Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1-3. Pilate took Jesus and scourged him--in hope of appeasing them.
"And the soldiers led Him away into the palace, and they call the whole
--the body of the military cohort stationed there--to take part in the
mock coronation now to be enacted.
2. the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head--in
mockery of a regal crown.
and they put on him a purple robe--in mockery of the
imperial purple; first "stripping him"
of His own outer garment. The robe may have been the "gorgeous" one in
which Herod arrayed and sent Him back to Pilate
"And they put a reed into His right hand"
--in mockery of the regal scepter. "And they bowed the knee
3. And said, Hail, King of the Jews!--doing Him derisive homage, in
the form used on approaching the emperors. "And they spit upon Him, and
took the reed and smote Him on the head"
The best comment on these affecting details is to cover the
4, 5. Pilate . . . went forth again, and saith . . . Behold, I bring
him forth to you--am bringing, that is, going to bring him forth to
that ye may know I find no fault in him--and, by scourging Him and
allowing the soldiers to make sport of Him, have gone as far to meet
your exasperation as can be expected from a judge.
5. Then Jesus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple
robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!--There is no reason
to think that contempt dictated this speech. There was clearly a
struggle in the breast of this wretched man. Not only was he reluctant
to surrender to mere clamor an innocent man, but a feeling of anxiety
about His mysterious claims, as is plain from what follows, was
beginning to rack his breast, and the object of his exclamation seems to
have been to move their pity. But, be his meaning what it may,
those three words have been eagerly appropriated by all Christendom, and
enshrined for ever in its heart as a sublime expression of its calm,
rapt admiration of its suffering Lord.
6, 7. When the chief priests . . . saw him, they cried out--their
fiendish rage kindling afresh at the sight of Him.
Crucify him, crucify him--(See
Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no
fault in him--as if this would relieve him of the responsibility
of the deed, who, by surrendering Him, incurred it all!
7. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by oar law he ought to
die, because he made himself the Son of God--Their criminal charges
having come to nothing, they give up that point, and as Pilate was
throwing the whole responsibility upon them, they retreat into their own
Jewish law, by which, as claiming equality with God (see
and Joh 8:59),
He ought to die; insinuating that it was Pilate's duty, even as civil
governor, to protect their law from such insult.
8-11. When Pilate . . . heard this saying, he was the more
afraid--the name "SON OF GOD," the lofty sense evidently attached to it by His
Jewish accusers, the dialogue he had already held with Him, and the
dream of his wife
all working together in the breast of the wretched man.
9. and went again into the judgment hall, and saith to Jesus, Whence
art thou?--beyond all doubt a question relating not to His mission but to His personal origin.
Jesus gave him no answer--He had said enough; the time for answering
such a question was past; the weak and wavering governor is already on
the point of giving way.
10. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not to me?--The "me" is
the emphatic word in the question. He falls back upon the
pride of office, which doubtless tended to blunt the workings of his
knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to
release thee?--said to work upon Him at once by fear and by
11. Thou couldest--rather, "shouldst."
have no power at all against me--neither to crucify nor to release,
nor to do anything whatever against Me [BENGEL].
except it were--"unless it had been."
given thee from above--that is, "Thou thinkest too much of thy power,
Pilate: against Me that power is none, save what is meted out to thee by
special divine appointment, for a special end."
therefore he that delivered me unto thee--Caiaphas, too wit--but he
only as representing the Jewish authorities as a body.
hath the greater sin--as having better opportunities and more knowledge
of such matters.
12-16. And from thenceforth--particularly this speech, which seems to
have filled him with awe, and redoubled his anxiety.
Pilate sought to release him--that is, to gain their consent to
it, for he could have done it at once on his authority.
but the Jews cried--seeing their advantage, and not slow to profit by
it. If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend, &c.--"This
was equivalent to a threat of impeachment, which we know was much
dreaded by such officers as the procurators, especially of the character
of Pilate or Felix. It also consummates the treachery and disgrace of
the Jewish rulers, who were willing, for the purpose of destroying
Jesus, to affect a zeal for the supremacy of a foreign prince"
When Pilate . . . heard that, . . . he brought Jesus forth, and sat
the judgment seat--that he might pronounce sentence against the
Prisoner, on this charge, the more solemnly.
in a place called the Pavement--a tesselated pavement, much used by the
in the Hebrew, Gabbatha--from its being raised.
14. It was the preparation--that is, the day before the Jewish
and about the sixth hour--The true reading here is probably, "the
third hour"--or nine A.M.--which agrees best with the whole series
of events, as well as with the other Evangelists.
he saith to the Jews, Behold your King!--Having now made up his mind
to yield to them, he takes a sort of quiet revenge on them by this
irony, which he knew would sting them. This only reawakens their cry to
15. crucify your King? . . . We have no king but Cæsar--"Some of those
who thus cried died miserably in rebellion against Cæsar forty years
afterwards. But it suited their present purpose" [ALFORD].
16. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified,
DEATH OF THE
17. And he bearing his cross--(See on
"without the camp"; "without the gate." On arriving at the place, "they
gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall [wine mingled with myrrh,
and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink"
This potion was stupefying, and given to criminals just before
execution, to deaden the sense of pain.
| Fill high the bowl, and spice it well, and pour
The dews oblivious: for the Cross is sharp,
The Cross is sharp, and He
Is tenderer than a lamb.
But our Lord would die with every faculty clear, and in full
sensibility to all His sufferings.
| Thou wilt feel all, that Thou may'st pity all;
And rather would'st Thou wrestle with strong pain
Than overcloud Thy soul,
So clear in agony,
Or lose one glimpse of Heaven before the time,
O most entire and perfect Sacrifice,
Renewed in every pulse.
18. they crucified him, and two others with him--"malefactors"
"thieves" (rather "robbers,"
on either side one and Jesus in the midst--a hellish expedient, to
hold Him up as the worst of the three. But in this, as in many other of
their doings, "the scripture was fulfilled, which saith
And he was numbered with the transgressors"--
--though the prediction reaches deeper. "Then said Jesus"--["probably
while being nailed to the CROSS,"]
"FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO"
--and again the Scripture was fulfilled which said, "And He made
intercession for the transgressors"
though this also reaches deeper. (See
Ac 3:17; 13:27;
Often have we occasion to observe how our Lord is the first to fulfil
His own precepts--thus furnishing the right interpretation and the
perfect Model of them. (See on
How quickly was it seen in "His martyr Stephen," that though He had
left the earth in Person, His Spirit remained behind, and Himself
could, in some of His brightest lineaments, be reproduced in His
And what does the world in every age owe to these few words, spoken
where and as they were spoken!
19-22. Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross . . . Jesus of
Nazareth, the King of the Jews . . . and it was written in Hebrew--or
Syro-Chaldaic, the language of the country.
and Greek--the current language.
and Latin--the official language. These were the chief languages of
the earth, and this secured that all spectators should be able to read
it. Stung by this, the Jewish ecclesiastics entreat that it may be so
altered as to express, not His real dignity, but His false claim to it.
But Pilate thought he had yielded quite enough to them; and having
intended expressly to spite and insult them by this title, for having
got him to act against his own sense of justice, he peremptorily refused
them. And thus, amidst the conflicting passions of men, was proclaimed,
in the chief tongues of mankind, from the Cross itself and in
circumstances which threw upon it a lurid yet grand light, the truth
which drew the Magi to His manger, and will yet be owned by all the
23, 24. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his
garments, and made four parts; to every soldier--the four who nailed
Him to the cross, and whose perquisite they were.
a part, and also his coat--the Roman tunic, or close-fitting vest.
without seam, woven from the top throughout--"perhaps denoting
considerable skill and labor as necessary to produce such a garment, the
work probably of one or more of the women who ministered in such things
[WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
24. Let us not rend it, but cast lots . . . 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--
That a prediction so exceedingly specific--distinguishing one piece of
dress from others, and announcing that while those should be
parted amongst several, that should be given by lot to one
person--that such a prediction should not only be fulfilled to the
letter, but by a party of heathen military, without interference from
either the friends of the enemies of the Crucified One, is surely
worthy to be ranked among the wonders of this all-wonderful scene. Now
come the mockeries, and from four different quarters:--(1) "And
they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads" in
(Ps 22:7; 109:25;
"Ah!"--"Ha," an exclamation here of derision. "Thou that destroyest the
temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself and come down from
(Mt 27:39, 40;
Mr 15:29, 30).
"It is evident that our Lord's saying, or rather this perversion
of it (for He claimed not to destroy, but to rebuild the
temple destroyed by them) had greatly exasperated the feeling which the
priests and Pharisees had contrived to excite against Him. It is
referred to as the principal fact brought out in evidence against Him
on the trial (compare
Ac 6:13, 14),
as an offense for which He deserved to suffer. And it is very
remarkable that now while it was receiving its real fulfilment,
it should be made more public and more impressive by the insulting
proclamation of His enemies. Hence the importance attached to it after
[WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. (2)
"Likewise also the chief priests, mocking Him, with the
scribes and elders, said, He saved others, Himself He cannot save"
(Mt 27:41, 42).
There was a deep truth in this, as in other taunts; for both He
could not do, having "come to give His life a ransom for
No doubt this added an unknown sting to the reproach. "If He be the
king of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will
No, they would not; for those who resisted the evidence from the
resurrection of Lazarus, and from His own resurrection, were beyond the
reach of any amount of merely external evidence. "He trusted in
God that He would deliver him; let Him deliver Him now if He will have
Him [or 'delight in Him,' compare
for He said, I am the Son of God"
We thank you, O ye chief priests, scribes, and elders, for this triple
testimony, unconsciously borne by you, to our Christ: first to His
habitual trust in God, as a feature in His character so marked and
palpable that even ye found upon it your impotent taunt; next, to
His identity with the Sufferer of the twenty-second Psalm, whose
ye unwittingly appropriate, thus serving yourselves heirs to the
dark office and impotent malignity of Messiah's enemies; and again, to
the true sense of that august title which He took to Himself, "THE SON OF GOD," which He rightly interpreted at the very first (see
as a claim to that oneness of nature with Him, and dearness
to Him, which a son has to his father. (3) "And the soldiers
also mocked Him, coming to Him and offering Him vinegar, and saying, If
thou be the king of the Jews, save Thyself"
(Lu 23:36, 37).
They insultingly offer to share with Him their own vinegar, or sour
wine, the usual drink of Roman soldiers, it being about the time of
their midday meal. In the taunt of the soldiers we have one of those
undesigned coincidences which so strikingly verify these
historical records. While the ecclesiastics deride Him for calling
Himself, "the Christ, the King of Israel, the
Chosen, the Son of God," the soldiers, to whom all such
phraseology was mere Jewish jargon, make sport of Him as a pretender to
royalty ("KING of the Jews"), an office and
dignity which it belonged to them to comprehend. "The thieves
also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth"
Not both of them, however, as some commentators unnaturally
think we must understand these words; as if some sudden change came
over the penitent one, which turned him from an unfeeling railer
into a trembling petitioner. The plural "thieves" need not denote more
than the quarter or class whence came this last and
cruelest taunt--that is, "Not only did scoffs proceed from the
passers-by, the ecclesiastics, the soldiery, but
even from His fellow-sufferers," a mode of speaking which no one
would think necessarily meant both of them. Compare
"They are dead which sought the child's life," meaning
"There be some standing here," where it is next to certain that
only John, the youngest and last survivor of the apostles, is meant.
And is it conceivable that this penitent thief should have first
himself reviled the Saviour, and then, on his views of Christ suddenly
changing, he should have turned upon his fellow sufferer and fellow
reviler, and rebuked him not only with dignified sharpness, but in the
language of astonishment that he should be capable of such
conduct? Besides, there is a deep calmness in all that he utters,
extremely unlike what we should expect from one who was the subject of
a mental revolution so sudden and total. On the scene itself, see on
25-27. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his
mother's sister, Mary, wife of Cleophas--This should be read, as in
the Margin, "Clopas," the same as "Alpheus"
The "Cleopas" of
was a different person.
26, 27. When Jesus . . . saw his mother, and the disciple whom he
loved, standing by, he saith to his mother, WOMAN,
saith he to the disciple, BEHOLD
MOTHER!--What forgetfulness of
self, what filial love, and to the "mother" and "son" what parting
from that hour . . . took her to his own home--or,
home with him; for his father Zebedee and his mother Salome were both
alive, and the latter here present
Now occurred the supernatural darkness, recorded by all the
other Evangelists, but not here. "Now from the sixth hour (twelve
o'clock, noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth
No ordinary eclipse of the sun could have occurred at this time, it
being then full moon, and this obscuration lasted about
twelve times the length of any ordinary eclipse. (Compare
Ex 10:21, 23).
Beyond doubt, the divine intention of the portent was to invest this
darkest of all tragedies with a gloom expressive of its real character.
"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried, ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI . . . My God, My God, why hast
Thou forsaken Me?"
As the darkness commenced at the sixth hour, the second of the Jewish
hours of prayer, so it continued till the ninth hour, the hour of
the evening sacrifice, increasing probably in depth, and
reaching its deepest gloom at the moment of this mysterious cry,
when the flame of the one great "Evening Sacrifice" was burning
fiercest. The words were made to His hand. They are the opening words
of a Psalm
full of the last "sufferings of Christ and the following glories"
"FATHER," was the cry in the first prayer which He
uttered on the cross, for matters had not then come to the worst.
"Father" was the cry of His last prayer, for matters had then passed
their worst. But at this crisis of His sufferings, "Father" does not
issue from His lips, for the light of a Father's countenance was then
mysteriously eclipsed. He falls back, however, on a title expressive of
His official relation, which, though lower and more distant in
itself, yet when grasped in pure and naked faith was mighty in its
claims, and rich in psalmodic associations. And what deep earnestness
is conveyed by the redoubling of this title! But as for the cry itself,
it will never be fully comprehended. An absolute desertion is not
indeed to be thought of; but a total eclipse of the felt sense
of God's presence it certainly expresses. It expre'sses
surprise, as under the experience of something not only never
before known, but inexplicable on the footing which had till
then subsisted between Him and God. It is a question which the lost
cannot utter. They are forsaken, but they know why. Jesus is
forsaken, but does not know and demands to know why. It is thus
the cry of conscious innocence, but of innocence unavailing to
draw down, at that moment, the least token of approval from the unseen
Judge--innocence whose only recognition at that moment lay in the thick
surrounding gloom which but reflected the horror of great darkness that
invested His own spirit. There was indeed a cause for it, and He
knew it too--the "why" must not be pressed so far as to exclude this.
He must taste this bitterest of the wages of sin "who did no
But that is not the point now. In Him there was no cause at all
and He takes refuge in the glorious fact. When no ray from above
shines in upon Him, He strikes a light out of His own breast. If God
will not own Him, He shall own Himself. On the rock of His unsullied
allegiance to Heaven He will stand, till the light of Heaven returns to
His spirit. And it is near to come. While He is yet speaking, the
fierceness of the flame is beginning to abate. One incident and insult
more, and the experience of one other predicted element of suffering,
and the victory is His. The incident, and the insult springing out of
it, is the misunderstanding of the cry, for we can hardly suppose that
it was anything else. "Some of them that stood there, when they heard
that, said, This man calleth for Elias"
28-30. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now
accomplished--that is, the moment for the fulfilment of the last of
them; for there was one other small particular, and the time was come
for that too, in consequence of the burning thirst which the fevered
state of His frame occasioned
that the scripture--
might be fulfilled saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full
of vinegar--on the offer of the soldiers' vinegar, see on
and they--"one of them,"
29. filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon--a stalk of
hyssop, and put it to his mouth--Though a stalk of this plant does
not exceed eighteen inches in length, it would suffice, as the feet of
crucified persons were not raised high. "The rest said, Let be"--[that
is, as would seem, 'Stop that officious service'] "let us see whether
Elias will come to save Him"
This was the last cruelty He was to suffer, but it was one of the most
unfeeling. "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice"
This "loud voice," noticed by three of the Evangelists, does not
imply, as some able interpreters contend, that our Lord's strength was
so far from being exhausted that He needed not to die then, and
surrendered up His life sooner than Nature required, merely because it
was the appointed time. It was indeed the appointed time, but time
that He should be "crucified through weakness"
and Nature was now reaching its utmost exhaustion. But just as even His
own dying saints, particularly the martyrs of Jesus, have sometimes had
such gleams of coming glory immediately before breathing their last, as
to impart to them a strength to utter their feelings which has amazed
the by-standers, so this mighty voice of the expiring Redeemer
was nothing else but the exultant spirit of the Dying Victor, receiving
the fruit of His travail just about to be embraced, and nerving the
organs of utterance to an ecstatic expression of its sublime feelings
(not so much in the immediately following words of tranquil
surrender, in Luke, as in the final shout, recorded only by
John): "FATHER, INTO THY
HANDS I COMMEND MY
Yes, the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. His soul has
emerged from its mysterious horrors; "My God" is heard no more,
but in unclouded light He yields sublime into His Father's hands
the infinitely precious spirit--using here also the words of those
which were ever on His lips. "As the Father receives the spirit of
Jesus, so Jesus receives those of the faithful"
[BENGEL]. And now comes the expiring mighty
30. It is finished! and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost--What
is finished? The Law is fulfilled as never before, nor since, in His
"obedience unto death, even the death of the cross"; Messianic prophecy
is accomplished; Redemption is completed; "He hath finished the
transgression, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in
everlasting righteousness, and sealed up the vision and prophecy, and
anointed a holy of holies"; He has inaugurated the kingdom of God and
given birth to a new world.
31-37. the preparation--sabbath eve.
that the bodies should not remain--over night, against the Mosaic law
(De 21:22, 23).
on the sabbath day, for that sabbath day was an high day--or "great"
day--the first day of unleavened bread, and, as concurring with an
ordinary sabbath, the most solemn season of the ecclesiastical year.
Hence their peculiar jealousy lest the law should be infringed.
besought Pilate that their legs might be broken--to hasten their
death, which was done in such cases with clubs.
33. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already--there being in His case elements of suffering,
unknown to the
malefactors, which might naturally hasten His death, lingering though it
always was in such cases, not to speak of His previous sufferings.
they brake not his legs--a fact of vast importance, as showing that
the reality of His death was visible to those whose business it was
to see to it. The other divine purpose served by it will appear
34. But one of the soldiers--to make assurance of the fact doubly
with a spear pierced his side--making a wound deep and wide, as indeed
is plain from
Joh 20:27, 29.
Had life still remained, it must have fled now.
and forthwith came thereout blood and water--"It is now well known that
the effect of long-continued and intense agony is frequently to produce
a secretion of a colorless lymph within the pericardium (the membrane
enveloping the heart), amounting in many cases to a very considerable
quantity" [WEBSTER and
35. And he that saw it bare record--hath borne witness.
and his witness is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye
might believe--This solemn way of referring to his own testimony in
this matter has no reference to what he says in his Epistle about
Christ's "coming by water and blood" (see on
but is intended to call attention both to the fulfilment of Scripture
in these particulars, and to the undeniable evidence he was thus
furnishing of the reality of Christ's death, and consequently of
His resurrection; perhaps also to meet the growing tendency, in the
Asiatic churches, to deny the reality of our Lord's body, or that
"Jesus Christ is come in the flesh"
36. that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not
be broken--The reference is to the paschal lamb, as to which this
ordinance was stringent
But though we are to see here the fulfilment of a very definite typical
ordinance, we shall, on searching deeper, see in it
a remarkable divine interposition to protect the sacred body of Christ
from the last indignity after He had finished the work given Him to do.
imaginable indignity had been permitted before that, up to the
moment of His death. But no sooner is that over than an Unseen hand is
found to have provided against the clubs of the rude soldiers coming in
contact with that temple of the Godhead. Very different from such
violence was that spear-thrust, for which not only doubting Thomas
would thank the soldier, but intelligent believers in every age, to
whom the certainty of their Lord's death and resurrection is the life
of their whole Christianity.
37. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they
pierced--The quotation is from
not taken as usual from the Septuagint (the current Greek
version), which here is all wrong, but direct from the Hebrew.
And there is a remarkable nicety in the choice of the words employed
both by the prophet and the Evangelist for "piercing." The word in
Zechariah means to thrust through with spear, javelin, sword, or
any such weapon. In that sense it is used in all the ten places,
besides this, where it is found. How suitable this was to express the
action of the Roman soldier, is manifest; and our Evangelist uses the
exactly corresponding word, which the Septuagint certainly does
not. Very different is the other word for "pierce" in
"They pierced my hands and my feet." The word there used is one
signifying to bore as with an awl or hammer. How striking are these
38-40. Joseph of Arimathea--"a rich man"
"an honorable counsellor," a member of the Sanhedrim, and of good
condition, "which also waited for the kingdom of God"
a devout expectant of Messiah's kingdom; "a good man and a just, the
same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them"
(Lu 23:50, 51
--he had gone the length, perhaps, of dissenting and protesting in open
council against the condemnation of our Lord); "who also himself was
being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews--"He
went in boldly unto Pilate"
--literally, "having taken courage went in," or "had the boldness to go
in." Mark alone, as his manner is, notices the boldness which
this required. The act would without doubt identify him for the
first time with the disciples of Christ. Marvellous it certainly
is, that one who while Jesus was yet alive merely refrained from
condemning Him, not having the courage to espouse His cause by one
positive act, should, now that He was dead, and His cause apparently
dead with Him, summon up courage to go in personally to the Roman
governor and ask permission to take down and inter the body. But if
this be the first instance, it is not the last, that a seemingly
dead Christ has wakened a sympathy which a living one had failed to
evoke. The heroism of faith is usually kindled by desperate
circumstances, and is not seldom displayed by those who before were the
most timid, and scarce known as disciples at all. "And Pilate
marvelled if he were already dead"
--rather "wondered that he was already dead." "And calling the
centurion, he asked him whether He had been any while dead"
--Pilate could hardly credit what Joseph had told him, that He had been
dead "some time," and, before giving up the body to His friends, would
learn how the fact stood from the centurion, whose business it was to
oversee the execution. "And when he knew it of the centurion"
that it was as Joseph had said, "he gave"--rather "made a gift of"--"the
body to Joseph"; struck, possibly, with the rank of the petitioner and
the dignified boldness of the petition, in contrast with the spirit of
the other party and the low rank to which he had been led to believe all
the followers of Christ belonged. Nor would he be unwilling to Show that
he was not going to carry this black affair any farther. But, whatever
were Pilate's motives, two most blessed objects were thus secured: (1)
The reality of our Lords death was attested by the party of all
others most competent to decide on it, and certainly free from all
bias--the officer in attendance--in full reliance on whose testimony
Pilate surrendered the body: (2) The dead Redeemer, thus delivered out
of the hands of His enemies, and committed by the supreme political
authority to the care of His friends, was thereby protected from all
further indignities; a thing most befitting indeed, now that His work
was done, but impossible, so far as we can see, if His enemies had been
at liberty to do with Him as they pleased. How wonderful are even the
minutest features of this matchless History!
39. also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night--"This
remark corresponds to the secrecy of Joseph's discipleship, just
noticed, and calls attention to the similarity of their previous
character and conduct, and the remarkable change which had now taken
place" [WEBSTER and
brought . . . myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds
weight--an immense quantity, betokening the greatness of their
love, but part of it probably intended as a layer for the spot on which
the body was to lie. (See
40. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes
with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury--the mixed and
pulverized myrrh and aloes shaken into the folds, and the entire body,
thus swathed, wrapt in an outer covering of "clean linen cloth"
Had the Lord's own friends had the least reason to think that the spark
of life was still in Him, would they have done this? But even if
one could conceive them mistaken, could anyone have lain thus enveloped
for the period during which He was in the grave, and life still
remained? Impossible. When, therefore, He walked forth from the tomb,
we can say with the most absolute certainty, "Now is Christ risen
from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept"
No wonder that the learned and the barbarians alike were prepared to
die for the name of the Lord Jesus; for such evidence was to the
unsophisticated resistless. (No mention is made of anointing in
this operation. No doubt it was a hurried proceeding, for fear of
interruption, and because it was close on the sabbath, the women seem
to have set this as their proper task "as soon as the sabbath should be
But as the Lord graciously held it as undesignedly anticipated by Mary
so this was probably all the anointing, in the strict sense of it,
which He received.)
41, 42. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new sepulchre--The choice of this tomb was, on
their part, dictated by the double circumstance that it was so near
at hand, and by its belonging to a friend of the Lord; and as there was
need of haste, even they would be struck with the providence which thus
supplied it. "There laid they Jesus therefore, because of the Jew's
preparation day, for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." But there was one
recommendation of it which probably would not strike them; but God had
it in view. Not its being "hewn out of a rock"
accessible only at the entrance, which doubtless would impress them with
its security and suitableness. But it was "a new sepulchre"
"wherein never man before was laid"
says that Joseph laid Him "in his own new tomb, which he had
hewn out in the rock"--doubtless for his own use, though the Lord had
higher use for it. Thus as He rode into Jerusalem on an ass "whereon
never man before had sat"
so now He shall lie in a tomb wherein never man before had lain,
that from these specimens it may be seen that in all things He was
"SEPARATE FROM SINNERS"