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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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40. Thou who destroyedst the temple. They charge Christ with teaching falsehood, because, now that it is called for, he does not actually display the power to which he laid claim. But if their unbridled propensity to cursing had not deprived them of sense and reason, they would shortly afterwards have perceived clearly the truth of his statement. Christ had said,

Destroy this temple, and after three days I will raise it up,
(John 2:19;)

but now they indulge in a premature triumph, and do not wait for the three days that would elapse from the commencement of its destruction. Such is the daring presumption of wicked men, when, under the pretense of the cross, they endeavor to cut them off from the hope of the future life. “Where,” say they, “is that immortal glory of which weak and credulous men are accustomed to boast? while the greater part of them are mean and despised, some are slenderly provided with food, others drag out a wretched life, amidst uninterrupted disease; others are driven about in flight, or in banishment; others pine away in prisons, and others are burnt and reduced to ashes?” Thus are they blinded by the present corruption of our outward man, so as to imagine that the hope of the future restoration of life is vain and foolish but our duty is to wait for the proper season of the promised building, and not to take it ill if we are now crucified with Christ, that we may afterwards be partakers of his resurrection, (Romans 6:5, 6.)

If thou art the Son of God. Wicked men demand from Christ such a proof of His power that, by proving himself to be the Son of God, he may cease to be the Son of God. He had clothed himself with human flesh, and had descended into the world, on this condition, that, by the sacrifice of his death, he might reconcile men to God the Father. So then, in order to prove himself to be the Son of God, it was necessary that he should hang on the cross. And now those wicked men affirm that the Redeemer will not be recognized as the Son of God, unless he come clown from the cross, and thus disobey the command of his Father, and, leaving incomplete the expiation of sins, divest himself of the office which God had assigned to him. But let us learn from it to confirm our faith by considering that the Son of God determined to remain nailed to the cross for the sake of our salvation, until he had endured most cruel torments of the flesh, and dreadful anguish of soul, and even death itself. And lest we should come to tempt God in a manner similar to that in which those men tempted him, let us allow God to conceal his power, whenever it pleases Him to do so, that he may afterwards display it at his pleasure at the proper time and place. The same kind of depravity appears in the other objection which immediately follows: —




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