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The Crucifixion.

Subdivision A.

On the Way to the Cross.

(Within and Without Jerusalem. Friday Morning.)

A Matt. XXVII. 31–34; B Mark XV. 20–23; C Luke XXIII. 26–33; D John XIX. 17.

a 31 And when they had mocked him, they took off from him the b purple, a robe, and put on him his garments [This ended the mockery, which seems to have been begun in a state of levity, but which ended in gross indecency and violence. When we think of him who endured it all, we can not contemplate the scene without a shudder. Who can measure the grace of God or the depravity of man?], d 17 They took Jesus therefore: b And they lead him out to crucify him. a and led 723him away to crucify him. d and he went out, bearing the cross for himself, a 32 And as they came out, c when they led him away, a they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: b one passing by, coming from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, a him they c laid hold upon { b compel a compelled} to go with them, that he might bear his cross. c and laid on him the cross, to bear it after Jesus. [Cyrene was a flourishing city in the north of Africa, having in it a large Jewish population, and Simon shows by his name that he was a Jew. The Cyreneans had one or more synagogues in Jerusalem (Acts ii. 10; vi. 9; xi. 20). There were many Cyreneans afterwards engaged in spreading the gospel (Acts xiii. 1), and since the sons of this man are spoken of as well known to Mark's readers it is altogether likely that Simon was one of them. This Rufus may be the one mentioned by Paul (Rom. xvi. 13). The Roman soldiers found Simon entering the city, and because he was a stranger and they needed a man just then, they impressed him after the manner mentioned on p. 245.] 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. [Only the women bewailed him. They were not Galilæans, but women of Jerusalem.] 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [Some of these women, and the children of others, would survive till the terrible siege of Jerusalem and suffer in it. Jesus bore his own suffering in silence, but his pity for those upon whom these days of anguish would come caused him to speak.] 29 For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck. [The proper blessedness of a matron is motherhood, but the horrors of the siege would reverse even so fixed a law as this.] 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. [This language is figurative, describing one in extreme terror seeking impossible 724refuge. But there is a touch of literalness in the fulfillment, for Josephus tells us that at the end of the siege those in Jerusalem hid themselves in the subterranean recesses of the city, and that no less than two thousand of them were buried alive under the ruins of these hiding-places—Wars vi. 9. 4.] 31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry? [The language here is obscurely proverbial. Here, as elsewhere (Luke xix. 43; Matt. xxiv. 15), Jesus refers to the sorrows which the Romans were to bring upon the Jews, and the meaning may be, If the fiery persecution of Rome is so consuming that my innocence, though again and again pronounced by the governor himself, is no protection against it, what will that fire do when it envelopes the dry, guilty, rebellious city of Jerusalem? Or we may make the present and the future grief of the women the point of comparison, and interpret thus: If they cause such sorrow to the women while the city is like a green tree, how much more when, like a dry, dead tree, it is about to fall.] 32 And there were also two others, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. b 22 And they bring him unto the place d which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha: b which is, being interpreted, { a that is to say,} The place of a skull [Where this place was, or why it was so called, are matters of conjecture. All that we know certainly is that it was outside of, yet near, the city—Heb. xiii. 12; John xix. 20], c 33 And when they came unto the place which is called The skull, a 34 they gave { b offered} him wine a to drink mingled with gall: { b myrrh:} but { a and} when he had tasted it, he would not drink. b he received it not. [This mixture of sour wine mingled with gall and myrrh was intended to dull the sense of pain of those being crucified or otherwise severely punished. The custom is said to have originated with the Jews and not with the Romans. Jesus declined it because it was the Father's will that he should suffer. He would not go upon the cross in a drugged, semi-conscious condition.] 725

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