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19. Sentenced and Crucified

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

8When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

13When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18Where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

19And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24They said therefore among themselves, 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 raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

25Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

28After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 31The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

38And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

10. Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee? This shows that the dread with which Pilate had been suddenly seized was transitory, and had no solid root; for now, forgetting all fear, he breaks out into haughty and monstrous contempt of God. He threatens Christ, as if there had not been a Judge in heaven; but this must always happen with irreligious men, that, shaking off the fear of God, they quickly return to their natural disposition. Hence also we infer, that it is not without good reason that the heart of man is called deceitful, (Jeremiah 17:9;) for, though some fear of God dwells in it, there likewise comes from it mere impiety. Whoever, then, is not regenerated by the Spirit of God, though he pretend for a time to reverence the majesty of God, will quickly show, by opposite facts, that this fear was hypocritical.

Again, we see in Pilate an image of a proud man, who is driven to madness by his ambition; for, when he wishes to exalt his power, he deprives himself of all praise and reputation for justice. He acknowledges that Christ is innocent, and therefore he makes himself no better than a robber, when he boasts that he has power to cut his throat! Thus, wicked consciences, in which faith and the true knowledge of God do not reign, must necessarily be agitated, and there must be within them various feelings of the flesh, which contend with each other; and in this manner God takes signal vengeance on the pride of men, when they go beyond their limits, so as to claim for themselves infinite power. By condemning themselves for injustice, they stamp on themselves the greatest reproach and disgrace. No blindness, therefore, is greater than that of pride; and we need not wonder, since pride feels the hand of God, against which it strikes, to be armed with vengeance. Let us therefore remember, that we ought not rashly to indulge in foolish boastings, lest we expose ourselves to ridicule; and especially that those who occupy a high rank ought to conduct themselves modestly, and not to be ashamed of being subject to God and to his laws.

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