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they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for .. find no fault in him.
The Jews then answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of GOD.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he' was the more afraid ; and went again into the judgment-hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? Bat Jesus gave him no answer.
Then 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 ?
Jesus ariswered, Thou couldest have no power at all against mé, except it were given thee from above :
therefore hes that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin
And from thenceforth Pilate-sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou att for Cæsar's friend; whosoever mabeth himself aking, speaketh against Cæsar: 'oiseks
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, bat in the Hebrew; Gabbatha.
And it was the preparation of the passover, "and about the sixth hour :' and he saith unto the Jews, Behold
"Schritt But 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 Cæsar. * When Palate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather'a tumult was made, he took water, and washed
your king hour :' and he saith cung
his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person : see ye to it.
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
And Pilate, willing to content the people, gave sen. tence that it should be as they required.
And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired : but he delivered. Jesus to be crucified.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We formerly read, that Herod, after the death of John the Baptist, desired to see and converse with Jesus; in hopes that his curiosity would be gratified now, he pro. posed a variety of questions to him: but our LORD, knowing this was not a proper season to discuss such questions, remained silent, notwithstanding the virulent accusations of his persecutors, and the cruel mockerý of Herod and his soldiers. : No injuries could vanquish his patience, no indignities overcome his greatness of mind. He was arrayed in a gorgeous robe, in order to expose him to contempt for pretending to be a king, and to shew that Herod thought him beneath his re. sentment.
What was the cause of the variance which had subsisted between Herod and Pilate is not . related; but it possibly might arise from the slaughter of the Galileans, which we formerly read of.
Pilate was, as it appears, extremely desirous of releasing Jesus; he therefore proposed to set him at liberty, when the Jews claimed his compliance with custom of releasing a Jewish prisoner at the
signaal shocking it is to read that the Jews, even the Chief
Priests and rulers, preferred an impious robber and mur. derer to one who, considered merely as a member of society, had, so far from injuring the community, been constantly employed during the whole of his ministry, in doing good to mankind ! But view our LURD as the true Messiah, the only Son of God and the presumption of the Jews in persecuting him is beyond example.
To what a pitch of malice and barbarity must those have arrived, who could join in the dreadful cry of “ CRU. CIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!"
When Pilare found that even the Chief Priests joined their voices with those of the clamorous multitude, he was induced, contrary to the convictions of his own consciences * to comply with their desire; he therefore com. mandel fesus. to be severely scourged. The soldiers, knowing that it was the Roman custom to scourge pria soners just before they were put to death, concluded that Jesus would be led immediately to execution; they therefore took him back into the judgment hall, and, regarding him as abandoned to their will, resolved to offer him every insult in their power. They stripped him of the splendid dress in which Herod had arrayed him, and clothed him in a purple vest, over which they put a scarlet robe, that he might have some mock re. semblance of a prince *. Then did their cruel hands plat a crown of thorns, and fix it on his head; placing in his hand a reed or stick to represent a sceptre, paying' mock homage to the blessed Jesus, and congratu. lating him on his coronation ; whilst he patiently en. dured their scorn, not even uttering a single complaint though the blood streamed from his back, which they
* St. Matthew says it was a scarlet; St. Mark, that it was a purple robe. Commentators reconcile this seeming contradiction as above.
had cruelly scourged, and from his temples pierced with the thorny diadem! But all the meekness and resigna. tion of this holy sufferer made no impression on his un. feeling tormentors. They spat on him! they snatched from his hand the stick which they had given him for a sceptre, and smote him on the head, driving the thorns into his sacred forehead and temples ! yet not a word of expostulation escaped his lips; for he perfectly resigned himself to the Divine Will, and submitted his cause to the Father.
In the mean while Pilate (as we may suppose) was at. fending to the trials of other prisoners; and whilst he was sitting on the tribunal, his wife sent to inform him of her dream. Pilate, being 'alarmed at the message, went himself into the hall, to see what they had done with the prisoner, and appears to have been greatly moved with the condition he found him in; he therefore returned to the Jews, that they might know what torments Christ had endured, and declared, that he could not find any fault in him that made him obnoxious to the Roman government, Then came Jesus forth, wear. ing the ensigns of mock royalty, stained with his own blood ! Pilate emphatically pointed him out as an object of commiseration, “BeHOLD THE MAN!” but they hardened their hearts against compassion, against every worthy sentiment, and renewed the cry of CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCITY HIM! Pilate, finding them inexorable, desired to deliver Jesus into their hands, and again de. clared his opinion of his innocence; but the Jews in, sisted that he was according to their law, deserving of death.
Pilate, apprehensive that his resistance would raise sedition amongst the Jews against the Roman state ; and thinking, perhaps, agreeably to heathen superstition,
that Jesus might be descended from one of their imagi. nary deities, took him again into the house, and desired to be informed from his own mouth concerning the divine original he pretended to; but Jesus knowing that Pilate was, in his own conscience, already convinced of his innocence, gave him no answer. The governor was astonished, that a man in such circumstances should make no reply to one who had the power of condemning or releasing him; but Jesus calmly told him; that he could have no power against him, had it not been given him from above; meaning (as I apprehend) that had the Jews continued faithful, the Romans would have had no authority over their nation; therefore the sin of trying CHRIST for his life originated with those who had pro
. voked God to bring them into subjection. Pilatel examined Christ only as a Man'accused of seditious intentions against the Emperor's government: the Jewish Council rejected him as the MESSIAH, notwithstanding the undeniable proofs he had given them that he was so. Not that Pilate-was free from guilt in this affair; for convinced, as he certainly was, of our Lord's innocence, he was very unjust in ordering him to be executed: but still the Jewish High Priest, who delivered him inta Pilate's hand, had the greater sin.
Pilate, satisfied of the injustice of the persecution, resolved the more earnestly to procure CHRIST's release"; but the Jews still insisted that sentence should be passed; and effectually put a stop to his intentions, by insinuating that suffering a man to live, who pretended to be a king independently of the Roman Emperor, was in effect to arraign the lawfulness of Cæsar's universal monarchy
TIBERIUS, who was then Emperor, was a very suspi. cious prince, and constantly employed spies to watch