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The Lord in the circle of His foes, as the Light overtaken by the Darkness; the lofty Judge or the personal Judgment, whilst He is judged; victorious in His outward succumbing; how He carries out His judgment, to the victory of Light and Salvation
CHRIST AS THE JUDGMENT OF LIGHT UPON THE CONFUSED NOCTURNAL CONFLICT OF THE WORLD AGAINST AND OVER HIS PERSON; OVER AGAINST HIS BETRAYER, HIS APPREHENDERS, HIS VIOLENT HELPER. THE MAJESTY OF THE BETRAYED, IN CONTRAST TO THE NOTHINGNESS OF THE BETRAYER; THE VOLUNTARINESS OF THE SUFFERING, IN CONTRAST TO THE IMPOTENCE OF THE SEIZERS; THE REFERENCE TO THE DECREE OF THE FATHER, IN CONTRAST TO THE UNLAWFUL AID OF PETER. THE REPUDIATION OF PETER’S DEED OF VIOLENCE, AND THE VANITY AND INSIGNIFICANCE OF EMPLOYING VIOLENT MEANS FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SPIRITUAL ENDS
(Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52 Luke 22:39-53.)
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he [Having spoken these words, Jesus] went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, [the torrent Kidron]1 where 2was a garden, into the which [into which] he entered, and his disciples. And [But] Judas also, which2 [who] betrayed him, knew the place; for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with his disciples. 3Judas then, having received a band of men [the band of soldiers, i.e., the garrison of the fort,3] and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.4
4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come [were coming, τὰ ἐρχόμενα upon him, went forth, and said5 unto them, Whom seek ye [do ye seek]? 5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth [the Nazarene, τὸν Ναζωραῖον]. Jesus saith unto them, I am he [Ἐγώ εἰμι]. And [Now] Judas also, which [who] betrayed him, stood with them. 6As soon then as he had said [he said, εἶπεν] unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7Then asked he them again [Again therefore he asked them], Whom seek ye [do ye seek]? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth [the Nazarene]. 8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek [are seeking] me, let these go their way: 9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which [those whom] thou gavest [hast given, δέδωχας] me have I lost none [I lost none, or, not a single one of them, οὐχ ].
10Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.6 [And] The servant’s name was Malchus. 11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy [the]7 sword into the sheath: the cup which my [the]8 Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[Now follows the history of the Passion, chaps. 18 and 19, and the Resurrection of our Lord, chaps. 20 and 21, where we have the parallel accounts of the Synoptists. Yet John omits several items (as the agony in Gethsemane, anticipated in 12:27, and 13:21; but he mentions the garden, 18:1), and supplies other interesting facts (as the commending of the mother of Jesus to John), and in the parallel accounts a number of minute, circumstantial details (18:2, 10, 13, 24, 28; 19:14, 20, 41, etc.) which betray the eye-witness of the scenes described. But it is wrong to say with Hengstenberg that John merely meant to give supplements to the Synoptic history of the Passion with such common traits as are necessary to show the connection, comp. the remarks of Godet, 2p. 5, 69 f.—P. S.]
John 18:1. Jesus went forth [ἐξῆλθεν]. Not precisely forth from the city (Meyer), but forth from the city precincts, which extended to the brook Kedron. Ἐξῆλθεν πέραν. Leben Jesu, 2 p. 1347 ff. [David, betrayed by Ahithophel, one of his body-guard, took the same course over Kedron in his flight from the rebellious Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:23, and thus furnished a type to which Jesus Himself pointed, John 13:18.—P. S.]
Beyond the brook [or rather torrent] Kidron [or Kedron. See Text. Note]. Kidron, the name of a brook or torrent, χέμαῤῥος, [from χεῖμα and ῥέω, winter-flowing, winter-torrent, formed by the winter-rains, but dry in the summer.—P. S.]; also a wady, Joseph. Antiq. VIII. 1, 5. קִדְרוֹך [from קָדַר, to be black, dirty], the Black, the Black Brook [from its color.] We must distinguish between the valley of Kedron and the Kedron itself, as well as between the Kedron as a torrent, and as a spring brook. “The vale of Kedron is the most important valley in the northern portion of the plateau of the wilderness of Judah. It takes its rise on the north side of the city of Jerusalem, upon the great water-shed between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, at an elevation of about 2,500 feet above the ocean; it surrounds the north and east sides of the city, turning by the well of Rogel, at a sharp angle to the southeast, toward the Dead Sea. Forming, at first, but a shallow, trough-shaped depression, it burrows deeper, and deeper and, from the point where it turns to the southeast, becomes a wild, untrodden, narrow chasm, opening south of the Ras el Feshka, towards the Dead Sea. No traveller has ever yet traversed its whole extent. In the middle of its course, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, there is a much-visited point, the cloister of St. Saba.9—The brook Kedron, which flows through the valley, has no regular water-course; it is only a winter-torrent [formed by the water which flows into the valley from the hills north and east of Jerusalem], Over and above this, the valley does not lack perennial springs; on the eastern declivity of southern Moriah there is the well of Mary, etc., and at the junction of Hinnom with the valley of the Kedron we find the well of Rogel” (L. Völter). According to Robinson, the Kedron does not flow unceasingly even in winter; one may stay several years in Jerusalem without seeing any water in this deep bed.10 As the dividing brook between Jerusalem or Moriah, Zion and the Mount of Olives, the brook, like the valley, possesses some significancy. Upwards from the well of Rogel near Jerusalem, the valley is called the valley of Jehoshaphat (“the Lord judgeth”). According to the Jews (with reference to Joel 3:2), as also according to the Mohammedans, the last judgment will be held in this valley. Simultaneously with Christ’s passage of the Kedron, a passage infinitely more momentous than that of Cæsar over the Rubicon, doubtless the last judgment was principially decided, together with the redemption. Passages in which the Kedron is mentioned: 2 Samuel 15:23; 1Ki 15:13; 2 Kings 23:4; 2Ki 23:6; 2 Kings 23:12; Nehemiah 2:15; 1Ma 12:37; Joseph. Antiq. XVIII. 1, 5; IX. 7, 3; De Bello Jud. V. 6, 1. Comp. the article Kedron in Winer and that in Zeller’s Wörterbuch für das christliche Volk; books of travel, particularly Robinson 2 p. 35 [Am. ed. vol. I. 268–273; (Valley of K.), and I. 232, 273 (Brook of K.). Also art. Kidron, in Smith’s Dict. of the B., II. 1533 ff., Hackett & Abbot’s ed., where Robinson’s accurate description is quoted.—P. S.] As a torrent alone, the Kedron’s waves were dark and turbid; and in the time of the temple-worship the blood of the sacrifices likewise flowed into it and darkened it; hence, doubtless, the name. It was probably the Stephen Gate or Mary Gate of the present day, through which Jesus had descended into the valley for the purpose of crossing the Kedron (Leben Jesu, ii. p. 1427).
There was a garden. On Gethsemane [i. e., Olive-Press, from gath, press, and schamna, oil] see Comm. on Matthew [pp. 478, 482, Am. ed.].11 The different designations are worth noting. Matthew: Jesus cometh unto a country-place called Gethsemane similarly Mark; Luke: to the mount of Olives; John: there was a garden.
[This notice of John to every reader of the Synoptic Gospels would at once suggest the scene of Gethsemane. On the doubtful typological reference to the garden of Eden, where the first Adam was tempted by the serpent and fell, while in Gethsemane the second Adam bruised the serpent’s head, see the fathers, Lampe, Hengstenberg, and Wordsworth.”12—P. S.]
Himself and His disciples.—The more minute account in Matthew and Mark.
John 18:2. But Judas also, His betrayer, knew the place.—Thus John passes over the conflict in Gethsemane. It is his intention to exhibit it in its glorious issue, the majestic repose of Christ.—For Jesus often resorted thither with His disciples.—According to Luke, it was a habit of Jesus to go thither. The Synoptists jointly say that He there collected His thoughts in prayer. According to John, the place also served as a meeting-ground for Jesus and His disciples; probably He was wont to be met there by His adherents generally. The remark “refers to previous festal visits.” Meyer. Comp. Comm. on Mark [p. 5, Am. ed. Dr. Lange conjectures there that Mark, whose mother had a house in Jerusalem, owned a country seat at the foot of the Mount of Olives, perhaps even the garden of Gethsemane.—P. S.] Instrumental in throwing light upon the base character of Judas is the fact of his reckoning that Jesus, in His divine strength of character and fidelity to prayer, would assuredly be found, even on this occasion, in Gethsemane.
John 18:3. Having received the band of soldiers and officers, etc. [Ὁ οὖν Ἰούδας λαβὼν τὴν σπεῖραν—see Text. Notes—καὶ ἐκ τῶν . φαρισαίων ὑπηρέτας ἔρχεται ἔρχεται ἐκεῖ, κ. τ. λ..]—See Comm. on Matthew. “According to Josephus, XX. 3, 4, the city governors were accustomed, at the feast, tostation a τάξις στρατιωτῶν (in the Castle Antonia) near the avenues to the temple, in case of an insurrection; and for this reason—for fear, namely, that the adherents of Jesus might free Him by force—a detachment is here permitted to accompany the Jews. The Levitic ὕπηρέται of the Sanhedrin accomplish the arrest itself; they were sent out for a similar purpose, John 7:45. Under these circumstances, it is not at all probable that the detachment of soldiers also pressed into the garden.” (According to John 18:12, the thing is very probable, since they at once co-operate in the arrest.) “The strength of the cohorts conformed to circumstances. Some of those under Titus contained 1000 men, others 613 foot-soldiers and 120 horsemen. Moreover, in the usage of Polybius, σπεῖρα is equivalent to manipulus, the third of a cohort.” Tholuck.
[There were ten cohorts or companies in every Roman legion, but varying in number according to circumstances. According to Josephus (De Bello Jud., III. 4, 2) five of eighteen σπεῖραι contained 1000 men each, and the others 600. Robinson (sub σπεῖρα), with Kuinoel, understands here and John 18:12 the temple guard of Levites who performed the menial offices of the temple and kept watch by night. So also Baumgarten-Crusius and Bäumlein. But the σπεῖρα is here and John 18:6 expressly distinguished from the ὑπηρέται ἐκ τῶν . φαρισαίων, furnished by the Sanhedrin. The objection that Roman soldiers would have led Jesus to their own officers, not to the chief priests, does not hold; for Jesus was to be condemned first by the ecclesiastical authorities. It is not necessary to suppose that the whole garrison of the fortress Antonia, whether it consisted of 1000 or only of 300 men, was present; a small detachment with the captain (χιλίαρχος, John 18:12) was sufficient. Comp. note on Matthew 27:27, p. 513. The combined power of the Romans and the Jews was brought into requisition against the one unarmed gentle Jesus. The military preparation (μετὰ φανῶν καὶ. λαμπάδων—mark the accumulative καί) indicates the bad conscience of Judas 1456and the Sanhedrin.—P. S.]
John 18:4. Jesus, therefore, stepped forth.—Not out of the garden (Lampe, Meyer),—Mark pretty plainly decides against such an interpretation—nor out of the depths of the garden merely (De Wette, Tholuck [Alford: from the shade of the trees into the moonlight] and others), but, agreeably to His purpose, out of the circle of disciples, in advance of it, in order to protect it (Leben Jesu, II., p. 1456, Schweizer). This is indicated also by the design of the question: Whom do ye seek? John 18:8. [Stier: “When men sought Jesus to make Him a King, He fled: now that they seek Him to put Him to death, He goes forth to meet them.”—P. S.]—Whom do ye seek?—According to Hug, He put this question to the end that the temple-officers also might learn His name and that it might consequently be rendered impossible for Him to be put out of the way anonymously; the design, however, manifestly presents itself in what follows. They are to be dismayed at the distinct consciousness of their intention to seize Jesus, and, their commission being thus narrowly defined, they shall be in duty bound to let the disciples go.
John 18:5. But Judas also, etc.—The band of disciples was stationed within the garden in two divisions, like a watch. The three intimates of Jesus were in the back-ground, the eight others near the entrance. From the stand-point of these latter, to whom Matthew belonged, the most striking occurrence was the pressing of the troop, with Judas at their head, into the garden; from the stand-point of the three, Jesus’ hastening to meet the throng. To these external circumstances of position, supervenes a diversity of mental view; the Synoptic tradition and Mark, the disciple of Peter, regarding primarily the impudent boldness of the traitor, whilst it was the design of John to throw into relief the majestic preparedness of Christ and His fidelity to the disciples. Jesus, then, anticipated Judas’ plot of betraying Him with a kiss, inasmuch as He rendered that plot entirely superfluous; this fact, however, forms no reason for supposing that Judas did not carry out the agreement and that the Judas-kiss is a tradition. It did but become a meaningless farce through Jesus’ declaration of Himself. Hence, it is this that John wishes to indicate, viz., that the Judas-kiss was frustrated in its design by the magnanimous self-presentation of Jesus, and at the same time, that Judas, together with the enemies, was felled to the ground through Christ’s word. As the two brushed past each other, the kiss became an abortive, scarce-accomplished signal, and the traitor was cast back upon the line of the foes.
[Ἐγώ εἰμι, I am He. Words of cheer and comfort to the trembling disciples on the stormy lake, Mark 6:50, and after the resurrection, Luke 24:39; words of terror here to His enemies, overpowering the armed military and priestly band. So His rebuke, with the majesty of His presence, silenced the profane traffickers in the temple. Comp. also the impression made upon the ὑπηρέ ται, 7:46. What will be the effect of the same I am, when spoken by the Lord of glory on the day of judgment! Augustine: Quid judicaturus faciet, qui judicandus hoc fecit? Bengel (on John 18:8): Bis dicit: Ego sum; si tertio dixisset, non cepissent illum. Tertio dicet olim.—P. S.]
John 18:6. And fell to the ground [ἀπῆλθαν εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω—started back in dismay—καὶ ἔπεσαν χαμαί13χαμᾶζε].—Explanation of this fact:
1. A miracle of Jesus; by which He meant to prove the freedom of His self-surrender (ancient exposition).14
2. The fact is to be referred to the disciples who had retired and cast themselves upon the ground with a view to concealing themselves (Paulus)!
3. Mythical (Strauss).15
4. Psychological: there is no question of a prostration of all. The foremost ones were confounded at finding Jesus so suddenly—not sleeping, but waking—, presenting Himself so composedly; even before this, they were paralyzed, as it were, with awe of Him; now, when they would fain seize Him, a horror of awe over-powers them and, recoiling, they fall, one upon another (Lücke, Tholuck and others).16
5. Here, also, it is an unjustifiable antithesis that causes the clashing of the miracle and its natural instrumentality, or of the objective, conscious agency of Christ and the subjective element of awe and fear (as, for instance, Meyer). The effect of the self-presentation of Christ could not arrive unexpectedly to Him, nor, hence, be undesigned. That is the miracle. Neither, however, can Jesus’ miracle be regarded as a magical operation upon the bodies of them that fell; its channel was terror of conscience, as was the case in the death of Ananias, Acts 5:0 (see Leben Jesu, p. 1457 ff.).17 Tholuck cites kindred instances, when before Mark Antony, Marius, Coligny, the murderers recoiled, panicstruck (p. 408; see, too, Heubner on this passage).18 On New Testament ground the following belong here: Luke 4:30; John 8:59; John 7:44-46; John 10:39; Matthew 28:4; Acts 5:5; Acts 5:10 in reference to a bad conscience; analogous phenomena occurred even in the circle of Jesus’ friends, according to Luke 5:8; Matthew 28:9; Matthew 28:17, etc.—Analogous effects of the manifestation of Jehovah, of the Angel of the Lord, or Christ, see in the Old Testament in the history of Balaam, Manoah, Isaiah, Daniel, as also in the New Testament at the commencement of Revelation.
John 18:7. Then asked He them again.—This second question, in conjunction with the self-surrender of Jesus, has an effect upon the troop as elevating as that of the first question and the self-presentation of Jesus was depressing. This, also, is in analogy with the convulsing and reanimating effects, as experienced by the Apocalyptists, of a divine revelation, Daniel 10:10; Revelation 1:17. These men (Daniel and John) were prostrated by the holiness of the Lord, in the consciousness of their sinfulness, lifted up again by His grace, in the element of their faith. Our case is somewhat similar,—the temple-officers being, on the one hand, the instruments of a godless, devilish plot, but also, on the other hand, the ministers of an existing order of things and the instruments of Divine Providence.
John 18:8. If, therefore, ye seek Me.—The saying of Jesus is directly declarative of the security of the disciples, partly by way of logical deduction, partly as a command; it is, at the same time, indirectly the disciples’ discharge from the present outward alliance of suffering. But the great utterance has also a deeper background. See Isaiah 63:3. Bengel and others assume, without foundation, that some had already laid hands on the disciples. That there did exist an inclination for such a step, however, is evinced by the episode of the fleeing youth in Mark and by the maid who denounced Peter, in the history of the latter’s denial.
John 18:9. That the saying might be fulfilled.—Christ’s declaration, John 17:12. The keeping of the disciples from being lost consisted finally in their preservation from captivity in the present situation, since the over-mighty temptation might have been the ruin of the souls of some among them. (This connection not recognized by Schweizer). [Alford: “An unquestionable proof, if any were wanted, that the words of John 17:0 are no mere description of the mind of our Lord Jesus at the time, but His very words themselves. This is recognized even by De Wette. On the application of the saying, we may remark that the words unquestionably had a deeper meaning than any belonging to this occasion; but the remarks so often made in this commentary on the fulfillment of prophecies must be borne in mind;—that to ‘fulfil’ a prophecy is not to exhaust its capability of being again and again fulfilled:—that the words of the Lord have many stages of unfolding;—and that the temporal deliverance of the Apostles now, doubtless was but a part in the great spiritual safe-keeping which the Lord asserted by anticipation in these words.” See also a good note of Webster and Wilkinson in loc.—P. S.]
John 18:10. Simon, then—Peter. [Σίμων οὖν Πέτρος. Lange: Simon now—Peter].—We bring out in the translation the trait that John inserts his οὖν of manifold import between the names Simon and Peter, thus emphasizing the Simon. To Simon it was natural to act in the way related. Comp. Comm. on Matthew, on this place; John 21:15. An explanation of the circumstance that John alone mentions the name of the disciple who was the author of the sword-blow, see in the Comm. on Matthew on this passage [p. 486, Am. ed.]. Similarly, John alone mentions the name of Malchus. [One of the circumstantial details so frequent in John’s account of the history of the passion, which confirm his authorship. John knew the high-priest, John 18:15, and so probably also his servant Malchus (=King). The Synoptists who wrote earlier may have had prudential reasons for not mentioning the name.—P. S.] Peter wished, by this blow, to prove his readiness to risk his life for his Lord and to fulfil his vow, recorded John 13:37; in all probability it was also his design to give a signal to the friends of Jesus and the Lord Himself to rise in arms against the foe. Upon the particular circumstances comp. the Synoptists. [Peter’s zeal was honest and well-meaning, but impulsive, hasty, imprudent, and mistaken in the selection of means. Hence the rebuke of our Lord, who here condemns for all time to come the use of carnal weapons and physical force in the defence of truth and promotion of His kingdom. The Romish church has imitated Peter in his weakness rather than his strength, and often invoked the arm of the secular power in the bloody persecution of heretics; thus making herself responsible for it in spite of her professed principle: ecclesia non sitit sanguinem. Comp. my Hist. of the Apost. Church, p. 677.—P. S.]
John 18:11. Jesus unto Peter.—It is again significant that John here makes use only of the name Peter (without Simon). Christ’s deliverance against the action of Peter, as given by John, does not exclude the words related by Matthew from conforming the more closely to the original expressions. The words of Jesus, as recorded by John, are expressive of the voluntary surrender of Jesus to the will of the Father, and they most decidedly look away from the doing of men. Mark passes over the direct disapproval awarded to Peter, his guide; Luke relates how Christ remedied the offense; Matthew brings out the theocratical points of Jesus’ saying.—The cup which My Father, etc. Comp. Matthew 20:22; Matthew 26:39 [Comm., p. 479, Am. Ed.]. In His prayer He has sacredly bound Himself to drink the cup. [“The cup is a striking allusion to the prayer in Gethsemane; for the image does not elsewhere occur in our Evangelist.” Alford. So also Paley, (Evidences, B, H., c. 4), Bengel, Webster and Wilkinson (comp. their note in loc.), Wordsworth, and others.—P. S.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane. John omits the directions of Jesus to His disciples as to their conduct in Gethsemane; the Passion of His soul; the reproof to His sleeping disciples; the kiss of Judas; the reference of Peter to the twelve legions of angels; the protest of Jesus against His seizers; the healing of Malchus recorded by Luke; the episode of the fugitive youth related by Mark. On the other hand, he gives prominence to the fact that Jesus went voluntarily to meet His apprehenders; that the multitude fell to the ground at the sight of His majesty; that He surrendered Himself prisoner, while securing a free exode to the disciples. He names Peter as the one who drew the sword, mentions the name of the servant, Malchus, who was wounded by him, and, with the words, “who drew the sword,” refers the saying of Jesus, “shall I not drink the cup?” etc., to His psychical passion. On Gethsemane, see Comm. on Matthew, p. 478, Am. Ed.
2. Gethsemane, as John paints it, presupposes the Gethsemane according to the Synoptists, and from the latter it is possible to deduce the former. I.e., in the kingdom of God, a mighty assurance of victory admits the inference of a mighty conflict, and a mighty conflict that of a mighty assurance of victory.
3. The passage of Jesus over the brook Kedron, a step of the highest, world-historic import. An expression of His constrainedness in spirit, His freedom of will, His decision of heart.
4. Paradise and the Garden. The first and the second Adam. The serpent and the traitor. The defeat and the victory (attaching, in a greater degree, to the Synoptical version). The ancient typology, constituting the Garden of Gethsemane an antithesis of Paradise, is fully warranted here, so long as it does not, by enlarging upon minute, degenerate into trifling.
5. The sudden attack upon the Lord in the sanctuary of prayer, a speaking sign: 1. That the hatred of the world was levelled at the praying heart of Christ and His flock,—that they fell upon Him on account of His piety; 2. that in this respect, also, He was to form the central point of the experience of the faithful: of the experience of Daniel (John 6:7), of the first Christians, the Huguenots [Puritans, Covenanters], etc.
6. Judas knew the place also. How the spiritual experiences of false men and hypocrites redound to their ruin. He knew the place. But in what a base and imperfect way he knew the Lord, is proved by his equipment and march with the whole multitude.
7. In all religious persecutions, cohorts, legions and armies are transformed into gens-d’armes, police soldiers, myrmidons and executioners’ assistants.
8. The drawing up of the world against Christ, and the sword stroke of Peter for Him: Symbols of the impotence of His fleshly opposers, as of His fleshly defenders.
9. The majesty whereby the self presentation of Christ casts His foes to the ground. A divine operation (see the Introduction), yet with a human instrumentality. See Note to John 18:6. At the same time an expression of His freedom in His surrender, which freedom, according to the Synoptists, He also declared by a decided protest.
10. Christ’s submitting to be taken captive by His enemies, in order to the protection and deliverance of His people, a symbolic individual type, in which His faithfulness as a Redeemer is reflected.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. See Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke.—Gethsemane in profoundest gloom and brightest light, (comparison of the Johannean version with the Synoptical).—Gethsemane as a place of victory: 1. Revelation of past victory, a. over inward temptation, b. over Judas (chap. 13). 2. Consummation of present victory, a. over the slanderous array and over treason (in that He voluntarily presents Himself to His enemies); b. over the haughtiness of the foe (by levelling them to the earth and ensuring the safety of the disciples); c. over the carnal zeal of the disciple. 3. A foretoken and life picture of all the future victories of Christ (free advance of the strong, secure shelterment of the weak, glorious correction of the passionate, dissipation of falsehood and treachery, disarming of violence, overcoming of the world through voluntary suffering).—The brook and the garden: 1. How insignificant! 2. How memorable!—Judas and Peter in the Gethsemane of the Lord.—But Judas also knew the place. How even this knowledge and recollection of his disciple life becomes his ruin. The fearful judgment in the misuse of spiritual experiences.—The equipment of Judas, or how well and yet how poorly he knew his betrayed Lord: 1. His place of prayer and fidelity to prayer, but not the blessing of His prayer; 2. His power, but not His superiority and omnipotence: 3. His innocence, yet not His holiness; 4. His clemency, yet not His love and earnestness; 5. His human dignity, but not His divine majesty.—The betrayer of Christ a traitor out and out: 1. To the sanctuary, 2. to his fellow disciples, 3. to his nation, 4. to humanity, 6. to himself.—Treason toward the sanctuary: 1. How all the secrets of the church of Christ are, by means of apostate members, betrayed to the world; 2. how all the plots of treason are brought to nought and transformed to a judgment upon the traitors.—The array of myrmidons against Jesus: 1. Called out by mendacious and vain fear; 2. terrible in its weapons and lamps, over against the Defenceless One; 3. made a laughing-stock through the light of truth with which Christ goes to meet it; 4. shown up in its impotence; 5. limited in its operation; 6. given free course in its plot, but only in order to the carrying out of the counsel of God.—How Christ baffles the plots of His foes by freely meeting and anticipating them [the plots 1. of craft (slander, falsehood), 2. of violence].—The majesty which Christ manifests in treading the way of His deepest humiliation.—The sublime freedom of spirit with which He resigns His outward freedom.—Why so calm, so grand in His surrender? Because He is conscious that He is not abandoning Himself to the impotence of His enemies, but confiding Himself to the omnipotence of His God.—The dignity of the pious in suffering, the foretoken of his triumph.—The terrors of Christ: 1. Origin: a. Terrors of divine holiness, b. terrors of human dignity. 2. Effect: In the conscience, in the psychical life, in the marrow and bone. 3. Signs: Tokens of inner judgment, foretokens of future judgment.—Whom seek ye?—If ye, then, seek Me, let these go.—Fulfilment of Scripture: 1. In the most universal sense, 2. in the most special sense.—The upshot of things in Gethsemane: Betrayed, surprised, made captive: 1. Christ seems betrayed, but the kingdom of darkness has betrayed itself; 2. He seems surprised, but henceforth He stands sovereign in the midst of the camp of the foe; 3. He seems a captive, but the adversary is the captive.—The sword of Simon and the cup of Christ.—Simon took the sword, Peter received the reprimand.—Christ’s defence the defence of His people.
Starke: Zeisius: That which the first Adam marred in the garden by the fall, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, regained and set in order in the garden by His guiltless passion.—The iniquity of the traitor was made all the more discernible by his betraying Christ to death in the very place where he had seen His deeds and heard the words of life.—The wicked man oft-times misuses his knowledge of the ingoings and outgoings of the righteous; let a man take care in whom he confides, Psalms 57:6.—The Lord Jesus has hallowed even the kind of suffering that His children endure when they must allow unfaithful souls a knowledge of their circumstances, Psalms 41:6; Psalms 41:9.—No one hates Christ and His party more bitterly than a hypocrite who has thrown off the mask.—Zeisius: When Jesus, in His suffering, hath so oft evinced His stout heartedness and advanced to meet His foes, why, O Christian mine, art thou in fear of the world and the devil, even whilst this conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah is by thy side and fighteth for thee?—The first Adam, falling into the hands of divine justice, fled and hid himself, and God must needs call, saying: Adam, where art thou? but here the second Adam, being about to be delivered into the hands of His enemies, crieth out: Here am I.—What is more common now than Joab’s greeting and Judas kiss, Jacob’s voice and Esau’s hands?
John 18:8 : 1. Because He wished them preserved for a greater work; 2. to the end that men might not imagine that His death would not suffice for the redemption of mankind; 3. because they were not yet strong enough to withstand the like temptation; 4. He desired to prove that He had power and authority over His enemies.—Our fate does not depend upon the might or numbers of the enemy, but upon the permission which they receive from God, to injure us, 2 Chronicles 32:7.—Lord Jesus, when the world, death and the devil would fain swallow us up, speak Thou the word of command: Let these go, Psalms 105:15.—Osiander: God setteth a bound to persecutions.—Zeisius: When Peter should have watched, he slept, and when he should have been quiet, he made resistance through carnal zeal; thus we always have by nature a sufficient leaning towards evil.—God overrules even the errors of His children, so that no greater harm shall result from them than He has resolved to permit, Genesis 20:2; Genesis 20:6.
Gossner: In the garden of Eden man fell through lust and pride, in the garden of Gethsemane he was to be raised up again through mourning, anguish and humiliation.—What time their glory flashes in upon children of God and glimpses so heart-ravishing are theirs, they should not misuse this their blessedness, nor vaunt themselves of it.—When the Saviour saith: Let my people go, their sorest enemies must suffer this word to stand, and His people to go.—Thus, in the midst of the press, Christ looketh on the Father and taketh the suffering that men inflict upon Him, as coming, not from them, but out of the hand of the Father, without whose counsel and consent not a hair of our heads can be harmed.
Heubner: Over the brook Kedron, as David once fled before Absalom.
John 18:4. This question attests (therefore) His innocence and undismayedness.—The morally good man will never deny his own identity, even though he be in mortal peril; conscious of his dignity he will freely say who he is, trusting in God. There is something debasing and dishonoring in a denial of one’s identity.—These words, Let these go, are important to us also. “Jesus procures His disciples entire freedom and security; the power of this authoritative word shows itself even at the present day. The enemy had not left a disciple on earth if this word was not still in force. This word is the cause of the continued existence of disciples,—faithful ones, whom the world, against its will, must behold passing to and fro, and yet must let go.” Burk, Fingerzeig II., p. 393.—Shall I not, etc. Violently to hold the righteous back from his suffering for duty’s sake, is to hold him back from his glory and salvation.
John 18:12. Bound as to the hands was Jesus; unbound in spirit.
[Craven: From Augustine: Chap. 18. John 18:1-2. There the wolf in Sheep’s clothing, permitted by the deep counsel of the Master of the flock to go among the sheep, learned in what way to disperse the flock, and ensnare the Shepherd.
John 18:6. Where now is the band of soldiers, where the terror and defence of arms? Without a blow, one word struck, drove back, prostrated a crowd fierce with hatred, terrible with arms. What shall He do when He cometh to judge, who did thus when He was going to be judged?
John 18:8. So now having shown His power to them when they wished to take Him and could not, He lets them seize Him, that they might be unconscious agents of His will.—He commands His enemies, and they do what He commands; they permit them to go away, whom He would not have perish.
John 18:11. Peter was to be admonished to have patience: and this was written for our learning.——From Chrysostom: John 18:1. Why does not John say, When He had prayed, He entered? Because His prayer was a speaking for His disciples, sake.—He goes to the place which was known to the traitor; thus giving no trouble to those who were lying in wait for Him, and showing His disciples that He went voluntarily to die.—That it might not be thought that He went into a garden to hide Himself, it is added, But Judas who betrayed Him knew the place: for Jesus often resorted thither with His disciples.
John 18:3-9. They had often sent elsewhere to take Him, but had not been able; whence it is evident that He gave Himself up voluntarily; as it follows, Jesus, therefore, knowing all things—,went forth, etc.
John 18:8. Even to the last hour does He show His love for His own.——From Alcuin: John 18:1. Where there was a garden, that the sin which was committed in a garden, He might blot out in a garden.——From Herbert: John 18:5.
Judas, dost thou betray Me with a kiss?
Canst thou find hell about My lips and miss
Of life, just at the gates of life and bliss?
[From Burkitt: John 18:3. How active was Judas, and how watchful was His bloody crew, even at that time when Christ’s disciples could not keep their eyes open.
John 18:4. Lord, how endearing are our obligations to Thyself, that when Thou knewest beforehand the bitterness of that cup which the justice of God was about to put into Thy hand, Thou didst not decline to drink it for our sakes.
John 18:7. Obstinate and obdurate sinners will not be reclaimed by the most evident and convincing, by the most miraculous and surprising, appearances of God against them.
John 18:8. Christ is so tender of His followers, that He will not put them upon trials, or call them forth to sufferings, till they are ripe and prepared for them.
John 18:10. How doth a pious breast swell with indignation at the sight of an open insult offered unto the Saviour!
John 18:11. The rebuke which Christ gave St. Peter for what he did; though his heart was sincere, yet his hand was rash; good intentions are no warrant for irregular actions.—The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? Learn 1. That oft-times the wisdom of God is pleased to put a very bitter cup of affliction into the hand of those to drink, whom He doth most sincerely love; 2. That when God doth so, it is their duty to drink it with submission.
[From M. Henry: John 18:1. Our Lord Jesus took His work before Him: the office of the priest was to teach, and pray, and offer sacrifice; Christ, after teaching and praying, applies Himself to make atonement.—Having by His sermon [and prayer] prepared His disciples for this hour of trial, and by His prayer prepared Himself for it, He then courageously went out to meet it: when He had put on His armor, He entered the lists, and not till then.
John 18:2. Jesus oft times resorted thither: He would do as He was wont to do, and not alter His method, either to meet the cross or to miss it, when His hour was come.
John 18:1. Where there was a garden: He would set us an example in the beginning of His passion, of retirement from the world.—He went over the brook Cedron; the notice taken of it intimates that there was something in it significant; and it points at 1. David’s prophecy concerning the Messiah (Psalms 110:7), that He shall drink of the brook in the way; 2. David’s pattern, as a type of the Messiah; in his flight from Absalom, particular notice is taken of his passing over the brook Cedron.—He had His disciples with Him, 1. Because He used to take them with Him when He retired for prayer; 2. They must be witnesses of His sufferings, and His patience under them; 3. To show them their weakness: Christ sometimes brings His people into difficulties, that He may magnify Himself in their deliverance.
John 18:2. Mention is made of Judas’ knowing the place, 1. To aggravate his sin, that he would betray his Master notwithstanding his intimate acquaintance with Him: thus has Christ’s holy religion been wounded in the house of its friends, as it could not have been anywhere else; many an apostate could not have been so profane as he is, if he had not been a professor; he could not have ridiculed Scriptures and ordinances, if he had not known them; 2. To magnify the love of Christ, that, though He knew where the traitor would seek Him, thither He went to be found of him; what He did, was not by constraint, but by consent. When others were going to bed, He was going to prayer, going to suffer.
John 18:4-6. He received His enemies with all the mildness imaginable toward them, and all the calmness imaginable in Himself.
John 18:5. I am He; He has hereby taught us to own Him, whatever it cost us; not to be ashamed of Him or His words; but even in difficult times, to confess Christ crucified.
John 18:6. They went backward; they did not fall forward, as humbling themselves before Him, but backward, as standing it out to the utmost.—.When He struck them down, He could have struck them dead, but He would not; because 1. The hour of His suffering was come; 2. He would give an instance of His patience and forbearance with the worst of men, and His compassionate love to His very enemies—in striking them down, and no more. He gave them both a call and space to repent.
John 18:7-9. Having given His enemies a repulse, He gives His friends protection.
John 18:7. There are hearts so very hard in sin, that nothing will work upon them to reduce and reclaim.
John 18:8. When Christ exposed Himself, He excused His disciples, because they were not, as yet, fit to suffer.—Herein Christ gives us 1. A great encouragement to follow Him; for though He has allotted us sufferings, yet He considers our frame; 2. A good example of love to our brethren and concern for their welfare.
John 18:8. Let these go their way; He intended to give a specimen of His undertaking as Mediator; when He offered Himself to suffer and die, it was that we might escape.
John 18:9. The safety and preservation of the saints are owing, not only to the divine grace in proportioning the strength to the trial, but to the divine providence in proportioning the trial to the strength.
John 18:10. Peter’s 1. Rashness; 2. Good-will; 3. Ill-conduct; Hebrews 1:0. had no warrant from His Master for what he did; 2. transgressed the duty of his place, and resisted the powers that were; 3. opposed His Master’s suffering, notwithstanding the rebuke he had for it once; 4. broke the capitulation His master had lately made with the enemy; 5. foolishly exposed himself and his fellow disciples to the fury of this enraged multitude; 6. he played the coward so soon after this (denying his Master), that we have reason to think that he would not have done this, but that he saw his Master cause them to fall on the ground.—God’s over-ruling providence in the direction of the stroke, that it should do no more execution than cut off his car.
John 18:11. We must pledge Christ in the cup that He drank of; It Isaiah 1:0. but a cup; a small matter comparatively, be it what it will; 2. a cup that is given us; 3. given us by a Father.——From Scott: John 18:1-9. Even the malice of our Lord’s enemies did not render them more ready to crucify Him, than His love to sinners made Him ready to meet those sufferings.
John 18:6. “The day of His wrath” will come, when all who oppose, yea, when all who do not obey, His Gospel, shall be driven backward and perish for ever. In the meantime He spares and warns His adversaries; yet neither His terror, nor His forbearance, will deter [sinful] men in general from their purpose.——From A Plain Commentary, (Oxford): John 18:6. He lifts up for an instant the mantle which screened His Divinity, and lo, they are unable even to stand in His presence!
John 18:8. This was because He must needs tread the winepress alone, and of the people there must be none with Him (Isaiah 63:3); lest it should even enter into the dreams of any that the price of Man’s Salvation was paid by some other Sacrifice besides that of Christ only.
John 18:9. This is [at the first glance] a somewhat surprising statement: for our Saviour, when He uttered the words referred to, was speaking of eternal, not temporal death; [but] what might have been the conduct, what would have been the fate, of the others, if they had now been separated from their Lord, and dragged away to a terrible death.
[From Krummacher: John 18:3. The superfluous torches and lanterns, in the light of the full moon, manifest their conscience-smitten fears.—Officers from the chief priests and Pharisees; It becomes, indeed, people of this class unconditionally [?] to obey the command of those who are set over them. Yet they are not mere machines, incapable of guilt in so doing, but answerable, as well as all other men, to God the final judge, for their moral conduct; their obedience ought to be limited by the well-known maxim—“We must obey God rather than man;” and their duty it therefore was, in the present case, to prefer dying by the hand of the executioner, to the doubtful praise of having done their duty in the perpetration of the most heinous of crimes.
John 18:5-6. “I am He !” Great and significant expression! It was never uttered by the Saviour without being accompanied with the most powerful effects. “It is I!” exclaimed He to His astonished disciples, when walking on the waves of the sea; and as, at the sound, the raging storm immediately subsided, so a flood of peace and joy poured itself into the hearts of His followers. “I that speak unto thee am He!” said He to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well; and immediately she left her water-pot and hastened back Sychar, as the first evangelist to the borders of Samaria. “I am He!” was His testimony at the bar of the Sanhedrin; and the conviction that He was really the Messiah smote the minds of His judges so powerfully that it was only by means of the stage-trick of rending his clothes, that the high priest was able to save himself from the most painful embarrassment: and here, on hearing these words, the whole band of officials start, give way, stagger backward, and fall to the ground as if struck by an invisible flash of lightning, or blown upon by the breath of Omnipotence.—Their prostration in the dust before Him, points out to unbelievers the situation in which they will one day be found.
John 18:8. If ye seek me, let these go their way; how well the Lord was able to preserve the most perfect self-possession in every situation, however terrible; and, with His anxiety to complete the work of redemption, to mingle the minute and inconsiderable with the stupendous and sublime, while girding Himself for His mysterious passage to the cross, He does not forget, in His adorable faithfulness, to rescue His disciples from the approaching storm.
John 18:10. “Well done, Simon!” we are ready to exclaim, “only go on as thou hast be-gun.” But that which appears to us as such an amiable trait in Peter, is only a confused mixture of self-love, arrogance, and folly; while the fire of our natural enthusiasm for Simon’s act proceeds likewise from only short-sightedness and blindness.
John 18:11. The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? In the cup was the entire curse of the inviolable law; all the horrors of conscious guilt, all the terrors of Satan’s fiercest temptations, and all the sufferings which can befall both soul and body. It contained likewise the dreadful ingredients of abandonment by God, infernal agony, and a bloody death, to which the curse was attached. Christ has emptied it, and not a drop remains for His people. The satisfaction He rendered was complete, the reconciliation effected. “There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
[From Barnes: John 18:8. The wisdom, caution, and prudence of Jesus forsook Him in no peril, however sudden, and in no circumstances, however difficult or trying.——From Jacobus: John 18:8-9. Nothing can occur contrary to His eternal plan; not even the mad fury of His foes can overreach His wisdom, or overmatch His provision.——From Owen: John 18:7. If it be asked how they could proceed to arrest and maltreat a person, before whom they had fallen prostrate as before a superior being, the answer is to be found in the transient influence which fear exerts upon the mind, and the probable fact, that this sudden repulse was represented by the leaders as effected by demoniacal agency at the instance of Jesus.
[John 18:11. (Matthew 26:52-54). The cause of Christ is not to be defended by carnal weapons.]
christ over against annas and calaphas. the clarity and serenity of the lord over against the inquisition of the high priest and maltreatment on the part of the servant. the two disciplines in the high priestly palace, and the tottering and falling peter
(Comp. Matthew 26:57-75; Mark 14:53-72; Luke 22:54-65.)
12Then the band and the captain [,] and [the] officers19 of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him. 13And led him away [led him]20 to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to [of, τοῦ] Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year [who was high priest that year]. 14Now Caiaphas was he, which [But it was Caiaphas who] gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die21 for the people. 15And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple [And Simon Peter and (the)22 other disciple followed Jesus]: that disciple was known unto the high-priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace [court-yard, αὐλήν] of the high priest. 16But Peter stood at the door without [was standing outside at the door]. Then went out that [the] other disciple, which [who] was known unto the high-priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 17Then saith the damsel [maid-servant] that kept the door unto Peter, Art not [omit not]23 thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. 18And the servants and [the] officers stood [were standing] there, who had made [having made, πεποιηχότες] a fire of coals, for it was cold; and they warmed [were warming] themselves: and Peter stood [was standing] with them, and warmed [warming] himself.
19The high-priest then asked Jesus of [about, or, concerning, περί] his disciples, and of [about] his doctrine. 20Jesus answered him, I spake [have spoken, λελάληχα24 openly to the world; I ever [always] taught in the [a]25 synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort [whore all the Jews come together, assemble];26 and in secret have I said [I spoke, ἐλἀλησα] nothing. 21Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me [Ask those who have heard, τους ], what I have said [I spoke, ἐλάλησα] unto them: behold, they [these, οὗτοι] know what I said 22[εἶπον]. And when he had thus spoken [said this], one of the officers which stood by [who was standing by, παρεστηχώς] struck Jesus with the palm of his hand [or, struck Jesus on the face, ἔδωχεν ῥάπισμα τῷ Ἰησ],27 saying, Answerest thou the high-priest so? 23Jesus answered him, If I have spoken [spoke, ἐλάλησα] evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
24Now Annas had sent him [Annas therefore sent him, ἀπέστειλεν οὖν28 bound unto Caiaphas the high-priest. 25And Simon Peter stood and warmed [was standing and warming] himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not [omit not] thou also one of his disciples? He denied it [omit it],29 and said, I am not. 26One of the servants of the high-priest, being his kinsman [being a kinsman of him] whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 27Peter then denied again; and immediately the [a] cock crew.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
John 18:12. Then the band and the captain, etc. Manifestly, the Jewish guard and the Roman soldiers take Jesus prisoner in concert; the soldiers under their chiliarch even have the precedence on the occasion. Hence an incorrect distinction is made in saying; “not until this moment, when the prisoner must be led through the city, does the military troop rejoin the Jewish watch” (Tholuck). [Luthardt (II., 383): “He before whose aspect and ἐγώ εἰμι, the whole band had been terrified and cast to the ground, now suffers Himself to be taken, bound, and led away…. To apprehend and bind One, all gave their help, the cohort, the chiliarch, and the Jewish officers…. Only by the help of all did they feel themselves secure. And thus it was ordered, that the disciples might escape with the more safety. Jesus suffered Himself to be bound, to show thereby the complete surrender of His will, and also in this form of suffering to be our example (Genesis 22:9; Psalms 105:18).”—P. S.]
John 18:13. Led him to Annas first.—See Comm. on Matthew. On Annas see Coram, on Luke 3:2 [p. 55, Am. Ed.], and the article Annas in Winer (at Josephus Ananos). [Annas (Ἄνανος) was appointed high-priest in his 37th year, A. D. 7, by Quirinus, the governor of Syria, but was obliged to give way to Ismael, A. D. 14. After two more changes, Joseph Caiaphas, the son in law of Annas (John 18:13; Joseph. Antiqu. XVIII. 2, 1), was appointed to the office, and continued till A. D. 37. Annas seems to have retained the title and part of the power of that office. In Luke 3:2, he is mentioned before Caiaphas, and in Acts 4:5, he is called high-priest. Some hold that he was high-priest dejure, Caiaphas de facto. Wieseler maintains that both were at the head of the Jewish hierarchy, Caiaphas as actual high-priest, Annas as president of the Sanhedrin.—P. S.] The preliminary leading of Jesus to Annas recorded by John alone. Different suppositions: The house of Annas was situated near the gate, or they led Jesus, as in triumph, to Annas; Annas was the examiner (Ewald); he was president of the Sanhedrin (Lichtenstein and others). All destitute of evidence, confronted with the supposition suggested by John himself, viz., that the Jews still regarded Annas as the true high-priest in a legitimistic sense, even after Caiaphas had been forced upon them as his successor (Leben Jesu II., p. 1468). The expression relative to Caiaphas: “high-priest of that year” (see John 11:49), appearing here for the second time, it would seem that the Evangelist had adopted it as an ironical characterization, current in the popular mouth, of the high-priesthood as desecrated by the Romans. With this observation, as well as with the very obvious notion that the high priestly-father-in-law and son-in-law occupied the same house as well as navigated the same boat, and that, accordingly, their common palace had a common aula or court-yard, in which Peter perpetrated the denial,30 the difficulties that here present themselves are removed.
Meyer justly asserts (in company with Olshausen, Ebrard, Bleek, Baumg.-Crusius, Neander, Luthardt [Wieseler, Stier, Alford, also Chrysostom and Augustine]), that, according to John, the denial of Peter John 18:16-18, the examination John 18:19-21, and the maltreatment John 18:22-23, took place in the dwelling of Annas; likewise justly, that it is impossible to follow the older harmonistics in assuming the leading to Caiaphas to be pre-supposed in John 18:15. Tholuck, on the other hand, persists in the assumption that the presentation before Annas receives nothing but a passing mention, as is discernible from the πρῶτον; the Aorist John 18:24 having therefore to be read as a Pluperfect (in accordance with Calvin, Lücke, De Wette, Hase and others),31 in spite of Meyer’s characterization of this as “violent” and Ebrard’s and Bleek’s as “neck-breaking.” Luther takes for granted a blunder of the transcriber, who, as he thinks, should have made John 18:24 immediately follow John 18:14. Manifestly, however, the examination before Annas, as described by John, is an entirely different one from that before Caiaphas, as given by the Synoptists. For John the greatest weight attached to the pre-examination by Annas, for Matthew and Mark to the official chief examination by Caiaphas, for Luke to the legalizing final examination in the morning. See Comm. on Matthew. After the above remarks, the assumption of a discrepancy, entertained by Meyer, Baur and others, falls to the ground; such an assumption is also to be found in Euthym. Zigab., Casaubonus, Stier, Ebrard, p. 541. “It has been fabricated (says Meyer) that Annas and Caiaphas resided in one and the same house.” But an extremely obvious, probable conjecture which, in the simplest manner, solves a difficulty, is something very different from a fabrication. [Augustine, Theophylact, Euthymius, Alford, Hengstenberg, Godet adopt the same easy conjecture. Annas and Caiaphas would naturally occupy different departments of the same (official) palace; and hence the sending from one to the other was quite possible and probable.—P. S.]
John 18:14. Now it was Caiaphas who gave counsel to the Jews.—Wherefore this notice? The Evangelist, in relating that Jesus was led to Annas first, already announced that He would be brought before Caiaphas also. He, however, designs forthwith to intimate what fate impended over Jesus at the hands of both of them. It was an evil omen that the people intended taking Him before Caiaphas, him who had already pronounced sentence of death upon Him. But it is also characteristic of the enmity of old Annas that Jesus was led to him even before He was brought to Caiaphas; the announcement of this fact is appropriately accompanied by the statement that he was the father-in-law of that murderous Caiaphas.
John 18:15. And the other [another] disciple.—Modest self-designation of John, as chap, 20:2, 3, 4, 8, comp. John 1:40. The article is wanting only in A. D., etc. [also in B. א* See Text. Notes.—P. S.]. On the omission of the article several untenable hypotheses are founded: 1. That it was an unknown disciple (Augustine, Calov., Gurlitt); 2. a citizen of Jerusalem (Grotius); 3. Judas Iscariot (Heumann). [Absurd. 4. James, the brother of John (P. Cassel, 1871).—P. S.] The notice that all the disciples had fled, does not conflict with the fact that they subsequently took heart again and that some of them returned. It is characteristic of the friendship of the two, Peter and John, that they here go voluntarily together, not on an official mission. Peter at first takes the lead. But at the street-door of the court (the αὐλεία θύρα),32 their relative positions change. John is admitted into the court yard, being known to the high-priest, while Peter remains without. See Comm. on Matthew [p. 491, Am. Ed.]. “John’s acquaintance with the high-priest gains in probability if we may suppose, from John 19:27, that he owned a house in Jerusalem. That the Jews had portresses instead of porters is shown also by Acts 12:13.” Tholuck. Joseph. Antiq. VII. 2, 1.
John 18:16. And brought in Peter.—That is, John did this, not she who kept the door (as Grotius and others have it).
John 18:17. Art thou also? [Μὴ καὶ σύ, as well as the ἄλλος, John 18:16].—“The καί contains the pre-supposition that John, whom she nevertheless had, for acquaintance’ sake, admitted along with the rest, is a disciple of Jesus.” Meyer. According to Mark, the girl does not say this until she has fixed her eyes upon Peter, according to Luke, not until she has examined him by the light. Hence it appears to result that she now grows doubtful as to whether she should have let him in, or whether she ought not to denounce him. This circumstance would, however, cast doubt on the supposition of Meyer, who holds the question of the maid to have been put in a totally unsuspecting mood. At all events she does not seem to have inferred the discipleship of Peter from the mere fact alone of his connection with John.—(One) of the disciples of this man [ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν τοῦ .]—Contemptuously [Meyer]. Not compassionately (Chrysostom and others). Meyer conjectures that John went, together with Jesus and those who were about Him, into the interior of the house, i.e. out of the hall into the chamber of examination. This is improbable, though he occupied a position which enabled him to perceive what was going on in the chamber as well as what passed in the hall.
I am not [οὐκ εἰμί].—On the three different denials of Peter, see Comm. on Matthew, at the history in question, [p. 498, Am. ed.] “It may surprise us that John remains unmolested while Peter’s temptations are repeated: but the reason of this should be sought less in the timorous embarrassment of this latter disciple than in the boldness with which he stepped in amongst the menials.” Tholuck. Nevertheless, an assumed boldness is a characteristic symptom of fear.
John 18:18. Now Peter was standing with them [?)ἦν… μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστώς]. The fact of his now standing, now sitting, seems to testify to his inward disquiet, equally with the temerity of his mingling in the crowd of servants and myrmidons and warming himself at their coal-fire.
John 18:19. The high priest then. Annas. The examination of Annas, in shrewd calculation, starts from the most general point. The Lord’s disciples or adherents first form the subject of interrogation. Then follows inquiry as to the doctrine by which Jesus gained them. He desires to ascertain what is to be thought of, or, perchance, feared from, the followers of Jesus, hoping, from the answers of the latter, to gain foothold for an accusation. He, however, manifestly uses, as a stand-point, the malevolent assumption that Jesus has founded a secret association by means of secret teachings; this the answer of Jesus demonstrates. The distinction between this examination and the subsequent one by Caiaphas is obvious. At the latter, they sought to prove that He was a public blasphemer against the sanctuary, etc.
John 18:20. I have spoken frankly to the world. [ἐγὼ—emphatic, some one who—παῤῥησίᾳ λελάληκα τῷ κόσμῳ. Meyer. παῤῥησίᾳ is to be apprehended subjectively: without reserve, plainly—not publicly, openly, which it does not mean. When accompanied, however, by to the world, the quality of publicity is, in an indirect manner, most, strongly expressed. The term: To the world, means, in the first place, the Jewish world, and characterizes it in respect of the two central points of publicity: in the synagogues and in the temple. In a synagogue [ἐν συναγωγῇ—without the article—there being many synagogues] is modified by πάντοτε, at all times; in the temple [ἐν τῷ ἰερῷ, the one temple at Jerusalem]; by the addition, where all the Jews assemble [ὅπου πάντες οἵ Ἰουδαῖοι συνέρχονται]. Both clauses signify: in complete connection with synagogue and temple; and so the assumption is made that the mountain, field, and lake sermons of Jesus have likewise preserved this connection.—And in secret I spoke nothing [καὶ ἐν κρυπτῷ ἐλάλησα οὐδέν]. These words do not conflict with Matthew 10:27, or with the fact that Jesus taught the disciples in confidential conversations. The warnings against the Pharisees in the sermon on the mount, for instance, He Himself publicly repeated in the temple, and, Matthew 10:27, characterized every confidential saying as destined for publicity. That which is here disaffirmed by Jesus is the assumption of mischievous sectarian or seditious secrecy; at the same time, the Lord characterizes the design of the old inquisitor’s question and rends the web of his insinuation. The synagogue is spoken of collectively, as a unitous institution; hence, neither the synagogues in Jerusalem, nor the provincial synagogues, as Tholuck maintains, are exclusively referred to.
John 18:21. Why askest thou Me? [τί με ἐρωτᾷς;]—The high-priest had deserved this sharp and thorough setting-down; it, however, also served to render his intention evident, to unmask and rebuke his craftiness: [The question seems to approve the principle of our judicature that the accused person should not be interrogated, but the proof of the charge be substantiated from the testimony of witnesses.]
John 18:22. One of the officers who was Standing by. [εἶς παρεστηκὼς τῶν ὑπηρετῶν ἔδωκεν ῥάπισμα τῷ Ἰησοῦ. On ρ̀άπισμα (a blow on the cheek with the hand, or with the staff; only in later Greek) see Text. Note.—P. S.] This maltreatment of Jesus must be distinguished from that which He experienced on His examination before Caiaphas, subsequently to His condemnation (Matthew 26:37); as, similarly, this last must in its turn be distinguished from the maltreatment narrated by Luke. Luke 22:63-64; although Matthew has summed up in one the two latter acts. The maltreatments recorded by Luke occurred whilst- Jesus, after His condemnation before Caiaphas in the night, was retained under arrest until the final examination which must, in accordance with the law, be held by day-time, on the following morning.
Is it thus that Thou answerest the high-priest?—The prohibition, Exodus 22:28, had been by the Jews extended into an ordinance instilling a bigoted veneration for superiors, and for the high-priest especially. In the present instance, the officer makes an application of this prohibition, with indiscretion, hypocritical eye-service, and brutality. Rupert: fortis percussor, mollis adulator. Comp. Acts 23:2.
John 18:23. If I spoke evil. [εἰ κακῶδ ἐλάλησα].—In clear presence of mind, the answer of Christ corresponds to the situation. He is on trial. If He, therefore, here make an improper remark, the person who disapproves of it is at liberty to appear against Him as accuser and witness. Hence the μαρτύρησον does not mean simply: prove it [as Luther’s version has it], but—come forward as a witness against it. Accusing and testifying are here thy business; not so judging, still less punishing before sentence is passed. With this admonition Christ awards him the right of accusation; with the following words, He reprimands him for the wrong of maltreatment. The entire deliverance shows how the saying Matthew 5:39 is to be interpreted and applied in spirit.33 His reprimand indirectly touches the high-priest also, who allows the maltreatment.
John 18:24. Annas, therefore, despatched Him, bound [ἀπέστειλεν οὖν αὐτὸν Ἀ. δεδεμένον πρὸς K.].—The pre-examination was at an end,—its result being the confounding of Annas, with his crafty inquisition. This, however, had made so little impression on him that he now sent the Lord bound (the signification is, doubtless: after he had caused the chains to be put upon Him again) to His formal examination before Caiaphas. In the fact of his forwarding Him chained, there lay a speaking sign of his desire for His death. Also the circumstance that it had been found impossible to stamp Jesus as a secret conspiratoi”, by reason of His appeal to the publicity of His ministry, was made use of as a ground for summoning false witnesses against Him, who accused Him on account of a public declaration. It was a declaration made by Him in the ears of the rulers (John ii.), one which they had not forgotten and which they could easily pervert. [The pluperfect rendering of ἀπέστειλεν, miserat, had sent (E. V.) is ungrammatical (see Meyer, p. 599), inconsistent with οὖν (which for this reason was omitted by some MSS.), and owes its origin to the desire to harmonize John with the Synoptists. The apparent discrepancy disappears if we assume that Annas and his son-in-law Caiaphas occupied different departments in one and the same official palace, which is intrinsically all the more probable as they in some way shared the high-priestly dignity, the one perhaps as high priest de jure, the other de facto. Comp. the notes on John 18:13.—P. S.]
Unto Caiaphas the high-priest.—On the now following official examination before Caiaphas, see Comm. on Matthew at this passage. On the third formal examination in the morning, see Comm. on Luke, p. 359, Am. Ed.
John 18:25. Now Simon Peter was still standing there and warming himself—The hall for both examination rooms must therefore have been the same. See note on John 18:13. Similarly Luke 22:54. Luke knows only of a house of the high-priest. Perhaps it was an official residence, of which Caiaphas had given up a part to his father-in-law.
They said therefore unto him.—This the second denial. According to Matthew it was at the moment when Peter wished to withdraw from the coal-fire in order to approach the entrance-hall; and the men questioned him at the instigation of another maid. See Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:68; Luke 22:58.
John 18:26. One of the servants of the high-priest, being a kinsman.—See Matthew, Matthew 26:73; Mark, Mark 14:70; Luke, Luke 22:59. Meyer groundlessly affirms this servant to have stood outside of the garden awhile ago. Why may he not have been one of the seizors? Peter excited his notice in the garden; he does not seem to have observed—at all events not with precision—that it was Peter who dealt the sword-blow. John distinctly brings out the increase of danger in the charges. First it is a single maid who does but doubtingly question him. Then it is the officers around the coal-fire who more decidedly interrogate him. Finally a kinsman of Malchus whose ear he cut off, pretends to recognize him as one whom he has already seen in the garden with Jesus.—While John plainly depicts the intensifications of the temptations, he, in common with Luke, permits the intensifications of Peter’s guilt, most vividly portrayed by Matthew (simple denial, abjuration, self imprecation) and rendered prominent by Mark likewise, to recede from view. This gives a picture of the relation of Paul and John to Peter totally different from that invented by the Tübingen School. Matthew, the Apostle of the Jews, and Mark, the disciple of Peter, represent the magnitude of Peter’s denial in a manner the most regardless; John and Luke manifest the greatest clemency; the Paulinist (Luke) is especially tender.
And immediately a cock crew.—Mark alone, Mark 14:68, has recorded the first cock crow after the first denial. That crow also involved an aggravation of Peter’s ease which John passes over. Similarly he passes over Peter’s ineffectual attempt to withdraw—an attempt which exhibits him in a condition of such utter perplexity and helplessness.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. From John we learn the more minute particulars of the denial of Peter; especially its cause and the gradualness of its progress. As also the exceedingly important pre-examination by Annas, in which that sly old hierarch sought to ensnare the Lord in the reproach of secret conspiracy. On the other hand, our Evangelist passes over the principal examination by Caiaphas, and likewise the formal final session in the morning, which latter is intimated by Matthew and detailed by Luke. His narrative of the denial of Peter is very definite as to chronology and also locality; that denial runs through the lengthy period of Christ’s examination before Annas and Caiaphas; the place is always the same (see the Exegetical note). By the Synoptists, on the contrary, the denial is summed up in respect of its end and issue, and in this form suitably follows, in Matthew and Mark, the principal examination before Caiaphas, while Luke, with equal correctness, makes it precede the morning examination.
2. The Examination of Jesus by annas, whom the Romans had deposed, affords us a profound glimpse into the character and conduct of a legitimistic partyism. The Jews are forced to accept Caiaphas as the legal high-priest; but they do not cease to regard Annas as their legitimate head; Annas and Caiaphas, however, have accommodated themselves to this, the popular mind, and arranged their household affairs in a manner in keeping with the situation. And this old legitimistic secret-leaguer would stamp Christ as a revolutionary secret-leaguer!
3. The conjunction of the Roman soldiers with the temple-guard on the occasion of Christ’s being taken prisoner, a symbol of the common share of the Gentile and the Jewish world in the crucifixion of Christ. See Luke 23:12 and Acts 4:26.
4. A stroke of John’s greatness—his not thinking it necessary to justify himself in regard to his singular acquaintanceship in the house of the high-priest.
5. Peter and John in the high-priest’s house. Or, si duo faciunt idem, non est idem. Peter was burdened with the consciousness of a civil offence against Malchus. This rendered his condition insecure. John, though meaning well, was at fault in not sufficiently entering into the dangerous situation of Peter.
6. The examination before Annas is a type of the ever-recurring plot of hierarchical governments to tax, first, Christianity generally, then Protestantism, further all decidedly evangelical social life with conspiracy, revolution, secret crimes and criminal complots. But as Christ defended Himself against this insinuation by appealing to His public ministry, so the like has been done and may be done by all His true confessors. Here we also have it demonstrated how decidedly Christianity has renounced all the impure, secret machinations of fanatical spirits and sects.
7. The saying called forth from Christ by the blow on the cheek, given Him by the eye-servant in the garb of a servant of justice, possesses not only a Christological but also a hermeneutical import. It indicates how His words, particularly Matthew 5:39, are in spirit to be interpreted. His remark, replete with composure, mental clearness and mild reproof, is like the offering of the other check.
8. The intensifications of Peter’s temptation are thrown into bold relief by John, his guilt being thus exhibited in a milder light. The first denial took place during the examination by Annas, the second and third during the examination before Caiaphas, after Christ had been led, bound, to the latter and when His prospects were, consequently, already very gloomy. Add to this that the third question exposed Peter to being recognized as the offender who had wounded Malchus. The repentance of Peter is set forth by John with sufficient distinctness in the later signs of his conversion. It is remarkable that John seems to have done nothing to warn Peter. Whether he was not near enough to him, or whether he entertained too high an opinion of his practical abilities, we will not venture to assert; at all events he appears to have been unwilling to exalt himself at Peter’s expense in the version which he gives of the transaction.
9. The denial of Peter does not mean that he intended to renounce Jesus inwardly, but that he designed to escape a mortal peril by means of a so called white lie. Thus, from a vocation to the morality of Christ, to apostolic faithfulness in confession, he momentarily sank to the level of ordinary, popular morality, which holds such evasions to be admissible, nay, clever. If we judge of David’s trespasses by the absolute arbitrariness of oriental despots, they appear in a milder light than when exposed to the full rays of the Theocracy. So it is with the transgression of Peter, when judged according to popular and worldly conceptions. But in the light of Christ it was a deep fall.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The capture of Jesus: 1. A consequence of His free surrender. 2. A sin of the united Roman and Jewish authorities of the ancient world. 3. A judgment, in which the glory of the ancient world does itself appear captive and bound.—The cord or bonds of Christ an indication of the bonds of the world.—The unanimity of Annas and Caiaphas.—The secret inquisitional trial by Annas, aiming at the ascertainment of secret transgressions on Christ’s part: a picture of life.—The sufferings of Christ under hierarchic partyism.—How the worldly-wise State loves to shut one eye to the machinations of illegal, illustrious parties.—On the denial of Peter”, see Comm. on Matthew, Mark, Luke.—Peter and John in the high-priest’s house.—The measure of freedom of entrance into worldly circles, is diverse for Christians: 1. Not the same for every one; 2. not the same in all moods; 3. not the same in all external temptations.—Peter warmed himself: 1. Fact: He warmed himself and grew all the while colder. 2. Doctrine: We may not seek to grow warm by the fires of the Lord’s enemies.—The examination before Annas, see Doctrinal Note, No. 6.—Comparison of the examination before Annas and that before Caiaphas. See Exeg. Note to first clause of John 18:25.—In the one examination He was assumed to be a secret sneak, in the other a public blasphemer.—The Lord’s appeal to the publicity of His labors.—The Lord’s intimation that the court of Annas was no authorized tribunal.—Annas found no pretext for accusing Jesus, and yet passed Him on bound to Caiaphas.—He sent Him bound for a sign: 1. The bad sign; 2. the sign-language of the bad.—The three spiritual examinations wherein Christ stood.—The first an unauthorized private examination, the second an examination with false witnesses, the third a mere mock examination.—How the world has warped justice in all forms over the head of Christ.—Christ in human judicatures; 1. As the Spirit’s judgment upon them. 2. As the regeneration and sanctification of them. 3. As the final judgment upon them.—How Jesus confessed His disciples, whilst Peter denied Him.
Starke: Hands so powerful, so beneficent, are bound.—Our love of an unbound liberty has had to be atoned for by the bonds of the Son of God, Psalms 2:3.—Connection and alliance by marriage is oft-times an occasion of damnation, because thereby men entangle themselves with people who do only evil, 2 Kings 8:18.—It is Christ’s presentation before the tribunal of men that we must thank for our liberation from the strict tribunal of God.—Stay away from that place where thou hast nothing to do; mere curiosity can readily get thee into danger and misfortune.—Let a man but step out of the way of God, and every step brings him nearer to his fall.—Quesnel: It is one of Satan’s traps to smooth our way sometimes to such places as he would keep us in for his advantage.—Lange: It can easily happen that a man may act indiscreetly out of pure good will, and only injure another by his services.—Quesnel: Many a one thinks he stands fast as any column, and yet he is more easily shaken than a reed. O be not proud, but fear thee!—Osiander: We should avoid preachers who shun the light and teach secretly in corners what they may not publicly confess.—It does not conflict with modesty and humility to meet disguised enemies of the truth with undaunted frankness. John 18:22. We witness the same spectacle here that occurred, 1 Kings 22:24.—An earnest presentation of a subject is a thorn in the eye to some people; they construe such presentation as immodesty, as a want of respect, because they are biased by prejudices.—Wicked masters have wicked servants; birds of a feather flock together.—Zeisius: Those who speak the truth, especially faithful preachers, are to this day smitten with Christ, covered with all manner of insult, derision, revilement, tribulation—and, withal, well-nigh forced to hold their peace, 2 Timothy 4:3.—Ibid.: Though it is true that a Christian should, with a good conscience, suffer wrong, yet need he not extend to the world his approbation of her wrong, as she would gladly have him do; on the contrary, he should defend himself against it, yet with fitting meekness and modesty; therefore says Luther: he must divorce mouth and hand; he must not surrender his mouth to the enemy, so as to approve the wrong; but yet he must keep his hand quiet and not avenge himself, Acts 26:25.—Christ, for the good of His members, has had to burst through the masks of false politeness.—The desire to shade away a fault committed, may become an occasion of fresh and greater sins.—Many a man, if he were not found in places where he hath nought to do, would keep out of numerous difficulties. Stay at home and do thine own business in the fear of God, trusting in Him, Proverbs 7:11 ff.—When Christ and His people are to be opposed, the slaves of Satan exert all their strength in unison, to the end that they may overwhelm and crush them, Psalms 10:2. [The appositeness of the passage cited not being apparent on reference to the English Bible, we subjoin a translation of the German rendering, which here, as in many other instances, differs considerably from the English. “Because the wicked exerciseth himself in pride, the miserable—afflicted—wretched—man must suffer. They cleave one to another and imagine maliciousness.”]—We have cause to beware that we do not, by curious questions, plunge our neighbor into temptation to all kinds of lies and dissimulations.—What a faint-hearted wretch is man when conscience awakes. Every rustling leaf strikes him with fear and dismay.—If thou confess Jesus and deny thyself, together with the world, thou art blessed, but if thou deny Christ, the whole world cannot help thee to bliss—no, not if thou confess it a thousand times over.—Let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12.—If thou get not the start of sin, thou fallest from one sin into another, from a small one into a greater one, nay, even from the state of grace into the unblessed state of damnation.—Even the meanest creature, if it be God’s will to use it as His instrument, may become a means of arousing the sinner.
Braune: John expressly remarks that Jesus was led first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, high-priest under Augustus from the year 12 a. d. to 23, when Valerius Gratus, governor of Syria, deposed him; he was uncommonly crafty, and his secret acts were full of violence. In 24, his son Eleazar became high-priest for one year; at the end of the year 25 his son-in-law Joseph, called Caiaphas, received the office through the self-same governor who had deposed Annas. Caiaphas remained high-priest until 36—not, of a certainty, without the helpful influence of Annas—while the remaining high-priests followed one another like the shadows of clouds driven by the wind; for in the last 420 years of the temple, there ruled more than 300 high priests. It is owing to the powerful influence of Annas that he is mentioned previous to Caiaphas, the ruling high-priest, and that Jesus is here led first to him. Ananus, the last of Annas’ sons, having the same name as his father, had the apostle James put to death. This circumstance harmonizes with the family history. It was calculated that before this High Council—the sons of Aaron, the dignitaries of the temple—Jesus would answer with intimidation, and be caught in what He said. And how undaunted He stood there, how sublime! He would not cast pearls before swine. The legitimate answer was accounted disrespectful by the officers; one said: Oughtest Thou to answer the high-priest thus? It was in the form, then, that the error was thought to lie—in the mode of procedure. Great stress is put upon outward formality; a man may be permitted to speak the truth, but he must do it with grace and good breeding; behind these, however, so much untruth is concealed, that the truth itself becomes tainted and loses its virtue.—He is a betrayer of mankind, like Judas the betrayer of Christ, who desires a public office without possessing the necessary moral and mental qualifications therefore; nothing is so indispensable for such an office as humility and a respect for the dignity of men.—If it be a question of truth, proof is what is required. Only tyrants employ torture; even a police officer may be a tyrant, leaping over proofs in false official zeal.
Gossner: Peter, doubtless, thought it a piece of good fortune, and it was his misfortune. Thou art more fortunate in having a friend who preventeth thee from going in to men of the world than in possessing one who procureth thee access to them and introduceth thee into their dwellings.—This fire in the court of the high-priest could not impart fresh warmth to Peter’s zeal and his fidelity to Jesus. If he had warmed himself by God in prayer, he would not have fallen.—Jesus was expected to deliver up a list of His disciples. Because disciples or pupils readily fall into some inadvertence, it was hoped that an accusation might thus be brought against Him. But the Saviour had already provided for the security of His disciples: Let these go! He said on the Mount of Olives. And what He says, does and must come to pass.—The Saviour saw through all this. He knew their hearts; and this clear glance into such fearfully perverted hearts—how it must have cut through and wounded His pure, holy, loving heart. Let him who experiences something similar, think of his Saviour and gather strength from Him to suffer after Him.—The enemies of the truth lie in wait. Christ acts openly.—Alas, what must He. what must the fairest visage in this world endure!—and yet He still maketh His face to shine upon us, and we are healed.—Officers of justice are never permitted to intermeddle in a case; here, however, against. Jesus, they were free to do anything; they well knew how far they might go.—His answer was regarded as a sin and a violation of the priestly dignity; and Christ must suffer Himself to be treated as one who did not understand the laws of politeness; He must bear the blame of immodesty, just as the primitive Christians were always treated as unmannered boors when they frankly confessed the truth.—Am I not permitted to answer for Myself? Is it not demanded of Me? Why dost thou thus abuse Me for doing it?—The Saviour weareth the bonds and useth not His strength to burst them, as He easily could have done. Why not? Because it was not really the bonds that bound Him, but love and the impulse to free us from bonds, designing, by means of those very bonds of His, to break our chains from which we else should never have got free.—On Malchus: Thus God bringeth us again into the company of those we fain would never see more. Suddenly and unexpectedly we run into their hands: Therefore do thou cut off no person’s ear, if thou wouldst never be dismayed at the sight of him.—Jesus shows that the cock, even, does not crow at hap-hazard, but that God is able, in His economy, to make use of his outcry as a good domestic medicine,—as at this time, when he had to preach repentance to the first Apostle.
Heubner: It was an unblest relationship betwixt Annas and Caiaphas; the ties were cords of sin. John mentions this in order to indicate that the sentence of such judges might be divined in advance. Caiaphas has enforced his wicked counsel. What a joy was that, that he might now feel?—Peter’s following was the more presumptuous, since Jesus had said John 18:8 : Let them go. It was a wrong following, entered upon in presumption and human strength.—Great houses of the world bring many dangers.—Against his will, John was instrumental to Peter’s hurt. Introduction to the presence of the great often becomes an occasion of our sin. God put delays in Peter’s way, in order to give him time for reflection.—The repairing to mixed companies in the homes of the great is to the weak generally a cause of their falling; intercourse with unsanctified men oft-times seduces Christians from the right path.—The accusations against Jesus were twofold: 1. To the effect that He had gathered Himself partizans,—He, who did but found a holy union, the kingdom of God; 2. that He had disseminated suspicious doctrines,—He, who taught heavenly truth.—Publicity was the character of Jesus’ life and it is the character of Christianity. Christianity knows nothing of secret-mongery, mysteries of an order; it would be entirely public, because it diffuses the truth which is common property of all.—The conduct of the officer, conduct arising from malice and a desire to flatter, redounds to the accusation of the high-priest himself. That the officer dared indulge in such mutinous conduct before the eyes of the spiritual magistracy, betrays the spirit of that magistracy.
John 18:23. This is a commentary upon Matthew 5:39. Christ shows how, even towards those who offer us the most bitter insult and wrong, we can unite earnest patience and love and make answer for ourselves.—Those hands, by Jesus extended only for the conferring of benefits, were bound.—John describes the waxing of the peril. The higher this mounts, the lower sinks the courage of Peter. First it was a maid, then men, now relatives of the wounded servant [who question him].
[Craven: From Augustine: John 18:17. Christ is not only denied by him who denies that He is Christ, but by him also who denies himself to be a Christian.
John 18:23. What can be truer, gentler, kinder, than this answer?—Some one will ask here, why He did not do what He Himself commanded, i.e., not make this answer, but give the other cheek to the smiter. But what if He did both, both answered gently, and gave, not His cheek only to the smiter, but His whole body to be nailed to the Cross? And herein He shows, that those precepts of patience are to be performed not by posture of the body, but by preparation of the heart; for it is possible that a man might give his cheek outwardly, and yet be angry at the same time.
John 18:27. Lo! the prophecy of the Physician is fulfilled, the presumption of the sick man demonstrated.—From Chrysostom: John 18:16. But Peter stood at the door without; Peter’s love took him as far as the palace, but his fear prevented him entering in.
John 18:17. What sayest thou, O Peter? Didst thou not say before, I will lay down my life for Thy sake? What then had happened, that thou givest way even when the damsel asks thee? It was not a soldier who asked thee, but a mean porteress.—Therefore did Divine Providence permit Peter first to fall, in order that he might be less severe to sinners from the remembrance of his own fall. Peter sinned, and obtained pardon, that judges might thereafter have that rule to go by in dispensing pardon.
John 18:25. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself; The Evangelist means that the once fervid disciple was now too torpid to move even when our Lord was carried away; showing how weak man’s nature is when God forsakes him.
John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. How hurtful it is to trust in self, and not to ascribe all is God.——From Gregory: John 18:18. The fire of love was smothered in Peter’s breast, and he was warming himself before the coals of the persecutors, i.e., with the love of this present life, whereby his weakness was increased.——From Alcuin: John 18:15. Peter followed his Master out of devotion, though afar off, on account of fear.
John 18:19. He does not ask in order to know the truth, but to find out some charge against Him, on which to deliver Him to the Roman Governor to be condemned; but our Lord so tempers His answer, as neither to conceal the truth, nor yet to appear to defend Himself.
[From Burkitt: John 18:12-14. How impossible it is for the greatest innocence and virtue to protect from slander and false accusation! And no person can be so innocent or good, whom false witness may not condemn.
John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. How may the slavish fear of suffering drive the holiest and best of men to commit the foulest and worst of sins!—The occasion of Peter’s fall: 1. His presumptuous confidence of his own strength and standing; Though all men forsake Thee, yet will not I; 2. His being in bad company.—He denied Him first with a lie, then with an oath and curse. Oh, how dangerous is it, not to resist the beginnings of sin! If we yield to one temptation, Satan will assault us with more and stronger.—The heinous and aggravating circumstances of Peter’s sin: From 1. The character of his person; 2. The person whom he denies, his Master, his Saviour; 3. The time when he denied Him; soon after Christ had washed his feet; yea, soon after he had received the sacrament from Christ’s own hand.—How unreasonable is their objection against coming to the Lord’s table, that some who go to it dishonor Christ as soon as they come from it! Such examples ought not to discourage us from coming to the ordinance, but should excite and increase our watchfulness after we have been there.
John 18:19-21. Christ never willingly affected corners; He taught openly, and propounded His doctrine publicly and plainly in the world.—Learn hence, That 1. It is not unusual for the best of doctrines to pass under the odious name of error and heresy; 2. The ministers of Christ who have truth on their side, may and ought to speak boldly and openly.—“Truth blushes at nothing, except at its being concealed.”
John 18:22. Christ did endure ignominious and contemptuous usage, giving His cheek to the smiters, to testify that shame and reproachful usage which was deserved by us, and to sanctify that condition to us, whenever it is allotted for us.
John 18:23. Though our Saviour doth not revenge Himself, yet He vindicates Himself, and defends Himself both with law and reason; to stand up in defence of our own innocency, is not contrary to the duties of patience and forgiveness, or to the practice and example of our Lord Jesus.
John 18:24. His condescending to go bound from one high-priest to another, and from one tribunal to another, teaches His people what delinquents they were before the tribunal of God, and what they deserved by reason of sin.—From M. Henry: John 18:12. To Christ’s bonds we owe our liberty, His confinement was our enlargement. He was bound that 1. The types and prophecies of the Old Testament might herein be accomplished; 2. He might bind us to duty and obedience; His bond’s for us are bonds upon us; 3. His bonds for us were designed to make our bonds for Him easy to us, if at any time we be so called out to suffer for Him.
John 18:13. We had been led away of our own impetuous lusts, and led captive by Satan at his will, and, that we might be rescued, Christ was led away, led captive by Satan’s agents and instruments.—Caiaphas was high-priest that same year; 1. When a bad thing was to be done by a high-priest, according to the fore-knowledge of God, Providence so ordered it that a bad man should be in the chair to do it; 2. When God would make it to appear what corruption there was in the heart of a bad man, He put him into a place of power; Many a man’s advancement has lost him his reputation.
John 18:15. We must take heed of tempting God by running upon difficulties beyond our strength, and venturing too far in the way of suffering: If our call be clear to expose ourselves, we may hope that God will enable us to honor Him; but if it be not, we may fear that God will leave us to shame ourselves.—That disciple was known unto the high-priest; as there are many who seem disciples, and are not so, so there are many who are disciples, and seem not so [at a casual glance]; we must not conclude a man to be no friend to Christ, merely because he has acquaintance and conversation with those that are His known enemies.
John 18:16. The courtesies of our friends often prove a snare to us, through a misguided affection.
John 18:17. Observe here 1. How slight the attack was; it was a silly maid, of no account, that challenged him; 2. How speedy the surrender was; without taking time to recollect himself, he suddenly answered, I am not; 3. Yet he goes further into the temptation, John 18:18.—Peter stood and warmed himself; 1. It was a, fault bad enough, that he did not attend his Master, and appear for Him at the upper end of the hall, where He was now under examination; he might have been (1) a witness for Him, (2) a witness to Him; 2. It was much worse, that he joined himself with those that were His Master’s enemies; he stood with them, etc.—Peter was much to be blamed, because 1. He associated himself with these wicked men; 2. He desired to be thought one of them, that he might not be suspected to be a disciple of Christ.
John 18:20. Christ sought no corners, for He feared no colors, nor said anything that He needed to be ashamed of.
John 18:22. Wicked rulers will not want wicked servants, who will help forward the affliction of those whom their masters persecute.
John 18:23. We learn 1. That in such cases we must not be our own avengers, nor judges in our own cause; 2. Our resentment of injuries done us must be always rational, and never passionate; 3. When called out to suffering, we must accommodate ourselves to the inconveniences of a suffering state, with patience, and by one indignity done us be prepared to receive another, and make the best of it.
John 18:25. Peter staid to warm himself; but they that warm themselves with evil-doers, grow cold toward good people and good things; and they that are fond of the devil’s fire-side, are in danger of the devil’s fire.—Yielding to one temptation invites another, and perhaps a stronger; Satan redoubles his attacks when we give ground.
John 18:26. They who by sin think to help themselves out of trouble, do but entangle and embarrass themselves the more: Dare to be brave, for truth will out—a bird of the air may perhaps tell the matter which we seek to conceal with a lie.—Notice is taken of this servant’s being akin to Malchus; he that may need a friend, should not make a foe.
John 18:27. He denied again; see here 1. The nature of sin in general; the heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of it; 2. Of the sin of lying in particular; it is a fruitful sin, and upon that account exceeding sinful.—Immediately the cock crew; see 1. The care Christ has of those that are His, notwithstanding their follies; though they fall, they are not utterly cast down, not utterly cast off; 2. The advantage of having faithful remembrancers near us, who, though they cannot tell us more than we know already, yet may remind us of that which we know, but have forgotten.—The crowing of the cock to others was an accidental thing, and had no significancy; but to Peter it was the voice of God, and had a blessed tendency to awaken his conscience, by putting him in mind of the word of Christ.—From Scott: John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. Self-confident rashness differs from steady courage and patience of faith; and they who most readily venture into temptation, are often most easily overcome by it.—As Christ suffered every insult for the sake of Peter, even when Peter was denying Him; so He foresaw all our unfaithfulness and ingratitude, at the time when He shed His blood for our sins; this consideration should not only encourage our hope in His mercy, but also shame us out of our base requitals of such a Benefactor.—The meekness, patience and wisdom of the Son of God only served to increase the enmity of His persecutors; and their base usage illustrated His consummate excellency: This should teach us what to expect from the wicked, and how to behave towards them.
[From Krummacher: John 18:12. Behold Christ yonder bears your fetters. Jesus bound! What a spectacle! How many a prophetic type of the Old Testament finds its fulfilment in this fact! Isaac; the ram on Mount Moriah; the sacred ark of the covenant, when it had fallen into the hands of the Philistines; Joseph; the paschal lambs; Samson.—Jesus bound! Omnipotence in fetters! the Creator bound by the creature! the Lord of the world, the Captive of His mortal subjects!
John 18:19. The world still acts like Annas; because it will not acknowledge that we possess the real and eternal truth of God, it stamps the latter as heretical, and brands us as a sect.
John 18:20. “We may discern in Jesus all the marks of a true teacher—confidence, which delivers its testimony before the whole world; persevering continuance in that testimony at all times; and a siding with existing divine and human ordinances.”
John 18:22. The feeling of the family reflected itself in the soul of the menial who wore its livery.—How often are we treated in a similar manner, when the truth which we proclaim to the men of the world can no longer be assailed: how does hypocritical zeal for the preservation of the honor of authority start up against us, and how pompously it calls out to us, “Answerest thou the high-priest so?”
John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. Peter reminds us of that class of our brethren, of whom we are wont to say that though they possess the burning heart, yet they are still in want of the light of the Holy Spirit; the new life is implanted in its germ, but the development itself is still far behind.—He did not yet know how much the noblest human feelings depend upon the change of circumstances, situations, and seasons; he was ignorant that one who could be enthusiastic for Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor, possessed no pledge, from this feeling, that he would be equally zealous for Jesus ignominiously crucified on Mount Calvary.—It is only the Lord’s gracious inspiration which produces true heroism. The simple disciple, in the armor of his own feeling of affection for his Master, thought himself abundantly able to cope with Satan and his crafty devices.—O what a disgrace for the disciple, morally to have convinced the troop that he could not be Jesus’ friend, but had sworn fealty to the banner of his adversaries.—Simon Peter vowed and promised, certainly with the purest intentions, but neglected to watch and pray. Let him, therefore, that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. In the kingdom of God, indeed, a defeat may bring more blessings than a victory; and more costly fruits often spring from stumblings than from the most apparently successful strivings after holiness. But woe unto him whom this truth would render reckless!
[From Barnes: John 18:21. Jesus here insisted on His rights: Learn 1. That though Jesus was willing to be reviled and persecuted, yet He also insisted that justice should be done Him; 2. He was conscious of innocence, and had been so open in His conduct, that He could appeal to the vast multitudes which had heard Him, as witnesses in His favor; 3. It is proper for us, when persecuted and reviled, meekly, but firmly, to insist on our rights, and to demand that justice should be done us; 4. Christians, like their Saviour, should so live that they may confidently appeal to all who have known them, as witnesses of the sincerity, purity, and rectitude of their lives.]
christ confronted with pilate. 1. conduct of pilate upon the first charge that jesus is a malefactor; 2. upon the accusation that jesus pretendeth to be the king of the jews; 3. upon the accusation that jesus hath made himself the son of god.—decided fall of pilate at the charge that jesus is a rebel against the emperor.—the kingdom of jesus in antithesis to the kingdom of this world. symbolism of romanism. jesus the king in the kingdom of truth. the verdict of guitlessness pronounced upon jesus. choice of the murderer barabbas. jesus in the crown of thorns and purple robe. verdict of jesus upon pilate. pilate disguises his discomfiture in the garb of derision. the sentence of death
(Matthew 26:0 (57) Matthew 26:1 to Matthew 27:31; Mark 14:55 to Mark 15:20; Luke 22:63 to Luke 23:25)
¶ 28Then led they [they lead, ἄγουσιν] Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment [to the prætorium, or the palace of the governor]: and it was early;34 and they themselves went not into the judgment hall [the palace] lest they should be defiled; but that they [that they might not be defiled, but] might eat the passoJohn 18:29Pilate then [therefore] went out35 unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31Then said Pilate [Pilate therefore said] unto them, Take ye him [take him yourselves], and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for36 us to put any man [any one] to death: [.] 32That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what [kind of] death he should die.
33Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall [the palace] again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34Jesus answered him [omit him], Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me [tell thee concerning me]? 35Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have [omit have] delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that [Thou sayest it. For] I am a king.37 To this end was I38 [have I been] born, and for this cause came I [have I come] into the world, that I should [may] bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all [no fault in him]. 39But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40Then cried they all [they all cried out]39 again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
Chap. XIX. 1Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him. And the Song of Song of Solomon 2:0 diers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a 3purple robe, And [they approached him and, ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν χαὶ]40 said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands [smote him on the face].41
4Pilate therefore [And Pilate]42 went forth again and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth unto you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5Then came Jesus forth [Jesus therefore came forth], wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate [he]43 saith unto them, Behold the man!44 6When the chief priests therefore and [the] officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him [Crucify! crucify!]45 Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him [Take him yourselves], and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our46 law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
8When Pilate therefore heard that [this] saying, he was the more afraid; And 9went again into the judgment hall [the palace], and saith unto Jesus, Whence art 10thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then47 saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify [release] thee, and have power to release [crucify] thee?48 11Jesus answered, Thou couldest [wouldest] have no power at all [omit at all] against me, except it were [had been] given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12And from thenceforth [Upon this, or, for the sake of this, ἐχ τούτου] Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out,49 saying, If thou let this man go [release this man] thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever [every one that] maketh himself a king speaketh [declareth] against Cæsar. 13When Pilate therefore heard that saying, [these words],50 he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment 14seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And [Now] it was the preparation [day] of the passover, and [omit and, and insert it was]51 about52 the sixth53 hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15But 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 Cæsar. 16Then delivered he him therefore [Then therefore he delivered him up] unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.54
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[On the relation of John to the Synoptists in this passage see the clear statements in Doctrinal and Ethical, no. 1.—P. S.]
John 18:28. They, therefore, lead [ἄγουσινοὖν] Jesus from Caiaphas.—Since John 18:28 refers to John 18:24, the οὖν is here very expressive; it means that with the fact of Annas’ sending the Lord bound to Caiaphas, everything further, even to the leading of Him into the heathen Prætorium, was decided. On the final session of the Sanhedrin in the morning see Comm. on Matt. at our passage.
To the Prætorium.—On the Prætorium see Comm. on Matt., Note to John 18:27 [p. 513, Am. Ed.]. Not “before the morning twilight” as Tholuck supposes. See the Notes to Matthew. [The πραιτώριον (originally the tent of the general in the Roman camp) is the governor’s mansion, whether it was the palace of Herod (the usual opinion), or more probably a building in the castle Antonia (Meyer, Ewald, Lange).—And it was early [ἦν δὲ πρωΐ], in the fourth night watch, towards the break of day.—P. S.]
Not into the Prætorium, that they might not be defiled but might eat the Passover [ἴνα μὴ μιανθῶσιν άλλὰ φάγωσιν τὸ πάσχα. The entrance of a Jew into the house of a Gentile made him levitically unclean till the close of that day (sunset). As the passover was not eaten before six o’clock, i.e. at the beginning of the next day, the defilement incurred in the morning would have ceased before the regular passover. This is a hint that φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα must be taken here in a wider sense. See Matt., p. 455, and Lange below.—P. S.] This was a motive, but scarcely the only one; they, however, hypocritically took cover under it as the only one. If Pilate tried Jesus’ cause in the palace, the Sanhedrists would lack the aid of the popular faction which they had driven together, and upon which they could securely count outside, in front of the palace.
Respecting John’s pretended inconsistency with the Synoptists, sec Comm. on Matthew [pp. 454 ff. 468]. Meyer again pleads at length in favor of the view which makes it result from our passage that there is a difference between John and the Synoptists; that according to John the paschal meal was still impendent on the evening after the crucifixion of Christ, while according to the Synoptists it had taken place the evening before. It is claimed that the feast began, according to the Synoptists, on Thursday evening, according to John, on Friday evening.
In order to a survey of the debates on this subject, we have first to ascertain the historical aspect of the case: a. the declarations of the New Testament, b. the controversies maintained by the ancient Church in regard to the Passover, c. the modern debates on the question of difference, d. the application of the discussion to the criticism of the New Testament Scriptures, particularly against the genuineness of John in the Tübingen School.
In respect to the different modern views we must consider
I. The assertion of the difference (Lücke, Neander, Krabbe, Theile, etc., see Meyer [p. 601, 5th ed.]); and that generally in favor of John, it being assumed, in such case, that traces of the opposite view are also to be found in the Synoptists (Lücke, Bleek, Meyer, etc.); sometimes the side of the synoptical tradition is espoused (Baur, Schwegler).
II. Conceptions adverse to the difference.
First: Assumption of a double passover or banquet:
(a) The Jews deferred the passover; Jesus celebrated it at the legal time. The dominant view at the time of the Reformation [older Prot. divines], of late represented by Philippi [Glaubenslehre, I. p. 266 f. 2d ed.].
(b) Jesus kept the passover a day in advance of its time as μνημονευτικόν, Grotius, Hammond and others. (Casaubonus, Scaliger; placed by Meyer in the foregoing rubric.)
(c) The Caræans and Rabbinists did not agree concerning the time of the new moon (Iken).
(d) The δεῖπνον, John 13:0, was not the paschal meal (Bengel, Wichelhaus).
Secondly: The Synoptists are to be explained in accordance with John:
(a) It is sought to obliterate the pretended difference in the Synoptists as much as possible by reference to Matthew 26:5 (not on the feast; as if the Evangelist did not mean to say that this plan was frustrated), Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26.
(b) As a day of unleavened bread, the 14th Nisan also was celebrated as a feast by the Galileans; hence the Passover occurred on the evening of the 13th Nisan (Frisch, Rauch, Movers, Krafft, Maier [R. C] ).
Thirdly: John must be explained in accordance with the Synoptists: John speaks of another repast (Bengel, Wichelhaus). The eating of the passover denotes the eating of the Khagiga; the παρασκευή in John denotes the day of preparation for the Sabbath, the regular Friday as Sabbath-eve,—not the preparation-day previous to the first day of the passover (Wieseler, Tholuck and others). [The same view is maintained by Bynæus, Lightfoot, Reland, Olshausen, Hengstenberg, Luthardt, Hofmann, Riggenbach, Ebrard, Bäumlein, Robinson, Lange and myself. The most learned defence is given by Wieseler in his Chronol. Synops., pp. 333 ff. and in Herzog’s Encycl., art. Zeitrechnung, vol. xxi. pp. 550 ff. Comp. also Lange on Matthew, pp. 454 ff. and Robinson’s Harmony, pp. 216 ff., especially p. 218 where he fully discusses the phrase φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα which ordinarily, but by no means necessarily means to eat the paschal lamb on the 14th of Nisan, but may mean also to keep the passover (2 Chronicles 30:22, they did eat the festival seven days), or to eat the paschal sacrifices, called the Khagigha.—P. S.]
We hold to the assumption that φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα, as an expression whose primitive force has been weakened by constant use, means: to observe or carry out the eating of the passover; the like specific terms for a more general procedure grow into use everywhere in the ritual sphere. As early as Exodus 12:48 the terms: to eat the passover, and to make or keep the passover are used as reciprocal ideas. The expression: to eat unleavened bread, denotes the whole paschal celebration, Leviticus 23:6. To appear before the Lord, means: to perform divine service (Isaiah 1:12). To spread forth the hands, means: to pray (John 18:15). To wash one’s self, means: to go through religious purification (John 18:16; John 13:10). The expressions: to draw water (see Isaiah 12:3), to light candles, to dwell in tents, etc., might become liturgical abbreviations with the Jews, as the terms: to fast, to confess, to read mass, and similar ones have done with the Roman Catholics.—It has been remarked that if the Jews had defiled themselves in the house of Pilate in the morning of the 14th Nisan (by entering a Gentile habitation, or a house where was leavened bread), they would still have been clean again after 6 o’clock in the evening. In opposition to this view, Lücke remarks: it is not proved, as Bynäus assumes, that entrance into a Gentile house defiled for the one day only. The contrary, however, is still less proved, and it is not supposable that contact with a Gentile house rendered unclean for a longer time than did contact with the carcass of a beast, which polluted only until the evening (Leviticus 11:40). We can suppose in general that all ordinary, merely levitical defilements continued only for one day; in cases of lengthier defilements, real sanitary considerations and the like were had in view. The plea that they were obliged to kill the Passover that afternoon, has been refuted by the observation that they could perform that duty by proxy. Lücke, indeed, mentions that in the case of a defilement in mass, substitution would be difficult to effect. It may be asked, however: when was the danger of defilement greater; if in the morning some few went into the Gentile house, or if the mass of the people, with the priests among them, ran bustling about upon Golgotha, the place of a skull, in the afternoon, at the very time when they are said to have slain the Passover? The case takes a much simpler aspect if we suppose that they were still mindful, in the morning, of the passover whereof they had partaken the evening before, and consequently desirous to keep themselves clean in order not to neutralize the benefit of the passover; whereas in the course of the day and toward its close, the passion attendant upon a turbulent execution rendered them more lax in their conduct.
In regard to the discussions upon this subject, see Meyer [p. 603 ff., 5th ed.]; Tholuck, p. 38 ff., and the account of the literature upon this topic in Lücke, p. 716.—On the paschal meal, see Comm. on Matthew.
[The critical and careful Dr. Robinson states his conclusion on this vexed question as follows (Harmony, p. 222): “After repeated and calm consideration, there rests upon my own mind a clear conviction, that there is nothing in the language of John, or in the attendant circumstances, which upon fair interpretation requires or permits us to believe, that the beloved disciple either intended to correct, or has in fact corrected or contradicted, the explicit and unquestionable testimony of Matthew, Mark and Luke.” To this may be added a chronological consideration. According to Wieseler (to whom Lichtenstein, in Herzog’s Encycl., Vol. VI.,595 assents), Christ died Friday the 15th of Nisan A. U. C. 783, or A. D. 30. This was the 7th of April, and chronological calculations show that in the year 30, the 15th Nisan actually fell on a Friday, which was the case only once more (perhaps A. D. 34) between the years 28–36. See Wieseler’s Chron. Synapse, p. 446, and in Herzog’s Encycl. XXI., p. 550.—P. S.]
John 18:29. Pilate, therefore, went out unto them.—On Pilate, see Comm. on Matthew, and that on Luke. “Bound to respect the Jewish customs (Joseph. Antiq., XVI. 2, 3; De Bello Jud., VI. 6, 2), the Procurator steps forth to them.” Tholuck.
[Pontius Pilate was the sixth Roman governor (ἡγεμών), or, speaking more accurately, procurator (ἐπίτροπος, procurator) of Judæa, and held this office for ten years during the reign of Tiberius (A. D. 25 to 35). He is also mentioned by Tacitus in the famous passage: “The author of that name (Christiani) or sect was Christ, who was capitally punished under Tiberius by Pontius Pilate the procurator” (Annal. XV.44). Josephus describes his administration as tyrannical and cruel: he insulted the Jews by introducing the images of Cæsar, gilt shields with the names of heathen deities, and misapplying the temple revenue to the construction of an aqueduct. He provoked several seditions and suppressed them by bloody violence. He was accused of maladministration, sent to Rome by Vitellius, President of Syria, and probably deposed. The latter accounts of an official report by Pilate of Christ’s death to Tiberius and his suicide, are unreliable. The description of Josephus quite agrees with that of the Gospels, as has been satisfactorily shown in detail by the learned Lardner. Pilate had momentary impulses of justice and mercy; he openly pronounced the innocence of Christ, and made an attempt to rescue Him from the fanaticism of the Jews, whom he despised; but he was a selfish, unprincipled, worldly, Roman politician, skeptical or rather utterly indifferent to truth, cruel, weak and mean; and so he sacrificed innocence itself to the fear of losing his place and power, and, contrary to his better conviction, took part in the greatest crime ever committed. Yet after all his guilt was less than that of the Jewish priesthood who deliberately and malignantly delivered Christ into his hands and made him an instrument in the execution of their malignant hatred of their own Messiah (John 19:11). The introduction of his name in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creed, is intended not so much to single him out as specially guilty, as to mark the date of Christ’s death under the hostile Roman world-power.—P. S.]
What accusation [τίνα κατηγορίαν φέρετε].—Though Pilate might have a general knowledge of the accusation, it was their place formally to present it here. Besides this, however, Pilate immediately observed, doubtless, that they came to him purposing, by a pompous and boisterous procession, to move him to confirm their sentence of death without more ado. His inquiry aims at thwarting this design from the beginning. Meyer.—“Against this man [κατὰ τοῦ ].—Spoken with indifference; not: against such a pious, celebrated man (Luther).”
John 18:30. If this person were not a male-factor [εἰ μὴ ἦν οὐτος κακοποιόδ].—Here is contained the impetuous demand that Pilate should assent to their sentence of death without delay. Under the dominion of the Romans, the Jews had lost the jus vitæ et necis (according to the Talmud, forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Lightfoot). This they declared themselves, John 18:31. Consequently, the stoning of Stephen was a tumultuously illegal proceeding; as also the execution of James, according to Josephus, (Antiq. XX. 9, 1). What still remained in the power of the Sanhedrin was 1: Disciplinary punishment pushed to the verge of capital punishment; 2. proposal for capital punishment. It made a difference whether their spiritual sentence of death was confirmed without further ceremony, or whether the governor, in accordance with Roman law, reserved to himself the right of cognizance and sentence. In the former case they could stone the condemned, according to Jewish custom; in the second case he was executed according to Roman custom, or if extreme punishment was resorted to, crucified. The purpose of the Jews, therefore, is to obtain, by means of the impetuosity of their procession and demand, the ratification of their sentence. They had a twofold motive for this. In the first place, they were, no doubt, sensible of the difficulty of making the false accusation—charging Jesus with being a political criminal—good before Pilate, while they might guess that the latter would not recognize death as a punishment for merely religious or apparent transgressions. In the second place, their demand was at the same time intended to carry the right of a greater independence. He, therefore, is blindly to agree to their sentence. They seek, however, to make compensation for their bold demand by saying: we have delivered Him unto thee. One good turn deserves another. If we come before thy tribunal, that is an honor for thee, in return for which thou surely canst do us the honor to recognize our sentence without further ceremony. There was thus a close prospect of Christ’s being stoned. But He had in spirit foreseen the turn affairs were now taking, and had announced His sufferings on the cross, John 3:14; John 8:28; Matthew 10:33, etc. The cross was also included in the counsel of God, as the form of suffering in which Christ could manifest His glory quite otherwise than if subjected to a stoning (see Tholuck, p. 415).
John 18:31. Then take Him yourselves, etc [λάβετε αὐτὸν ὑμεῖς , καὶ κατὰ τὸν νόμον ὑμῶν κρἰνατε αὐτόν].—I.e. if He is to pass for a criminal simply in accordance with your sentence, then execute Him also according to your law. According to Meyer, he means that they should try Him. But Pilate saw well that they had already done this. The κρίνειν, therefore, here denotes judicial proceedings in general, inclusive of punishment, but according to their law and right. The words certainly point derisively to the fact that they are not permitted to proceed to capital punishment (Lücke and others). Pilate meets fanatical presumption with frigid sarcasm.
The Jews therefore said unto him.—The οὖν denotes that Judaism must now come out openly. See note to John 18:30.—It is not permitted us [ἡμῖν οὐκ ἐζεστιν ].—Untenable limitations of this deliverance: 1. To execute capital punishment in the form of crucifixion (Chrysost.); 2. to execute a man on the feast-day (Semler); 3. to punish crimes of state (Krebs). That they now, in connection with this declaration of their death-sentence, brought forward the accusation against Jesus of political offences warranting death, results from the subsequent examination by Pilate John 18:34. Comp. Luke 23:2. Meyer disallows the assumption of such an accusation, from a fear of “harmonistics.” Pilate, he thinks, must have gathered this charge from the preceding demand for the guard. But a measure of police requires to be judicially formulated, and that by the accuser himself. Agreeably to the political accusation, a formal trial must now begin.
[John 18:32. That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, etc.—See John 12:32-33; Matthew 20:19, where Christ foretold His crucifixion. Had the Jews executed Him according to their law against false prophets and blasphemers, they would have stoned Him, as they repeatedly attempted to do (comp. John 8:59; John 10:31), and as they actually, in a tumultuary way, stoned Stephen (Acts 7:0). Crucifixion was a Roman mode of punishment—the most cruel and disgraceful—for slaves, rebels and low criminals, such as pirates, assassins, deserters, but not for Roman citizens. Jesus on account of His Messianic claims must have appeared to the Roman governor as a rebel.—P. S.]
John 18:33. Art Thou the King of the Jews?—The boundless perfidy of the Jewish accusation is distinctly reflected in Pilate’s presentation of it. It is an ambiguous charge, forged out of Jesus’ avowal that He is the Messiah; a charge embracing falsehood (since Jesus had no intention of being a political character), treason against their Messianic hope (which they abandoned in this case), and self-condemnation (since they hope for a political Messiah).—Art Thou? asks Pilate; not: sayest Thou that Thou art? The question need not necessarily be apprehended as purely derisive. Pilate might think thus: if His only offence was one of the tongue, He will deny that He is such a personage: but if He is a dangerous enthusiast, He will acknowledge the allegation. There is also, beyond a doubt, an incidental play of sarcasm.
John 18:34. Dost Thou say this of Thyself, or, etc. [Ἀπὸ σεαυτοῦ συ τοῦτο λέγεις ἤ ἄλλοι εἶπόν σοι περὶ ἐμοῦ].—Design of the question. According to Olshausen, Neander (and my Leben Jesu, p. 1058) Jesus desires to ascertain in what sense Pilate puts the question: whether in a Gentile-political or a Jewish-theocratical sense.55 Meyer combats this assumption: 1. By the assertion that Jesus wished only to know the author of the accusation. The author, however, stood officially at the door. 2. By the declaration that it is not supposable that Pilate would thus separate the Messianic conceptions. He might, however, be taught thus to separate them. By the term: “King of the Jews,” Pilate could understand nothing but a political seditionary urged by fanatical motives. The Sanhedrists knew this; but they also knew that Jesus claimed the Messiahship in another sense, and they now made use of the Messianic name to fit out a false accusation. Jesus could not acknowledge the Messianic conception of Pilate, but neither could He disown the theocratical Messianic conception. Hence, this distinction was to be made thoroughly clear. Like Meyer, Tholuck mistakes the decisive weight of Christ’s distinotion. It was necessary for Pilate to see that they were trying to humbug him by means of a perfidiously interpreted religious conception. And thus in the middle ages and in the time of the Reformation,—even down to the present day—the Hierarchs have, with evil consciousness, stamped reformation as revolution.
John 18:35. Am I a Jew? [μήτι—looking to a negative answer—ὲγώ—a Roman governor—Ἰουδαῖόδ εἰμι].—With Roman pride he declares that he is not a Jew, i.e. that it is hence impossible that he should put the question in the Jewish sense;56 he has but framed it in accordance with the statement made to him by the Prisoner’s nation (τὸ ἔθνος τὸ σόν, sneeringly) and the high-priests. Compelled, however, to surmise the lurking of an ambiguity in this statement, he inquires, in a genuine Roman sense: What hast Thou done? [τί ἐποίησας].—Pilate’s answer was manifestly inapplicable to the question: Art thou Mine accuser, or do the Jews accuse Me? It is appropriate, however, to the question: Hast thou, or have the Jews, formulated the accusation?
John 18:36. My kingdom is not of this world [ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ὲστιν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. Ἐκ relates to origin and nature; yet Christ’s kingdom, though not of this world, is yet in this world and over this world. Mark the emphatic repetition of My, and this world, as also the demonstrative ἐντεῦθεν in opposition to cælitus.—P. S.].—This answer, the distinction between the purely theocratic and the purely political idea of a kingdom was manifestly contemplated from the very beginning, in the question of Jesus [John 18:34] and introduced by that question. First He acknowledges that He has a kingdom (My kingdom); passes on immediately, however, for Pilate’s pacification, to the negative definition of His kingdom. It is not of this world as to its principle; it lays, therefore, in respect of its tendency, no claims to this world and does not, in respect of its character, come into collision with the existent secular empire of the Romans. Proof: If it were of this world, I should have fighters after the manner of the kingdoms of the world, and the very least that they could do would be, as worldly combatants, to prevent the base and contemptible resurrender of My person to the spiritual forum of the Jews.—My servants [οἱ ὑπηρέται οἱ ἐμοί]—Interpretations: 1. The servants that I have, disciples, angels (Lampe, Luthardt).57 2. The servants that I then should have (Meyer,58 Tholuck [Lücke, Hengstenberg, Alford]). He, however, really has a kingdom, and He also really has servants. With such a fancy sketch: had I a worldly kingdom, and legions, My servants would liberate Me,—the innocence of Jesus would be poorly proved. But when He says: I have servants, but not one makes the slightest attempt at My liberation—this, to Pilate, who was acquainted with the nature of the disturbance, contains a striking proof of Jesus’ innocence. The kingdom of which Christ speaks, however, does not wait for its beginning until the cessation of the kingdoms of the world (as Meyer asserts); neither does it itself become a world-kingdom (comp. Tholuck, p. 416). It conquers the world and makes the kingdoms of the world subject unto itself, in order to abolish and absorb the entire old form of the world in the kingdom of heaven.
But now is My kingdom not from hence, ἐντεῦθεν. Had Christ’s kingdom been destined to be a worldly kingdom, it would have taken its rise at that very point in the crisis of the sufferings of the cross.
[This solemn declaration of Christ concerning the heavenly origin and unworldly character of His kingdom, settles in principle the question of Church and State in favor of separation and against penal laws for the punishment of heresy. Comp. Matthew 22:21, the wisest answer ever given to a question. Alford: “The word now (νῦν) has been absurdly pressed by the Romanist interpreters, to mean that at some time His kingdom would be ἐντεῦθεν—i.e., ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου—as if its essential character could ever be changed: νῦν implies, ‘as the case now stands,’—a demonstratio ad oculos from the fact that no servants of His had contended or were contending in His behalf; see similar usages of νῦν, John 8:40; John 9:41; John 15:22,” etc.—P. S.]
John 18:37. So, then, [οὐκοῦν] Thou art a king [βασιλεὺς εἶ σύ]?—Pilate asks, we doubt not, more out of curiosity and with the attention of an inquisitor, than with any mocking designs (Tholuck).
Yea, a king am I [σὺ λέγεις ὄτι βασιλεύς εἰμι ἐγώ. See Text. Note].—“So Thou art a king?” questions Pilate with ironical emphasis. “Thou sayest it,” answers Jesus, with the accent of sublime self-assurance. And in face of the σύ He emphasizes the ἐγώ. Not only, however, does ὅτι recognize the utterance of Pilate—it likewise acknowledges the correctness of his deduction; from the kingdom of Jesus thou rightly inferrest His kingly dignity, says Jesus. Hence we represent ὄτι by yea (Ja).—Proof: Thereunto have I been born and thereunto have I come into the world [ἐγὼ εἰς τοῦτο γεγέννημαι καὶ εἰς τοῦτο ἐλήλυθα εἰς τὸν κόσμον].—According to, Lücke and De Wette, Christ distinguishes His birth, and His official appearance. According to Meyer and Tholuck, the latter part of the sentence denotes the Divine Ambassador. Since, however, the birth also, as the birth of the Witness of the Truth, denotes a divine or divine-human birth, we likewise distinguish the expression of His ideal kingly nature (born), and of His historic Messianic mission (office). [Comp. here Alford].—That I may bear witness unto the truth [ἵνα μαρτυρήσω τῆ ]—He is the faithful Witness, 2 Corinthians 1:20; Revelation 3:14.—Every one that is of the truth [πᾶς ὁ ὤν ἐκ τῆς ].—See John 3:21. Joh 6:44; John 8:47; Romans 2:29.—Heareth My voice [ἀκούει μου τῆς φωνῆς].—John 10:27. Why does He say this to Pilate? Calvin: He designs explaining why He finds so few adherents. Chrysost and others: He is appealing to the Roman’s consciousness, which is more susceptible than that of a Caiaphas. Bengel: provocat a cæcitate pilati ad captum fidelium.—But manifestly He marks the moment in which Pilate is confronted with salvation, and the form under which salvation advances towards him. It is the form in which He is able to preach the Gospel to this man in this position. If thou art of the truth, if the impulse of truth is the vital impulse that influenceth thee, thou wilt know Me, and thou art saved.
John 18:38. “What is truth? [τί ἐστιν ];—The Evangelist plainly characterizes the meaning of the query by remarking that Pilate turned about upon uttering these words, and went out [καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν πάλιν ἐξῆλθεν]. No pause, no waiting for a reply, is spoken of. The word is thrown out; immediately he wheeled around upon his heel to tell the Jews without that he found no fault in Him. Thus is the patristic exposition, which makes him an eager inquirer after the truth (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Aretius and others) confuted, as also the assumption that he gave utterance to a feeling of disconsolateness (Olshausen). He has evidently no suspicion of subjective vital truth, and he understands, by truth, merely an objective school problem about which a practical man of business need not puzzle his wits. Not so much as a philosophizing skeptic is delineated—such an one as Pliny the elder (ut solum certum sit, nihil esse certi).59 On the other hand, neither do we find that flight from truth, that was manifested in the case of the governor Felix, Acts 24:25. The narrow, practical Roman mind that takes exception to every free investigation of truth, accounting such a fantasticalness from which it saves itself by observance of traditional ordinance, here expresses itself, as does, in measure, a Cicero as an Acataleptic [probabilist], the heathen Cæcilius in the Octavius of Minutius Felix, the Romish spirit continually, not only in its attitude toward the Reformation but also in modern times, as it stands confronted with Catholic philosophy.60
The question as to whence the Evangelist obtained his knowledge of this conversation, is difficult only when we forget that Christ’s every step was watched by men who were of the truth; Strauss and Baur [and Scholten] alone have found the moment sufficiently obscure, in the light of the world’s history, to induce them to assert this account to be a composition of the Evangelist, traceable to his peculiar tendency.
“Pilate’s end corresponds with a life devoid of all foundation of objective [first of all, subjective] truth; according to classic authorities, he dies by suicide, in consequence of heavy misfortunes (Eusebius, Hist. Ecclesiastes 2:7).” Tholuck.
I find no fault in Him [ἐγώ.—opposed to ὑμεῖς.—οὐδεμίαν εὑρίσκω εν αὐτῷ αἰτίαν]. The total result of the irrecoverable moment was his taking Jesus to be a good-natured but guiltless, perhaps rather tiresome, fanatic. With all this, his practical sense of justice finds clear utterance for an instant more—to be soon after caught in the net of a wretched policy. Soon after—for here, according to Luke, follows the sending of Jesus to the tribunal of Herod Antipas, Luke 23:12. [“Pilate mocks both—the Witness of the Truth and the haters of the Truth. His conduct presents a pitiable specimen of the moral weakness of that spirit of worldly power, which reached its culminating point in the Roman empire.” Alford.—P. S.]
John 18:39. But it is a custom of yours, etc. [ἔστιν δὲ συνήθεια ὑμῖν, ἴνα ἔνα ]—Pilate thinks to catch the Jews, and they catch him. Instead of simply administering justice and pronouncing the release of Jesus, he proposes to concede to them the ability of releasing Him themselves in right of a privilege obtained by them. The consequence of this half-measure is ruinous to the judge. It is, therefore, no good-natured love of justice that makes him resort to this expedient (Tholuck), but a preponderant consideration of policy. According to Matthew, he places Barabbas beside Jesus and bids the people choose, designing thus to make the acquittal of Jesus the more sure. The combination was probably first originated by the Jews, as John reports, and then formulated by Pilate (comp. Comm. on Luke). The Jewish custom of releasing a criminal was probably not an emanation from the paschal feast as a feast of reconciliation (Tholuck), but rather a dramatic Easter play, intended, perhaps, to illustrate the sparing of the Jewish first-born (see Comm. on Matt. at this passage).
At the passover [ἐν τῷ πάσχα. Ἐν is wanting in some MSS.].—“Pilate might thus express himself on the 14th as well as on the 15th.” Meyer. But according to the literal expression, the feast of the passover had really commenced.
The king of the Jews [τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδ].—Meyer: “Unwise mocking bitterness.” Perchance abortive cunning likewise. The sing of the Jews He was considered by many among the people whose business it was to decide.
John 18:40. Then they cried out all again.—The Evangelist’s meaning seems to be either: they have cried, and cry again now; or: now that they again gave utterance to their sentiments, for the first time after the accusation, they did it with clamorous outcry. We apprehend the passage thus: they cried this time, and that en masse or with one voice.—Saying: not this One but Barabbas [μὴ τοῦτον, ἀλλὰ τὸν Βαραββᾶν. ἦν δὲ ὁ Βαπαββᾶς λῃστής].—On Barabbas see Comm. on Matthew. It is the first practical fault of the Roman spirit to set criminals side by side with putative idealists, and to release the former rather than the latter. [Ewald suggests that Barabbas was the son of a Rabbi (Abba was a Rabbinic title of honor), and a leader in the insurrection (Mark 15:7) against Pilate, arising out of his misappropriation of a part of the temple revenue to the construction of an aqueduct (Joseph. De Bello Jud. II. 9, § 4); and thus explains the eagerness with which the Sanhedrin and the people demanded his release. On the significance of the name Barabbas (Son of the Father, with or without Jesus in the Synoptists) and the unconsciously representative character and release of this rebel and robber, as contrasted with the character and condemnation of the obedient and holy Jesus, see notes on Matthew 27:16, p. 511, and the Hom. and Pract. below. Ludit in humanis divina potentia rebus.—P. S.]
See John 19:1 ff for DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL and HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
John 18:1; John 18:1.—[The Recepta and Tischendorf read τῶν Κέδρων, in accordance with B. C. E. and many others; Griesbach, Lachmann in accordance with Codd. A, S. Δ., Jerome, Ambrose, etc. (conf. Joseph. Antiq., VIII. 1, 5) τοῦ Κεδρών. The plural seems to have originated in a misapprehension on the part of the transcribers: Cedar Brook instead of Black Brook. [In Exodus 8:0 Tischendorf reads τοῦ κέδρου, on the authority of א*. D. a. b. Sah. cop. æth.; Lachm. τοῦ Κεδρών with A. S. Δ.; hut Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort give the preference to the plural τῶν κέδρων אc. B. C L. X. Orig. Chrys. Cyr., etc. Josephus favors the singular, Antiq. , VIII. 1, 5: τὸν χείμαῤῥον κεδρῶνος, Bell. Jud., V. 2, ἢ κεδρὼν ὠνόμασται. The plural form, τῶν κέδρων, brook of cedars, Cedar Brook, is found already in the Sept. version of 2 Samuel 15:23, but the Alex. Cod. and the Zurich ed. read there: ἐν τῷ χειμάῤῥῳ τοῦ κέδρων. It is evidently a Greek corruption of the Hebrew קִּדְרוֹן (niger, Black Brook; comp. the frequent Greek river-name Μέλας), under the impression that it means cedars. There is no evidence that cedars grew on the brook. John can hardly have sanctioned such a mistake, and therefore I would decide here from internal probability against the authority of MSS. The error may have been made by the first Greek copyist, who was ignorant of Hebrew.—P. S.]
John 18:2; John 18:2.—[Noyes and Am. B. U. render ὅ παραδιδοὺς αὐτόν, his betrayer. Alford retains the A. V., including which.—P. S.]
John 18:3; John 18:3.—[τὴν σπεῖραν refers to the well-known troop of soldiers or Roman cohort which was stationed in Jerusalem as garrison of Fort Antonia, Matthew 27:27; Acts 21:31.—P. S.]
John 18:3; John 18:3.—[Probably more correct: with torches (μετὰ φανῶν), and lamps (λαμπάδων, lights fed with oil in lanterns) and weapons (ὅπλεν, swords and staves),—the utensils of the military on a night march. λαμπάς, however, means also torch and lantern. The repetition of the καί is not superfluous, but rhetorical.—P. S.]
John 18:4; John 18:4.—B. C.*D. etc. ἐξῆλθεν καὶ λέγει (Lachmann, Tischendorf) instead of ἐξελθὼν εἶπεν.
John 18:10; John 18:10.—Tischendorf ὠτάριον, in accordance with B. C* L. etc. (see Mark 14:47). [Cod. Sin. also sustains ὠτάριον, auriculam, versus ὠτίον, aurem probably a correction from Matt.—P. S.]
John 18:11; John 18:11.—The Recepta: μάχαιράν σου. Σου is omitted in accordance with the decisive Codd. [N. A. B. C. D., Alf. Tischend., etc.]
John 18:11; John 18:11.—[ὁ πατήρ, without μου, is the proper reading.—P. S.]
[Dean Stanley says that the Valley of the Kedron, especially in its greatest depth where it joins the Valley of Hinnom, gives full effect to the great peculiarity of Jerusalem, as seen from its eastern side—its situation as of a city rising out of a deep abyss. Sinai & Pal., p. 188.—P. S.]
[Since the time of Robinson, however, more copious torrents have been witnessed, probably in consequence of the numerous enclosures of mulberry and olive groves recently made by the Greek convent^ For there is no doubt that the destruction of the forests which once covered the mountains and hills has diminished the rains in Palestine. The Kedron must have been once a much larger stream, or it would not have worked out such a chasm. Dr. Barclay and Lieutenant Warren express the opinion that the Kedron flows below the present surface of the ground. Warren discovered about 500 yards below the En-Rogel a flight of steps leading down to an ancient aqueduct now choked with silt, which he believes to have been connected with that well and the ancient system of water supply.—P. S.]
[To the descriptions there given or referred to, I add that of Dean Stanley, Sinai & Pal., p. 450. “Close beside the Church of the Virgin is a spot which, as it is omitted in Abba Michon’s catalogue of Holy Places, might perhaps have boon passed over; yet a few words, and perhaps the fewer the better, must be devoted to the garden of Gethsemane. That the tradition reaches back to the age of Constantine is certain. How far it agrees with the slight indications of its position in the Gospel narrative will be judged by the impressions of each individual traveller. Some will think it too public; others will see an argument in its favor from its close proximity to the brook Kedron; none probably will be disposed to receive the traditional sites which surround it, the grotto of the Agony, the rocky bank of the three Apostles, the “terra damnata” of the Betrayal. But in spite of all the doubts that can be raised against their antiquity or the genuineness of their site, the eight aged olive-trees, if only by their manifest difference from all others in the mountain, have always struck even the most indifferent observer. They are now indeed less striking in the modern garden enclosure built round them by the Franciscan monks, than when they stood free and unprotected on the rough hill side; but they will remain, so long as their already protracted life is spared, the most venerable of their race on the surface of the earth; their gnarled trunks and scanty foliage will always be regarded as the most affecting of the sacred memorials in or about Jerusalem; the most nearly approaching to the everlasting hills themselves in the force with which they carry us back to the events of the Gospel History.” Comp. also Hackett’s supplementary notes of art. Gethsemane in Smith’s Dict. II. 908.—P. S.]
[Cyril: “Ut in paradiso malorum initium est factum, sic in horto Christi passio incepit, per quam a malts liberati in pristinum reslituti sumus. ” Wordsworth; “Here is a striking contrast between the quest in the Garden of Eden for the first Adam, and this search In the garden of Gethsemane for the Second. The first Adam hides himself amongst the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8). He trembles before Him who seeks for him. The Second Adam comes forth and says I am. And, at the sound of His Voice, they who came to take Him, go back and fall to the ground. The first Adam inculpates Eve: the Second Adam pleads for His disciples. The first Adam is overcome by the Tempter and loses Paradise; the Second Adam overcomes Satan, and restores his Spouse, the Church, to Paradise and raises her to Heaven.”—P. S.]
[ἀπῆλθ αν and ἔπεσ αν is the reading of א. B. C., Tisch-end., Tregelles, Alf., Westcott and Hort. On this Alexandrian form see Winer, p. 71,71 h ed. The text. rec. has ἀτῆλθ ον and έπεσ ον.—P. S.]
[So also Ebrard, Maier, Hengstenberg, Godet, Meyer, Luthardt, Brückner, Webster and Wilkinson, Wordsworth; some adding as another object: to prove His divine character. Luthardt, however, assumes that the miracle was psychologically mediated, and approaches the view of Lange (no. 5); Godet also (II. 575) lays the chief stress on the moral force, the same which in the temple made the enemies recoil. It was not a physical, but a moral miracle.—P. S.]
[Strauss regards the scene as miraculous in the intention of the author, but as unhistorical. So also Scholten.—P. S.]
[So also Olshausen, De Wette, Ebrard, Bäumlein, Barnes, Owen (not decided). Barnes thinks that the supposition of a miraculous power detracts greatly from the moral sublimity of the scene.—P. S.]
[Similarly Alford: The miracle was not specially intended by our Lord (?), but a result of the superhuman dignity of His person and the majestic calmness of His reply.— P.S.]
[On the case of Mark Antony see Valerius Max., VIII. 9, 2; on Marins, Vellejus Pat. II. 19, 3; on Coligny, Serranus, Com., de statu rel. in Gallia, t. III. p. 32—as quoted by Tholuck (p. 380 of Krauth’s translation), and by Meyer(p. 592). But these are at best very remote analogies from a different sphere.—P. S.]
John 18:12; John 18:12.—[ἡ σπεῖρα καὶ ὁ χιλίαρχος are the detachment of the Roman garrison, οἱ ὑπηρέται, the levitical temple guard. See notes on John 18:3. The omission of a comma and of the article before “officers” in the A. V., makes the impression that ὁ χιλιαρχος is alike dependent on τῶν Ἰουδαίων is οἱ ὑπηρέται.—P. S.]
Ver. l3.—[ἀπήγαγον (A. C. אc. Vulg.) is not so well supported as ἤγαγον(א.* B. D., Tischend.).—P. S.]
John 18:14; John 18:14.—Tischendorf [in former edd.] ἀπολέσθαι. [perish] in accordance with A. C,** and others; Lachmann ἀποθανεῖν in accordance with B. C.* and others (Sin.). Meyer: ἀποθ comes from John 11:50. [In Exodus 8:0. Tischendorf reads ἀποθανεῖν, with א. B. C.* D., and aids: “ἀποθανεῖν potest ad 11:50 accommodatum credi. At quum testimoniorwn antiquissimorum pondere prsestet. nec incredibile est ex illo ἀπόληται 11:50 hoe loco ἀπολέσθαι ortum esse. Est iste locus ex eis ubi præstat probatissimos testes sequi quam. conjectures fidere.” Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, likewise agree on ἀποθανεῖν.—P. S.]
John 18:15; John 18:15.—The Recepta, Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf [formerly]: ὁ ἄλλος. The article is omitted by A. D., etc;, but attested by a majority of authorities. [Tischendorf, Exodus 8:0., Westcott and Hort omit, Alford brackets the article. Lange retains it. The insertion is more readily accounted for than the omission, and may have been conformed to 20:2, 3, 4, 8, where, the article occurs. There is no doubt, however, that no other than John is meant. In using this self designation for the first time, he may have omitted the article.—P. S.]
John 18:17; John 18:17.—[Μή and μήτε, in interrogative sentences, imply (like the German dock nicht?) a negative answer, the English not, like the Greek οὐ and the Latin nonne, an affirmative answer. The παιδίσκη was apprehensive of an affirmative answer and wished politely to anticipate Peter’s denial; or the negative form of the question reveals the feeling that she ought not to have admitted John as a disciple of Jesus except for his being an acquaintance of the high priest.—P. S.]
John 18:20; John 18:20.—λελάληκα (Lachmann, Tischendorf) is most strongly attested, against ἐλάλησα.
John 18:20; John 18:20.—[The best authorities omit the article τῇ (text, rec.) before συναγωγῇ, very properly: for there are many synagogues, and but one temple.—P. S.)
John 18:20; John 18:20.—The reading πάντες (Griesbach, Lachmann) is established by A. B.C.* Sin., etc., in opposition to a second πάντοτε (Tischendorf in accordance with E. G. H., etc.) and to παντοθεν. In Exodus 8:0., Tischend. reads likewise πάντες οἱ Ἰουδ. without πάντοτε.—P. S.]
John 18:22; John 18:22.—[Uncertain whether with the hand (Backenstreich, Luther, Lange, Meyer) or with a rod (Ruthenschlag, Beza, Bengel, Godet). The former is more probable, as it was intended to be a punishment for saucy speech. Comp. Matthew 26:67; Acts 23:2. ῥάπισμα, from ῥάβδος, ῥαπίς, originally meant a blow from a rod or stick.—P. S.]
John 18:24; John 18:24.—The omission of οὖν (attested Codd. B. C* L. X. Δ., Lachmann) appears to be exegetical. The Johannean οὖν, however, is quite characteristic here. Other exegetical apprehensions of the passage substituted δέ and καί. [Tischend., Alf., etc., retain οὖν. The pluperf. rendering of ἀπέστειλεν is ungrammatical and in the interest of harmonistics. See p. 552 —P. S.]
John 18:25; John 18:25.—The οὖν [after ἠρνήσατο] is here not sufficiently attested (E. G. M., etc.); neither is it suitable.
[Robinson, Harmony, p. 225: “An oriental house is usually built around a quadrangular interior court; into which there is a passage (sometimes arched) through the front part of the house, closed next the street by a heavy folding gate, with a smaller wicket for single persons, kept by a porter. In the text, the interior court, often paved or flagged, and open to the sky, is the αὐλή, where the attendants made a fire; and the passage beneath the front of the house, from the street to this court, is the προαύλιον or πυλών in Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:68. The place where Jesus stood before the high priest, may have been an open room or place of audience on the ground floor, in the rear or on one side of the court; such rooms, open in front, being customary. It was close upon the court; for Jesus heard all that was going on around the fire, and turned and. looked upon Peter: Luke 22:61.”—P. S.]
[Also E. V., Wordsworth, and even Robinson, Harmony, p. 226.—P.S.]
[Also ἡ αὔλειος with or without θύρα. The αὐλή,—atrium, is the court yard, around which an oriental house was built, a rectangular area in the open air, connected with the street by a προαύλιον, or vestibule (Mark 14:68), and πυλών or portal (Matthew 26:71), in which was a ούρα, or wicket.— P. S.]
[Augustine: Christ shows that His precept Matthew 5:39 is to be followed non ostentatione corporis, sed preparatione, cordis. An angry man may turn, in sullenness, the other cheek visibly to the smiter; better is he who makes a true answer with mildness, and prepares his heart in peace to endure greater sufferings. Luther: Christ forbids self defence with the hand (violence), not with the tongue. See quotation in Meyer, p.598). Godet: Jesus did not here fulfil literally His precept (Matthew 5:39); He owed to His innocence this answer full of sweetness and dignity. Alford: “It has been often and well observed, that our Lord here gives us the best interpretation of Matthew 5:39—that it does not exclude the remonstrating against unjust oppression, provided it be done calmly and patiently.”—P. S.]
Chap. 18. John 18:28.—Πρωΐ not πρωΐα. [The former is sustained by א. A. B. C., etc., against the text. rec.—P. S.]
John 18:29; John 18:29.—After Πιλᾶτος an ἔξω according to B. C. * L. X. sin. etc. Others give it after αὐτούς.
John 18:34; John 18:34.—Most Codd. are without αύτᾦ
John 18:37; John 18:37.—[It is best to regard σὺ λέγεις as an affirmation (comp. σὺ εἶπας Matthew 26:25], and ὄτι as the reason for it. Lange: Du sagst es. Ja ein könig bin ich. Noyes: Thou sayest what is true; for I am a King. So also Meyer, Alford, etc.—P. S.]
John 18:37; John 18:37.—The second ἐγώ is omitted by B. D. L. etc. Probably because the transcribers considered it superfluous.
John 18:40; John 18:40.—[πάντες is omitted by א. B. L. X., Tischend., Westcott and Hort, but retained by Lange, Alford, with A. and Verss.—P. S.]
John 19:3; John 19:3.—Codd [א] B. L. X., etc., most versions, Augustine, etc., instead of καὶ ἔλεγον, read: καὶ ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ ἔλεγον (Lachmann, Tischendorf). [It was a mock-reverential approach as to a crowned monarch. Not understood by transcribers.—P. S.]
John 19:3; John 19:3. ἐδίδοσαν αὐτῷ ῥαπίσματα—uncertain whether with the hand or a rod or staff, probably the former. Lange: Backenstreiche. See Text. Notes on John 18:22.—P. S.]
John 19:4; John 19:4.—Instead of ἐξῆλθεν Lachmann reads καὶ ἐξῆλθεν in accordance with A. B. K. L., etc.,
John 19:5; John 19:5.—[pilate is omitted in the MSS. and inserted by the E. V. for clearness’ sake.—P. S.]
John 19:5; John 19:5.—[Ἰδοὺ ὁ ἄνθρπος א. B. L., versus ἴδε of text. rec., which is supported by A. D., but not by B., as Lachmann states. Comp. Tischend. Exodus 8:0.—P. S.]
John 19:6; John 19:6.—Most Codd., B. L. excepted, append αὐτόν (Lachmann) to the σταύρωσον of the Recepta. The passionate and characteristic exclamation was readily thus supplemented, however. [Alford, Tischend., Westcott and Hort omit αὐτόν which was probably inserted from John 19:15, and from Mark and Luke.—P. S.]
John 19:7; John 19:7.—Cod. B. and some others omit ἡμῶν (Lachmann). The context is in favor of its retention.
John 19:10; John 19:10.—Οὖν is wanting in A. X. and in several translations (Tischendorf). Probably the form of the consequence presented by οὖν was considered remarkable here.
John 19:10; John 19:10.—Codd. A. B., Lachmann, Tischendorf [Tregelles, Alford, Wescott and Hort] give the ἀπολῦσαι first. Probably a putative correction.
John 19:12; John 19:12.—The stronger form ἐκραύγαζον instead of ἒκραζον in accordance with Codd. A. B. L. M. Lachmann, Tischendorf.
John 19:13; John 19:13.—λόγων τούτων according to Codd. A. B. L. Sin. etc. [instead of τοῦτον τὸν λόγον text. rec.]
John 19:14; John 19:14.—The reading ὥρα ἦν instead of ὥρα δέ received by Lachmann and Tischendorf in accordance with A. B. D., etc. [So also the English critical edd.]
John 19:14; John 19:14.—Ὡς is more strongly attested than ὡσεί.
John 19:14; John 19:14.—Most Codd., A. B. E. K., etc., and the translations read ἕκτη Codd. D. L. X., etc., and the Alexandrian Chronicle differ from these; the Chronicle assures us that accurate conies and the authentic MS. preserved at Ephesus—τὸ ἰδιόχειρον give τρίτη. A conformation to Mark 15:25. due to the too literal apprehension of the Johannean expression. [See the full apparatus in Tischend. and the exegesis below.—P. S.]
John 19:16; John 19:16.—Cod. A. etc. and the Recepta read: καὶ Codd. D. E. H., etc. read ἤγαγον. Codd. B. L. X. etc. the Itala and other translations, Lachmann, Tischendorf [Alford, Westcott and Hort] omit καὶ ἤγαγον. Omitted probably on account of the exegetical consideration that the word here refers to the Jews, while in Matthew 27:31, it has reference to the soldiers.
So also Godet, Ewald, Alford. This is no doubt the proper view, and not set aside by the objections of Meyer (p. 610), who regards the question simply as intended to know the real author of the charge. Christ did not ask for information, which He did not need, but to bring out the distinction in the mind of Pilate, who seems to have suspected that Jesus was really what He was charged with being. This may be inferred also from the question, “Whence art Thou?” (19:8), his increasing desire to release Jesus (12), and his refusal to alter the inscription on the cross (22).— P. S.]
[Meyer just reversely: The answer of Pilate…indirectly denies the first, and consequently affirms the second question. But, Lange is right. Pilate proudly and indignantly repudiates all connection with Jewish expectations, which he despised as sheer fanaticism.—P. S.]
[Lampe: Angels and disciples; Luthardt and Stier: angels; Meyer: disciples only (Joh 12:26; 1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:6), who are themselves not of this world, though in this world, John 17:16.—P. S.]
[In the 6th ed., p. 611, Meyer rejects this view and understands by ὑπηρέται the disciples. See preceding footnote.—P. S.]
[Meyer and Alford likewise derive the question of Pilate from indifferentism rather than skepticism. “It expresses, not without scoff and irony, that truth can never be found: and is an apt representative of the state of the polite Gentile mind at the time of the Lord’s coming. It was rather an inability than an unwillingness to find the truth.” Comp. the saying of Felix to Paul, Acts 24:25.—P. S.]
[Dr. Lange has in view Lammenais, Hermes, Günther, and other recent Roman Catholic philosophers, whose speculations have been condemned by the pope.—P. S.]
CHRIST ON GOLGOTHA THE LIGHT OF SALVATION, OR THE GLORIFICATION OF THE CURSE OF THE OLD WORLD. CHRIST THE CROSS-BEARER. THE CRUCIFIED IN THE MIDST OF THE CRUCIFIED. THE SUPERSCRIPTION: THE KING OF THE JEWS, A WRITING OF DISGRACE CHANGING INTO A WRITING OF HONOR. THE BOOTY OF THE SOLDIERS, ALSO A FULFILMENT OF SCRIPTURE. THE INSTITUTION OF DEPARTING LOVE. THE LAST DRAUGHT. THE WORD OF VICTORY: IT IS FINISHED!
(Matthew 27:32-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49)
And they [They therefore, οὖν] took Jesus and led him away.8 17And he bearing his [own]9 cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull [the so called Place of a Skull, εἰς τὸν λεγόμενον Κρανίου Τόπον] which is called in the [omit the] Hebrew Golgotha:10 18Where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one [and with him two others, one on each side], and Jesus in the midst.
19And Pilate wrote [also, χαί] a title [or, an inscription], and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH [THE NAZARENE, ὁ Ναζωραῖος THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20This title then read many of the Jews; for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written 21in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin [in Hebrew, Roman, Greek].11 Then [Therefore] said the chief-priest of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22Pilate answered, What I have written I 23have written.
23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his [upper] garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat [the inner garment, tunic, τὸν χιτῶνα]: now the coat was without seam [but the tunic was seamless, ἄραφος, woven from the top throughout. 24They 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 [garments] among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.’ [Psalms 22:18.] These things therefore the soldiers did.
25Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister [Salome, John’s mother, see the Exeg.], Mary the wife of Cleophas [Clopas, ή τοῦ Κλωπᾶ], and Mary [the, ῆ] Magdalene. 26When Jesus therefore saw [Jesus therefore seeing] his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he [omit he] saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that [the, ὁ] disciple took her unto his own home.
28After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished [finished, τετέλεσται, as John 19:30], that the Scripture might be fulfilled [accomplished, τελειωθῇ] 29saith, I thirst. Now [omit Now]12 there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth [so putting a sponge filled with the vinegar upon a stalk of hyssop, they raised it to his mouth]. 30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost [yielded up his spirit].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[John’s account of the crucifixion is brief and comprehensive, yet with several original details of the deepest import. On his relation to the Synoptists in this section, see the full analysis of Dr. Lange in Doctr. & Ethic, below, No. 1.—P. S.]
John 19:17. And bearing His own cross, etc. Αὑτῷ [for Himself] τὸν σταυρόν emphasized. [See Text. Note, “As conquerors bear their own trophies, so Christ bears the symbol of His own victory.”—P. S.] Thus He went forth [ἐξῆλθεν]. Out of the city, Hebrews 13:12.
Golgotha. See Comm. on Matthew 27:33.
[On the words Golgotha, Cranion, Calvaria, Calvary, Mount (?) Calvary, see my Textual Note 3. The vexed question of locality is fully discussed by Dr. Lange and myself in the Commentary on Matthew, pp. 520, 521, with reference to the principal arguments for and against the traditional site of the crucifixion, i.e., the spot where now stands the Constantinian or, perhaps, post-Constantinian “Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” which lies within the walls of the present city and in the north-western quarter, not far from the Damascus Gate. Robinson is the chief authority in opposition, G. Williams in defense, of the popular tradition. The former has still the best of the argument.13 The other writers on the subject, Ritter, Raumer, Tobler, Winer, Schubert, Bergren, Arnold, Kraft, Friedlieb, Furrer, Lange, etc., among the Germans, Wilson, Barclay, Finley, Olin, Lewin, Tristram, Stanley, Fergusson, etc., among English and Americans, are divided in opinion or leave the matter doubtful. James Fergusson (art. Jerusalem in Smith’s Bible Dictionary, and also in a special pamphlet On the Site of the Holy Sepulchre, in answer to the Edinb. Rev.) has recently propounded the startling theory that the place of crucifixion was Mount Moriah, on the very spot where now stands the Mosque of Omar, or as the Moslems call it, the Dome of the Rock; and, further, that this building is the identical church of the Holy Sepulchre which Constantine erected over the rocky tomb of Christ. But this theory, besides leaving the disappearance of Constantine’s church and the substitution of the present Church of the Holy Sepulchre unexplained, is set aside by the extreme improbability that the temple area was outside of the city and a place of execution. Lange is disposed to identify Golgotha with the hill Goath, Jeremiah 31:39, which was outside of the city, east of the Sheep Gate. My colleague, Prof. Dr. Hitchcock, informs me that by personal examination in 1870 he came independently to the same conclusion. Perhaps it is best that the real locality of crucifixion should be unknown: it is too holy to be desecrated by idolatrous superstitions and monkish impostures and quarrels such as, from the age of Constantine to this day, have disgraced the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to the delight of Mohammedan Turks, and to the shame and grief of Christians. The apostles and evangelists barely allude to the places of our Lord’s birth, death, and resurrection: they fixed their eyes of faith and love upon the great facts themselves, and upon the ever-living Christ in heaven. Only this is more or less certain from the Gospels, viz.: that the place of the crucifixion was out of the city (John 19:17; Matthew 28:11; comp. Hebrews 13:12, ἔξω τῆς πύλης); yet near the city (John 19:20); apparently near a thoroughfare and exposed to the gaze of the passing multitude (as may be inferred from Mark 15:29 and John 19:20); probably on a little conical elevation (hence probably the name: ‘Skull,’ or ‘Place of a Skull’), but not on a mountain or hill (as the popular term Mount Calvary would imply); and that it was near the Lord’s sepulchre (John 19:41), which was in a garden and hewn in a rock (Matthew 27:60).—P. S.]
John 19:18. But Jesus in the midst. [μέσον δὲ τόν Ἰησοῦν]. This was Pilate’s arrangement, and designed to mock the Jews (see 1 Kings 22:19). Meyer maintains that it was an arrangement of the Jews’, the Jews being the crucifiers. Against this view we have to observe: 1. That the two thieves were not executed as Jewish heretics; 2. that the consummating of the crucifixion, as a Roman punitory act, must have been left to the Romans 3:0. that it further reads: Pilate wrote also—namely, to complete the mockery of the Jews.
[Christ was crucified between the two robbers who represent the two classes of the human family: both guilty before God and justly condemned to death, but the one repenting, and saved by faith in the crucified Redeemer, the other impenitent, and rushing to ruin by unbelief. On the archæology of crucifixion, see the Notes on Matthew, pp. 522 f. Crucifixion was one of the most painful and disgraceful modes of death. It was unusual among the Jews, and applied among the Greeks and Romans (till the fourth century) only to slaves and gross criminals, as rebels and highway-robbers. Cicero calls it the most cruel and abominable punishment (crudelissimum teterrimumque supplicium). The cross consisted of two pieces of wood, generally put together transversely at right angles in the form of a T. The longer beam was planted in the earth, and provided with a projecting bar like a horn in the middle for the body to rest upon, which somewhat relieved the sufferings, and prevented the hands from being torn through. There were, however, various forms of the cross (crux commissa, cr. immissa, cr. decussata). The victim was first undressed, the arms tied with ropes to the cross-beam, the hands fastened with iron nails, the feet tied or nailed to the upright post. In this unnatural and immovable position of the body, he suffered intensely from thirst, hunger, inflammation of the wounds, and deep anguish in consequence of the rushing of the blood towards the head. Death followed slowly from loss of blood, thirst, and hunger, gradual exhaustion, and stiffening of the muscles, veins, and nerves. The loss of blood, however, was small, since the wounds in the hands and feet did not lacerate any large vessels, and were nearly closed by the nails. The sufferers lingered generally twelve hours,—sometimes, according to the strength of their constitution, to the second or third day. The bodies were left hanging on the cross until they decayed or were devoured by ravenous beasts and birds. But the Jews were accustomed to take them down and bury them. Constantine the Great, from motives of humanity, and especially from respect to the cross of Christ as the sign of victory (Hoc signo vinces), abolished crucifixion in the Roman empire, and since that time it has almost disappeared from Europe. What a wonderful change! Through the death of Christ the cross has been transformed from a symbol of shame into a symbol of glory and victory, and one of the richest themes of poetry. Well may we exclaim with Venantius Fortunatus, in his famous Passion-hymn, Pange, lingua:
Crux fidelis, inter omnes
Arbor una nobilis!
Nulla talem silva profert
Fronde, flore, germine:
Dulce lignum, dulces clavi,
Dulce pondus sustinens.
“Faithful cross! above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peers may be:
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron,
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.”—P. S.]
John 19:19. Pilate wrote also [or, Moreover Pilate wrote, ἔγραψε δὲ δὲ καὶ].—After sentence was pronounced, and as a formulation of the same. On this account, however, it is as little the Pluperfect (Tholuck) as it is a formula manufactured during the crucifixion only. In a word, Pilate first arranged the manner of the execution—between two thieves—and then wrote the superscription. See Comm. on Matthew. Τίτλος[=ἐπιγραφή, from the Latin titulus, inscription], the customary Roman term for such superscriptions (Wetstein).
Jesus the Nazarene [Ἰησ. ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ Βασιλευς τῶν Ἰουδαίων, Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judæorum. All the four Evangelists give the inscription on the cross, but with slight variations, on which see Wordsworth in loc.—P. S.] The manifest double meaning of the superscription was the final expression of the suit. In the sense of the man Pilate, it meant: Jesus, the King of the Jewish fanatics, crucified in the midst of Jews, who should all thus be executed; in the sense of the Jews: Jesus, the seditionary, the King of rebels [and pseudo-prophets]; in the sense of the political judge: Jesus, for whose execution the Jews, with their ambiguous accusation, may answer; in the sense of the divine irony which ruled over the expression: Jesus, the Messiah, by the crucifixion become in very truth the King of the people of God.
John 19:20. Was read by many of the Jews.—Whereby they were forced to reflect upon that treason to the Messianic idea, of which the high-priests were guilty.
The place was near the city.—On Sunday afternoon the populace are fond of walking out of the city, particularly in the direction of new suburbs. So the Jews on their festivals. Towards Golgotha the beginnings of the new city were forming,—Bezetha. Leben Jesu, 2. p. 1573.
In Hebrew, etc.—Here also the Evangelist has in view the triumph of the Divine Spirit over human sin and malice. The inscription, in this threefold form, must symbolize the preaching concerning the Crucified One in the three principal languages of the world: in the language of religion [Hebrew], of culture [Greek], and of the State [Latin—the language of law and government].14
John 19:21. Then said the high-priests to Pilate.—A proposal to alter the title. They feel the sting of the inscription, and therefore prosecute their calumny. Jesus was to be more definitely characterized as a seditionary in the Roman sense, one whom Pilate himself had sentenced.
John 19:22. What I have written, etc. [ὅγέγραφα, γέγραφα. The first perfect denotes the past action, the second that it is complete and unchangeable.—P. S.]. Pilate feels secure again, and once more assumes the air of unshakeable authority and of the firm Roman. His declaration, however, contains at the same time the continuation of the idea that he lays the dark riddle of this crucifixion upon their consciences, that he does not acknowledge Jesus to be guilty in their sense, and that they need reckon upon no forbearance on his part. “Analogous formulæ from Rabbins, see in Lightfoot.” Meyer. “Agreeably to his character ἀκαμπὴς τὴν φύσιν, as Philo calls him, Pilate adheres to his resolution.” Tholuck.
John 19:23. Took His upper garments.—“The only earthly leavings of the Redeemer do not fall to the share of His people, but, in accordance with Roman law, to the executors of the death-sentence. By the ἱμάτια may be understood the upper garment, the girdle, the sandals, perhaps the linen shirt; these are divided amongst the Roman guard, consisting of four men (Acts 12:4).” Tholuck.
But the tunic, etc. [ἦν δὲ ὁ χιτὼν ἅραφος].—According to lsidor. Pelusiota, the like was worn by the lower classes in Galilee. This statement, however, might readily be abstracted from our passage. The Evangelist seems to see in this body-vest a homely work of art, wrought by loving hands. [χιτών], tunica, is an inner garment, worn to the skin like a shirt, mostly without sleeves, fastened round the neck with a clasp, and usually reaching to the knees. Sometimes two were worn for ornament or comfort. It was worn also by the Jewish high-priest and priests (but as an outer tunic, a broidered coat, chethoneth thashpez), and is described by Josephus, Antiq. Leviticus 7:0, § 4. The fathers (as also Roman commentators and Bishop Wordsworth) see in the seamless coat of Christ a symbol of the unity of the church.—P. S.]
John 19:24. In order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Psalms 22:19 (18), according to the Septuagint. A typical prophecy. See Comm. on Matthew. The apparent identicalness in the parallelismus membrorum of the Psalmist does not preclude our Evangelist’s right to make the distinction he does—it being a question of the interpretation of an unconsciously prophetic, a typical, speech.
These things therefore the soldiers did. As the soldiers knew nothing of those words of the Psalmist, their fulfilment of them is the more strikingly a divine inspiration. The same idea as John 12:16.
[John 19:25-27. Peculiar to John. A scene of unique delicacy, tenderness and sublimity. A type of those pure and spiritual relationships (the sacred Wahlverwandtschaften) which have their origin in heaven and are deeper and stronger than those of blood and interest. The cross is the place where the holiest ties are formed, and where they are guarded against the disturbing influences of sin.
“Das kreuz ist es, das Herzen zicht und bindet,
Wo Tiefverwandtes wunderbar sich findet”
A few simple touches reveal a world of mingled emotions of grief and comfort. The mother pierced in her soul by the sword (Luke 2:35), the beloved disciple gazing at the cross, the dying Son and Lord uniting them in the tenderest relation! The first words furnished the keynote to that marvellous Stabat Mater dolorosa of Jaeopône (1306), which, though disfigured by Mariolatry, describes with overpowering effect the intense sympathy with Mary’s grief, and is the most pathetic, as the Dies Iræ is the most sublime, product of Latin hymnology. It is the text for some of the noblest musical compositions, which will never cease to stir the hearts of men.—P. S.]
John 19:25. Now there stood by the cross [εἱστήκεισαν δὲ παρὰ τῷ σταυρῷ, in the Vulgate: Stabat juxta crucem mater ejus, from which the Stabat Mater took its rise, as the Dies iræ from the Vulgate’s rendering of Zephaniah 1:15.—P. S.].—According to the Synoptists (Matthew, Mark), the women mentioned stand afar off. According to Lücke and Olshausen, they were there previously; according to Meyer, there is a difference which must be settled in John’s favor. But it is manifestly necessary to distinguish two stages in the proceedings attendant upon the crucifixion: the tumult of the crucifixion itself, amidst which no friends could approach, and the subsequent sufferings on the cross. See Comm. on Matthew [p. 529].
We read with Wieseler (Studien u. Kritiken, 1840, p. 648): His mother (Mary) and His mother’s sister (Salome); then Mary—the wife of Clopas—and Mary Magdalene. Leben Jesu; Introduction to this Comm. [p. 4]. So also Lücke, Ewald [Meyer and Alford]; in old times, the Syrian, Ethiopian and Persian translations,15 as also the texts of Lachmann, editio minor, Tischendorf,16 Muralt. [Also Westcott and Hort, who punctuate without a comma after Κλοπᾶ, thus: ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ , Μαρία ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ , Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Κλ. καί Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαριὰμ ἡ μαγδ .—P. S.]. The opposite side is taken by Luthardt, Ebrard [Hengstenberg, Godet] and others.
[Thus we have not three women (Mary, her sister Mary of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene), as is usually assumed, but four, arranged in two pairs: Mary and her sister (viz. Salome), Mary of Clopas and Mary the Magdalene. See the list of the apostles, Matthew 10:2 ff.; Luke 6:16 ff. Consequently John, the son of Salome, was a cousin of Jesus and a nephew of His earthly mother. This double relationship explains the more readily the fact that Jesus intrusted her to John rather than to His half-brothers, who at the time were yet unbelieving. Apocryphal traditions make Salome now a daughter, now a sister, now a former wife, of Joseph.—P. S.]
Wieseler’s hypothesis is upheld by the following facts:
1. It is not supposable that two sisters had the same name. [Some conjecture that Mary was only a step-sister. But I know of no example even of step-sisters or step-brothers bearing precisely the same name without an additional one to distinguish, them. Hengstenberg escapes the difficulty by the arbitrary assumption that sister here denotes sister-in-law.—P. S.]
2. In a precisely similar manner John elsewhere paraphrases his own name. [Nor does he introduce his brother James by name.—P. S.]
3. According to Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40, Salome really was among those women [who stood by the cross; and it is not likely that John should have omitted his own mother, the less so as he introduced himself.—P. S.]
The wife of Clopas [ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ].—Clopas=Alpheus, Matthew 10:3. The mother of the so-called brethren of Jesus, i.e. His cousins.
[The identity of Κλὡπᾶ (which sounds like an abridgement of Κλεοπ́ατρος) with the Hebrew name Αλφαῖος, הַלְפַּי (Matthew 10:3), is by no means so certain as Dr. Lange with most commentators (also Meyer) assumes, but quite doubtful on account of the difference, of letters, and the improbability that John should use the Aramaic, and Matthew and Mark the Hellenistic form. Ελωπᾶς sounds rather like an abridgement of Κλεόπατρος and maybe the same with the Κλεόπας, mentioned Luke 14:18. But even in case of the identity of Clopas and Alpheus, it does not follow that James and Joses, the sons of Alpheus and a certain Mary (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10), were cousins of Jesus, unless we identify this Mary with the sister of the mother of Jesus, which Lange does not. Nor is it certain that ἡ means the wife of; it may also mean the daughter of, the Klopas mentioned Luke 24:18 (as Ewald).—P. S.]
John 19:26. Woman, behold thy son [Τύ ναι, ἴδε ὁ υἱός σου]—Woman instead of mother. See John 2:4. The word here denotes particularly the character of woman in her helplessness and need of comfort. It must be remembered, however, that Mary deserved the name of “woman” in the ideal sense also. As Christ was the Son of Man, or the Man, so she, though approximately only, not in the perfection of sinlessness, was the ideal woman. [The second Eve, the Woman, whose Seed here bruised the serpent’s head, Genesis 3:0—P. S.]. Thus the name “woman,” the greeting of the woman who in spirit shares His crucial agony, is likewise a title of dignity. But besides this, Christ has sufficient reason for not exposing Mary to the mockery or persecution of the enemy by saluting her with the name pf “mother.”
The explanation recently (for instance in Piper’s Jahrbuch, article “Maria”) enlarged upon with ever-increasing grotesqueness, and which claims that with this saying Christ renounced His mother at the cross, goes, in its gradual development, from Luthardt, who is more precisely the author of it, back to Hofmann.17 It is expressive of a Monophysite view which takes the bold flight of afterward annulling even the historical fact. People holding this view apparently conceive of the status majestaticus not as the centre of the glorification of the human life, but as a sort of Oriental court raised to heaven. In connection with this view it would be better to represent the Logos in His birth as born not of Mary, but merely through her, in accordance with some of the ancients.
That it is the desire of Jesus to give Mary a son in His stead in a special sense, results from the fact that the Alphæides also were her sons.18 And what sons! Nevertheless, Mary was to have a still richer compensation after the departure of Jesus than could be given by the Alphæides; John was destined to make this compensation. And he indeed stood alone by her in this moment, as her support; thus should he stand by her from this time forth. The thing, the unique adoptive relationship, already existed de facto, being born beneath the cross of Christ; consciousness, a name, and the sanction of Christ must be added to it. According to Tholuck, the ἀδελφοί were as yet unbelieving. In regard to this, see John 7:5 [and my counter-notes, p. 241.—P. S.]. According to others, they were not so well off as John. But had there been question of a mere pecuniary provision for His mother, Christ would not have deferred its settlement until now. Mary needed a son in the sense of the higher soul-life, just as Jesus had Himself been refreshed by a friend. The friend of Jesus was fitted to be the son of Mary.
Behold thy mother [Ἴδε ἡ μήτηρ σου]!—We may primarily understand both sayings of Jesus in such a manner as to make them express the same idea: ye shall henceforth cleave together as mother and son. But not in vain are they divided into two sayings. If we apprehend them as consolations, the word: “Behold thy son!” signifies: in him shall be thy support; the word: “thy mother:” thou shalt become a sharer in her maternal blessing. If we apprehend them as admonitions, commands, the case presents a different aspect: the mother is enjoined to live for the son, the son for the mother. The one signification, however, is inseparable from the other. On both sides love and blessing are one in personal relationship.
[Alford: “The solemn and affecting commendation of her to John is doubly made,—and thus bound by the strongest injunctions on both. The Romanist idea, that the Lord commended all His disciples as represented by the beloved one, to the patronage of His mother, is simply absurd. The converse is true: He did solemnly commend the care of her, especially indeed to the beloved disciple, but in him to the whole cycle of disciples, among whom we find her, Acts 4:14. No certain conclusion can be drawn from this commendation, as to the ‘brethren of the Lord’ believing on Him or not at this time. The reasons which influenced Him in His selection must ever be far beyond our penetration:—and whatever relations to Him we suppose those brethren to have been, it will remain equally mysterious why He passed them over, who wore so closely connected with His mother. Still the presumption, that they did not then believe on Him, is one of which it is not easy to divest one’s self; and at least may enter as an element into the consideration of the whole subject, beset as it is with uncertainty.” John’s relation to Mary as established beneath the Cross, was that of a sacred friendship and spiritual communion (comp. Matthew 12:47-50), and interfered neither with John’s relation and duty to his natural mother Salome, nor with Mary’s relation to the “brethren” of Jesus, whatever view we may take of them. I have so often discussed this vexed question, especially in this vol. p. 241 and in the Com. on Matthew, pp. 456–460, that it is unnecessary to say more.—P. S.]
Took her unto his own home [ἔλαβεν ὁ μαθητὴς αὐτὴν εἰς τὰ ἴδια],—John gladly apprehended the word of Christ in that meaning also which carried an obligation with it. The expression: from that hour, cannot be weakened. Yet it is neither necessary to infer that John had a house of his own in Jerusalem, nor that he kept house for himself alone. “If he received Mary into his dwelling, into his family circle—consisting of Salome and perchance his brother, εἰς τᾶ ἴδια would be perfectly correct.” Meyer. [So also Alford. Ewald well observes: “It was for the Apostle in his later years a sweet reward to recall vividly every such minute detail,—and for his readers it is, without his intention, a sign that he alone could have written all this (dass nur er diess alles geschrieben haben könne).” Against the misunderstanding of this most touching scene by such men as Scholten and Weisse, see the just remarks of Meyer, p. 630.—P. S.]
John 19:28. I thirst [Μετὰ τοῦτο εἰδὼς ὁ ’Ιησοῦς ὅτι ἤδη πάντα τετέλεσται, ἵνα τελειωθῇ ἡ γραφὴ, λέγει• Διψῶ].—Different views:
1. Prevailing ancient interpretation: ἵνα τελ. is referable to λέγει• διψῶ. Since He knew that all things were accomplished, He said, in order to fulfil the Scripture in that particular also: I thirst (Chrysostom, Theophylact and others). Beza: Vehementissima quidem siti pressus, sed tamen de implendis singulis prophetiis nostraque salute potius quam de ulla siti sollicitus. This manner of fulfilling the Scripture is in accordance neither with the view of the Lord nor the delineation of John (see John 19:24). Then, too, it would have to read thus: As He knew that the Scripture was fulfilled, with the exception of one particular, He said—in order that this one thing also might be fulfilled, etc.,—irrespective of the fact that in John 19:32 ff. additional unfulfilled particulars Nos. 2 and 3 would present themselves.
2. Intensified apprehension of the foregoing explanation: as vinegar was given Him to drink, the drink was demanded as ultima pars passionum, with reference to Psalms 69:22, which passage, as others also suppose, is here had in mind (Theodorus of Heraclea, Gerhard, Marheineke).
3. Christ did not drink for the sake of fulfilling the Scripture, but the Evangelist interprets His drinking as a fulfilment of Scripture; ἵνα τελειωθῇ ἡ γραφή is therefore a parenthesis, containing the explanation of the Evangelist (Piscator, Grotius, Lücke).
4. The final sentence (ἵνα, etc.) is not parenthetic, nor is it to be applied to what follows, but to that which precedes it: in the consciousness that His passion is finished, i.e. finished unto the accomplishment of the Scripture, He now says: “I thirst” (Michaelis, Semler, Knapp, Tholuck, Meyer and others). This interpretation seems to us the correct one. Hitherto Jesus has passed through one temptation and anxiety after another and, absorbed in the hot conflict in which He saw the fulfilment of the divine decree in accordance with the Scripture, has forgotten the burning thirst that has preyed upon Him since His last draught at the Supper. Now, with the presentiment of victory, His thirst makes itself felt, and He, being no legal ascetic, nor despising a service rendered by the hand of sinners, requests and partakes of the last, sorry refreshment. The expression: “that the Scripture might be accomplished,” does not mean: for the bare fulfilling of the Scripture hath He passed through all these things,—but: in the fulfilling of Scripture as the expression of the divine counsel, He found that which was His perfect tranquillization and exaltation in view of all these things, Luke 22:22, Matthew 26:54. According to Hofmann, Jesus demanded a refreshment conducive to the prolongation of life, in order thus to demonstrate the freedom of His departure. This would be drinking for a theologico-apologetic purpose. Tholuck more pertinently remarks that the τελειοῦν of the divine βουλή was but the very (likewise the very) τελειοῦν of the γραφή,—hence τελειοῦν instead of πληροῦν.
John 19:29. A vessel therefore was standing there [σκεῦος ἔκειτο ὄξους—sour wine, or vinegar and water—μεστόν].—The Evangelist’s οὖν might here mean: Jesus’ glance had fallen upon the vessel containing the beverage and had suggested to Him the prospect of refreshment. From a strict interpretation of the word, however, a higher signification results. Christ’s complaint, His last craving, must not fail of satisfaction. It was necessary, therefore, that provision should have been made before-hand; it was to be expected that satisfaction was nigh at hand. The stupefying draught that was offered Him at the beginning of His suffering (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23), Jesus had rejected. See Comm. on Matthew. But the pure, sour soldiers’ wine, vinegar-wine, He now receives to His refreshment. “The most distressing thirst torments the crucified. The soldiers give Him some of the beverage [ὄξος] which they are wont to drink (posca, vinum acidum); saturating a sponge with it, they put the sponge upon a hyssopstalk (which in the East attains a height of from one to one and a half feet. ‘Γσσώπῳ, that is καλάμῳ τοῦ ῦσσώπου, see Matthew 27:48), and thus convey it to His mouth as He hangs upon the slightly elevated cross.” Matthew 27:48 is a parallel passage. The touch in Luke 23:36 really seems indicative of a third, derisive presentation of vinegar-wine on the part of the soldiers, situate between the first and the last. See Meyer on the passage, and Comm. on Luke 23:26 [p. 373. Am. Ed.].
John 19:30. It is finished.—Τετέλεσται. The expression of the consciousness, John 19:28. Bengel: Hoc verbum in corde Jesu erat John 19:28, nunc ore profertur. It is possible that He required the reviving refreshment to aid Him in pronouncing the last words. The sublime word, finished, refers to His work, as commanded Him according to the counsel of God (delineated in the Scripture).
And yielded up the (or His) spirit [καὶ κλίνας τὴν κεφαλὴν παρέδωκεν τὸ πνεῦμα].—Expressive of a free dying. The characteristic word for this exode is itself preserved by the Evangelist Luke: Father, into Thy hands. Comp. John 10:18. Gerhard and the older Lutheran exegetes declared that the death of Jesus was not a suffering, but a deed. Tholuck: “This can be said only in the ethical sense,—in which sense it can be predicated of all His suffering—not in the physical sense (comp. Thomasius, Christol. Dogmatics, II., p. 225 with 218); in itself it is merely the expression of self-surrender, trusting in God, as Psalms 31:6, whence the expression is derived.” But of a certainty, also the expression of a thoroughly unique, free dying which was at once suffering and deed in the ethico-physical sense. See John 10:18. [“The παραδιδόναι was strictly a voluntary and determinate act—no coming on of death, which had no power over Him.” (Alford.) On the physical cause of Christ’s death, comp. the remarks in Comm. on Matthew, p. 523, and the treatise of William Stroud, M. D., on the Physical Cause of Christ’s Death and its Relation to the Principles and Practice of Christianity. Second ed. with Appendix by Sir James Y. Simpson, London, 1871 (504 pp.). Dr. Stroud endeavors to demonstrate that the immediate cause of the Saviour’s death must be traced neither to the ordinary effects of crucifixion, nor the wound inflicted by the soldier’s spear, nor an unusual degree of weakness, nor the interposition of supernatural influence, but to the vicarious agony of His mind culminating in the exclamation, “My God, My God,” etc., and producing rupture of the heart, which is intimated by a discharge of blood and water from His side, when it was afterwards pierced with a spear. “It was the death of a pure and perfect human being sustaining and discharging the penalty due to human depravity, and thereby acquiring an equitable claim to see the travail of His soul and to be satisfied, by becoming the author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him.” See more of this below on John 19:34, p. 597.—P. S.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. In the history of the crucifixion of Jesus, as subsequently in that of His burial, John gives special prominence to the considerations of the fulfilment of Biblical prophecies and types. In correspondence with Scripture, Pilate was constrained to make the superscription: The King of the Jews; in accordance with Scripture, the division of the clothing took place, accompanied by the casting of lots for the body-vest; in further accordance, Jesus, at the approach of His death, felt that all things were accomplished, to the fulfilling of the Scripture; and thus the manner of His taking down from the cross must itself have reference to two passages of Scripture. But not for the sake of the fulfilment of the Scripture did all these things happen, but because in the providence of God they must happen, they were preceded by the presages and fore-glimpses of Scripture. The reference to Scripture, however, is designed to be expressive of two things: the objective veracity of God, who, in the ordering of the crucial sufferings, is consistent with Himself, and the unconditional trust of Christ and His people, that above all human arbitrariness and malice in the crucifixion, the providence and faithfulness of God were ruling.
Many items in the history of the crucifixion, the Evangelist assumes to be already familiar,—especially the history of Simon of Cyrene, the presentation of the intoxicating myrrh-wine, the mockings of the Crucified One, the conduct of the thieves, the darkening of the land, the earthquake, the rending of the vail in the temple, the testimony of the Gentile captain, Matthew’s indication of extraordinary occurrences in the spirit-world, the agitation of the people, as recorded by Luke, as also the majority of the seven last words.
With pleasure, however, he dwells—first upon the trait of Christ’s bravely and resolutely taking His cross on His own shoulders (αὑτῷ), upon the contest which Pilate and the Jews continued over the Crucified One, upon the significant superscription, and similar features. But for him there lay special preciousness in the recollection that Jesus, in His last hour, instituted filial relations between him, His friend, and His mother.
2. The word: The King of the Jews, was a fulfilment of the entire Old Testament—hence there are no particular citations here. According to the original accusation of the Jews, it was designed to denote His mortal offence. It then, in accordance with Pilate’s meaning, denoted the occasion of His death, being intended as a mockery of, and sarcasm upon, the Jews. In the sense of the Scripture, however, it denotes His divinely appointed destiny of death, and in the sense of the Spirit, the eternal gloriousness and fruit of His death. Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews: the word of the cross, glorified by the Spirit into a word about the cross. Pilate did not suspect that his writing, like his saying, Ecce Homo, did, under the providence of God, take significance, when he wrote, in the three most important languages of the world, this sermon over the cross.
3. The references to the fulfilments of Scripture in Christ’s suffering are nought but celestial lights shining into the darkness of the crucial passion. All is spiritualized, or transillumined by the Spirit, in order to be by the Spirit glorified, as God’s counsel, foreknowledge, ordinance, disposition, and judgment upon the blindness of the world,—glorified, I say, unto salvation.
4. If Mary is meant to be a symbol of the Church, then Christ, with His institution of this adoption, hath made His bosom-friends the veriest sons of the Church, and the Church their mother. Hence a form of the Church which is at extreme variance with the Johannean mind, cannot be the true one. Mary may, however, far rather be called a symbol of the Theocracy, which has been finally comprehended in her heart. In that sense the institution would mean: the Theocracy, i.e. the theocratic side of the Church, is always to have a spiritual son,—children of the Spirit; the children of the Spirit are always to have a motherly authority over them in the ecclesiastical communion.
5. As Peter, who recognized in Christ the Renewer of the old Theocracy, the King of the Divine Kingdom, was pre-eminently entrusted with the foundation and care of the Church of Christ, so to John, who in Christ saw pre-eminently the manifestation of the personal God, the portrait of eternal love, was confided the foundation and care of a holy family of the friends of God as the innermost vital focus within the Church.
6. The thirst of Jesus, His last suffering. A sign (1) that He has passed through all His sufferings and may now receive the draught of refreshment; (2) that He departs from earth and from those who have crucified Him, not proudly and coldly, but humbly, warmly and lovingly; (3) that He would be no pattern in self-chosen torments and penances; (4) that He still speaks in the consciousness of His divine spiritual power, as if it were at once a begging and a commanding; (5) that He is making preparation for the end.
7. It is finished. See the Homiletical Hints. Hebrews 10:14. The word as (1) a prophetic word (all scripture fulfilled); (2) a high-priestly word (the expiatory sacrifice completed); (3) a kingly word (the kingdom of heaven founded); (4) a unitous word (the work of redemption accomplished as the founding of the new creation, the world of the eternal Spirit).
8. The share of John in the account of the seven last words of Jesus.
9. The three languages on the cross, the three ground-tongues of theology.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See the Synoptists.—The grand fulfilments of the divine counsel in the Passion of Christ, attested by the most significant fulfilments of Scripture (John 19:31-37 must be considered in this connection).—Christ’s suffering in its fundamental features: 1. As an act of suffering: the bearing of His cross and going forth (without the gate, Hebrews 13:13; out of the old communion) unto Calvary; 2. as an experience of suffering—with the thieves, in the midst of the thieves; 3. as a glorification of suffering: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews (the King of sufferers, of the people of God, of kings), in all the languages of the world.—The superscription of Pilate: 1. As the word of Pilate: Continuation of his mockery of the Jews;—the Jews a robber-folk, whose Head is already crucified. 2. As a word of the Spirit, unconsciously to the writer: The Messiah, the King of the people of God. Or, 1. As an assumed title of guilt, the property of malefactors in the old world; 2. as a personal title of honor, the property of the King of righteousness in the new world. Or as the explanation and glorification [Erklärung und Verklärung) of the cross of Christ.—This superscription read many of the Jews, for the place was nigh unto the city: 1. The word concerning Christ is still read by many legal men; 2. for the place where He is testified of is nigh to the city. [The evangelical Church by the side of the Church of legality].—How the priests would fain alter the writing concerning Christ.—The demand of the priests and the declaration of Pilate.—Pilate and the soldiers are compelled to work together for the fulfilment of the Scripture.—Soldiers, also, are under the providence of God, even in slaying, and dividing spoil.
Contrast of Christ’s adversaries and His friends at His crucifixion.—How they must glorify Him together; those unconsciously, these in grateful love.—Founding of the spiritual house of the mother and son beneath the cross.—The rich legacy of the poor Jesus.
The blissful presentiment of the dying Jesus that His day’s work is accomplished in accordance with the Scripture (or in accordance with the counsel of God): 1. Expressed in the evening draught which the great Laborer taketh as He quitteth work; 2. expressed in His evening song before He goeth to sleep: It is finished.
It is finished: 1. It, not this and that: all that lays the foundation of the new, eternal world of God. 2. It is, not it is being (Hebrews 10:14). 3. Finished. As a spiritual act, as a vital conflict, as a mortal suffering, as a triumph of Christ and the salvation of God—conducted to the goal τέλος).—The word, It is finished: 1. As the Evangel of Christ; 2. as the confession of the Church; 3. as the jubilation of the believing heart; 4. as an excitation to every work of faith; 5. as a prophecy of the Last Day.
Starke: Christians must make many a painful pilgrimage out of the city, out of the land,—nay, even to the gallows and the stake, for the sake of their faith—but courage! press onward! ye have a noble Predecessor.—Take comfort, thou pious man, if thou art accounted godless; Jesus was numbered with the transgressors that thou mightest be declared the child of God and righteous, Isaiah 53:12.—The vain lust of titles must be renounced in following the crucified Jesus. Though the world should crucify our honor and our good name; though she should nail above our head the superscription: this is a fool, a dreamer, an odd fellow, a heretic, etc., we must be satisfied with being called the children of God and having our names written in heaven.—Christians, read the Holy Scriptures diligently; there ye find your King, and His nature, will, and benefits. John 5:39,—Zeisius: The science of divers kinds of tongues, especially of the Hebrew and Greek, is to be recognized as a particular benefit of God, and is exceedingly useful for the investigation of Holy Scripture, that having been written in these two languages, 1 Corinthians 12:10.—Pilate may have diligently framed the superscription in ambiguity, knowing Jesus to be innocent. Underlying this fact, however, was a special providence of God, who took care that His Son should have the right superscription, since He suffered the death of the cross as the Messiah or anointed King of Israel.—Behold God’s rule over the hearts of men; in this His sway over them He hath employed even His own enemies for the furtherance of His glory: yea, His foes must sometimes promote the glory of His children with the very things wherewith they have striven to dishonor them, Psalms 110:2.—If the writing of an earthly judge cannot be altered, how much less shall that be erased which God Himself has written in a Testament and Word.—Cramer: Christ is poor in the beginning, middle, and end of His life, that through His poverty He might make us rich.—Zeisius: The nearer Christ, the nearer the cross, and the heavier our afflictions.—Osiander: Fervent love to God and the Lord Jesus regardeth no danger.—With this speech on the cross, the Lord Jesus (1) intended to show how He beareth on His heart a care even for our bodily circumstances, and considereth such care a part of His mediatorial office; He therewith (2) designed to confirm the fifth commandment and to set all children a good example, as to how they should care for their poor and forsaken parents; He hath therewith (3) shown that it is not contrary to the sense of the fifth commandment if we extend its limits somewhat farther than the letter of it seemeth to require; He hath (4) designed to hallow the natural love existing between friends and relatives; He hath (5) sanctioned guardianships; He hath (6) approved of testaments; He hath (7) taught thereby how every one ought to strive to make this painful life more endurable to his neighbor by rendering him loving aid; He hath (8), particularly in the person of John, enjoined it upon the hearts of all the teachers of His Church to have a care for poor and destitute persons; He hath (9) shown how we should seek to accomplish through others the good that we ourselves are unable to perform; He hath (10) assured all whom He recognizeth as His mother and His brethren that He will not forsake or neglect them either.—Christ’s eyes, amid the turmoil, are fixed upon believers, Psalms 33:18.—No man deriveth harm, but rather profit, from entering into the fellowship of Christ’s shame and suffering.—Hedinger: God provideth physically and spiritually for them that belong to Him.—Cramer: A Christian should settle well his household affairs before he dieth.—Canstein: It is love’s way to interest itself for those it leaves destitute, and to endeavor to bring about by means of others such things as it cannot do itself.—Lampe: It is right that those who are preparing themselves for death, should not forget to care for their families.—Happy is he that espouseth the cause of the widows and orphans and doeth them good; he doeth God’s will and shall inherit the blessing, Psalms 41:1 ff.; Exodus 22:22 ff.—Hear, dear Christian! that Jesus hath thirsted, and let it cause thee to guard the more vigilantly against all excess in drinking.—Hall: Christian mine, if thou too art tried with hunger and thirst in this world, comfort thyself with the thought that thy Saviour did also complain of the same on the cross. Ah, what a refreshment will this be to thee!—Τετέλεσται; In this one word everything appertaining to the purchase of our salvation is expressed and concluded. By this we see that the Master with the tongue of the learned, Isaiah 50:4, is before us,—He who can bring all things into one word, and yet it is plena enuntiatio, a complete declaration, a word above all words, a regular aphorism (as they call a concise saying, briefly and wittily expressed), short and yet intelligible: a true apophthegm (a momentous and pregnant saying). Upon hearing this declaration, it is finished, we are constrained to ask: what is finished? This question is easily answered if we do but consider the Person who made the declaration. It is accomplished—all that Christ was bound to do and to accomplish—and thus this word refers us to the whole course of His life. In consideration of the preceding 28th ver., the word τετέλεσται may be complemented after this fashion: herewith is the Scripture, in that which it hath prophesied concerning Me, fulfilled, Luke 18:31; Luke 22:37. If we take into account the passages Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 10:7, it may also be thus paraphrased: Herewith is the counsel and will of God concerning our salvation accomplished, namely, as regards the purchase of it; and in consideration of the declaration of Christ, Matthew 5:17, τετέλεσται means as much as: Now is the law fulfilled.—He now, as it were, nodded unto Death, bidding him come on; yea, He asserted by this bowing of His head, that He would become obedient to His Father unto death, Philippians 2:8.—Cramer: Hath Christ finished it?—then we need not achieve it.—Zeisius: Christ’s consummatum, it is finished, hath been a blessed thing for us.—Osiander: Christ’s death is our life; in dying we enter into true life, Hebrews 2:14.
Gerlach: The most horrible of all torments, the most burning thirst,—a circumstance expressly predicted of the suffering Messiah, Psalms 22:15; comp. Psalms 69:21.—Lisco: Pilate indignantly refuses the request of the Jews that Jesus should be characterized in the inscription as a deceiver.—The faithful love of those who clave to Jesus shunneth not that pain of deepest sympathy which is occasioned by the spectacle of His sufferings, Luke 2:35.
Braune: Conscious of his injustice and of the innocence of Jesus, angry with those who had driven him to commit that injustice, he says: what I have written, I have written; this is the formula of deciding magistrates:—With this decree the matter rests.—It was written in Roman—Latin—, the judicial tongue; in Hebrew, the popular tongue; in Greek, the tongue in general use.—Duties, those, even, that are apparently of the least account, must be fulfilled up to the very last breath. The Christian should die like a general, upon his feet, fighting, giving orders, 1 Timothy 5:8.—Thus the gap that death makes, is best filled. For love is strong as death (Song of Solomon 8:6).—Think you, it would have been stronger, greater, worthier of His love, to repress the need He felt of quenching His burning thirst? Here we see how free His heart is from pride and rancor, passions by which many another apparently grows great and strong.—Whoso bindeth his soul and his soul’s life to Christ’s life, ways, walks, sufferings, can say, when faint in death: it is finished! What soul hath been converted unto God from its sins and is reconciled to Him, can exclaim: it is finished!—This word, it is finished! was uttered by Jesus, not at the close of His activity, in the high-priestly prayer, in Gethsemane, but at the end of His suffering.—But was He already risen for our justification? He had not yet sent the Comforter into the hearts of His people. But in the holy instant of death, by the light of eternity, His eye beheld the finished work of redemption, in its readiness for prosecution and spiritualization. Thus through suffering and tribulation is attained the triumph of the kingdom of God.
Gossner: What a procession! What a cross-walk! What a march! God’s Only-begotten One, under the burden of the cross, the tree whereon the curse lay, marcheth to the bitterest death. Thus do men send Him back to His Father from whom He proceeded—laden with cross, curse and shame; as a malefactor. What a journey, followed by consequences most rich in blessing!—And He bare His cross! Why that was our cross, and He appropriated it to Himself, as though it were His own; He embraced it with such love and patience as it had been His life, and it brought Him death—but to us life.—Neither can the coat of Christ’s righteousness be divided and cut into pieces—every soul must have it whole.—His nakedness on the cross is an evidence that He shunned no kind of humiliation for us.—The pagan Roman soldiers did not divide the coat of Christ, but Christians have made many rents and divisions over Christ’s coat, that they might establish their own opinions and their own righteousness.—Those under the cross composed the family of the Saviour; it had melted away to so few; that was His little Church whereunto He reckoneth Himself, wherewith He abideth, with which His Spirit resteth on earth. —His bowed head lifteth up the head of each one of us. He Himself inclined His head with the consciousness that He should soon raise it again, as He had foretold.
Heubner: God, whose hand guided the finger of Pilate, meant this superscription to be a challenge to all unbelieving Jews and all mankind to acknowledge this Jesus of Nazareth as their King. All languages, all tongues, are to resound with His praise and confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.—Pilate’s firm determination is indicative of God’s irrevocable decree. If all the world remonstrate against Christ’s royal dignity—God hath willed it, and there is an end of it, Psalms 2:0—Christ hung naked on the cross. This is very significant; He hung thus (1) In order to show how thoroughly the world had stripped Him of all that He owned, and covered Him with shame; (2) in order to present Himself to all as the Innocent and Pure One who can support the glances of all.—Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood beneath the cross: Now was fulfilled the prophecy of Simeon, Luke 2:35.—What feelings must have pierced her maternal heart! This was the origin of the ancient church-hymn: Stabat mater dolorosa.—Of such strength is womanly nature capable. An example for all Christian men and women, admonishing them not to be ashamed of Jesus, often to go beneath His cross, that they may become worthy of those women who went before them. Rambach, in loc., p. 1063, compares Mary and Eve. Eve stood in Paradise beside the pleasant tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Mary stands beside the ignominious tree of the cross. The former looked upon the forbidden tree, and its fruit conduced to her death; the latter looks upon the promised tree of life, and is refreshed by its fruit in her mortal anguish.—Our death too, when God calleth, must be voluntary. It is the Christian’s art to die willingly.
[Craven: From Ambrose: John 19:26. Mary, as became the Mother of our Lord, stood before the cross, when the Apostles fled, and with pitiful eyes beheld the wounds of her Son.——From Augustine: John 19:17. Great spectacle! to the profane a laughing-stock, to the pious a mystery. Profaneness sees a King bearing a cross instead of a sceptre; piety sees a King bearing a cross, thereon to nail Himself, and afterwards to nail it on the foreheads of kings.
John 19:18. Even the cross was a judgment seat; for the Judge being the middle, one thief, who believed, was pardoned, the other, who mocked, was damned: a sign of what He would once do to the quick and dead,—place the one on His right hand, the other on His left.
John 19:20. These three were the languages most known there: the Hebrew, on account of being used in the worship of the Jews; the Greek in consequence of the spread of Greek philosophy; the Latin, from the Roman empire being established everywhere.
John 19:22. O ineffable working of Divine power, even in the hearts of ignorant men! Did not some hidden voice sound from within, and, if we may say so, with clamorous silence,—saying to Pilate in the prophetic words of the Psalm, Alter not the inscription of the title?
John 19:26-27. This truly is that hour of the which Jesus, when about to change the water into wine, said, Mother [Woman], what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. Then, about to act divinely, He repelled the Mother of His humanity, of His infirmity, as if He knew her not: now, suffering humanly, He commands with humane affection, her of whom he was made Man. Here is a moral lesson. The good Teacher shows us by His example that pious sons should take care of their parents. The cross of the Sufferer is the chair of the Master.
John 19:28. He who appeared Man, suffered all these things; He who was God, ordered them.——From Chrysostom: John 19:17. He carried the badge of victory on His shoulders, as conquerors do.
John 19:18. And two others with Him; What they did in wickedness was a gain to the truth. To convert a thief on the cross, and bring him into paradise, was no less a miracle than the rending of the rocks.
John 19:23-24. Behold the sureness of prophecy. The prophet foretold not only what they would part, but what they would not. They parted the raiment, but cast lots for the vesture.
John 19:25. Observe how the weaker sex is the stronger; standing by the cross when the disciples fly.
John 19:26. Though there were other women by, He makes no mention of any of them, but only of His Mother, to show us that we should specially honor our mothers.
John 19:26-30. Observe how imperturbable He is during His crucifixion, talking to the disciple of His Mother, fulfilling prophecies, giving good hope to the thief; whereas, before His crucifixion, He seemed in fear. The weakness of His nature was shown there, the exceeding greatness of His power here. He teaches us too, herein, not to turn back, because we may feel disturbed at the difficulties before us; for when we are once actually under the trial, all will be light and easy for us.
[From Burkitt: John 19:17. Why could not Christ bear His own cross, who was able to bear the sins of the whole world, when hanging upon the cross? 1. Probably, the Jews’ malice provided Him a cross of an extraordinary greatness; 2. He was much debilitated and weakened, with His long watching and sweating the night before; 3. The sharp edges of the cross grating His late whipped and galled shoulders, might occasion the fresh bleeding of His wounds; 4. Thereby He gave the world a demonstration of the truth of His humanity, that He was in all things like unto us.
John 19:18. It had been a sufficient disparagement to our blessed Redeemer to be sorted with the best of men, but to be numbered with the scum of mankind is such an indignity as confounds our thoughts.
John 19:19. Pilate, who before was His judge, and pronounced Him innocent, is now His herald to proclaim His glory.—Pilate did that for Christ which none of His own disciples durst do. No thanks to him for this; because the highest services performed to Christ undesignedly shall neither be accepted nor rewarded by God.
John 19:22. Surely the constancy of Pilate at this time must be attributed to special divine Providence. How wonderful was it that he who before was as inconstant as a reed, should now be fixed as a pillar of brass! [His so called constancy was nothing but the natural outworking of the fear excited by the threat to accuse him before Cæsar; his persistence in retaining the inscription would not only gall the Jews but be an effectual bar to any charge of his having neglected the Imperial interests. The true homiletical inferences from this passage are that 1. Those who attempt to accomplish their ends by improper influences, brought to bear on rulers, generally over-reach themselves; 2. God over-rules the arts of the wicked for their own punishment and His glory. E. R. C.]
John 19:26. He calls her woman, and not mother: not that He was ashamed of, or unwilling to own her as His mother, but either 1. Fearing that calling her by that name should augment and increase her grief and trouble, or, 2. To intimate His change of state and condition, that, being ready to die and return to His Father in heaven, He was above all earthly relations.
John 19:26-27. The Lord never removes one comfort, and takes away the means of subsistence from His people, but He raises up another in the room of it.—Such as are beloved of Christ, shall be peculiarly honored by Him, and be employed in the highest services for Him.
John 19:30. It is finished: 1. My Father’s eternal counsel concerning Me is accomplished; 2. The scriptures are now fulfilled; 3. My sufferings are now ended; 4. The fury and malice of My enemies are now ended; 5. The work of man’s redemption and salvation is perfected.—He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost: Christ was a volunteer in dying.
[From M. Henry: John 19:17. Whatever cross He calls us out to bear at any time, we must remember that He bore the cross first, and by bearing it for us, bears it off from us in a great measure, for thus He hath made His yoke easy, and His burden light.
John 19:18. Observe what death Christ died; 1. The death of the cross, a bloody, painful, shameful, cruel death; 2. He was nailed to the cross, as a sacrifice bound to the altar; 3. He was lifted up, as the brazen serpent, hung between heaven and earth, because we were unworthy of either, and abandoned by both; 4. His hands were stretched out to invite and embrace us; 5. He hung upon the tree some hours, dying gradually in the full use of reason and speech, that He might actually resign Himself a sacrifice. See Him bleeding, see Him struggling, see Him dying, see Him and love Him, love Him and live to Him, and study what we shall render.
John 19:19-20. God so ordered it that this (title) should be written in the three then most known tongues; intimating thereby that Jesus Christ should be a Saviour to all nations, and not to the Jews only; and also that every nation should hear in their own tongue the wonderful works of the Redeemer.
John 19:21-22. An earnest of what came to pass soon after, when the Gentiles submitted to the kingdom of the Messiah, which the unbelieving Jews had rebelled against.
John 19:23. While Christ was in His dying agonies, the soldiers were merrily dividing His spoils.
John 19:26. His speaking to her in this seemingly slight manner was designed to give check to the undue honors which He foresaw would be given her in the Romish Church.
John 19:27. Those that truly love Christ, and are loved of Him, will be glad of an opportunity to do any service to Him, or His.
John 19:29. To everlasting thirst we had been condemned, had not Christ suffered [thirsted] for us.—Christ would rather court an affront than see any prophecy unfulfilled. This should satisfy us under all our trials,—that the will of God is done, and the word of God accomplished.
John 19:30. It is finished; that Isaiah 1:0. The malice of His persecutors; 2. The counsel and commandment of His Father; 3. The types and prophecies of the Old Testament; 4. The ceremonial law; 5. Sin; 6. His suffering; 7. His life; 8. The work of man’s redemption.
[From Scott: John 19:17-30. He was wounded and scourged that we might be healed; He was arrayed with scorn in the purple robe, that He might procure for us “the robe of righteousness;” He was crowned with thorns, that we might be “crowned with honor and immortality;” He stood speechless, that we might have an all-prevailing plea; He endured torture that we might have “a strong consolation;” He thirsted that we might drink of the waters of life; He bore the wrath of the Father, that we might enjoy His favor; He “was numbered with transgressors,” that we might be made “equal to angels;” He died, that we might live forever!
John 19:26. The surest interest in His love will not secure our exemption from the sharpest temporal sufferings.
John 19:27. We ought to act as though we heard Jesus say from His cross concerning this and the other believer, “Behold My mother,” “My brother,” “My sister.”——From A Plain Commentary (Oxford): John 19:17. And He bearing His cross went forth; “The Jews themselves have referred this type (of Isaac) unto that custom: for upon the words, ‘And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son,’ they have this note,—‘as a man carries his cross upon his shoulders.’ ” (Pearson.)
John 19:19-22. “It was not for nothing that Pilate suddenly wrote, and resolutely maintained what he had written. That title on the cross did signify no less than that His royal power was active even there; for ‘having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it; and through His death, destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.’ ” (Pearson.)
John 19:23. And thus at the very foot of the cross of Christ was enacted the emblem of that triumph over our Saviour which the Powers of Darkness, it may well be supposed, by this time thought secure! They had slain their great enemy (the devils will have already assumed); and their wicked agents may now be instigated to “divide the spoil.”—“Because Christ’s people cannot be rent and torn by divisions, His tunic, seamless and woven throughout, was not rent by them into whose hands it fell. Single,—united,—connected,—it shows the concord which should subsist among as many of ourselves as put on Christ. That vest of His declares to us, in a sacrament, the Unity of the Church.” (Cyprian.)
John 19:24. “Christ, like Joseph, was about to flee from this evil and adulterous world; and leave His garment in its hands.” (Williams.)
John 19:26-27. O amazing privilege! thus to have been appointed by the Incarnate Word Himself to supply His place towards His bereaved mother! How stupendous a legacy was this for Divine Piety to bequeath, and for adoring love to inherit!—“The presence of the Godhead in our Lord’s person did not efface and outshine the essential feelings of a human heart. It did but quicken and strengthen all those affections and sympathies which are still left as remnants of the heavenly image, and the groundwork of its renewal within us.” (Hobhouse.)—“ As God, our Saviour might have removed His human mother to the best of those ‘many mansions’ which are prepared for those that love Him. But it was as God He willed that she should stay awhile on earth: while as Man, He both provided a home for her such as He could never give her while He lived; and called the human feelings of a friend into play on her behalf, while He did so.” (Hobhouse.)
John 19:30. He was “reclining His head as on His Father’s bosom.” (Origen.)
[From Krummacher: John 19:17. And He bearing His cross, etc. It is thus the unhappy world repels the Man who entered upon it heralded by angels!—It is thus she rewards Him for the unwearied love with which He poured upon her the abundance of all conceivable benefits and mercies.—Oh, who that is still inclined to doubt whether mankind was worthy of eternal perdition without the intervention of a Mediator, let him cast a look at this path of suffering and convince himself of the contrary! For why is the Holy One thus dragged along, unless it be that we loved sin too ardently not to hate a man, even to the death, who made Himself known as the deliverer from it.—Had He shrunk back from this fatal path, His road to suffering would have represented to us that on which, when dying, we should have quitted the world. Instead of soldiers, the emissaries of Satan would have escorted us; instead of the accursed tree, the curse of the law itself; instead of the fetters, the bands of eternal wrath would have encircled us, and despair have lashed us with its fiery scourge.—It may be that during our earthly pilgrimage we are led on similar paths to that on which we see Jesus, our Head, proceeding; but Christ has deprived our fearful path of its horrors, our burdens of their overpowering weight, our disgrace and need of their deadly stings, and placed us in a situation to say “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”——Golgotha—Calvary—horrifying name—the appellation of the most momentous and awful spot upon the whole earth. Behold a naked and barren eminence, enriched only by the blood of criminals, and covered with the bones of executed rebels, incendiaries, prisoners, and other offscouring of the human race. An accursed spot, where love never rules, but where naked justice alone sits enthroned, with scales and sword, and from which every passer-by turns with abhorrence, a nocturnal rendezvous of jackals and hyenas. Only think, this place so full of horrors, becomes transformed into “the hill from whence cometh our help,” and whose mysteries many kings and prophets desired to see and did not see them. Yes, upon this awful hill our roses shall blossom, and our springs of peace and salvation burst forth. The pillar of our refuge towers upon this height. The Bethany of our repose and eternal refreshment here displays itself to our view.—On that awful mount ends the earthly career of the Lord of Glory. Behold Him, the only green, sound, and fruitful tree upon earth, and at the root of this tree the axe is laid, What a testimony against the world, and what an annihilating contradiction to every thing that bears the name of God and Divine Providence, if the latter did not find its solution in the mystery of the representative atonement.
John 19:18. They crucified Him; O what a dying bed for the King of kings! As often as we repose on the downy cushions of peace, or blissfully assemble in social brotherly circles, singing hymns of hope, let us not forget that the cause of the happiness we enjoy is solely to be found in the fact, that the Lord of Glory once extended Himself on the fatal tree for us.—The earth rejects the Prince of Life from its surface, and, as it seems, heaven also refuses Him: Though rejected by heaven and earth, yet He forms, as such, the connecting link between them both, and the Mediator of their eternal and renewed amity.—The moment the cross is elevated to its height, a purple stream falls from the wounds of the crucified Jesus, and bedews the place of torture and the sinful crowd which surrounds it. This is His legacy to His Church. This rosy dew works wonders. It falls upon spiritual deserts, and they blossom as the rose. We sprinkle it upon the door-posts of our hearts, and are secure against destroyers and avenging angels. This dew falls on the ice of the north pole, and the accumulated frozen mass of ages thaws beneath it. It streams down on the torrid zone, and the air becomes cool and pleasant. Where this rain falls, the gardens of God spring up, lilies bloom, and what was black becomes white in the purifying stream, and what was polluted becomes pure as the light of the sun.—For our justification nothing more is requisite than that, in the consciousness of our utter helplessness we lay hold on the horns of that altar, which is sprinkled with blood that “speaketh better things than that of Abel.”—“I am crucified with Christ,” exclaims the Apostle, and by these words points out the entire fruit which the cross bears for all believers. His meaning is, “They are not His sins for which the curse is there endured, but mine; for He who thus expires on the cross dies for me: Christ pays and suffers in my stead.”—The life of the world springs only from the death of the Just One.
John 19:19. “What sayest thou, Is this a King?” Do not shake thy head, but know that thou art wanting in discernment, not He in majesty.—Dost thou inquire where is the majesty of this King? Truly it exists, although for the time hidden, like the glittering gold of the ark beneath the rams’ skins that covered it.—Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews: Yes, it is He. Thou mayest recognize Him (as King) by the victories He achieves even on the fatal tree, the first of which is of a glorious twofold character—over Himself and over the infernal tempter. 1. Over Himself; 2. Over Satan; He suffers Himself to be wounded in the heel, but at the same time breaks the head of the old Serpent. 3. The greatest and most wonderful of all—the victory of the Lawgiver over the Law. There was no want of wish or will in heaven to save us; but the right to undertake the great work was wanting—the law put in its protest to our redemption. The curse had to be endured; He submitted to this and drank the cup of wrath—and when the voice of mercy was heard from heaven, the law had nothing to object.—Yes, He is a King! But where is His kingdom? He is founding it while hanging on the cross. The drops of blood which trickle down, are the price He paid to ransom His people, and the dying groans which issue from His breast, the joyful peal which announces the birthday of His Zion.—In His crown of thorns He governs the world of spirits and of hearts; and the greatest marvels by which He glorifies Himself on earth He performs with His pierced hands.
John 19:20. The title was written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, the three theological languages, that all the world may read and understand.
John 19:23-24. A dying bed presents itself to our view—an individual at the point of death—a legacy and the heirs; let us direct our attention first to the Testator, and then to His legacy, and heirs: 1. The Testator; Jesus of Nazareth—(1) the poorest of the poor, (2) the King of the Jews—the King of kings—the Son of the Living God—the Alpha and Omega, God blessed forever; 2. The Legacy; His clothing—(1) the upper garment which symbolizes the outwardly operating fullness of the Saviour’s power and life, and in a second signification, the spiritual endowment intended for us—this is divisible; (2) the vesture or body-coat of the Man of sorrows which He used to wear under the mantle; beneath the resplendent robe of His wonderful and active life, the Saviour wore another, the garment of a perfect obedience—it is the robe of righteousness of the Son of God, which is symbolized by the coat without a seam (indivisible) for which the lot is cast at the foot of the cross; 3. The heirs; (1) the executioners, (2) one of the murderers inherits the costly robe,—this circumstance tells us that no wickedness, however great, excludes unconditionally from the inheritance; it only depends upon this, that the symbolical position of those executioners, with respect to the body should be essentially fulfilled in us—1. They know how to value the preciousness of the seamless vestment: 2. They perceive that only in its undivided whole it was of value; 3. They are satisfied to obtain possession gratuitously—without any merit of their own.
John 19:25-26. In the midst of rage and fury, love stands near Jesus in His dying moments and lifts up to Him its tearful and affectionate eye—behold a lovely little company in the midst of the bands of Belial, a hidden rosebud under wild and tangled bramble-bushes, a splendid wreath of lilies around the death-bed of the Redeemer.—In that mourning group you see only the first divinely quickened germs of the future kingdom of the Divine Sufferer.—Strange enough, with one exception, all of them are females: the strong are fled—the weak maintain their ground; the heroes despair—the timid, who did not presume to promise anything, overcome the world. If the man’s is the splendid deed—the woman’s is enduring patience; if to the former belongs the heroism which cuts the knot—to the latter (which is the greater of the two) belongs the silent self-sacrifice which is faithful unto death.—The disciple whom He loved; In these words the Apostle indicates what was his pride, his crown, and his highest boast. At the same time they point out the source whence he derived all his consolation, hope, and strength; this source was love—not the love with which he embraced the Lord, but that with, which the Lord embraced him.—He who can sign himself the disciple whom Jesus loves has a sure guaranty for all that he needs, and for all that his heart can desire; he may call himself the man that is tossed with tempests, yet if he is “the disciple whom Jesus loves” what more will he have?—Woman; It becomes Him not to call her Mother now since this term in the Hebrew includes the idea of Mistress, while He was just preparing, as the Lord of lords, to ascend the throne of eternal majesty.
John 19:26-27. Behold thy Son—Behold thy Mother; These words contain the record of the institution of a new family relationship; in this fellowship Christ is the Head, and all His believing people form one great, closely-connected family: Let him who would envy John the pleasing task of being a support to the Mother of Jesus know that the way to the same honor lies open to him—Jesus has said, “Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My Mother and sister and brother,” Matthew 12:50.
John 19:28. I thirst: What was the nature of the distress expressed by the cry?—1. Physical; 2. Does it not remind of the awful representation of the invisible world portrayed in the parable of Lazarus and Dives?—For what did He thirst? Not only for earthly water, but after the full restoration of His Father’s countenance.—These words also solicited from mankind a charitable act.—That for which He chiefly thirsts is that He may gain us over to Himself—that transgressors may be freed from sin; those under the curse, absolved; those that are bound, liberated.—O that you could weep as Peter wept, and like David! Such tears are the drink-offering for which the Saviour still thirsts.
John 19:30. It is finished: At the very moment when, for the Hero of Judah, all seems lost, His words declare that all is won and accomplished. Listen! at these words you hear fetters burst, and prison walls falling down; barriers as high as heaven are overthrown, and gates which had been closed for, thousands of years again move on their hinges.—Every condition of the work of human redemption has been completed with the exception of one which was included in them.—If He has paid the ransom, how can a righteous God demand payment a second time?—With the heraldic and conquering cry, It is finished, He turned once more to the world. It was His farewell to earth—a farewell such as beseemed the Conqueror of Death, the Prince of Life, the Governor of all things. He then withdrew Himself entirely into connection with His God, and turned His face to Him alone. [From Jacobus: John 19:26-27. What a Son was this, true to His Father in Heaven, and to His mother on earth.——From Owen: John 19:18. Jesus in the midst—disgraceful eminence.
John 19:26-27. “The burden of the world’s redemption with all its increasing horror of sin, lies upon His soul; boundless anticipations, now gradually receding and passing away, of the glory to be obtained had filled His spirit, yet He has room for the exercise of the minutest care.” (Stier.)
John 19:28. Jesus was conscious that He was fulfilling a pre-determined series of sufferings, and manifested no impatient haste, that they should be endured other than in their allotted place and time.
John 19:30. It is finished; “All things were done which the law required, all things established which prophecy predicted, all things abolished which were to be abrogated, all things obtained in order to be bestowed which had been the subject of promise. All things—down to the last drops of scornful compassion, and compassionate scorn, after receiving which Christ’s lips uttered this great word—were suffered which were to be suffered; but therein, at the same time, all things were done and accomplished, nothing was left wanting. The theology of ages, has striven to embrace this ‘all’ and to develop it; and strives to this day in vain to express it perfectly.” (Stier.)
[John 19:25-26. Now there stood by the cross, etc. Is not this symbolic of the great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Luke 18:8, etc.) when only a few shall remain faithful?
John 19:26. Woman; “She was The Woman whose Seed here bruises the serpent’s head. What title, then, so fitting at the present juncture, as this—with its twofold weight of shame and glory? Woman, Satan’s instrument in bringing sin and death into the world—thereby rendering this cross necessary: Woman, God’s instrument in bringing Him into the world who is the Righteousness and Life thereof, whose cross shall be changed into a crown of rejoicing for Himself and his redeemed. Surely, it is no marvel if now, whilst the promise made to Eve is fulfilled to Mary, the same old word that meets us in the story of the fall, resounds from the lips of the Restorer, the suffering yet victorious Seed’ (E. M.)—“Woman! Thy Saviour spake thy name in His last agony—not harshly, condemningly, as He in justice might have done, but lovingly, compassionately, with fostering care.” (E. M.)]
John 19:16; John 19:16.—[The words καὶ after τὸν Ἰησοῦν are doubtful. See the Text. Note on John 19:16 in the preceding section, with which Dr. Lange connects this clause.—P. S.]
John 19:17; John 19:17.—The reading αὑτῷ τὸν σταυρόν, in accordance with B. L. X. Sin., Vulgate, Itala, Origen in Lachmann, Tischendorf. [αὑτῷ is dat. commodi, carrying the cross for Himself or His own cross. The text. rec. reads τὸν σταυρὸν αὑτοῦ His cross.—P. S.]
John 19:17; John 19:17.—[Different spellings: Γολγοθᾶ (Alford, Tischendorf), Γολγοθά (West cottand Hort), Γολγοτά, Γοληόθ, etc. See Tischendorf. In Chaldee גֻּלְגָּלְתָּא, Gülgotha, in Hebrew גֻּלְנלֶת Gülgoleth, in Greek κρανίον i. e., Skull. The Vulgato translates the word in all cases Calvaria (fem. i. e., skull), from which our Calvary is derived. Comp. Jerome in Matthew 27:33 : “Golgotha, quod est Calvariæ locus. ” The E. V., following the Vulgate, uses Calvary only once, Luke 23:33. for the Greek κρανίον (a diminutive of κρᾶνον), a skull. In the three places where the term Golgotha occurs, viz., Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17, the E. V. retains the Hebrew form, which, in our passage, is necessary on account of the Ἐβραϊστί. The popular expression “Mount Calvary,” is probably of monastic origin and has no foundation in the Evangelists, where Golgotha is simply called two?, “a place,” or “the Place of Skull.” It was probably only a small, round and barren elevation in the shape of a skull, and derived its name from its globular form. Jerome (on Matthew 27:33) informs us of the tradition that the place derived its name from Adam, the head (skull!) of the human family (hence, probably the skull introduced in early pictures of the crucifixion), but he himself discredits it, and conjectures that it was so called as a place of execution, on account of the capita damnatorum. But in this case the corresponding Greek name would have been τόπος κρανίων, “place of skulls,” instead of row. τόπ. κρανίου “pl. of a skull,” still less “a skull,” as in Hebrew and in the Greek of Luke 23:33.—P. S.]
John 19:20; John 19:20.—Meyer: “The probabilities are in favor of the sequence Ἑβραϊστί, Ῥωμαϊστί, Ἑλληνιστί (thus Tischendorf, in accordance with B. L. X., Minuscules, etc.), from Pilate’s standpoint.” This very consideration may have given an exegetical rise to it. The Sin. supports it. [Treg., Alf., Westc. and 2., adopt the same order. Lange, with Lachmann, retains the order of the text, rec, which is supported by A. D. Vulg. Syr.—P. S.]
John 19:29; John 19:29.—The οὖν is here omitted by Lachmann, in accordance with A. B. L. X. Lachmann, supported by B. L. X., etc., gives an οὖν, instead of δὲ after οἱ.
[The traditional site has been defended quite recently again by Furrer (art. Golgotha in Schenkel’s Bibel-Lexikon, 2, 508).—P. S.]
[Hamann ingeniously applied the inscription on the cross to the language of the New Testament which implies the three national elements, as it was written in Greek by Jews in a Jewish land, under the dominion of the Romans.—V. S.]
[These translations insert and (καί) between sister of his mother and Mary, thus making them two distinct persons.— P. S.]
[In Exodus 8:0., Tischendorf makes a comma after Κλωπᾶ. So does Alford, yet he adopts Wieseler’s view.—P. S]
[The original reads Hoffmann, evidently a printing error. Prof. Hofmann of Erlangen is not to be confounded with Dr. Hoffmann, General Superintendent and’ Court Preacher at Berlin. Steinmeyer (as quoted and opposed by Meyer, p. 630, note) adopts the view of Luthardt and asserts that the death of the Redeemer of all men solved the bonds of His earthly relationship. Of English commentators Alford says in the same sense: “The relationship in the flesh between the Lord and His mother was about to close; hence He commends her to another son who should care for and protect her.”—P. S.]
[According to Dr. Lange’s peculiar theory on the adoption of the family of Mary’s sister or sister-in-law into her own family—a view which I have frequently had occasion to oppose in connection with the cousin-theory concerning the brothers of Christ. Comp. pp. 115,241, Matthew, pp. 456–460.—P. S.]
CHRIST THE GLORIFICATION OF DEATH, THE VERY LIFE IN DEATH. THE CORPSE OF JESUS, TO HIS FOES AN OBSCURE SIGN OF CALAMITY, TO HIS FRIENDS A MYSTERIOUS PASSOVER–SIGN (A SIGN THAT HE IS THE TRUE PASSOVER–LAMB AND THAT SOMETHING MIRACULOUS IS TRANSPIRING WITHIN HIM), TO HIS UNDECIDED DISCIPLES A DECISIVE, ANIMATING SIGN. THE HONORABLE BURIAL IN THE GARDEN AND IN THE NEW SEPULCHRE. THE FORETOKENS OF THE VICTORY OF CHRIST
(Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56.)
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [it was preparation day, παρασκευή comp John 19:42], that the bodies should [might] not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day [sabbath], (for that sabbath day was a high day [for great was the day of that sabbath, ἦν γὰρ μεγάλη ή ήμέρα ἐκείου τοῦ σαββάτου],) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32Then came the soldiers [The soldiers therefore came], and brake [broke] the legs of the first, and of the other which [who] was crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake [broke] not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there [omit there, or34 read: there came] out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record [he that hath seen it, hath born witness, ὁ ἑωρακὼς μεμαρτύρηκεν], and his record [witness] is true [ἀληθινή]19; and he knoweth that he saith [what is] true [ὰληθῆ], that ye [also, καὶ ὑμεῖς] might believe [may believe, πιστεύσητε]. 36For these things were done [came to pass], that the Scripture should [might] be fulfilled, ‘A bone of him shall not be broken.’ [Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalms 34:20.] 37And again another Scripture saith, ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced.’ [Zechariah 12:10.]
38 And after this [these things, ταῦτα] Joseph20 of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly [though in secret, or, concealing it, κεκπυμμένος δέ] 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 [took away his body].21 39And there came also Nicodemus, (which [who] at the first came to Jesus [to him, πρὸς αὺτόν] by night) and brought [bringing, φέρων] a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight [a hundred pounds, λίτρας weight]. 40Then took they [They took therefore] the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is [as is the custom of the Jews] to bury. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre [tomb], wherein was never man yet laid [in which no one had ever been laid].22 42There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day [day]; for the sepulchre [tomb] was nigh at hand.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
John 19:31. The Jews therefore.—The οὖν again characteristically indicates the next concern which troubled the Jews as Jews. The observance of the ceremonial law was their first thought after the work of the crucifixion was accomplished. Rupert: Magnifici honoratores Dei, cum in conscientia mala reposuissent sanguinem Justi.
That the bodies might not remain on the cross [ἵυα μὴ μείνη ἐπὶ τοῦ σταυροῦ τά σώματα].—On the Roman custom see the Commentary on Matthew. The Jewish ordinance in regard to the bodies of persons hanged on a tree Deuteronomy 21:22 f.; Josephus, De Bello Jud., IV. 5, 2—Because it was the Preparation day [ἐπεὶ παρασκενὴ ἧν]—I. e. because preparations must be made for keeping holy the Sabbath, on which day no bodies were allowed to remain hanging on the tree.—For great was the (feast-) day of that (Paschal) Sabbath [ἧν γὰρ μεγάλη ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνου τοῦ σαββάτου]—(Comp. John 7:37). Elucidating parenthesis. I. e. it was not a simple Sabbath of the current year, but its sanctity was increased by its falling in the Paschal season. This was true of the day in any case, whether, in accordance with the view of the disharmonists, the first paschal day was still to arrive and coincided with the Sabbath (Meyer and others), or whether, according to the view represented by us, the Sabbath in question fell upon the second Jewish passover-day. Meyer thinks that as the second passover-day it could have been called μεγάλη only because, in accordance with Leviticus 23:10, the feast of sheaves (Wieseler, Synopse, p. 344, p. 385) was celebrated on this day (16 Nisan). This reference, however, he asserts, John must have indicated. On the other hand, the first feast-day possessed, according to Leviticus 23:7-15, the character of a Sabbath also. But the case is simpler in its bearings. The Sabbath, being the principal holiday of the Jews, derived additional importance from every other festivity coincident with it, hence also from the second solemn passover-day. If, on the other hand, the passover-day had been the decisive motive, John would not have mentioned the Sabbath as a motive.
That their legs might be broken, etc. [ἵνα κατεαγῶσιν23 αὐτῶν τὰ σκέλη καὶ αρθῶσιν]—Said in a perfectly general way, whence it follows that they were hastening the removal and as yet possessed no certain knowledge as to the death of Jesus. The shattering of the legs with clubs, crucifragium [σκελοκοπία], was a customary form of accelerating death—a procedure as harsh and brutal as crucifixion itself (Lactantius, Instit. IV. 26; Lipsius, Ad Plaut. II. 4, 63). It also appears as an independent punishment, Sueton., Aug. 67 [Seneca, De Ira, iii. 32, etc.]. “The supervention of a coup de grace, by which (not by the crucifragium in itself) death was occasioned, cannot be proved, least of all from John 19:34 (contrary to Michaelis, Hug and others).” Thus Meyer [p. 633], while Tholuck, following Quintil., Declam. vi. 9, and other instances in Hug, declares in favor of the customariness of the death-stab in cases where death seemed to have already taken place, but where the soldier wished thoroughly to assure himself of the fact. In accordance with the presentation of our Gospel, the breaking of the legs must be conceived of as a deadly process. It is omitted, as the more difficult task, in cases where the stab of a lance is sufficient to complete the signs of death by means of an easy death-stroke.
John 19:32. The soldiers therefore came [ἧλθον οὖν οἱ στρατιῶται, κ. τ. λ.].—Two soldiers simultaneously break the legs of the thief on the right and the thief on the left. With Jesus they consider this superfluous—therefore, to make assurance doubly sure, they pierce Him with the lance. His death is thus doubly and trebly warranted: once by the cognition of the soldiers, then by the mortal spear-stroke, finally by His burial on the part of His friends. From John 20:27 Tholuck infers besides (less securely) that the wound was the breadth of a man’s hand.—The soldier stood with his right hand opposite the left side of the Crucified One.
John 19:34. Blood and water [καὶ ἐξῆλθεν εὐθὺς αἷμα καὶ ὔδωρ]—We must preface the explanations of this fact by the statement that the Evangelist looks upon it as one of great moment. See John 19:37. [“The strong asseverations of the Evangelist, show that he regarded the circumstance as very extraordinary, perhaps as supernatural. He writes of it like a person who hardly expected to be believed. Yet the effect he describes is exactly (?) that which we now know was most likely to result from preceding causes. Thus his accuracy of observation and the honesty and veracity of his testimony are most remarkably corroborated.” Webster and Wilkinson.—P. S.]
1. The modern explanation of the fact as a NATURAL phenomenon. This interpretation is made the more difficult by the circumstance that the blood does not flow out of dead bodies, neither does it separate into blood and water [or placenta and serum] (as it does in a vessel after venesection).
First assumption: Death was produced by the spear-thrust, and the forth-flowing of the blood (or of a reddish lymph) must demonstrate Christ’s corporeality, in contradiction of the Docetæ (Hammond, Kuinoel, Olshausen). This view is combated by the presupposition of the disciple and the ancient Church that Jesus was dead, and by the separation of blood and water. [See also against this view, Stroud, on the Physical Cause of Christ s Death, p. 141 f. It is certain, however, that, had Christ not been already dead, the infliction of such a wound in the heart by the spear of a Roman soldier must have produced death; and this fact in any case sets aside the Gnostic docetic view according to which Christ suffered and died only in appearance, as well as the older rationalistic view that Christ recovered from the effects of the crucifixion, and that His resurrection was merely an awakening from a trance.—P. S.]
Second assumption: The flow of blood and water from the body of a dead person is physiologically explained:
a. By the presence of extravasations, or bloodblisters, in which the globules and serum have become separated one from the other (Ebrard).
b. By the serum in the pericardium (Gruner, De Jes. Christi morte vera non simulata, etc., Halle, 1805), to which yet other serous reservoirs on the side of the heart may be added (see Tholuck, p. 439). [The Gruners, two physicians, father and son, held that the blood issued from the heart, the water from the pericardium, i. e. the membrane which envelops the heart. So also Kipping (De cruce et cruciariis, pp. 187–195), Bishop Watson (Apology for the Bible), Barnes, Webster and Wilkinson, and Owen. To this theory it is objected that the quantity of liquid or reddish lymphatic humor in the pericardium is usually so minute as to be scarcely perceptible. “Haller states that a small quantity of water, not exceeding a few drachms, has frequently been found in the pericardium of executed persons; but, except under very peculiar and morbid, circumstances, the eminent anatomists John and Charles Bell deny the occurrence altogether.… Naturally the pericardium exhibits scarcely anything which deserves the name of liquid; but after some forms of violent death, more especially when attended with obstructed circulation, it may contain a little serum, either pure or mixed with blood.…For the statement of the Gruners, that after death accompanied with anxiety the pericardium is full of water, there is no evidence.” Stroud, 1 c. p. 138, 139.—P. S.]
2. The apprehension of the fact as a miracle (Origen and the ancient Church generally, Meyer, Luthardt). [Bengel: quod sanguis exiit, mirum; quod etiam aqua, magis mirum; quod utrumque statim, uno tempore, et tamen distincte, maxime mirum. So also Alford who, with Meyer, stops with the recognition of a miracle, without indulging in allegorizing.—P. S.]
3. Between the assumption of a miracle unassisted by any physiological instrumentality, and that of a natural phenomenon, there lies the assumption that we have to do with a primitive phenomenon, i. e. a unique appearance based upon the unique situation. Meyer [p. 635] says: “A natural explanation in a higher sense is assigned for this phenomenon by Lange (Leben Jesu, II. p. 1614 f.); he assumes it to be explicable by the process of transformation which, as he affirms, the body of Christ was undergoing. A spinose conception in which there is not only an absence of clearness” (a fact equally true of the transformation itself, but which, nevertheless, does not render that transformation spinose), “but also imperiling the essential and necessary point of the actual death of Jesus” (i. e., hazarding its being swallowed up in the resurrection), “and moreover representing the details of the assumed transformation as occurring in very sensuous and materialistic wise” (say, rather, in bodily and corporeal fashion). Meyer thinks he has warrant for citing against this view, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. The following propositions may assist to an apprehension of the case: (1) After the death of Jesus, either corruption or transformation must have been preparing. (2) Corruption He did not see, hence it is transformation that was in course of preparation. (3) If this was preparing, the fact must of necessity make itself known by a sign transpiring in His wounded body,—a sign such as we are unacquainted with in other corpses. (4) That this sign is a unicum, concerning which we can find nothing in the history of extravasations, pericardia, etc. is a circumstance perfectly in order.
4. The mythical interpretation of Baur and others may be passed over (comp. Meyer [p. 637]).
5. [Symbolical and allegorical] interpretations of the phenomenon [which may be connected with either of the preceding ones, especially with No. 2.—P. S.]. With reference to 1 John 5:6 : Symbol of the two sacraments of grace: Apollinaris, Ambrose (De Sacram. cp. I. aqua ut emundaret, sanguis ut redimeret, Augustine, the R. Catholic exegetes, Luther).24 Otherwise Baur: The death of Jesus symbolized as the source of spiritual life. Similarly Luthardt. The Evangelist has indeed said nothing of this meaning himself. He has laid stress upon the unexpectedness of the phenomenon, however.
[Other symbolical explanations: (1) Calvin: reference of the blood to expiation; of the water to regeneration. He, however, denies the miraculous character of the fact. Isaac Watts:
“My Saviour s pierced side
Poured out a double flood:
By water we are purified
And pardoned by the blood.”
“Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.”
(2) According to E. Swedenborg, blood signifies the proceeding Divine truth for the spiritual man, and water the Divine truth for the natural man. (Apocalypse Explained, No. 329).25—P. S.]
[Additional Remarks on the effusion of blood and water. This is properly a question for physicians to settle, but they differ as much as theologians. Comp. besides the dissertation of the Gruners already quoted, Thomas Bartholinus, De Latere Christi aperto, etc.; Hieronymus Bardus, Epist. ad Thom. Bartholinum, and the Reply of Bartholinus; William Stroud, M. D., The Physical Cause of the Death of Christ, 2d ed. with an Appendix by Sir James Y. Simpson, M. D. (London, 1871). The last work is probably the best and contains more curious information than any other. Dr. Stroud, as already mentioned on p. 587, traces the physical cause of the death of Christ to a sudden rupture of the heart, produced by intense agony of mind endured in behalf of sinners. He uses this verse as an argument for his theory. Rupture of the heart is followed by an effusion of blood (sometimes as much as a quart or much more) into the pericardium, where it quickly separates into its solid and liquid constituents, technically called crassamentum and serum, but in ordinary language blood and water. The soldier, in approaching the body of Christ and inflicting the wound for the purpose either to ascertain or to insure His death, would purposely aim at the heart, and, transfixing the lower part of the left side, would open the pericardium obliquely from below; that capsule being distended with crassamentum and serum, and consequently pressed against the side, its contents would, by force of gravity, be instantly and completely discharged through the wound, in a full stream, of clear watery liquid intermixed with clotted blood, exactly corresponding to the sacred narrative: “and immediately there came forth blood and water.” The difficulties of commentators have arisen mostly from the gratuitous assumption that the blood which flowed from the wound of Christ was liquid, and the water pure, and, to account for so marvellous an occurrence, recourse was had either to miraculous agency, or to other equally untenable suppositions. “Blood and water” simply denote the crassamentum and serum of blood which has separated into its constituents. See pp. 399 ff., and the instances adduced in illustration. Ewald (Geschichte Christus’, 3d ed. 1867, p. 584f.), without entering into the matter, likewise assumes that a sudden rupture of the heart (ein plötzlicher Herzbruch) was the immediate physical cause of the death of Christ, and explains from it the loud terrible cry of anguish on the cross.—P. S.]
John 19:35. And he that hath seen it hath borne witness [καὶ ὁ ἑωρακὼς μεμαρτύρηκεν].—According to Weisse, Schweizer, and others, a later reporter, distinguishing himself from John, here betrays himself. But it is the Evangelist who himself makes a distinction between an oral, evangelistic testimony, continued during many years, and his written iteration of the same at a later period—conscious that said testimony contains an extraordinary statement. He then distinguishes the substance of his testimony as essential truth (ἁληθινή), because the thing must so occur, as a fulfilment of the divine word, and the form of his testimony, ἀληθῆ. His testimony is, however, continually, and so in this instance also, designed to produce faith in Christ (see John 20:31), namely, the confirmation and consummation of his readers belief in the higher divine nature of Christ. Not, as some have supposed, that ye may believe in the death of Jesus as an event which really transpired (Beza and others); or in the true corporeality of Christ, in opposition to the Docetæ (Hammond, Paulus, and others). Meyer thinks that Gnosticism might have fastened even sooner upon the mysterious, enigmatical outflow (?).
John 19:36. A bone of Him shall not be broken [Ὀστοῦν οὐ συντριβήσεται αὐτοῦ].—The first fulfilment of Scripture was of a negative sort: it was the fulfilment of the typical provision that not a bone of the paschal lamb should be broken, Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12. As the suffering Christ was the antitype of the paschal lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), it was necessary that this typical trait also should be fulfilled in Him.
John 19:37. Whom they pierced [Ὄψονται δἰς ο͂ν ἐξεκέντησαν].—(Zechariah 12:10.) The εἰς ὅν by attraction in the place of εἰς ἐκεῖνον δν. Second, positive fulfilment of a Scriptural passage by the spear-thrust. The passage freely cited after the original text which the Septuagint has weakened (“Whom they have insulted”). Properly: They shall look up to Me אֵלַי Whom they have pierced. The reading אֵלַיו found in many manuscripts is probably an exegetical correction, as it seemed obvious that Jehovah cannot be pierced; hence likewise the figurative conception of the Septuagint. The passage in question is one of the exceedingly pregnant Messianic passages of the second half of Zechariah. The Messiah here appears in the light of the self-manifesting Jehovah Himself. The piercers are the Jews, standing, however, as representatives of the whole human race. “They have pierced Me,” i. e. they have consummated their enmity against My highest manifestation and approach. “They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced,” i. e. their eyes shall be opened in regard to their conduct and they shall perceive whom they have outraged,—they shall regret it, or it shall become a matter of regret to them. This prophecy has had a general fulfilment in the turning of the believing world to the Crucified One. It shall, however, be fulfilled in the most universal sense, in regard to the whole world, at the Last Judgment (Revelation 1:7). The beginning of this consternation of the world upon discovering that it has thrust at God, whilst it supposed itself to be piercing a criminal, in dealing the Messiah the heart-thrust, is significantly seen by the Evangelist in the fact that we have been considering. The spear-thrust was the final heart-blow and death-blow which, after many blows and stabs, the whole race of man inflicted upon the Messiah; it was therefore the concentrated symbol of His crucifixion in general. Hence, there immediately appeared a sign, such as is not met with in other corpses;—a sign in which the higher nature of Christ, the incipient manifestation of His glory, announced itself. That which is related concerning murdered persons, namely, that their wounds bleed afresh when the murderers approach their bodies, did actually happen here in the highest sense. That the phenomenon made one of the many signs that perplexed and dismayed the people at Golgotha, may be securely assumed from the prominent mention which this occurrence and its effect receive at the hands of John. This involves the complete overthrow of the natural [rationalistic] explanation. An ordinary appearance could not thus have operated. See John 8:28; John 12:32; Acts 2:0.
John 19:38. Joseph of Arimathea.—Comp. Matthew 27:57. After the Jews had induced Pilate to have the bodies taken down, Joseph presented his request and arrived at precisely the right moment to take the corpse which had been accorded him, down from the cross. So Meyer rightly, in opposition to De Wette who finds a difficulty here, as likewise in opposition to Lücke, who apprehends the ἄρῃ and ἧρεν as relating to the carrying away of the body which the soldiers, had taken down. With this interpretation Meyer asserts that he has settled a difference which would otherwise exist, making this statement “unauthorized” by the side of Luke 23:53; Mark 15:46.
About a hundred pounds weight [ὡς λίτρας έκατόν].—See Comm. on Matthew, at the parallel passage. [A proof of the greatness of their love produced by the death of Christ.—P. S.]
John 19:40. As is the manner of the Jews [καθὼς ἔθος ἐστὶ τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ἐνταφιάζειν].—Contrast: The custom of the Egyptians, who took out the brain and bowels, or at least steeped the body for seventy days in natron. See Winer, “Embalming,” Meyer. The Egyptian anointing was designed for the preservation of the bodies as mummies: the Jewish anointing formed a consecrated and beautiful transition of the corpse from death to corruption. On the fact that there is nothing surprising in the superabundance of one hundred pounds of aloes and myrrh for the anointing, see Tholuck.
John 19:41. In the place [ἐν τῷ τόπῳ], i.e. in the district. According to Matthew 27:60, it was Joseph’s garden. Comp. Luke 23:53; John 19:30; Mark 11:2.
John 19:42. On account of the preparation-day [διὰ τὴν παρασκευὴν τῶν Ἰουδ.].—An intimation that if haste had not been urgent, they would have given Jesus more honorable burial in another place. Thus the very haste of the preparation-day was providential. Jesus should be interred in a new grave, in a manner the most extraordinary. The circumstance must serve at the same time to manifest Joseph s great alacrity in sacrifice.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The Johannean relation. John omits the trait of their rolling a great stone in front of the door of the sepulchre; he does not mention that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James seated themselves over against the sepulchre;that the Jews, with the co-operation of Pilate, sealed the sepulchre on the Sabbath and set a military watch upon it (Matt.); that Pilate, before presenting Joseph with the body of Jesus, inquired of the centurion whether Jesus were dead (Mark); the approach of a greater number of acquaintances to view the death of Jesus; the inspection of the sepulchre by the women, and their Friday evening preparation of ointments for the formal interment of Jesus which they appointed to take place after the Sabbath (Luke).
On the other hand, he brings out the fact that Jesus was glorified in His death as the true Paschal Lamb, glorified no less by another mysterious fulfilment of Scripture, and specially glorified by the open emergence of His hitherto secret disciples, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, and the princely sepulture which they, in pious rivalry of love, have prepared for the Lord.
2. Great was the day of that Sabbath. A stroke of that Jewish hypocrisy which strains out gnats and swallows camels, similar to John 18:28. In removing the bodies, however, in accordance with the instinct of an evil conscience, they are peculiarly interested in having the body of Jesus conveyed “out of sight and mind” of the people; in causing, along with the odious Man, the very name of Him, as also their work upon Him, to be hurried, with all possible expedition, beneath the sod. But here, as in the composition of the superscription, contingencies occur, which cross, modify and enfeeble their plots. They can not hinder Jesus, upon His descent from the cross, from being significantly distinguished from the thieves and honorably sepulchred.
3. Paschal Lamb. Ye shall break not a bone of Him. On the uncertainty of typology in regard to the meaning of this provision, see Tholuck, p. 430. We assume that the provision originally belonged to the expression of the most hurried preparation of the Paschal Lamb, as at the instant of flight or departure. Then at the same time it was expressive of the utterly undivided participation of the house-congregation or domestic church in fellowship and sacrament (Tholuck, p. 430). This type was fulfilled in Christ. The hurried removal from the cross—an expression of the Sufferer s speedy transportation to glory—prevented the breaking of the legs, and henceforth the whole undivided Christ should be the spiritual and vital food of the Church of His salvation.
4.John 19:34; John 19:37. Blood and water. See the Exeg. Notes, and Leben Jesu, p. 1611.
5. The association of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus: a sign showing how the complete development of malice and unrighteousness impels all nobler natures into the camp of Christ; and how the darkest hours of the kingdom of God are invariably the natal hour of a new discipleship. That glory of the Jewish world, to which they cleaved, being turned to shame in their eyes, they are become free from their earthly goods and know not how better to spend them than in the service of the love of Christ. One offers the abundance of his precious spices, which constituted an important household treasure among the Orientals; the other offers his garden and his family-vault to be the resting-place of an excommunicate, outlawed, crucified Man: both sacrifice their safety, position, authority, their old associations and, greatest sacrifice of all, their old Jewish hierarchal pride, and their old Messianic hope and entire view of the world. To them all things are involved in midnight gloom; but the innocence and righteousness of Christ they see, shining as the broad day in the midst of this darkness.—Moral loathing and abhorrence of the mask of hypocritical godlessness are able to burst the strongest bonds of deference to human opinions, and to generate the highest sacrificial courage.
6. The pious observance op the Sabbath on the part of Jesus’ friends, on the occasion of their burial of Him, a testimony against those who, with the charge of Sabbath-breaking, introduced His persecution unto death.
7. The repose of Jesus at once a slumber of death and a mystery of transformation unto resurrection.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See the Doct. Notes and the Synoptists.
From the moment of Jesus’ death, all things take a turn.—The glorification of Jesus begins with the glorification of His holy corpse: 1. Through special divine protection (break no bone); 2. through special heavenly signs (blood and water); 3. through special human reverence and care (the interment).—God watcheth over His own in death as in life.—How, in the funeral of the Just One, the victory of His life-battle is reflected.—The desire of the Jews to remove the, bodies from Golgotha: The expression of (1) a legal, slavish zeal; (2) an hypocritical sanctimoniousness; (3) a bad conscience.—The last heart-thrust which Christ received from the world: 1. A collective expression of all that the world has done to Him; 2. a pursuing of His life into the jaws of death (a violation of His corpse); 3. and yet a “mercy-stroke,” inasmuch as it is to secure His corpse from mutilation; 4. above all, a testimony of God to His death and unique nature (His transition to a new life).—The two great fulfilments connected with the one spear-thrust of an unsuspecting soldier: 1. The fulfilment of all the types of the Law in one feature (John 19:36). 2. The fulfilment of all the words of the Prophets in one single prophetic word.—Jesus, the unbroken Paschal Lamb for believing Israel, is at the same time the pierced Divine Image for unbelieving Israel.—The revealing of the Crucified One, the repentance of the world.—Nothing but the sight of Christ’s breaking heart could melt the heart of sin.—The death of Jesus the life of the world: 1. His falling asleep, her awaking (as His eyes close, hers open); 2. the end of His heart-grief, the commencement of hers; 3. His corpse, her quickening.—The stately sepulture of the Lord, or the princely disciples of the Crucified One.—The thank-offerings which immediately glorify the redemptive and expiatory offering of Christ.—The operation of the cross of Christ: 1. Comprehension of the cross; 2. courage for the cross; 8. sacrifices to the cross; 4. witnesses to the cross.—The great calm after the great storm: 1. The quiet Sufferer. 2. The quiet grave. 3. The quiet Sabbath. 4. The quiet mystery of life (or becoming). 5. The quiet presentiment. 6. The quiet turning of all things.
Starke: Osiander: See how hypocrites act! fierce sticklers are they for external matters and ordinances, but in the weightiest matters, those that concern the soul and salvation, they care not for the fear of God. Matthew 23:23.—Quesnel: In vain doth the sinner seek to bury the remembrance of his sins—sin shall ever rise up against him, Jeremiah 17:1; Genesis 42:21.—O how many think only how to conceal their sins, but not to be penitent for them! Job 31:33-34. A foot-soldier, and not a horseman, as painters are wont to depict the man who pierced Jesus.—Canstein: Let us look in faith, love and gratitude unto Him whom we ourselves have pierced, in order that we may rejoice when He is seen of us with our bodily eyes, Hebrews 12:2.—Quesnel: Jesus will come to judgment in the same flesh in which He was crucified, that He may confound His foes, John 5:27; Acts 17:31.—Zeisius: Thus God is able to raise up quickly unto His people, though they be, with Christ, forsaken of all men, persons who interest themselves for them with the greatest care and diligence, such as they would never have thought on. In sorest need, therefore, take heart, Jeremiah 38:7 ff.—The love of an upright, friend remains constant even in death.——Hedinger: Excellent compensation of weakness through strength! Abraham’s faith was great, the thief’s was great, the centurion’s was great. The first saw Christ in the life, the second in dying, the last in death, amid many miracles. But there is nothing to surpass Joseph and Nicodemus—they believe on Him in the grave. O power of God in the faithful! O strength in the weak, we praise thee! 2 Corinthians 12:9.—Godly, wise and brave undertakings of a true Christian, though apparently never so bold and perilous, are furthered to a good end through the help of the Almighty.—Like to like,—one lover of Jesus joineth company with another. Mark this, O man, and do thou likewise, Sir 13:20-21.—Bibl. Tub.: O that yet other fearful Nicodemuses might at the cross and in the sepulchre of Jesus crucify and bury their fear of man; then would amendment be of rapid growth in all ranks, Psalms 27:1; 1 Peter 3:13.—Though not many rich and noble are called, there still are some who willingly lay out their possessions in the service of Jesus, Luke 7:5.—Zeisius: O how well do the rich do when they spend their riches on Christ, His glory and His needy members! that they do good and grow rich in good works, 1 Timothy 6:18-19.—Osiander: We must not carelessly cast away the bodies of Christians; such a course is contrary to love and the hope of resurrection; but we must honorably commit them to the earth.—Gardens are pictures of death and resurrection—graves do suit them well: it is therefore not unfit that church-yards should have trees planted along their sides, and that they should be made to resemble gardens—Osiander: Christ hath hallowed our graves and made sleeping-rooms of them, in which the bodies rest until they are awakened again unto everlasting life, Romans 6:4.
Lisco: John 19:38. Publicly and boldly doth the hitherto timorous love to Jesus now come forward; it leapeth over all considerations and scruples and toucheth the dead body of Jesus without any dread of becoming defiled after the law, through contact with a corpse, and that the corpse of a reputed malefactor.
Braune: The fear of man is overcome; so openly they act. Delay is at an end; they make haste. They are not ashamed before all witnesses to make common cause with the Galilean women.—Joseph had had it hewn out for himself and Jesus entereth it before him; thus Jesus consecrateth the graves of His people, to the end that they may dread them the less.
Gossner: The stab was given by one soldier only, and here it says: They have pierced Him. How is this? the soldier was but the instrument; they, sinners, all of them, from the first to the last, did guide the soldier’s hand and the crime is imputed to them.—Love now breaketh through all fear of man, and where there was most to fear, fear vanisheth, so that he dreadlessly espouseth the cause of Him who was killed on the cross and rejected by the whole world,—espouseth it, say, at a time when, to all appearance, there was nothing to hope for from Him whom, living, he was either ashamed or afraid openly to confess.—This of itself was a beautiful fruit of the death of Jesus, that His secret disciples were made open ones, the weak, strong.—The love of the Slain Lamb driveth out all fear.—Christ liked and deserved a new grave, because He was a Dead Man without an equal; for all the children of Adam die from guilt, He guiltlessly.
[Craven: From Augustine: John 19:34. That blood was shed for the remission of sins, that water tempers the cup of salvation.—O death, by which the dead are quickened; what can be purer than that blood, what more salutary than that wound!
John 19:38. In performing this last office to our Lord, he showed a bold indifference to the Jews, though he had avoided our Lord’s company when alive, for fear of incurring their hatred.—Chrysostom: John 19:31. The Jews who strained at [out] a gnat and swallowed a camel, after their audacious wickedness, reason scrupulously about the day.
John 19:34. When thou approachest the awful cup, approach as if thou wert about to drink out of Christ’s side.—From Theophylact: John 19:34. To please the Jews, they pierce Christ, thus insulting even His lifeless body. But the insult issues in a miracle; for a miracle it is that blood should flow from a dead body.
John 19:40. Even now, in a certain sense, Christ is put to death by the avaricious, in the person of the poor man suffering famine. Be therefore a Joseph, and cover Christ’s nakedness.—From Herbert: John 19:34. Pierced His side;
If ye have anything to send or write,
(I have no bag, but here is room)
Unto My Father’s hand and sight
(Believe Me) it shall safely come.
That shall mind, what you impart;
Look, you may put it very near My heart.
Or if hereafter any of My friends
Will use me in this kind, the door
Shall still be open; what he sends
I will present, and somewhat more,
Not to his hurt. Sighs will convey
Anything to Me. Hark, despair, away.
[From Burkitt: John 19:31. Hence note the cursed hypocrisy of these Jews; they look upon themselves as strictly bound to observe an outward ceremony, but their consciences never scruple to violate the most weighty precepts of the moral law.
John 19:34. No cruelty was omitted towards Christ, either dead or alive, which might testify the great desert of our sin, nor was there any needful evidence wanting, which might make clear the truth of His death.
John 19:38-42. Grace doth not always make a public and open show where it is; but as there is much secret treasure unseen in the bowels of the earth, so is there much grace in the hearts of some saints, which the world takes little notice of.—We read of none of the apostles at Christ’s funeral; fear had put them to flight; but Joseph and Nicodemus appeared boldly: If God strengthen the weak, and leave the strong to the prevalency of their own fears, the weak shall be as David, and the strong as tow.
John 19:41. A sepulchre in a garden, to expiate Adam’s sin committed in a garden.
John 19:42. Of what use our Lord’s burial is to us His followers: It shows us the amazing depth of His humiliation, from what and to what His love brought Him, even from the bosom of His Father to the bosom of the grave, It may also comfort us against the fears of death; the grave could not long keep Christ, it shall not always keep us; it was a loathsome prison before, it is a perfumed bed now; he whose head is in heaven, need not fear to put his feet into the grave. Awake and sing, thou that dwellest in the dust, for the enmity of the grave is slain by Christ.
[From M. Henry: John 19:31. Passover Sabbaths are high days; sacrament-days, supper-days, communion-days, are high days, and there ought to be more than ordinary preparation for them, that these may be high days indeed to us, as the days of heaven.—The pretended sanctity of hypocrites is abominable; they made no conscience of bringing an innocent and excellent person to the cross, and yet scrupled letting a dead body hang upon the cross.
John 19:32. One of these thieves was a penitent, and had received from Christ an assurance that he should shortly be with Him in paradise, and yet died in the same pain and misery that the other thief did: the extremity of dying agonies is no obstruction to the living comforts that wait for holy souls on the other side of death.
John 19:33. Whatever devices are in men’s hearts, the counsel of the Lord shall stand:—It was fully designed to break His legs, but, God’s counsel being otherwise, see how it was prevented.
John 19:34. Through this window, opened in Christ’s side, you may look into His heart, and see love flaming there, love strong as death; see our own names written there.—When Christ, the second Adam, was fallen into a deep sleep upon the cross, then was His side opened, and out of it was His Church taken, which He espoused to Himself.—The blood and water that flowed out of it were significant: 1. Of the two great benefits which all believers partake of through Christ—justification and sanctification; blood for remission, water, for regeneration; blood for atonement, water for purification; 2. Of the two great ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.—Now was the rock smitten (1 Corinthians 10:4), now was the fountain opened (Zechariah 13:1), now were the wells of salvation digged, Isaiah 12:3. Here is the river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.
John 19:36. Christ our passover is sacrificed for us, 1 Corinthians 5:7. He is the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and, as the true Passover, His bones were kept unbroken.
John 19:38-42. Come and see a burial that conquered the grave, and buried it; a burial that beautified the grave, and softened it for all believers!
John 19:38. It was Joseph’s honor that he was a disciple of Christ, his weakness that he was so secretly.—Some who in lesser trials have been timorous, yet in greater have been very courageous.—The impotent malice of those that can but censure, and revile, and clamor, is sometimes more formidable even to wise and good men than one would think.—When God has work to do, He can find out such as are proper to do it, and spirit them for it.
John 19:39-40. Since God designed honor for His body, they would put honor upon it.
John 19:40; John 19:42. In conformity to this example, we ought to have regard to the dead bodies of Christians. The resurrection of the saints will be in virtue of Christ’s resurrection, and therefore in burying them we should have an eye to Christ’s burial.
John 19:41. In a garden Christ began His passion, and from a garden He would rise, and begin His exaltation.—He was buried in a new sepulchre: this was so ordered, 1. For honor; He that was born from a virgin-womb, must rise from a virgin-tomb; 2. For the confirming of the truth of His resurrection.
John 19:42. What is to be done on the evening before the Sabbath, should be so contrived that it may neither intrench upon Sabbath-time, nor indispose us for Sabbath-work.
[From Scott: John 19:31-42. Comparing the sacred oracles with the events which occur in the Church and in the world, our faith will be increased even by the most discouraging transaction.—From A Plain Commentary (Oxford): “If the Jews that stood by said truly of Him at Lazarus’ grave, Behold how He loved him! when He shed a few tears out of His eyes; much more truly may we say, Behold how He loved us! seeing Him shed both blood and water in great plenty out of His heart.” (Bishop Andrewes.)
John 19:38-42. Surely, this entire history has consecrated expensive funerals, and given a solemn sanction to care bestowed on burial-places, forever!
[From Krummacher: John 19:34. In the water and the blood are represented the most essential blessings of salvation: the water has a remote reference to baptism, but it chiefly symbolizes the moral purifying power of the word of Christ; the blood points out the ransom paid for our guilt, as well as the atoning sacrifice.—The blood flowed separately from the water; justification must not be mingled with, much less exchanged for, personal amendment.
John 19:38-39. Marvellous things occur in the vicinity of the cross. Two individuals, belonging to the first ranks in society, who, when Jesus still walked abroad in the majesty of His supernatural acts did not venture to make known their favorable impression respecting Him,—now, that the termination of His course seems to have stamped Him as a pitiable enthusiast, honor Him as their King before all the people. The germ of faith which, all at once, manifests itself so gloriously and so fully developed, had long lain in their hearts; from out of the thunder-cloud that brooded over Calvary, abundant grace has proceeded.—Christ crucified must be the object of our affections; therefore detach Him from the accursed tree, and deposit Him in your hearts, as your only consolation in life and death.
John 19:42. There they laid Jesus; The curse is removed from a sinful world, Deuteronomy 21:22-23.—Christ by His burial has consecrated and shed light upon the darkness of our graves.—From Jacobus: John 19:34-35. Our faith weeps, yet triumphs, as it sees the death-blow fall upon our Substitute, for in this we see our release.]
[Wordsworth, on John 19:41 : “Christ changes the valley of the shadow of death into a garden. Christ’s human body was laid in a natural garden. His human soul was in a spiritual garden (Luke 23:43), and by His death and burial He has prepared a garden for the souls and bodies of all who depart hence in the Lord; and He will make them to be like the dew of herbs (Isaiah 26:19), and to rise up and blossom in a glorious spring time. He provides Paradise, or a garden, for the departed soul (Luke 23:43), and He makes the grave itself to be a garden of Paradise; from which at the great Day the bodies of the faithful, which have been sown in hope, will rise in vernal beauty, and be united for ever in unfading glory to their souls.”—P. S.]
John 19:35; John 19:35—[Cod. Sin. reads ἀληθής, but against most authorities.—P. S.]
John 19:38; John 19:38.—Ὁ Ἰωσὴφ e omission of the second ὁ before ἀπό A. B. D., etc. [Tischend., Alf., Westcott and Hort omit both articles, and read simply, with א and B: Ἰωσὴφ —P. S.]
John 19:38; John 19:38.—[I read with א.3a B. L. X., etc., Lachm., Treg., Alf., Westc. and Hort, ἦλθεν οὗν καὶ ἧρεν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ. The text. rec. (with Vulg.) has τοῦ Ἰησοῦ instead of αὐτοῦ. Tischendorf Exodus 8:0, follows the reading of א.*: ἧλθον οὖν καὶ ή̔ρον αἠτόν: “they came therefore and took him away.”—P. S.]
John 19:41; John 19:41.—[A. D. Orig., Tischend., Tregelles and Alf., read ἐτέθη), was laid; but א. B. Cyr., Westcott read: ἦν τεθειμένος, had been laid; comp. Luke 23:53—P. S.]
[The aor. with augm. syllab. from κατάγνυμι, see Buttmann, II. 97, Winer, p. 68 (§ 12).—P. S.]
[So also Wordsworth (after the fathers). As Eve was taken from the side of sleeping Adam, so the church and the sacraments of the eucharist (blood) and baptism (water) emanated from the pierced side of the crucified Christ.—P. S.]
[There is a Swedenborgian Commentary on the Gospel of John by Rev. J. Clowes, 3d ed. London, 1853. It has only recently come into my hands, but presents very little that might have been worth quoting in this work. It consists almost entirely of extracts from Swedenborg’s writings, bearing or the “spiritual” sense of the spiritual Gospel.—P. S.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on John 19". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29