in the fire of his Father’s wrath, to deliver us from the wrath to come. The soldiers could not break his legs, because God had otherwise ordered it. Voluntas Dei, necessitas rei.

Verse 37

37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Ver. 37. They shall look upon him ] This is not a threat, but a promise, Zechariah 12:10 , fulfilled,Acts 2:37; Acts 2:37 , when Peter’s hearers felt the nails, wherewith they had crucified Christ, sticking fast in their own hearts, and piercing them with horror, κατενυγησαν .

Verse 38

38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

Ver. 38. A disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear ] A disciple he was, though a dastard. Infirmities, if disclaimed, discard us not. Uzziah ceased not to be a king, when he began to be a leper. Joshua the high priest, though ill clothed, yet stood before the angel,Zechariah 3:1; Zechariah 3:1 ; Christ did not abhor his presence, nor reject his service. The Church calleth herself black, Song of Solomon 1:5 , but Christ calls her fair, &c. In peace offerings they might offer leavened bread, to show that God will bear with his people’s infirmities.

Verse 39

39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight .

Ver. 39. And there came also Nicodemus ] Another night bird, a chieftain in the ecclesiastical state, as Joseph of Arimathea (or Ramath, Samuel’s country) was in the civil. The faith of these two now breaks out, though it had long lain hidden, as the sun under a cloud, as seed under a clod: now they manifest their love to Christ, so cruelly handled, as the true mother did hers to her child, when it was to be cut in two.

Verse 40

40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

Ver. 40. With the spices, as the manner of the Jews ] To testify their hope of a resurrection. In an apish imitation of whom, the Gentiles also, though they had no such hope, kept a great stir, and made much ado about the decent burial of their dead. Habent et vespae favos, et simiae imitantur homines, saith Cyprian.

Verse 41

41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

Ver. 41. A new sepulchre ] Fit for him that was the "first-born from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep." Besides else it might have been said, that some other had risen, and not he (saith Theodoret), as Mahomet saith that Christ was not crucified, but another for him. ινα μη συκοφαντισθη η αναστασις, ως αλλου ανασταντος ..

Verse 42

42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day ; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Ver. 4:2. Because of the Jews ] That they might not do servile work on the sabbath, though it were to inter Christ’s body. See Luke 23:56 .

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 19". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/john-19.html. 1865-1868.
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