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27. Conviction and Crucifixion

1Now when morning was come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 2and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pilate the governor.

3Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4saying, I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood. But they said, What is that to us? see thou to it. 5And he cast down the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6And the chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood. 7And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. 8Wherefore that field was called, the field of blood, unto this day. 9Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was priced, whom certain of the children of Israel did price; 10and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.

11Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14And he gave him no answer, not even to one word: insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. 15Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would. 16And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? 18For he knew that for envy they had delivered him up. 19And while he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21But the governor answered and said unto them, Which of the two will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas. 22Pilate saith unto them, What then shall I do unto Jesus who is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified. 23And he said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out exceedingly, saying, Let him be crucified. 24So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing, but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye to it. 25And all the people answered and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26Then released he unto them Barabbas; but Jesus he scourged and delivered to be crucified.

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered unto him the whole band. 28And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29And they platted a crown of thorns and put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30And they spat upon him, and took the reed and smote him on the head. 31And when they had mocked him, they took off from him the robe, and put on him his garments, and led him away to crucify him.

32And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to go with them, that he might bear his cross.

33And they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, The place of a skull, 34they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted it, he would not drink. 35And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments among them, casting lots; 36and they sat and watched him there. 37And they set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38Then are there crucified with him two robbers, one on the right hand and one on the left. 39And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, 40and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41In like manner also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42He saved others; himself he cannot save. He is the King of Israel; let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe on him. 43He trusteth on God; let him deliver him now, if he desireth him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44And the robbers also that were crucified with him cast upon him the same reproach.

45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47And some of them stood there, when they heard it, said, This man calleth Elijah. 48And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49And the rest said, Let be; let us see whether Elijah cometh to save him. 50And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent; 52and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many. 54Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. 55And many women were there beholding from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

57And when even was come, there came a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 58this man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded it to be given up. 59And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. 61And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

62Now on the morrow, which is the day after the Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together unto Pilate, 63saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said while he was yet alive, After three days I rise again. 64Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest haply his disciples come and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: and the last error will be worse than the first. 65Pilate said unto them, Ye have a guard: go, make it as sure as ye can. 66So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, the guard being with them.

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27. Then the soldiers of the governor. It is not without reason that these additional insults are related. We know that it was not some sort of ludicrous exhibition, when God exposed his only-begotten Son to every kind of reproaches. First, then, we ought to consider what we have deserved, and, next, the satisfaction offered by Christ ought to awaken us to confident hope. Our filthiness deserves that God should hold it in abhorrence, and that all the angels should spit upon us; but Christ, in order to present us pure and unspotted in presence of the Father, resolved to be spat upon, and to be dishonored by every kind of reproaches. For this reason, that disgrace which he once endured on earth obtains for us favor in heaven, and at the same time restores in us the image of God, which had been not only stained, but almost obliterated, by the pollutions of sin. Here, too, is brightly displayed the inconceivable mercy of God towards us, in bringing his only-begotten Son so low on our account. This was also a proof which Christ gave of his astonishing love towards us, that there was no ignominy to which he refused to submit for our salvation. but these matters call for secret meditation, rather than for the ornament of words.

We are also taught that the kingdom of Christ ought not to be estimated by the sense of the flesh, but by the judgment of faith and of the Spirit. For so long as our minds grovel in the world, we look: upon his kingdom not only as contemptible, but even as loaded with shame and disgrace; but as soon as our minds rise by faith to heaven, not only will the spiritual majesty of Christ be presented to us, so as to obliterate all the dishonor of the cross, but the spittings, scourgings, blows, and other indignities, will lead us to the contemplation of his glory; as Paul informs us, that

God hath given him a name, and the highest authority, that before him every knee might bow, because he willingly emptied himself (ἐκένωσε) even to the death of the cross,
(Philippians 2:8-10.)

If, therefore, even in the present day, the world insolently mocks at Christ, let us learn to rise above these offenses by elevated faith; and let us not stop to inquire, what unworthy opposition is made to Christ by wicked men, but with what ornaments the Father hath clothed him, with what scepter and with what crown he hath adorned him, so as to raise him high, not only above men, but even above all the angels.

Mark uses the word purple instead of scarlet; but though these are different colors, we need not trouble ourselves much about that matter. That Christ was clothed with a costly garment is not probable; and hence we infer that it was not purple, but something that bore a resemblance to it, as a painter counterfeits truth by his likenesses.




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