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1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.
Ver. 1. See Matthew 27:2 ; John 18:28 .
2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
Ver. 2. Perverting the people ] Gr. διαστρεφοντα , turning them upside down, wreathing them from their right minds. So Luke 23:5 ; "He stirreth up the people," Gr. ανασειει , he maketh an earthquake in them; rectum tollit de cardine mentem, he throws them off the hinges.
3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it .
Ver. 3. See Matthew 27:11 ; Mark 15:2 ; John 18:33 .
4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.
Ver. 4. See John 18:38 .
5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.
Ver. 5. He stirreth up the people ] In the present tense, q.d. He doth nothing else; he maketh it his whole trade and constant practice, Mendacium putidum. decietful and rotten.
6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.
Ver. 6. He asked ] As desirous to rid his hands of him.
7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.
Ver. 7. He sent him ] So seeking to ingratiate with Herod.
8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season , because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
Ver. 8. He was exceeding glad ] As if he had gotten some magician or enchanter, that would show him some pleasant sight.
9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.
Ver. 9. But he answered him nothing ] Princes use to correct the indecencies of ambassadors by denying them audience, as if silence were the way royal to revenge a wrong. Christ spoke not a word to Herod (saith one), because Herod had taken away his voice by beheading the Baptist, who was vox clamantis a shouting voice.
10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
Ver. 10. Vehemently accused him ] Gr. ευτονως , with great intention of spirit, and contention of speech. Clamant, ut Stentora vincant.
11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him , and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.
Ver. 11. Set him at nought ] Gr. εξουθενησας , made nobody of him.
Arrayed him in a gorgeous robe ] Or a white robe, as the old interpreter hath it, λαμπραν . Pilate’s soldiers clad our Saviour in purple (a colour more affected by the Romans), Herod in white, as more affected by the Jewish nobility.
Mocked him ] Gr. εμπαιξας , handled him like a boy, or made a baby of him, made sport with him.
12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
Ver. 12. Pilate and Herod were made friends ] Two dogs that are fighting can easily agree to pursue the hare that passeth by them. Martial brings in the hare thus complaining:
" In me omnis terraeque, aviumque, marisque rapina est:
Forsitan et coeli, si canis astra tenet. "
In littore Siculo cum lepus canum venaticorum vim evasisset, a cane marino captus dicitur: est enim voracissima maris bellua, saith Bodin. The wicked can easily unite against the saints.
13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
Ver. 13. See Matthew 27:23 ; John 18:38 .
14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
Ver. 14. See Matthew 27:23 ; John 18:38 .
15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
Ver. 15. No, nor yet Herod ] Nor any man alive, though he had the devil to help him. The poets bring in Momus finding fault with the creaking of Venus’ slipper. But Christ was αμνος αμωμος , as St Peter calleth him, 1 Peter 1:19 , the spotless Lamb of God, in whom Momus himself could find nothing amiss, after long seeking. See John 14:30 .
16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him .
Ver. 16. I will therefore chastise him ] And so he did, purposely to move pity, John 19:1 , but all in vain: yea, though he afterwards presented him a pitiful spectacle, with "Behold the man."
17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)
Ver. 17. For of necessity ] Tyrannus ille trium literarum Mos, would needs have it so. SeeJohn 18:29; John 18:29 ; Matthew 27:15 .
18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man , and release unto us Barabbas:
Ver. 18. Release unto us ] What marvel though murderers desire a murderer? Similis similem sibi quaerit.
19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)
Ver. 19. See John 18:40 . See Trapp on " Joh 18:40 "
20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.
Ver. 20. Pilate therefore willing, &c. ] I read of one that did verily think that Pilate was an honest man, because he was so unwilling to crucify Christ. But this arose only from the restraint of natural conscience against so foul a fact.
21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him , crucify him.
Ver. 21. Crucify him, crucify him ] As if they should say, Do it twice over, rather than fail. The modern Jews, as mad as their forefathers, say that rather than we Gentiles should have benefit by their expected Messiah, they would crucify him a hundred times over.
22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.
Ver. 22. The third time ] It is well observed here, that Peter for fear denied Christ three times, and yet repented; Pilate three times justified Christ, and yet for popular favour condemned him. It may teach us neither to despair if we repent, nor presume because we have begun well.
23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
Ver. 23. And they were instant with loud voices ] It is said of Nestorius the heretic, that he was homo superbus, et indoctus, sed audax, et magnae loquentiae; qua unica fretus, nihil non audebat; et quidem saepenumero faeliciter, quod volebat, obtinebat; a proud dunce, but bold and loud spoken, whereby he had what he would many times. (Zanchius.)
24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
Ver. 24. See Matthew 27:26 ; Mark 15:15 .
25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
Ver. 25. Him that for sedition ] The Jews, before they were banished out of this kingdom, threw bags of poison into the wells and fountains that the people were to drink of; and so endeavoured to poison them all. So deal those that sow sedition; these are the pests, the botches of human society.
26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
Ver. 26. See Matthew 27:32 ; Mark 15:21 .
27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
Ver. 27. Which also bewailed ] This was all they could do, and it was much they dared do it in so evil a time. In the reign of Tiberius, one Vitia was punished with death for that she had lamented Geminus her son, executed as friend to Sejanus. And because they could not accuse women for attempting against the State, their tears were criminal, saith Tacitus.
28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
Ver. 28. Weep not for me ] We are not so much to lament Christ’s dolorous sufferings (as Papists use to do in their stage playing descriptions of his passion) as to lay to heart and lament our sins, the cause of all. When a Papist came to Master Hooper at the stake, and said, "Sir, I am sorry to see you thus," "Be sorry for thyself, man," said hearty Hooper, "and lament thine own wickedness, for I am well, I thank God, and death to me for Christ’s sake is welcome." (Acts and Mon.)
29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
Ver. 29. Blessed are the barren ] Better be so than bring forth children to the murderer. Hence Hosea prays for barrenness as a blessing on his people, Hosea 9:14 .
30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
Ver. 30. See Revelation 6:16 . See Trapp on " Rev 6:16 "
31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
Ver. 31. What shall be done in the dry? ] Lo, little sucklings also are here called dry trees, dry wood, such as God’s wrath will soon kindle upon.
32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
Ver. 32. See Matthew 27:38 .
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Ver. 33. Which is called Calvary ] As sad a sight to our Saviour, as the bodies of his slain wife and children were to Mauricius the emperor, who was soon after to be slain also by the command of the traitor Phocas. Let us learn to consider the tyranny and deformity of sin as often as we pass through churchyards and charnelhouses. Historians tell us that the way whereby Christ went bearing his cross to Calvary is to this day called The Dolorous Way.
There they crucified him ] Christ’s cross, with his naked and bloody body, being lift up on high, was let fall with violence into a mortise, that his joints were dissolved, said Origen to Alexander Severus the emperor.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Ver. 34. Father, forgive them ] See the sweet mercy of Christ, mindful and careful of his enemies when the pains of hell had taken hold of him, and they, like so many breathing devils, were tormenting him. Pendebat et tamen petebat, saith Augustine. He was slain by them, and yet he begged for them.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him , saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
Ver. 35. Derided him ] Gr. εξεμυκτηριζον , blew their noses at him.
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
Ver. 36. Offered him vinegar ] Instead of wine, which kings drink much of.
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
Ver. 37. See Matthew 27:42 .
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Ver. 38. Greek, Latin, and Hebrew ] This venerable eulogy and epitaph, set upon our Saviour’s cross, proclaimed him King of all religion, having reference to the Hebrews; of all wisdom, to the Greeks; of all power, to the Latins.
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
Ver. 39. Which were hanged, railed, &c. ] Sic plectimur a Deo, nec flectimur tamen (saith Salvian), corripimur, sed non corrigimur. There are many, quos multo facilius fregeris, quam flexeris, saith Buchanan. Monoceros interimi potest, capi non potest. The wicked are the worse for that they suffer, and will sooner break than bend.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
Ver. 40. But the other answering ] Silent he was for a while, and therefore seemed to consent; till hearing Christ’s prayers and the enemies’ outrages, he brake out into this brave confession, worthy to be written in letters of gold.
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
Ver. 41. See Matthew 27:38 . This good thief, like the olive tree, bore fruit late, but great store of that which was excellent.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
Ver. 42. Lord, remember me ] By this penitent prayer he made his cross a Jacob’s ladder, whereby the angels descended to fetch up his soul. So did Leonard Caesar, burnt at Rappa in Bavaria, whose last words were these, "Lord Jesus, suffer with me, support me, give me strength: I am thine, save me," &c. (Scultet. Annal.) See Trapp on " Mat 27:38 "
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Ver. 43. Verily I say unto thee ] See the infinite love of Christ to penitent sinners, in that when he hung upon the tree, and was paying dear for man’s sin, he rejected not this malefactor’s petition. Shall he not hear us now that all is paid and finished?
Today shalt thou be with me ] This is not every man’s happiness. A pardon is sometimes given to one upon the gallows; but whoso trusts to that, the rope may be his hire. It is not good to put it upon the psalm of Miserere Sorrow and the neck verse (saith one), for sometimes he proves no clerk. Most deal with repentance as country people do with physicians, -love not to have to do with them till they fear they are gasping the last breath. The mole begins not to see till he be at point of death: Oculos incipit aperire moriendo, quos clausos habuit vivendo, saith Pliny. The serpent stretcheth not himself out straight till he hath received his death’s wound. But what if God should say to such lingerers, as the crab in the fable did to the dying serpent, At oportuit sic vixisse, " It is too late now, you should have lived so?"
44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
Ver. 44. See Matthew 27:25 ; Mark 15:33 .
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
Ver. 45. See Matthew 27:51 ; Mark 15:38 .
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Ver. 46. See Matthew 27:50 .
47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
Ver. 47. Certainly this was a righteous man ] Bennet the martyr, in King Henry VIII’s days, being brought to execution, the most part of the people (he exhorted them with such gravity and sobriety), as also the scribe who wrote the sentence of condemnation against him, did pronounce and confess that he was God’s servant, and a good man. So when Wiseheart and March the martyrs went toward the stake, they were justified by the beholders, as innocent and godly persons. (Acts and Mon.)
48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
Ver. 48. See Matthew 27:54 .
49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
Ver. 49. See Matthew 27:55 .
50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
Ver. 50. See Matthew 27:57 ; Mark 15:43 ; John 19:38 .
51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
Ver. 51. The same had not consented ] This proved him to be a good man and a just, as Psalms 1:1 . Sir John Cheek was drawn in for fear of death to be present at the condemnation of some of the martyrs. The remorse whereof so mightily wrought upon his heart, that not long after he left this mortal life; whose fall, though it was full of infirmity, yet his rising again by repentance was great, and his end comfortable, saith Master Fox. So by the malice and subtilty of Stephen Gardiner, Cromwell was commanded by King Henry VIII to read the sentence of condemnation against Mr Lambert the martyr, for the which Cromwell afterwards asked him forgiveness.
Waited for the kingdom of God ] Gr. προσεδεχετο , entertained and embraced it.
52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
Ver. 52. See Matthew 27:58-60 .
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
Ver. 53. See Matthew 27:58-60 .
54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
Ver. 54. See Matthew 27:61 .
55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
Ver. 55. See Matthew 27:61 .
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
Ver. 56. And rested the seventh day ] From all servile work, yea, that (otherwise most honourable) work of embalming Christ’s dead body.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 23". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter