Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1-3. over the brook Kedron--a deep, dark ravine, to the northeast of
Jerusalem, through which flowed this small storm brook or winter
torrent, and which in summer is dried up.
where was a garden--at the foot of the Mount of Olives, "called
Gethsemane; that is, olive press
(Mt 26:30, 36).
2. Judas . . . knew the place, for Jesus ofttimes--see
resorted thither with his disciples--The baseness of this abuse of
knowledge in Judas, derived from admission to the closest privacies of
his Master, is most touchingly conveyed here, though nothing beyond bare
narrative is expressed. Jesus, however, knowing that in this spot Judas
would expect to find Him, instead of avoiding it, hies Him thither, as a
Lamb to the slaughter. "No man taketh My life from Me, but I lay it
down of Myself"
Besides, the scene which was to fill up the little breathing-time, the
awful interval, between the Supper and the Apprehension--like the
"silence in heaven for about the space of half an hour" between the
breaking of the Apocalyptic Seals and the peal of the Trumpets of war
--the AGONY--would have been too terrible for the
upper room; nor would He cloud the delightful associations of the
last Passover and the first Supper by pouring out the
anguish of His soul there. The garden, however, with its amplitude, its
shady olives, its endeared associations, would be congenial to His
heart. Here He had room enough to retire--first, from eight of them,
and then from the more favored three; and here, when that mysterious
scene was over, the stillness would only be broken by the tread of the
3. Judas then--"He that was called Judas, one of the Twelve," says
in language which brands him with peculiar infamy, as in the
sacred circle while in no sense of it.
a band of men--"the detachment of the Roman cohort on duty at
the festival for the purpose of maintaining order" [WEBSTER and
officers from the chief priests and Pharisees--captains of the
temple and armed Levites.
lanterns and torches--It was full moon, but in case He should have
secreted Himself somewhere in the dark ravine, they bring the means of
exploring its hiding-places--little knowing whom they had to do with.
"Now he that betrayed Him had given them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I
shall kiss, that same is He, hold Him fast"
The cold-bloodedness of this speech was only exceeded by the deed
itself. "And Judas went before them
and forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master, and kissed Him"
Ex 4:27; 18:7;
The impudence of this atrocious deed shows how thoroughly he had by
this time mastered all his scruples. If the dialogue between our Lord
and His captors was before this, as some interpreters think it
was, the kiss of Judas was purely gratuitous, and probably to make good
his right to the money; our Lord having presented Himself unexpectedly
before them, and rendered it unnecessary for any one to point Him out.
But a comparison of the narratives seems to show that our Lord's
"coming forth" to the band was subsequent to the interview of
Judas. "And Jesus said unto him, Friend"--not the endearing term
but "companion," a word used on occasions of remonstrance or rebuke (as
Mt 20:13; 22:12)
--"Wherefore art thou come?"
"Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss"--imprinting upon the
foulest act the mark of tenderest affection? What wounded
feeling does this express! Of this Jesus showed Himself on various
occasions keenly susceptible--as all generous and beautiful natures
4-9. Jesus . . . knowing all things that should come--were coming.
upon him, went forth--from the shade of the trees, probably, into
open view, indicating His sublime preparedness to meet His captors.
Whom seek ye?--partly to prevent a rush of the soldiery upon the
disciples [BENGEL]; and see
Mr 14:51, 52,
as showing a tendency to this: but still more as part of that courage
and majesty which so overawed them. He would not wait to be
5. They answered . . . Jesus of Nazareth--just the sort of blunt,
straight forward reply one expects from military men, simply acting on
I am He--(See on
Judas . . . stood with them--No more is recorded here
of his part of the scene, but we have found the gap painfully
supplied by all the other Evangelists.
6. As soon then as he said unto them, I am He, they went
and fell to the ground--struck down by a power such as that which
smote Saul of Tarsus and his companions to the earth
It was the glorious effulgence of the majesty of Christ which
overpowered them. "This, occurring before His surrender, would show His
power over His enemies, and so the freedom with which He
gave Himself up" [MEYER].
7. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye?--Giving them a door of
escape from the guilt of a deed which now they were able in some
measure to understand.
Jesus of Nazareth--The stunning effect of His first answer wearing
off, they think only of the necessity of executing their orders.
8. I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek me, let these go
their way--Wonderful self-possession, and consideration for others, in
9. That the saying might be fulfilled which he spake, Of them which
thou gavest me have I lost none--The reference is to such sayings as
Joh 6:39; 17:12;
showing how conscious the Evangelist was, that in reporting his Lord's
former sayings, he was giving them not in substance merely, but
in form also. Observe, also, how the preservation of the
disciples on this occasion is viewed as part that deeper
preservation undoubtedly intended in the saying quoted.
10, 11. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and smote the high
priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was
Malchus--None of the other Evangelists mention the name either of the
ardent disciple or of his victim. John being "known to the high priest"
the mention of the servant's name by him is quite natural, and
an interesting mark of truth in a small matter. As to the right
ear, specified both here and in Luke
the man was "likely foremost of those who advanced to seize Jesus, and
presented himself in the attitude of a combatant; hence his right side
would be exposed to attack. The blow of Peter was evidently aimed
vertically at his head" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
11. Then said Jesus--"Suffer ye thus far"
Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given
me, shall I not drink it?--This expresses both the feelings
which struggled in the Lord's breast during the Agony in the
garden--aversion to the cup viewed in itself, but, in
the light of the Father's will, perfect preparedness to drink
it. (See on
Matthew adds to the address to Peter the following:--"For all they that
take the sword shall perish by the sword"
--that is, 'Those who take the sword must run all the risks of human
warfare; but Mine is a warfare whose weapons, as they are not carnal,
are attended with no such hazards, but carry certain victory.'
"Thinkest thou that I cannot now"--even after things have proceeded so
far--"pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me"--rather,
"place at My disposal"--"more than twelve legions of angels"; with
allusion, possibly, to the one angel who had, in His agony, "appeared
to Him from heaven strengthening Him"
and in the precise number, alluding to the twelve who needed the
help, Himself and His eleven disciples. (The full complement of a
legion of Roman soldiers was six thousand). "But how then shall the
scripture be fulfilled that thus it must be?"
(Mt 26:53, 54).
He could not suffer, according to the Scripture, if He allowed Himself
to be delivered from the predicted death. "And He touched his ear and
for "the Son of man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them"
and, even while they were destroying His, to save theirs.
12. Then the band . . . took Jesus--but not till He had made them
feel that "no man took His life from Him, but that He laid it down of
13. And led him away--"In that hour," says Matthew
(Mt 26:55, 56),
and probably now, on the way to judgment, when the crowds were pressing
upon Him, "said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a
thief, with swords and staves, for to take Me"--expressive of the
indignity which He felt to be thus done to Him--"I sat daily with you
in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me. But this" (adds
"is your hour and the power of darkness." Matthew continues--"But all
this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled"
--thus fulfilling His prediction
13, 14. And led him away to Annas first--(See on
(Also see on
14. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was
expedient that one man should die for the people--(Also see on
15-18. Simon Peter followed Jesus--Natural though this was, and
safe enough, had he only "watched and prayed that he enter not into
temptation," as his Master bade him
it was, in his case, a fatal step.
and . . . another disciple--Rather, "the other disciple"--our
Evangelist himself, no doubt.
known unto the high priest--(See on
went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
16. But Peter stood at the door without--by preconcerted arrangement
with his friend till he should get access for him.
Then went out that other . . . and spake to her that kept the door,
and brought in Peter--The naturalness of these small details is
not unworthy of notice. This other disciple first made good his own
entrance on the score of acquaintance with the high priest; this
secured, he goes forth again, now as a privileged person, to make
interest for Peter's admission. But thus our poor disciple is in the
coils of the serpent. The next steps will best be seen by inverting
and Joh 18:18.
17. Then saith the damsel that kept the door--"one of the maids of
the high priest," says Mark
"When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him and said"
Luke is more graphic
--She "beheld him as he sat by the fire (literally, 'the light'), and
earnestly looked on him (fixed her gaze upon him), and said." "His
demeanor and timidity, which must have vividly showed themselves, as it
so generally happens, leading to the recognition of him" [OLSHAUSEN].
Art thou not also one of this man's disciples?--that is, thou as well
as "that other disciple," whom she knew to be one, but did not
challenge, perceiving that he was a privileged person.
He saith, I am not--"He denied before them all, saying, I know not
what thou sayest"
--a common form of point blank denial; "I know [supply 'Him'] not,
neither understand I what thou sayest"
"Woman, I know Him not"
This was THE FIRST DENIAL. "And he went out into
the porch [thinking, perhaps, to steal away], and the cock
18. And the servants and officers--the menials and some of the
"band" that "took Jesus." (Also see on
stood there, who had made--"having made."
a fire of coals, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves--"John
alone notices the material (charcoal) of which the fire was made, and
the reason for a fire--the coldness of the night" [WEBSTER and
WILKINSON]. "Peter went in and sat with the servants to see the end
and warmed himself at the fire"
These two statements are extremely interesting. His wishing to "see the
end," of issue of these proceedings, was what led him into the palace,
for he evidently feared the worst. But once in, the serpent coil is
drawn closer; it is a cold night, and why should not he take advantage
of the fire as well as others? Besides, in the talk of the crowd about
the all-engrossing topic, he may pick up something which he would like
to hear. "And as Peter was beneath in the palace"
says, "sat without in the palace." According to Oriental
architecture, and especially in large buildings, as here, the street
door--or heavy folding gate through which single persons entered by a
wicket kept by a porter--opened by a passage or "porch"
into a quadrangular court, here called the "palace" or
hall, which was open above, and is frequently
paved with flagstones. In the center of this court the "fire"
would be kindled (in a brazier). At the upper end of it, probably, was
the chamber in which the trial was held, open to the court and not
far from the fire
but on a higher level; for Mark
says the court was "beneath" it. The ascent was, perhaps, by a
short flight of steps. This explanation will make the intensely
interesting details more intelligible.
19-21. The high priest . . . asked Jesus of his disciples,
and of his doctrine--probably to entrap Him into some statements
which might be used against Him at the trial. From our Lord's answer it
would seem that "His disciples" were understood to be some secret
party. (Also see on
20. I spake--have spoken.
openly to the world--See
I ever taught in the synagogues and in the temple, whither the Jews
always resort--courting publicity, though with sublime noiselessness.
in secret have I said--spake I.
nothing--that is, nothing of any different nature; all His private
communications with the Twelve being but explanations and developments
of His public teaching. (Compare
Isa 45:19; 48:16).
(Also see on
21. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me . . . they
know what I . . . said--This seems to imply that He saw
the attempt to draw Him into self-crimination, and resented it by
falling back upon the right of every accused party to have some charge
laid against Him by competent witnesses. (Also see on
22. struck Jesus with the palm . . . Answerest Thou the
high priest so--(See
(Also see on
23. If I have spoken, &c.--"if I spoke" evil, in reply to the high
priest. (Also see on
if well--He does not say "If not" evil, as if His reply
were merely unobjectionable: "well" seems to challenge more than
this as due to His remonstrance This shows that
is not to be taken to the letter.
24-27. Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas--Our
translators so render the words, understanding that the foregoing
interview took place before Caiaphas; Annas, declining to meddle
with the case, having sent Him to Caiaphas at once. But the
words here literally are, "Annas sent Him [not 'had sent Him']
to Caiaphas"--and the "now" being of doubtful authority. Thus read, the
verse affords no evidence that He was sent to Caiaphas before
the interview just recorded, but implies rather the contrary. We take
this interview, then, with some of the ablest interpreters, to be a
preliminary and non-official one with Annas, at an hour of the
night when Caiaphas' Council could not convene; and one that ought not
to be confounded with that solemn one recorded by the other
Evangelists, when all were assembled and witnesses called. But the
building in which both met with Jesus appears to have been the same,
the room only being different, and the court, of course, in that case,
one. (Also see on
25. And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said
therefore . . . Art thou not also one of his
the second charge was made by "another maid, when he was gone
out into the porch," who "saw him, and said unto them that were there,
This [fellow] was also with Jesus of Nazareth." So also
it is said, "After a little while" (from the time of the first denial),
"another [man] saw him, and said, Thou art also of them."
Possibly it was thrown at him by more than one; but these
circumstantial variations only confirm the truth of the narrative.
He denied it, and said, I am not--in
"He denied with an oath, I do not know the man." This was THE SECOND DENIAL.
26. One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman, whose
ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him--No
doubt his relationship to Malchus drew attention to the man who smote
him, and this enabled him to identify Peter. "Sad reprisals!" [BENGEL].
The other Evangelists make his detection to turn upon his dialect. "After a while
['about the space of one hour after'
came unto him they that stood by and said to Peter, Surely thou also art
one of them, for thy speech betrayeth thee"
"Thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto"
The Galilean dialect had a more Syrian cast than that of Judea.
If Peter had held his peace, this peculiarity had not been
observed; but hoping, probably, to put them off the scent by joining in
the fireside talk, he only thus revealed himself.
27. Peter then denied again--But, if the challenge of Malchus'
kinsman was made simultaneously with this on account of his Galilean
dialect, it was no simple denial; for
says, "Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not
the man." So
This was THE THIRD DENIAL.
and immediately--"while he yet spake"
the cock crew--As Mark is the only Evangelist who tells us that our
Lord predicted that the cock should crow twice
so he only mentions that it did crow twice
The other Evangelists, who tell us merely that our Lord predicted that
"before the cock should crow he would deny Him thrice"
mention only one actual crowing, which was Mark's last. This is
something affecting in this Evangelist--who, according to the earliest
tradition (confirmed by internal evidence), derived his materials so
largely from Peter as to have been styled his "interpreter,"
being the only one who gives both the sad prediction and its
still sadder fulfilment in full. It seems to show that Peter
himself not only retained through all his after-life the most vivid
recollection of the circumstances of his fall, but that he was willing
that others should know them too. The immediately subsequent
acts are given in full only in Luke
(Lu 22:61, 62):
"And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter," from the hall of judgment
to the court, in the way already explained. But who can tell what
lightning flashes of wounded love and piercing reproach shot from that
"look" through the eye of Peter into his heart! "And Peter remembered
the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Before the cock crow,
thou shalt deny Me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly." How
different from the sequel of Judas' act! Doubtless the hearts of the
two men towards the Saviour were perfectly different from the first;
and the treason of Judas was but the consummation of the wretched man's
resistance of the blaze of light in the midst of which he had lived for
three years, while Peter's denial was but a momentary obscuration of
the heavenly light and love to his Master which ruled his life. But the
immediate cause of the revulsion, which made Peter "weep bitterly,"
was, beyond all doubt, this heart-piercing "look" which his Lord gave
him. And remembering the Saviour's own words at the table, "Simon,
Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat,
but I have prayed [rather, 'I prayed'] for thee that thy
faith fail not" (see on
Lu 22:31, 32),
may we not say that this prayer fetched down all that there was in
that 'look' to pierce and break the heart of. Peter, to keep it
from despair, to work in it "repentance unto salvation not to be
repented of," and at length, under other healing touches, to "restore
his soul?" (See on
Note.--Our Evangelist, having given the interview with Annas,
omitted by the other Evangelists, here omits the trial and condemnation
before Caiaphas, which the others had recorded. (See on
[The notes broken off there at
are here concluded].
The high priest asked Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the
blessed?--Matthew says the high priest
put Him upon solemn oath, saying, "I adjure Thee by the living God
that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God"
This rendered an answer by our Lord legally necessary
Jesus said, I am--"Thou hast said"
Lu 22:67, 68,
some other words are given, "If I tell you, ye will not believe; and if
I also ask you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Me go." This seems to
have been uttered before giving His direct answer, as a calm
remonstrance and dignified protest against the prejudgment of His case
and the unfairness of their mode of procedure.
and ye shall see the Son of man, &c.--This concluding part of
our Lord's answer is given somewhat more fully by Matthew and Luke.
"Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter [rather, 'From henceforth']
shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and
coming in the clouds of heaven"
--that is, I know the scorn with which ye are ready to meet such an
avowal: To your eyes, which are but eyes of flesh, there stands at this
bar only a mortal like yourselves, and He at the mercy of the
ecclesiastical and civil authorities: "Nevertheless," a day is
coming when ye shall see another sight: Those eyes, which now gaze on
Me with proud disdain, shall see this very prisoner at the right hand
of the Majesty on high, and coming in the clouds of heaven: Then shall
the judged One be revealed as the Judge, and His judges in this chamber
appear at His august tribunal; then shall the unrighteous judges
be impartially judged; and while they are wishing that they had
never been born, He for whom they now watch as their Victim shall be
greeted with the hallelujahs of heaven, and the welcome of Him that
sitteth upon the throne!
Mr 14:63, 64:
Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we
any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy--"of
his own mouth"
an affectation of religious horror.
What think ye?--"Say, what verdict would ye pronounce."
They all condemned Him to be guilty of death--of a
capital crime. (See
And some began to spit on Him--"Then did they spit in His face"
And to cover His face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him,
Prophesy--or, "divine," "unto us, Thou Christ, who is he that
smote Thee?" The sarcasm in styling Him the Christ, and as such
demanding of Him the perpetrator of the blows inflicted upon Him, was
in them as infamous as to Him it was stinging.
and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands--"And
many other things blasphemously spake they against him"
This general statement is important, as showing that virulent and
varied as were the recorded affronts put upon Him, they are but
a small specimen of what He endured on that black occasion.
28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment--but
not till "in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the
elders and scribes and the whole council against Him to put Him to
death, and bound Him"
and see on
The word here rendered "hall of judgment" is from the Latin, and
denotes "the palace of the governor of a Roman province."
they themselves went not into the judgment hall lest they should be
defiled--by contact with ceremonially unclean Gentiles.
but that they might eat the passover--If this refer to the principal
part of the festival, the eating of the lamb, the question is, how our
Lord and His disciples came to eat it the night before; and, as it was
an evening meal, how ceremonial defilement contracted in the
morning would unfit them for partaking of it, as after six o'clock it
was reckoned a new day. These are questions which have occasioned
immense research and learned treatises. But as the usages of the Jews
appear to have somewhat varied at different times, and our present
knowledge of them is not sufficient to clear up all difficulties, they
are among the not very important questions which probably will never be
29-32. Pilate went out to them, and said, What accusation bring ye
against this man?--State your charge.
30. If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up
unto thee--They were conscious they had no case of which Pilate
could take cognizance, and therefore insinuate that they had already
found Him worthy of death by their own law; but not having the power,
under the Roman government, to carry their sentence into execution, they
had come merely for his sanction.
32. That the saying . . . might be fulfilled which he spake, signifying
what death he should die--that is, by crucifixion
(Joh 12:32, 33;
which being a Roman mode of execution, could only be carried into
effect by order of the governor. (The Jewish mode in such cases as this
was by stoning).
33-38. Pilate . . . called Jesus, and said . . .
Art thou the King of the Jews?--In
they charge our Lord before Pilate with "perverting the nation, and
forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying that He Himself is
Christ a king." Perhaps this was what occasioned Pilate's question.
34. Jesus answered . . . Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others
tell it thee of me?--an important question for our Lord's case, to
bring out whether the word "King" were meant in a political
sense, with which Pilate had a right to deal, or whether he were merely
put up to it by His accusers, who had no claims to charge Him but
such as were of a purely religious nature, with which Pilate had
nothing to do.
35. Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests
delivered thee to me: What hast thou done?--that is, "Jewish questions
I neither understand nor meddle with; but Thou art here on a charge
which, though it seems only Jewish, may yet involve treasonable
matter: As they state it, I cannot decide the point; tell me, then,
what procedure of Thine has brought Thee into this position." In modern
phrase, Pilate's object in this question was merely to determine the
relevancy of the charge.
36. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world--He does not say
"not over," but "not of this world"--that is, in its origin and
nature; therefore "no such kingdom as need give thee or thy master
the least alarm."
if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I
should not be delivered to the Jews--"A very convincing argument; for
if His servants did not fight to prevent their King from being delivered
up to His enemies, much less would they use force for the establishment
of His kingdom" [WEBSTER and
but now--but the fact is.
is my kingdom not from hence--Our Lord only says whence His kingdom
is not--first simply affirming it, next giving proof of it, then
reaffirming it. This was all that Pilate had to do with. The positive
nature of His kingdom He would not obtrude upon one who was as little
able to comprehend it, as entitled officially to information about it.
(It is worthy of notice that the "MY," which occurs four times in
this one verse--thrice of His kingdom, and once of His
servants--is put in the emphatic form).
37. Art thou a king then?--There was no sarcasm or disdain in this
question (as THOLUCK,
ALFORD, and others, allege), else our Lord's
answer would have been different. Putting emphasis upon "thou," his
question betrays a mixture of surprise and uneasiness, partly at
the possibility of there being, after all, something dangerous under the
claim, and partly from a certain awe which our Lord's demeanor probably
struck into him.
Thou sayest that I am a king--It is even so.
To this end was I--"have I been."
born and for this cause came I--am I come.
into the world, that I may bear witness to the truth--His
birth expresses His manhood; His coming into the world,
His existence before assuming humanity: The truth, then, here affirmed,
though Pilate would catch little of it, was that His Incarnation was
expressly in order to the assumption of Royalty in our nature. Yet,
instead of saying, He came to be a King, which is His meaning, He says
He came to testify to the truth. Why this? Because, in such
circumstances it required a noble courage not to flinch from His royal
claims; and our Lord, conscious that He was putting forth that
courage, gives a turn to His confession expressive of it. It is to
this that Paul alludes, in those remarkable words to Timothy: "I charge
thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus,
who, in the presence of Pontius Pilate, witnessed the good
This one act of our Lord's life, His courageous witness-bearing before
the governor, was selected as an encouraging example of the
fidelity which Timothy ought to display. As the Lord (says
OLSHAUSEN beautifully) owned Himself the Son of
God before the most exalted theocratic council, so He confessed His
regal dignity in presence of the representative of the highest
political authority on earth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice--Our Lord here not
only affirms that His word had in it a self-evidencing,
self-recommending power, but gently insinuated the
true secret of the growth and grandeur of His kingdom--as
KINGDOM OF TRUTH,
in its highest sense, into which all souls who have learned
to live and count all things but loss for the truth are, by a most
heavenly attraction, drawn as into their proper element;
of whom Jesus is, fetching them in and ruling them by His captivating
power over their hearts.
38. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?--that is, "Thou stirrest
the question of questions, which the thoughtful of every age have asked,
but never man yet answered."
And when he had said this--as if, by putting such a question, he was
getting into interminable and unseasonable inquiries, when this business
demanded rather prompt action.
he went out again unto the Jews--thus missing a noble opportunity for
himself, and giving utterance to that consciousness of the want of all
intellectual and moral certainty, which was the feeling of every
thoughtful mind at that time. "The only certainty," says the elder
PLINY, "is that nothing is certain, nor more miserable than man, nor
more proud. The fearful laxity of morals at that time must doubtless be
traced in a great degree to this skepticism. The revelation of the
eternal truth alone was able to breathe new life into ruined human
nature, and that in the apprehension of complete redemption"
and saith unto them--in the hearing of our Lord, who had been brought
I find in him no fault--no crime. This so exasperated "the chief
priests and elders" that, afraid of losing their prey, they poured forth
a volley of charges against Him, as appears from
Lu 23:4, 5:
on Pilate's affirming His innocence, "they were the more fierce,
saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry,
beginning from Galilee to this place." They see no hope of getting
Pilate's sanction to His death unless they can fasten upon Him a charge
of conspiracy against the government; and as Galilee was noted
for its turbulence
and our Lord's ministry lay chiefly there, they artfully introduce it
to give color to their charge. "And the chief priests accused Him of
many things, but He answered nothing
Then said Pilate unto Him, Hearest Thou not how many things they
witness against Thee? And He answered him to never a word, insomuch
that the governor marvelled greatly"
(Mt 27:13, 14).
In his perplexity, Pilate, hearing of Galilee, bethinks himself of the
expedient of sending Him to Herod, in the hope of thereby further
shaking off responsibility in the case. See
and see on
The return of the prisoner only deepened the perplexity of Pilate, who,
"calling together the chief priests, rulers, and people," tells them
plainly that not one of their charges against "this man" had been made
good, while even Herod, to whose jurisdiction he more naturally
belonged, had done nothing to Him: He "will therefore chastise and
39. But ye have a custom that I should release one unto you at the
passover, &c.--See on
"On the typical import of the choice of Christ to suffer, by which
Barabbas was set free, see the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus,
where the subject is the sin offering on the great day of
atonement" [KRAFFT in LUTHARDT].