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Chapter XLII.—Other Incidents of the Passion Minutely Compared with Prophecy. Pilate and Herod. Barabbas Preferred to Jesus. Details of the Crucifixion. The Earthquake and the Mid-Day Darkness. All Wonderfully Foretold in the Scriptures of the Creator. Christ’s Giving Up the Ghost No Evidence of Marcion’s Docetic Opinions. In His Sepulture There is a Refutation Thereof.
For when He was brought before Pilate, they proceeded to urge Him with the serious charge51215121 Onerare cœperunt., of declaring Himself to be Christ the King;51225122 “King Messiah;” λέγοντα ἑαυτὸν Χριστὸν βασιλέα εἶναι, Luke xxiii. 1, 2. that is, undoubtedly, as the Son of God, who was to sit at God’s right hand. They would, however, have burdened Him51235123 Gravassent. with some other title, if they had been uncertain whether He had called Himself the Son of God—if He had not pronounced the words, “Ye say that I am,” so as (to admit) that He was that which they said He was. Likewise, when Pirate asked Him, “Art thou Christ (the King)?” He answered, as He had before (to the Jewish council)51245124 Proinde. “Thou sayest that I am”51255125 Luke xxiii. 3. in order that He might not seem to have been driven by a fear of his power to give him a fuller answer. “And so the Lord hath stood on His trial.”51265126 Constitutus est in judicio. The Septuagint is καταστήσεται εἰς κρίσιν, “shall stand on His trial.” And he placed His people on their trial. The Lord Himself comes to a trial with “the elders and rulers of the people,” as Isaiah predicted.51275127 Isa. iii. 13, 14 (Septuagint). And then He fulfilled all that had been written of His passion. At that time “the heathen raged, and the people imagined vain things; the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers gathered themselves together against the Lord and against His Christ.”51285128 Ps. ii. 1, 2. The heathen were Pilate and the Romans; the people were the tribes of Israel; the kings were represented in Herod, and the rulers in the chief priests. When, indeed, He was sent to Herod gratuitously51295129 Velut munus. This is a definition, in fact, of the xenium in the verse from Hosea. This ξένιον was the Roman lautia, “a state entertainment to distinguished foreigners in the city.” by Pilate,51305130 Luke xxiii. 7. the words of Hosea were accomplished, for he had prophesied of Christ: “And they shall carry Him bound as a present to the king.”51315131 Hos. x. 6 (Sept. ξένια τῷ βασιλεῖ). Herod was “exceeding glad” when he saw Jesus, but he heard not a word from Him.51325132 Luke xxiii. 8, 9. For, “as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth,”51335133 Isa. liii. 7. because “the Lord had given to Him a disciplined tongue, that he might know how and when it behoved Him to speak”51345134 Isa. l. 4 (Sept.).—even that “tongue which clove to His jaws,” as the Psalm51355135 Ps. xxii. 15. said it should, through His not speaking. Then Barabbas, the most abandoned criminal, is released, as if he were the innocent man; while the most righteous Christ is delivered to be put to death, as if he were the murderer.51365136 Luke xxiii. 25. Moreover two malefactors are crucified around Him, in order that He might be reckoned amongst the transgressors.51375137 Comp. Luke xxiii. 33 with Isa. liii. 12. Although His raiment was, without doubt, parted among the soldiers, and partly distributed by lot, yet Marcion has erased it all (from his Gospel),51385138 This remarkable suppression was made to escape the wonderful minuteness of the prophetic evidence to the details of Christ’s death. for he had his eye upon the Psalm: “They parted my garments amongst them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”51395139 Ps. xxii. 18. You may as well take away the cross itself! But even then the Psalm is not silent concerning it: “They pierced my hands and my feet.”51405140 Ps. xxii. 16. Indeed, the details of the whole event are therein read: “Dogs compassed me about; 421the assembly of the wicked enclosed me around. All that looked upon me laughed me to scorn; they did shoot out their lips and shake their heads, (saying,) He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him.”51415141 Ps. xxii. 16, 7, 8. Of what use now is (your tampering with) the testimony of His garments? If you take it as a booty for your false Christ, still all the Psalm (compensates) the vesture of Christ.51425142 We append the original of these obscure sentences: “Quo jam testimonium vestimentorum? Habe falsi tui prædam; totus psalmus vestimenta sunt Christi.” The general sense is apparent. If Marcion does suppress the details about Christ’s garments at the cross, to escape the inconvenient proof they afford that Christ is the object of prophecies, yet there are so many other points of agreement between this wonderful Psalm and St. Luke’s history of the crucifixion (not expunged, as it would seem, by the heretic), that they quite compensate for the loss of this passage about the garments (Oehler). But, behold, the very elements are shaken. For their Lord was suffering. If, however, it was their enemy to whom all this injury was done, the heaven would have gleamed with light, the sun would have been even more radiant, and the day would have prolonged its course51435143 Comp. Josh. x. 13.—gladly gazing at Marcion’s Christ suspended on his gibbet! These proofs51445144 Argumenta. would still have been suitable for me, even if they had not been the subject of prophecy. Isaiah says: “I will clothe the heavens with blackness.”51455145 Isa. l. 3. This will be the day, concerning which Amos also writes: And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that the sun shall go down at noon and the earth shall be dark in the clear day.”51465146 Amos viii. 9. (At noon)51475147 Here you have the meaning of the sixth hour. the veil of the temple was rent”51485148 Luke xxiii. 45. by the escape of the cherubim,51495149 Ezek. xi. 22, 23. which “left the daughter of Sion as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers.”51505150 Isa. i. 8. With what constancy has He also, in Psalm xxx., laboured to present to us the very Christ! He calls with a loud voice to the Father, “Into Thine hands I commend my spirit,”51515151 Comp. Luke xxiii. 46 with Ps. xxxi. 5. that even when dying He might expend His last breath in fulfilling the prophets. Having said this, He gave up the ghost.”51525152 Luke xxiii. 46. Who? Did the spirit51535153 Spiritus: or “breath.” give itself up; or the flesh the spirit? But the spirit could not have breathed itself out. That which breathes is one thing, that which is breathed is another. If the spirit is breathed it must needs be breathed by another. If, however, there had been nothing there but spirit, it would be said to have departed rather than expired.51545154 Expirasse: considered actively, “breathed out,” in reference to the “expiravit” of the verse 46 above. What, however, breathes out spirit but the flesh, which both breathes the spirit whilst it has it, and breathes it out when it loses it? Indeed, if it was not flesh (upon the cross), but a phantom51555155 A sharp rebuke of Marcion’s Docetism here follows. of flesh (and51565156 Autem. a phantom is but spirit, and51575157 Autem. so the spirit breathed its own self out, and departed as it did so), no doubt the phantom departed, when the spirit which was the phantom departed: and so the phantom and the spirit disappeared together, and were nowhere to be seen.51585158 Nusquam comparuit phantasma cum spiritu. Nothing therefore remained upon the cross, nothing hung there, after “the giving up of the ghost;”51595159 Post expirationem. there was nothing to beg of Pilate, nothing to take down from the cross, nothing to wrap in the linen, nothing to lay in the new sepulchre.51605160 See these stages in Luke xxiii. 47–55. Still it was not nothing51615161 Non nihil: “a something.” that was there. What was there, then? If a phantom Christ was yet there. If Christ had departed, He had taken away the phantom also. The only shift left to the impudence of the heretics, is to admit that what remained there was the phantom of a phantom! But what if Joseph knew that it was a body which he treated with so much piety?51625162 This argument is also used by Epiphanius to prove the reality of Christ’s body, Hæres. xl. Confut. 74. The same writer also employs for the same purpose the incident of the women returning from the sepulchre, which Tertullian is going to adduce in his next chapter, Confut. 75 (Oehler). That same Joseph “who had not consented” with the Jews in their crime?51635163 Luke xxiii. 51. The “happy man who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful.”51645164 Ps. i. 1.
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