23:1 And the whole company of them rose up, and brought him before Pilate1.
And the whole company of them rose up, and brought him before Pilate.
23:2 And they
began to accuse him1, saying, We
found2 this man perverting our nation, and
forbidding to give tribute to Caesar4, and
saying that he himself is Christ a king5.
FIRST STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. JESUS BEFORE PILATE FOR THE FIRST TIME.
(Jerusalem. Early Friday morning.) Matthew
And they began to accuse him. The Jews now profess to change their
verdict into a charge, they themselves becoming witnesses as to the truth of
the matter charged. They say
We found, thereby asserting that the things which they stated to
Pilate were the things for which they had condemned Jesus. Their assertion
was utterly false, for the three things which they now mentioned had formed
no part whatever of the evidence against Jesus in their trial of him.
We found this man perverting our nation. The first charge, that
Jesus was a perverter or seducer of the people, was extremely vague.
And forbidding to give tribute to Caesar. The second, that he
taught to withhold tribute from Caesar, was a deliberate falsehood. See the
notes at Mark
And saying that he himself is Christ a king. The third, that he
claimed to be king, was true, but this third charge, coupled with the other
two, was intended to convey a sense which was maliciously false. Jesus was a
spiritual King, and claimed to be such, and as such was no offender against
the Roman government. But the rulers intended that Pilate should regard him
as claiming to be a political king, which he had constantly refused to do (John
23:3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou
the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest.
And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he
answered him and said, Thou sayest. See Mark
23:4 And Pilate said unto the chief priests
and the multitudes, I find no fault in this man1.
I find no fault in this man. The pronoun "I" is emphatic;
as if Pilate said, "You prejudiced fanatics demand his death, but I,
the calm judge, pronounce him innocent".
23:5 But they were the more urgent, saying,
He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all
Judaea, and beginning from Galilee even unto this place1.
He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judaea, and
beginning from Galilee even unto this place. The Jews cling to their
general accusation of sedition, and seek to make the largeness of the
territory where Jesus operated overshadow and conceal the smallness of their
testimony as to what his operations were.
23:6 But when
Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean1.
SECOND STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. JESUS BEFORE HEROD ANTIPAS. (Jerusalem. Early
Friday morning.) Luke
But when Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.
When he heard that Jesus had begun his operations in Galilee.
23:7 And when he
knew that he was of Herod's jurisdiction1, he sent him
unto Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem in these
And when he knew that he was of Herod's jurisdiction. Herod was
tetrarch of Galilee (Luke
3:1). Hearing that Jesus was a citizen of Herod's province, Pilate saw
an opportunity to do two things: (1) by sending Jesus to Herod he would
either shift or divide the grave responsibility in which he was placed; (2)
he would show a courtesy to Herod which might help to remove Herod's enmity
toward him, a courtesy which perhaps might be the reverse of the discourtesy
which likely caused the enmity. See Luke
He sent him unto Herod who himself also was at Jerusalem.
"Also" includes both Pilate and Herod, neither of whom lived at
In these days. This phrase refers to the passover season. Pilate
had come up from his residence at Caesarea to keep order during the passover,
and Herod had come from Tiberias to keep in favor with the Jews by showing
his respect to their festival.
23:8 Now when
Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was of a long time desirous to
see him, because he had heard concerning him1; and he
hoped to see some miracle done by him.
Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was of a long
time desirous to see him, because he had heard concerning him. As to
Herod's previous knowledge of Christ, see Luke
23:9 And he
questioned him in many words; but he answered him nothing1.
And he questioned him in many words; but he answered him nothing.
Herod, as sated ruler, adulterer, and murderer, wished Jesus to turn juggler
for his amusement; but the Son of God had nothing but silence for such a
creature. The only contemptuous word which Jesus is recorded to have spoken
had reference to this ruler (Luke
23:10 And the
chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him1.
And the chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him.
The rulers felt that their case had well-nigh failed before Pilate, so they
became the more urgent in the presence of Herod, since Herod had less reason
to fear them than Pilate. In the midst of this, Jesus stood silent,
answering neither question nor accusation.
23:11 And Herod
with his soldiers set him at nought, and mocked him1, and
arraying him in gorgeous apparel sent him back to Pilate2.
And Herod with his soldiers set him at nought, and mocked him.
Herod took vengeance upon the silence of Christ by treating him with abusive
And arraying him in gorgeous apparel sent him back to Pilate. But
finding nothing in Jesus worthy of condemnation, he returned him to Pilate.
23:12 And Herod
and Pilate became friends with each other that very day1:
for before they were at enmity between themselves.
And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day.
Thus Pilate gained but half his desire. Herod was now his friend, but the
case of Jesus was still on his hands.
23:13 And Pilate
called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people1,
THIRD STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. PILATE RELUCTANTLY SENTENCES HIM TO
CRUCIFIXION. (Friday. Toward sunrise.) Matthew
And Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the
people. He did not wish to seem to take advantage of our Lord's accusers
by releasing him during their absence. Possibly he knew of the triumphal
entry the Sunday previous, and thought that the popularity of Jesus would be
such that his release would be overwhelmingly demanded, and so called the
rulers that they might see that he had released Jesus in answer to popular
clamor. If he had such expectations, they were misplaced.
23:16 I will
therefore chastise him, and release him1.
I will therefore chastise him, and release him. He sought to please
the rulers by scourging him, and the multitude by delivering him to them as
a popular favorite, and himself by an adroit escape from an unpleasant
situation. But he pleased nobody.
23:17 [Now he must needs release unto them
at the feast one prisoner.]
[Now he must needs release unto them at the feast one prisoner].
23:18 But they
cried out all together, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas1:
But they cried out all together, saying, Away with this man, and
release unto us Barabbas. See Mark
23:19 one who for
a certain insurrection made in the city, and for murder1,
was cast into prison.
ne who for a certain insurrection made in the city, and for murder,
was cast into prison. See Mark
23:22 And he said unto them the third
time, Why, what evil hath this man done1?
I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him and release
Why, what evil hath this man done? See Mark
23:23 But they
were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified1.
And their voices prevailed2.
But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be
crucified. See Mark
And their voices prevailed. They overcame Pilate's weak resistance
by their clamor.
23:25 And he released him that for
insurrection and murder had been cast into prison, whom they asked for; but
Jesus he delivered up to their will1.
But Jesus he delivered up to their will. See Mark
23:26 And when they led him away, they
laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the
cross, to bear it after Jesus.
THE CRUCIFIXION. A. ON THE WAY TO THE CROSS. (Within and without Jerusalem.
Friday morning.) Matthew
They laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene . . . and laid on him the
cross, to bear it after Jesus. See Mark
23:27 And there
followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and
And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women
who bewailed and lamented him. Only the women bewailed him. They were
not Galileans, but women of Jerusalem. See Luke
23:28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters
of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves1,
and for your children.
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves,
and for your children. Some of these women, and the children of
others, would survive till the terrible siege of Jerusalem and suffer in it.
Jesus bore his own suffering in silence, but his pity for those upon whom
these days of anguish would come caused him to speak.
23:29 For behold, the days are coming, in
which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the
wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck1.
Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts
that never gave suck. The proper blessedness of a matron is motherhood,
but the horrors of the siege would reverse even so fixed a law as this.
23:30 Then shall
they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us1.
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the
hills, Cover us. This language is figurative, describing one in extreme
terror seeking impossible refuge. But there is a touch of literalness in the
fulfillment, for Josephus tells us that at the end of the siege those in
Jerusalem hid themselves in the subterranean recesses of the city, and that
no less than two thousand of them were buried alive under the ruins of these
hiding-places (Wars 6:9.4).
23:31 For if they
do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry1?
For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in
the dry? The language here is obscurely proverbial. Here, as elsewhere (Luke
24:15), Jesus refers to the sorrows which the Romans were to bring upon
the Jews, and the meaning may be, "If the fiery persecution of Rome is
so consuming that my innocence, though again and again pronounced by the
governor himself, is no protection against it, what will that fire do when
it envelopes the dry, guilty, rebellious city of Jerusalem"? Or we may
make the present and the future grief of the women the point of comparison,
and interpret thus: "If they cause such sorrow to the women while the
city is like a green tree, how much more when, like a dry, dead tree, it is
about to fall".
23:33 And when
they came unto the place which is called The skull, there they crucified him1,
and the malefactors, one on the right hand and the
other on the left2.
And when they came unto the place which is called The skull, there they
crucified him. See Mark
THE CRUCIFIXION. B. JESUS CRUCIFIED AND REVILED. HIS THREE SAYINGS DURING
FIRST THREE HOURS. (Friday morning from nine o'clock till noon.) Matthew
And the malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
23:34 And Jesus
said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do1.
And parting his garments among them, they cast lots2.
And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Our Lord's prayer here reminds us of the word at Isaiah
53:12. It accords with his own teachings (Matthew
5:44), and it was echoed by Stephen (Acts
7:59,60). Peter and Paul both speak of the Jewish ignorance (Acts
3:17; 1 Corinthians
2:8). Ignorance mitigates, but does not excuse, crime.
And parting his garments among them, they cast lots. See Mark
23:35 And the
people stood beholding1. And the rulers also scoffed at
him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself2,
if this is the Christ of God, his chosen.
The people stood beholding. The scene had an awful fascination
which they could not resist.
He saved others; let him save himself. See Mark
23:38 And there was also a superscription
over him, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
A superscription also was written over him. See Mark
23:40 But the
other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou
art in the same condemnation1?
But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear
God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? See Mark
23:42 And he said, Jesus,
remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom1.
Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. It is not
likely that this robber had any conception of the spiritual kingdom of
Jesus, but he somehow arrived at the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah,
and would come into his kingdom despite his crucifixion.
23:43 And he said unto him, Verily I say
unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise1.
To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise. Jesus answered the
robber's prayer by a solemn promise that they would, that day, be together
in that portion of the invisible world where those who are accepted of God
await the resurrection. Many thoughtlessly make the dying robber the model
of death-bed repentance, arguing that others may also be saved in this
irregular manner. But Christ had not yet died, and the new testament or
covenant was not sealed. Jesus then could change its terms to suit the
occasion. It is therefore no evidence whatever that after his death and in
his present glorified state our Lord will in any way change the covenant so
as to do away with a single one of the terms required for obtaining
remission of sins (Hebrews
9:15-18). Moreover, the example of the penitent robber is a difficult
one to follow; he professed faith in Christ and his kingdom when there was
no other voice in the whole wide world willing to do such a thing. Any one
having such a faith in Christ will not put off his confession until the hour
23:44 And it was
now about the sixth hour1, and a
darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour2,
THE CRUCIFIXION. C. DARKNESS THREE HOURS. AFTER FOUR MORE SAYINGS, JESUS
EXPIRES. STRANGE EVENTS ATTENDING HIS DEATH. Matthew
And it was now about the sixth hour. Noon. See Matthew
And a darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. See Mark
23:45 the sun's light failing: and
the veil of the temple was rent in the midst1.
And the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. See Mark
23:46 And Jesus, crying with a loud voice,
said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit1:
and having said this, he gave up the ghost2.
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. See Psalms
He gave up the ghost. See Mark
23:47 And when the centurion saw what was
done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a
Certainly this was a righteous man. See Mark
23:48 And all the
multitudes that came together to this sight, when they beheld the things that
were done, returned smiting their breasts1.
And all the multitudes that came together to this sight, when they
beheld the things that were done, returned smiting their breasts. The
people who had acted under the influence of the priests now yielded to
superior influences and began to experience that change of sentiment which
led so many to repent and confess Christ at Pentecost (Acts
23:49 And all his acquaintance, and
the women that followed with him from Galilee, stood afar off1,
seeing these things.
And the women that followed with him from Galilee, stood afar off,
seeing these things. See Mark
23:50 And behold, a
man named Joseph1, who was a councillor, a good and
THE CRUCIFIXION. D. JESUS FOUND TO BE DEAD. HIS BODY BURIED AND GUARDED IN THE
A man named Joseph. See Mark
23:51 (he had not consented to their
counsel and deed), [a man] of Arimathaea, a city of the
Jews1, who was looking for the kingdom of God:
Of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews. See Mark
23:52 this man
went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus1.
This man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. See Mark
23:53 And he took
it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth1, and
laid him in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man had yet lain2.
And he took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth. As to the
swathing of dead bodies, see John
And laid him in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man had yet
lain. See Matthew
23:54 And it was
the day of the Preparation1, and
the sabbath drew on2.
And it was the day of the Preparation. See Mark
And the sabbath drew on. As Jesus died about three o'clock in the
afternoon, and as all work had to stop at sunset, which was the beginning of
the Sabbath, Joseph was much hurried in his efforts to bury Jesus.
23:55 And the
women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after1,
and beheld the tomb, and how his body was laid.
And the women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after,
and beheld the tomb, and how his body was laid. The context shows
that our Lord was not completely embalmed by Joseph. The body of Jesus might
have been kept elsewhere until after the Sabbath; but because the tomb was
near, it appears to have been used temporarily.
23:56 And they
returned, and prepared spices and ointments1. And on the
sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
They returned, and prepared spices and ointments. The preparation
of spices by the women shows that even that part of the burial was not, in
their estimation, completed. This unfinished burial led the women back to
the tomb early on the first day of the week, and thus brought to the
disciples the glad news of the resurrection without any needless delay.