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The Crucifixion.

Subdivision B.

Jesus Crucified and Reviled. His Three

Sayings During First Three Hours.

(Friday Morning from 9 O'clock Till Noon.)

A Matt. XXVII. 35–44; B Mark XV. 24–32; C Luke XXIII. 33–43; D John XIX. 18–27.

b 25 And it was the third hour, and c there { d 18 where} c they crucified him. b 27 And a 38 Then are there crucified { b they crucify} a with him d two others, c the malefactors, a robbers, one on the right hand, and one { c the other} on the { b his} left. d on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. [These were doubtless robbers of the class of Barabbas. They were those who, led on by fanatical patriotism, had become insurrectionists and then outlaws. Large numbers of them were crucified during the Jewish wars (Jos. Wars, xiii. 2. 3). These two may have been crucified at this time for convenience' sake, but the fact that Jesus was placed between them suggests that they were crucified with him to heighten his shame and indignity. For, though Pilate had no personal ill will toward Jesus, he wished to show contempt for Judah's King.] c 34 And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. [Our Lord's prayer here reminds us of the word at Isa. liii. 12. It accords with his own teachings (Matt. v. 44), and it was echoed by Stephen (Acts vii. 59, 60). Peter and Paul both speak of the Jewish ignorance (Acts iii. 17; I. Cor. ii. 8). Ignorance mitigates, but does not excuse, crime.] b 24 And they crucify him, d 23 The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part [A quaternion or band of four soldiers did the work of the actual crucifixion. The Roman law awarded them the garments of the condemned as their perquisites] ; b and part { a parted c parting} b his garments among them, casting { c they cast} lots. 726 b upon them, what each should take. [The sandals, girdle, outer robe, head-dress, etc., of Jesus were divided into four parts and lots were cast of the parts.] d and also the coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. [This was the tunic or undergarment. It reached from the shoulders to the knees. Ordinarily it was in two pieces, which were fastened at the shoulders by clasps; but Josephus tells us that the tunic of the high priest was an exception to this rule, being woven without seam (Ant. iii. 7. 4). Thus in dividing the Lord's garments, they found a suggestion of his high priesthood.] 24 They said therefore one to another, 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 garments among them, And upon my vesture did they cast lots. [See Ps. xxii. 18.] 25 These things therefore the soldiers did. [Even their small part was the subject of minute prophecy.] a 36 and they sat and watched him there. [They were on guard to prevent any attempt at rescue.] d 19 And Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. c over him, a 37 And they set up over his head b the { c a} superscription b of his accusation written, a And there was written, c THIS IS a JESUS d OF NAZARETH, b THE KING OF THE JEWS. [It was a well-established Roman custom to thus place a writing above the heads of the crucified to indicate the cause for which they died. Pilate writes the accusation so as to clear his own skirts before Cæsar and so as to show his contempt for the Jewish people. They had forced him to crucify an innocent man, and he retaliates by giving to that man the title which his enemies accused him of professing.] d 20 This title therefore read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, and in Latin, and in Greek. [These three languages were respectively those of religion, law and philosophy; but Pilate made use of them because all three were spoken by people then in Jerusalem.] 21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to 727Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. [The rulers smarted under this title which Pilate had tauntingly written. They had insisted that Jesus' kingship was dangerous enough to justify his crucifixion; but now (if politically and temporally interpreted) they admit that his kingship was an idle claim, a mere matter of words.] c 35 And the people stood beholding. [The scene had an awful fascination which they could not resist.] a 39 And they that passed by [Jesus was evidently crucified near the highway] railed on him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, b Ha! Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 save thyself, a if thou art the Son of God, b and come down from the cross. 31 In like manner also the chief priests c And the rulers also scoffed at him, b mocking him among themselves with the scribes a and elders, said, { c saying,} He saved others; b himself he cannot save. c let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen. a He is the King of Israel; let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe on him. b 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe. a 43 He trusteth on God; let him deliver him now, if he desireth him: for he said, I am the Son of God. c 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, If thou art the King of the Jews, save thyself. [Thus one and all unite in mocking Jesus, using both word and gesture. They bring forth echoes from the trial of Jesus and take other incidents from his life, little dreaming the deep significance of what they utter. They reminded Jesus of his words about destroying the temple, when they were committing that very act. They speak of his building it again when Jesus was about to die that he might rise. They taunt him with saving others, yet being unable to save himself, which is the great truth of the atonement which the Lord 728was then making. They promised to believe if he will come down from the cross, yet his being lifted upon the cross was the very act which would convince them—John viii. 28.] a 44 And the robbers also that were crucified with him b reproached him. a cast upon him the same reproach. c 39 And one of the malefactors that were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? save thyself and us. 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. 43 And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise. [It seems that at first both robbers reviled Christ, but one repenting spoke in his favor and prayed to him. It is not likely that this robber had any conception of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus, but he somehow arrived at the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah, and would come into his kingdom despite his crucifixion. Jesus answered his prayer by a solemn promise that they would, that day, be together in that portion of the invisible world where those who are accepted of God await the resurrection. Many thoughtlessly make this dying robber the model of death-bed repentance, arguing that others may also be saved in this irregular manner. But Christ had not yet died, and the new testament or covenant was not sealed. Jesus then could change its terms to suit the occasion. It is therefore no evidence whatever that after his death and in his present glorified state our Lord will in any way change the covenant so as to do away with a single one of the terms required for obtaining remission of sins (Heb. ix. 15–18). Moreover, the example of the penitent robber is a difficult one to follow; he professed faith in Christ and his kingdom when there was no other voice in the whole wide world willing to do such a thing. Any one having such a faith in Christ will not put off his confession until the hour of 729death.] d But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. [For comment on these four women, see note on p. 225.] 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold, thy mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home. [By using the title “woman” Jesus addressed his mother at the end of his ministry with the same word which he had used at its beginning (John ii. 4). Thus he cut her off from all parental authority over him. In this last hour our Lord bestows upon his helpless mother the disciple whom he loved, who was then in the flower of his manhood. All of Christ's disciples are thus appointed by him protectors of the helpless, but few recognize the behest as John did.]

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