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58But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.

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Luke follows a different order from Matthew and Mark in the narrative; but when we come to the proper place, we will endeavor to reconcile the points in which they differ. It will be proper, in the meantime, to glance briefly at those things which claim our attention in the words of Matthew and Mark. First, in order to remove the offense of the cross, we ought to consider the advantage which we have derived from Christ’s emptying of himself, (Philippians 2:7;) for thus will the inestimable goodness of God, and the efficacy of his grace, be found to remove by its brightness every thing in it that was disagreeable or shameful. According to the flesh, it was disgraceful that the Son of God should be seized, bound, and made a prisoner; but when we reflect that by his chains we are loosed from the tyranny of the devil, and from the condemnation in which we were involved before God, not only is the stumbling-block, on which our faith might have struck, removed out of the way, but in place of it there comes an admiration of the boundless grace of God, who set so high a value on our deliverance, as to give up his only-begotten Son to be bound by wicked men. This will also be a pledge of the astonishing love of Christ towards us, that he spared not himself, but willingly submitted to wear fetters on his flesh, that our souls might be freed from fetters of a far worse description.

Matthew 26:57. But they who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas. Though the Jews had been deprived of what is called, the higher jurisdiction, there still lingered among them some vestiges of that judicial authority which the Law confers on the high priest, (Deuteronomy 1:8;) so that, while they had lost the absolute authority, 223223     “La puissance de condamner à mort;” — “the power of condemning to death.” they retained the power of administering moderate correction. This is the reason why Christ is brought before the high priest to be interrogated; not that a final sentence may be pronounced on him by theft tribunal, but that the priests may afterwards present him before the governor, under the aggravating influence of their decision. 224224     “Estant desja chargé par leur jugement, et que cela soit un prejudice contre luy;” — “being already accused by their decision, and that this may excite a prejudice against him.” Caiaphas the high priest was also named Joseph, and this man—as we are told by the historian Josephus—was appointed to be high priest by Valerius Gratus, governor of Judea, when Simon, the son of Camithus, was deposed from that office. 225225     Ant. 18:2. 2. — Repeated allusions have been made, in earlier portions of the Commentary, to this remarkable passage in the writings of the great Jewish historian. The reader will find it quoted at length. — Harmony vol. 1, p. 177, n. 1Ed. The Evangelists give his surname only, 226226     That is, instead of calling him Joseph Caiaphas, they call him simply Caiaphas. perhaps because he was more generally named, and better known, by it.

Matthew says that the priests assembled in the house of Caiaphas; and that they were already assembled at midnight, before Christ was brought, but because the place of meeting had been appointed, that, as soon as the information reached them, they might meet hastily at an early hour in the morning; though we have lately seen that some who belonged to the order of the priesthood went out by night, along with the soldiers, to seize Christ. But we have frequently seen, in other passages, that the Evangelists were not very exact in adhering to the order of time. In this passage, certainly, they had no other object in view than to show that the Son of God was oppressed by a wicked conspiracy of the whole council. And here a frightful and hideous spectacle is placed before our eyes; for nowhere else than at Jerusalem was there at that time either a temple of God, or lawful worship, or the face of a Church. The high priest was a figure of the only Mediator between God and men; those who sat along with him in the council represented the whole Church of God; and yet all of them unite in conspiring to extinguish the only hope Of salvation. But as it had been declared by prediction of David, that

the stone which the builders rejected would nevertheless become the head-stone of the corner, (Psalm 118:22;)

and as Isaiah had foretold that

the God of armies would be to the whole people of Israel a stone of stumbling, on which they would dash themselves,
(Isaiah 8:14)

the Lord wisely made provision that such wickedness of men should not perplex believing souls.




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