John 18:1-40; 19:1-42
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John.
The apprehension of Jesus
At that time Jesus went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which He entered with His disciples. And Judas also, who betrayed Him, knew the place: because Jesus had often resorted thither together with His disciples. Judas therefore having received a band of soldiers and servants from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing that all things that should come upon Him, went forth and said to them: Whom seek ye? C. They answered Him: S. Jesus of Nazareth. C. Jesus saith to them: I am He. C. And Judas also, who betrayed Him, stood with them. As soon therefore as He had said to them: I am He; they went backward and fell to the ground. Again therefore He asked them: Whom seek ye? C. And they said: S. Jesus of Nazareth. C. Jesus answered: I have told you that I am He. If therefore you seek Me, let these go their way; C. That the word might be fulfilled which He said: Of them whom Thou hast given Me, I have not lost anyone. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword in the scabbard. The chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? C.Then the band and the tribune and the servants of the Jews took Jesus, and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was father-in-law to Caiphas, who was the high priest that year.
Jesus at the palace of the High Priest
Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus: and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known to the high priest and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. The other disciple therefore, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the portress and brought in Peter. The maid therefore that was portress saith to Peter: S. Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? C. He saith: S. I am not. C. Now the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves. And with them was Peter, also, standing and warming himself. The high priest therefore asked Jesus of His disciples and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort: and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why asketh thou Me? Ask them who have heard what I have spoken unto them. Behold they know what things I have said. C. And when He had said these things, one of the servants, standing by, gave Jesus a blow, saying: S. Answerest Thou the high priest so? C. Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou Me? C. And Annas sent Him bound to Caiphas the high priest. And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him: S. Art not thou also one of His disciples? C. He denied it and said: S. I am not. C. One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: S. Did I not see thee in the garden with Him? C. Again therefore Peter denied; and immediately the cock crew.
Jesus before Pilate
Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor’s hall. And it was morning; and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Pasch. Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: S. What accusation bring you against this man? C. They answered and said to him: S. If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to thee. C. Pilate therefore said to them: S. Take Him you, and judge Him according to your law. C. The Jews therefore said to him: S. It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. C. That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He said, signifying what death He should die. Pilate therefore went into the hall again and called Jesus and said to Him: S. Art Thou the King of the Jews? C. Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have other told it thee of Me? C. Pilate answered: S. Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee up to me. What hast Thou done? C. Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now My kingdom is not from hence. C. Pilate therefore said to Him: S. Art Thou a King then? C. Jesus answered: Thou sayest I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony of the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice. C. Pilate saith to Him: S. What is truth? C. And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and saith to them: S. I find no cause in Him. But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the Pasch. Will you, therefore, that I release unto you the King of the Jews? C. Then cried they all again, saying: S. Not this man, but Barabbas. C. Now Barabbas was a robber.
Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers plaiting a crown of thorns, put it upon His head; and they put on Him a purple garment. And they came to Him and said: S. Hail, King of the Jews. C. And they gave Him blows. Pilate therefore went forth again and saith to them: S. Behold, I bring Him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in Him. C. (Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment.) And he saith to them: S. Behold the man. C. When the chief priests, therefore, and the servants had seen Him, they cried out, saying: S. Crucify Him, crucify Him. C. Pilate saith to them: S. Take Him you, and crucify Him; for I find no cause in Him. C. The Jews answered him: S. We have a law, and according to the law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. C. When Pilate, therefore, had heard this saying, he feared the more. And he entered into the hall again; and he said to Jesus: S. Whence art Thou? C. But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore saith to Him: S. Speakest Thou not to me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and I have power to release Thee? C. Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against Me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered Me to thee hath a greater sin. C.And from henceforth Pilate sought to release Him. But the Jews cried out, saying: S. If thou release this Man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. C.Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha. And it was Parasceve of the Pasch, about the sixth hour; and he saith to the Jews: S. Behold your King. C. But they cried out: S. Away with Him. Away with Him: Crucify Him. C. Pilate saith to them: S. Shall I crucify your King? C. The chief priests answered: S. We have no king but Caesar. C. Then, therefore, he delivered Him to them to be crucified.
And they took Jesus and led Him forth. And bearing His cross, He went forth to that place which is called Calvary but in Hebrew Golgotha.; where they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also: and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city. And it was written in Hebrew, Greek and in Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: S. Write not: The King of the Jews; but that He said: I am the King of the Jews. C.Pilate answered: S. What I have written, I have written. C. The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Him, took His garments (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part) and also His coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: S. Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled which saith: They have parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother: Woman, behold thy son. C. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. C. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.
The death of Christ
Afterwards, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. C. Now there was a vessel set there, full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to His mouth. Jesus therefore, when He had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. C. And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost.
Then the Jews (because it was the Parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day (for that was a great Sabbath day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came, and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with Him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled: you shall not break a bone of Him. And again another Scripture saith: They shall look on Him whom they pierced.
The Burial of Jesus
And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was 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 leave. He came therefore and took away the Body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came (he who at the first came to Jesus by night), bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight. They took therefore the Body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was in the place where He was crucified a garden: and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the Parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Verse 1. Over the torrent, or brook Cedron, which ran betwixt Jerusalem and Mount Olivet, in the valley of Cedron, or of Hennom, or of Josaphat, not of Cedars, as in many Greek copies. See the history of Christ’s Passion. Matt. xxvi. and xxvii. Wi.
Verse 5. Jesus here asks them, whom they were seeking, not as if he were ignorant of their errand, but to shew them, that of their own power they could do nothing, because, though he, whom they sought, was present, and stood before them, yet, they did not know him. Theophyl. — The darkness of the night could not have been the reason why they did not see him, because, as the evangelist observes, they had lanterns and torches with them, and if they could not see him, at least they might have known him by his voice; for how could Judas, their leader, who was one of his own apostles, be unable to know him by his voice. S. Chrys.
Verse 6. Jesus again shews the Jews his power, and works another miracle before them, to give them another opportunity of being converted; but they would not: they still persevere in their hardness of heart; he therefore now delivers himself up to them, as now they can have no excuse for their incredulity. S. Chrys.
Verse 13. Some are of opinion that Annas and Caiphas both dwelt in the same house. V.
Verse 15. Peter followed Jesus, but at a distance, for he was afraid. And so did another disciple. S. Jerom, and S. Chrys. and after him, Theophyl. with some others, believe that this other disciple was S. John himself. Calmet.
Verse 17. S. John gives here Peter’s first denial, which is reunited to the other two by all the preceding evangelists. This is one of the circumstances, which the others may have neglected, to unite three similar facts, and relating to the same object. V. — S. Peter, the prince and head of the Church, was permitted to fall, to teach him to treat with more mildness and condescension those, whom he would afterwards have to raise out of the same miserable state of sin. One weak and frail man is placed over another, that seeing him unhappily fallen, he may give him his kind and helping hand, to free him from that unhappy state, in which he knows himself to have been. S. Chrys. — Of all which our divine Saviour suffered in the court of Caiphas, nothing so much affected him as the dangerous fall of Peter, the chief of all his apostles, who had received the most signal favours from him. He had boasted that very night, that although all the rest of the disciples should abandon their master, he would never forsake him. Yet, see the weakness and inconstancy of human nature; at the voice of a poor maid, he forthwith denies his master; repeats his denial a second, and a third time, and even swears with an imprecation, that he never knew the man. O what is man, when he confides too much in himself! Let us look to ourselves, and see, that we never fall into the same unfortunate state. But if we have the misfortune to imitate this apostle in his fall, let us likewise imitate him in his speedy repentance: for immediately after his fall, going out, he wept bitterly; a practice which, it is said, he ever after retained, as often as he heard the cock crow. Butler’s Lives of the Saints.
Verse 21. Why askest thou me? Caiphas, in quality of judge, was to examine the crimes laid to the charge of the accused, by the testimony of the witnesses. Wi.
Verse 24. Annas sent him bound to Caiphas. Christ was but a little while there: for both the box on the ear, given to our Saviour, and S. Peter’s denial, were at the house of Caiphas: so that S. John does not here observe the order of time. Wi.
Verse 28. That they might eat the Pasch. They, who by the Pasch will always understand the paschal-lamb, look upon it certain from these words, that the Scribes and Pharisees at least, had deferred eating the paschal-lamb, till Friday the 15th day, in the evening: but there are passages in the Scripture, which shew, that the word Pasch, or Phase, comprehended not only the paschal sacrifice of the lamb, but also the sacrifices, that were to be eaten with unleavened bread, during the seven days of the paschal solemnity, as Deut. xvi. 2. thou shalt offer up the Phase, or Pasch, to the Lord, of sheep and oxen. And 1 Paralip. xxxv. 8. They gave to the priests to make the Phase, or Pasch, in altogether two thousand six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen. The oxen, therefore, were also given, to make up the Pasch, and were comprehended by the word Pasch, or Phase. It might, therefore, be these paschal sacrifices, and not the paschal-lamb, which the priests designed to partake of, and therefore would not enter into the palace of Pilate. See Tillemont against Lamy, on the 2nd passage out of S. John, tom. ii. p. 696. See also the Lexicon of Mr. Heure on the word Pâque. Wi.
Verse 35. It pleased God, that Christ, who was to die both for the Jews and the Gentiles, should be betrayed by the one, and put to death by the other. B.
Verse 1. Pilate’s motive, for ordering our Saviour to be scourged, was no other than this; that the Jews might be satisfied with these his numerous sufferings, and might no longer seek his death. For the same reason, likewise, he permitted his soldiers to inflict those unheard of cruelties, related in the sequel. S. Aug. tract. 110. in Joan.
Verse 11. Unless it were given, or permitted thee from above. Therefore, he that delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. Some expound this of Judas; others, rather of the high priest Caiphas, with the Jewish council: for they could not be ignorant that Jesus was their Messias, having seen the miracles Jesus did, and knowing the predictions of the prophets. Wi. — Lest any should think, from what our Saviour had said, that Pilate was not in fault, in this place, he here adds, that he that had delivered him up, had the greater sin: God, indeed, had permitted it; but still these instruments of his death were not without fault. S. Chrys. hom. lxxxiii. in Joan. — Christ had been delivered into the power of Pilate through envy, and Pilate was about to exercise that power through fear. But though this last motive of fear can never justify any one, who condemns the innocent, yet still it is much more pardonable than the motive of envy, which was the incentive of the Jewish multitude. S. Aug. tract. 116. in Joan. — Judas delivered Jesus into the hands of the priests, but both the priests and the people delivered him up to Pontius Pilate.
Verse 14. The Parasceve of the Pasch; that is, the day before the paschal sabbath. The eve of every sabbath was called the Parasceve, or day of preparation. But this was the eve of a high sabbath, viz. that which fell in the paschal week. Ch. — It was about the sixth hour when they crucified him. S. Mark, in his gospel, says, it was at the third hour that Jesus was crucified. These two evangelists are easily reconciled, if we consider that according to the custom of the Jews, all that took place between the third hour and the sixth hour of their day, was said to have happened in the third hour: their days being divided into four parts of three hours each, in the same manner as the nights were into four watches, of three hours each. S. Mark, therefore, might say very well, that the crucifixion of our Saviour took place in the third hour: though it might have been towards the conclusion of this general division of the day: whilst S. John, with a reason equally as good, says that it happened about the sixth hour. John Nicolaus, in his marginal notes on S. Thomas' Aurea Catena.
Verse 17. S. John makes no mention of what took place on the way to Calvary, when Jesus, being worn out by fatigue, could not proceed any farther, and they were obliged to relieve him of his burden, and to give it to a man, named Simon, of Cyrene, to carry for him, as is related in S. Matt. xxvii. 32. and S. Mark, xv. 21. Calmet. — For the honour paid in the early ages to the holy cross see S. Cyril, l. vi. cont. Julian. S. Jer. ep. xvii. S. Paulin. ep. xi.
Verse 19. He is the king, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also. But it is not without reason, that he is called king of the Jews. For they were the true olive (Rom. xi.); and we, the wild olive, have been ingrafted, and made partakers of the virtue of the true olive. Christ, therefore, is the king of the Jews, circumcised, not in the flesh, but in the heart, not according to the letter, but the spirit. S. Aug. tract. 118. in Joan.
Verse 20. As there were probably many Gentiles at Jerusalem at this time, on account of the festival day, this inscription was written in three different languages, that all might be able to read it. S. Chrys. hom. lxxxiv. in Joan. — It was written in Hebrew, on account of the Jews, who glorified in the law of God; in Greek, on account of the wise men of all nations; and in Latin, because of the Romans, who at that time commanded almost every nation of the earth. S. Aug. tract. 118. in Joan.
Verse 23. They made four parts. Christ’s upper garment had seams, which the four executioners could easily divide; but his under garment, or vest, was without seam, so that being cut, it would have been of no use. Wi. — This coat without seam is a figure of the unity of the Church. S. Cyp. de unit. Eccles. — The Rev. Fred. Nolan, of Woodford, in Essex, in his late work, entitled, Objections of a Churchman to uniting with the Bible Society, after quoting 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16, says: “That the Bible may, therefore, prove the remote, but innocent cause of harm, is not, I apprehend, to be disputed, if we are to admit of its own authority:” p. 23, and again, p. 24, “that the present mode of circulating the Scriptures must prove a most effectual specific for multiplying sects and schisms; and consequently, for increasing, to an infinite degree, the greatest evil, under which Christianity has suffered, from the time of its promulgation, down to the memorable epoch of this happy invention, for the establishment of Christian faith, and the extension of Christian unanimity.” P. 62 ibid. “That the Bible is the foundation of our religion, is new doctrine, unless in the divinity of the conventicle. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Eph. ii. 20. On this foundation others still build, who are labourers together with God; (1 Cor. xi. 9. 10.) of which divine co-operation the successors of the apostles have an express promise, to the end of the world. Matt. xxviii. 20. And by persons thus authorized (John xx. 21.) apostolical tradition has been delivered down to the present day, p. 63. The one body, of which our Lord was resolved his Church should consist, was to have one faith, (Eph. iv. 4, 5.) it was to contain no schism, (1 Cor. xii. 25.) but the present confederacy is formed on the principle of combining every sect and party, and this, while we have received an express prohibition against associating with those, who reject apostolical traditions, committed to the Church.” 2 Thess. iii. 6. 14. In a foot-note on the above, the learned divine very appositely cites S. Ignatius, in which quotation we find these emphatic words: Mh planasqe adelfoi mou, ei tiV scizonti akolouqei, Basileian qeou ou Klhronomei. Be not deceived, my brethren, not only acknowledged schismatics, but whoever shall join with a schismatic, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The same apostolic Father, in another part, adds: he who corrupts the faith of God, for which Christ suffered, shall go into unquenchable fire: eiV to pur to asbeston cwrhsei. S. Alexander, in the fourth century, says of the Arians: that seamless garment, which the murderers of Jesus Christ would not divide, these men have dared to rip asunder. Tou arrhkton citwna scisai eiolmhsan.
Verse 25. There stood by the cross … his mother. And so near to him, that from the cross he both spoke to her, and also to S. John. Wi.
Verse 26. Though there were other holy women standing by the cross, he takes notice of none but his mother, teaching us, by this, what we owe to our parents. For although it is our duty to disown them, when they place obstacles in our way to salvation; yet when they do not thus impede us, we owe every thing to them, and must prefer them to all. S. Chrys. hom. lxxxiv. in Joan. — We learn also here, what should be our respect and confidence in this Virgin Mother, so highly honoured by her divine Son.
Verse 27. The disciple took her to his own home, or into his own are, not for his mother, by the Greek expression. See S. Chrys. and S. Aug. Wi.
Verse 31. Because it was the Parasceve. It is also called, (v. 14.) the day of preparation of the Pasch. Lit. the Parasceve of the Pasch. And (v. 31.) the Jews, because it was the preparation, that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for that was a great sabbath day, &c. Some pretend, by these expressions, to prove that Friday, the year Christ suffered, was not the first and great day of the feast of Azyms, but only the day of preparation, and that on Friday night the Jews eat the paschal lamb, and not the night before, or Thursday night, as Christ had done with his disciples. But according to the common exposition, Friday is here called the day of preparation, for the great and solemn sabbath, which happened in the paschal week. See Tillemont on the 5th passage out of John, p. 698. § 11. and 12. Wi.
Verse 34. There came out blood and water, which naturally could not come from a dead body. Wi. — Hence it is, that the sacred mysteries flow; as often, therefore, as thou approachest the awful cup, approach it as if thou wert going to drink from thy Saviour’s sacred side. S. Chrys. hom. lxxxiv. in Joan. — The holy Fathers say, that the spouse of Jesus Christ was here taken out of his side, whilst sleeping on the cross, as Eve was from Adam’s side, when he was cast asleep in Paradise.
Verse 36. You shall not break a bone of him. This, which was literally spoken of the paschal lamb, (Exod. xii. 46.) the evangelist applies to Christ, of whom the lamb was a figure. Wi. — This had been said of the paschal lamb, which was a figure of Jesus Christ. Exod. xii. 46. and Numb. ix. 12.
Verse 37. This text is from Zachary, xii. 10. and seems to refer most literally to Jesus Christ.
Verse 39. About a hundred pound. This seems a great quantity. It may be, they did not use it all. And besides, it was the custom of the Jews, at their great burials, to cover the body with spices and perfumes. Wi.
Verse 41. This is added, lest it should be said, that it was not Christ, but some other, that rose from the dead; or at least, that he rose by the virtue of some other person reposing there. Calmet.
640: Secular Authority
COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE 1414-1418 Ecumenical XVI (against Wycliffe, Hus, etc.) SESSION XV (July 6, 1415) Errors of John Hus Condemned in the Council and by the above mentioned Bulls in 1418
Doctors holding that anyone to be emended by ecclesiastical censure, if he is unwilling to be corrected, must be handed over to secular judgment, certainly are following in this the priests, scribes, and pharisees, who, saying that “it is not permissible for us to kill anyone” (John 18:31), handed over to secular judgment Christ Himself, who did not wish to be obedient to them in all things, and such are homicides worse than Pilate.
Editor’s Note: the above statement is condemned by the Church.
1322: About the Power of the Roman Pontiff
Articles (Erroneous) of the Gallican Clergy (about the Power of the Roman Pontiff) Declared void in Constit., "Inter multiplices," Aug. 4, 1690
To blessed Peter and his successors the vicars of Christ, and to the Church herself power over spiritual things and over those pertaining to eternal salvation has been given by God, but not power over civil and temporal affairs, since the Lord said: “My Kingdom is not of this world” [John 18:36], and again: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” [Luke 20:25], and hence the statement of the Apostle: “Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God” [Rom. 13:1 f.]. Therefore, by the command of God, kings and princes cannot be subject to ecclesiastical power in temporal affairs, nor can they be deposed by the authority of the keys of the Church, either directly or indirectly; nor can their subjects be released from loyalty and obedience and be freed from fulfilling their oath of allegiance; and this opinion, which is necessary for public tranquillity, and vhich is no less useful to the Church than to the Empire, must by every means be retained as being in harmony with the Word of God, the tradition of the Fathers, and the examples of the saints.
Editor’s Note: the above statement is condemned by the Church.
2195: The Kingship of Christ
From the Encyclical _Quas Primas_, December 11, 1925
Now to explain briefly the force and nature of this kingship, it is hardly sufficient to say that it consists of a threefold power, and if it lacked this, it is scarcely recognized as a kingship. Testimonies drawn and gathered from Sacred Scriptures indicate more than sufficiently this fact about the universal power of our Redeemer, and according to the Catholic faith it must be believed that Jesus Christ was given to men as a Redeemer, in whom to trust; but at the same time as a legislator, to whom to give obedience (Cone. Trid., sess. VI, can. 21 [see n. 831]). But the Gospels do not insist so much on the fact that He established laws, as they do of Him observing laws; and, indeed, whoever keep these precepts, the same are said in different words in different places by the divine Master both to prove their love for Him, and to remain in His love [John 14:15; 15:10]. Jesus Himself declared to the Jews, who accused Him of violating the quiet of Sabbath by the wonderful healing of the sick man, that the Father had bestowed judicial power on Him: “For neither cloth the Father judge any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son” [John 5:22]; by which this also is understood— since the fact cannot be separated from the judgment—that by His own right He confers rewards and punishments upon men while still living. And furthermore that power which is called executive is to be attributed to Christ, since it is necessary that all obey His power, and since no one can escape what has been imposed upon the contumacious in the imposing of punishment.
Nevertheless, that such a kingdom is spiritual in a special way, and pertains to spiritual things, not only do the words which we have quoted above from the Bible show, but Christ the Lord by His manner of action confirms. For, on more than one given occasion, when the Jews, or rather the apostles themselves were of the opinion through error that the Messias would deliver the people into liberty and would restore the kingdom of Israel, He Himself destroyed and dispelled their vain opinion and hope; when He was about to be proclaimed king by a surrounding multitude, He declined the name and honor by fleeing and hiding; in the presence of the Roman governor He declared that His kingdom was not “of this world” [John 18:36]. Indeed. this kingdom is presented in the Gospels as such, into which men prepare to enter by doing penance; moreover, they cannot enter it except through faith and baptism, which, although an external rite, yet signifies and effects an interior regeneration; it is opposed only to the kingdom of Satan and to the powers of darkness, and demands of its followers not only that, with mind detached from wealth and earthly things, they prefer gentleness of character, and hunger and thirst after justice, but also that they renounce themselves and take up their cross. Moreover, since Christ as Redeemer has acquired the Church by His blood, and as Priest has offered and continues to offer Himself as a victim for our sins, does it not seem right that He assume the nature of both offices and participate in them?
468: The Unity and Power of the Church
From the Bull "Unam Sanctam" November 18, 1302
With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is no salvation nor remission of sin, the Spouse in the Canticle proclaiming: “One is my dove, my perfect one. One she is of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her” [Song. 6:8]; which represents the one mystical body whose head is Christ, of Christ indeed, as God. And in this, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” [Eph. 4:5]. Certainly Noah had one ark at the time of the flood, prefiguring one Church which perfect on one cubit had one ruler and guide, namely Noah outside which we read all living things on the earth were destroyed. Moreover this we venerate and this alone, the Lord in the prophet saying: “Deliver, 0 God, my soul from the sword; my only one from the hand of the dog” [Ps. 21:21]. For in behalf of the soul, that is, in behalf of himself, the head itself and the body he prayed at the same time, which body he called the “Only one” namely, the Church, because of the unity of the spouse, the faith, the sacraments, and the charity of the Church. This is that “seamless tunic” of the Lord [John 19:23], which was not cut, but came forth by chance. Therefore, of the one and only Church (there is) one body, one head, not two heads as a monster, namely, Christ and Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the successor of Peter, the Lord Himself saying to Peter: “Feed my sheep” [John 21:17]. He said “My,” and generally, not individually these or those, through which it is understood that He entrusted all to him. If, therefore, the Greeks or others say that they were not entrusted to Peter and his successors, of necessity let them confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ, since the Lord says in John, “to be one flock and one Shepherd” [John 10:16].
480: The Incarnation
The Errors of Peter John Olivi (The Wounds of Christ, the Union of the Soul and Body,. and Baptism) From the edict "De Summa Trinitate et fide catholica"
Clinging firmly to the “foundation” of the Catholic faith “against which,” as the Apostle testifies “no one is able to place anything different” [cf. 1 Cor. 3:11], we openly acknowledge with holy mother Church that the only begotten Son of God in all these things in which God the Father is, existing eternally together with the Father, parts of our nature as well as unity, from which He Himself existing as true God in Himself became true man, namely, a human body capable of suffering and an intellective or rational soul, forming the body by Himself and essentially, assumed it temporarily in the Virginal womb unto the unity of its substance and person. And that the same Word of God in this assumed nature, for working out the salvation of all, wished not only to be fastened to the Cross and to die on it, but also, after His Spirit had been given up, permitted His side to be pierced with a lance, that in the streams of water and blood which flowed from it there might be formed the one and only immaculate virgin, holy Mother Church, the Spouse of Christ, just as from the side of the first man asleep Eve was formed into a marriage with him, that so truth should respond to a certain figure of the first and ancient Adam “who,” according to the Apostle, “is formed for the future” [cf.Rom. 5:14], in our new Adam, that, is, Christ. That is, I say, the truth, made strong by the testimony of that very great eagle which the prophet Ezechiel saw flying around the other evangelical animals, namely of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, who narrating in his Gospel the condition and order of this sacrament said: “But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it has given testimony and his testimony is true. And he knows that he speaks the truth, that you [also] may believe” [John 19:33-35]. We, therefore, turning our attention to such remarkable testimony and to the common opinion of apostolic reflection of the Holy Fathers and the Doctors in accord with which alone it is proper to declare these things, with the approval of the sacred council we declare that the above mentioned Apostle and Evangelist John had kept the right order of the deed accomplished in the aforesaid, when he said that Christ “already dead, one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance.”
945: The Water to be Mixed with Wine to be Offered in the Chalice
COUNCIL OF TRENT SESSION XXII (Sept. 17, 1562) The Doctrine on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The holy Synod then admonishes priests that it has been prescribed by the Church to mix water with the wine to be offered in the chalice [can. 9], not only because the belief is that Christ the Lord did so, but also because there came from His side water together with blood [John 19:34], since by this mixture the sacrament is recalled. And since in the Apocalypse of the blessed John the peoples are called waters [Rev. 17:1, 15 ], the union of the faithful people with Christ, their head, is represented.
417: Water from the Side of Christ
INNOCENT III 1198-1216 From the letter "In quadam nostra" to Hugo, Bishop of Ferrara, March 5, 1209
You say that you have read in a certain decretal letter of ours that it is wrong to think what certain ones have presumed to say, namely, that the water of the Eucharist is changed into phlegm, for they say falsely that from the side of Christ not water but a watery liquid came forth. Moreover, although you recall that great and authentic men have thought this, whose opinions in speech and in writings up to this time you have followed, from whose (opinions), however, we differ, you are compelled to agree with our opinion. … For if it had not been water but phlegm which flowed from the side of the Savior, he who saw and gave testimony to the truth [cf. John 19:35] certainly would not have said water but phlegm. … It remains, therefore, that of whatever nature that water was, whether natural, or miraculous, or created anew by divine power, or resolved in some measure of component parts, without doubt it was true water.
1. When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. 2. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus often resorted there with his disciples.
AUG. The discourse, which our Lord had with His disciples after supper, and the prayer which followed, being now ended, the Evangelist begins the account of His Passion. When Jesus had spoken these words, He came forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into which He entered, and His disciples. But this did not take place immediately after the prayer was ended; there was an interval containing some things, which John omits, but which are mentioned by the other Evangelists.
AUG. A contention took place between them, which of them was the greater, as Luke relates. He also said to Peter, as Luke adds in the same place, Behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat, &c. And according to Matthew and Mark, they sang a hymn, and then went to Mount Olivet. Matthew lastly brings the two narratives together: Then went Jesus with His disciples to a place which is called Gethsemane. That is the place which John mentions here, Where there was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.
AUG. When Jesus had spoken these words, shows that He did not enter before He had finished speaking.
CHRYS. But why does not John say, When He had prayed, He entered? Because His prayer was a speaking for His disciples’ sake. It is now night time; He goes and crosses the brook, and hastens to the place which was known to the traitor; thus giving no trouble to those who were lying in wait for Him, and strewing His disciples that He went voluntarily to die.
ALCUIN. Over the brook Cedron, i.e. of cedars. It is the genitive in the Greek. He goes over the brook, i.e. drinks of the brook of His Passion. Where there was a garden, that the sin which was committed in a garden, He might blot out in a garden. Paradise signifies garden of delights.
CHRYS. That it might not be thought that He went into a garden to hide Himself, it is added, But Judas who betrayed Him knew the place: for Jesus of often resorted there with; His disciples.
AUG. There the wolf in sheep’s clothing permitted by the deep counsel of the Master of the flock to go among the sheep, learned in what way to disperse the flock, and ensnare the Shepherd.
CHRYS. Jesus had often met and talked alone with His disciples there, on essential doctrines, such as it was lawful for others to hear. He does this on mountains, and in gardens, to be out of reach of noise and tumult. Judas, however went there, because Christ had often passed the night there in the open air. He would have gone to His house, if he had thought he should find Him sleeping there.
THEOPHYL. Judas knew that at the feast time our Lord was accustomed to teach His disciples high and mysterious doctrines, and that He taught in places like this. And as it was then a solemn season, he thought He would be found there, teaching His disciples things relating to the feast.
3. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, comes there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them, Whom do you seek? 5. They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus says to them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them 6. As soon then as he said to them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7. Then asked he them again, Whom do you seek? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore you seek me, let these go their way: 9. That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Of them which you gave me have I lost none.
GLOSS. The Evangelist had strewn how Judas had found, out the place where Christ was, now he relates how he went there. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, comes there with lanterns and torched and weapons.
AUG. It was a band not of Jews, but of soldiers, granted, we must understand, by the Governor, with legal authority to take the criminal, as He was considered, and crush any opposition that might be made.
CHRYS. But how could they persuade the band? By hiring them; for being soldiers, they were ready to do anything for money.
THEOPHYL. They carry torches and lanterns, to guard against Christ escaping in the dark.
CHRYS. They had often sent elsewhere to take Him, but had not been able. Whence it is evident that He gave Himself up voluntarily; as it follows, Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said to them, Whom do you seek?
THEOPHYL. He asks not because He needed to know, for He knew all things that should come upon Him; but because He wished to show, that though present, they could not see or distinguish Him: Jesus says to them, I am He.
CHRYS. He Himself had blinded their eyes. For that darkness was not the reason is clear, because the Evangelist says that they had lanterns. Though they had not lanterns, however, they should at least have recognized Him by His voice. And if they did not know Him, yet how was it that Judas, who had been with Him constantly also, did not know Him? And Judas also which betrayed Him stood with them. Jesus did all this to show that they could not have taken Him, or even seen Him when He was in the midst of them, had He not permitted it.
AUG. As soon then as He said To them, I am He, they went backward. Where now is the band of soldiers, where the terror and defence of arms? Without a blow, one word struck, drove back, prostrated a crowd fierce with hatred, terrible with arms. For God was hid in the flesh, and the eternal day was so obscured by His human body, that He was sought for with lanterns and torches, to be slain in the darkness. What shall He do when He comes to judge, Who did thus when He was going to be judged? And now even at the present time Christ says by the Gospel, I am He, and an Antichrist is expected by the Jews: to the end that they may go backward, and fall to the ground; because that forsaking heavenly, they desire earthly things.
GREG. Why is this, that the Elect fall on their faces, the reprobate backward? Because every one who falls back, sees not where he falls, whereas he who falls forward, sees where he falls. The wicked when they suffer loss in invisible things, are said to fall backward, because they do not see what is behind them: but the righteous, who of their own accord cast themselves down in temporal things, in order that they may rise in spiritual, fall as it were upon their faces, when with fear and repentance they humble themselves with their eyes open.
CHRYS. Lastly, lest any should say that He had encouraged the Jews to kill Him, in delivering Himself into their hands, He says every thing that is possible to reclaim them. But when they persisted in their malice, and showed themselves inexcusable then He gave Himself up into their hands: Then asked He them again, Whom do you seek? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am He.
AUG. They had heard at the first, I am He, but had not understood it; because He who could do whatever He would, willed not that they should. But had He never permitted Himself to be taken by them, they would not have done indeed what they came to do; but neither would He what He came to do. So now having strewn His power to them when they wished to take Him and could not, He lets them seize Him, that they might be unconscious agent, of His will; If you seek Me, let these go their way.
CHRYS. As if to say, Though you seek Me, you have nothing to do with these: lo, I give Myself up: thus even to the last hour does He show His love for His own.
AUG. He commands His enemies, and they do what He commands; they permit them to go away, whom He would not have design.
CHRYS. The Evangelist, to show that it was not their design to do this, but that His power did it, adds, That the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, Of them which you have given Me, have I lost none. He had said this with reference not to temporal, but to eternal death: the Evangelist however understands the word of temporal death also.
AUG. But were the disciples never to die? Why then would He lose them, even if they died then? Because they did not yet believe in Him in a saving way.
10. 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. 11. Then said Jesus to Peter, Put up your sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?
CHRYS. Peter trusting to these last words of our Lord’s, and to what He had just done, assaults those who came to take Him: Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant. But how, commanded as he had been to have neither scrip, nor two garments, had he a sword? Perhaps he had foreseen this occasion, and provided one.
THEOPHYL. Or, he had got one for sacrificing the lamb, and carried it away with him from the Supper.
CHRYS. But how could he, who had been forbidden ever to strike on the cheek, be a murderer? Because what he had been forbidden to do was to avenge himself, but here he was not avenging himself, but his Master. They were not however yet perfect: afterwards you shall see Peter beaten with stripes, and bearing it humbly. And cut off his right ear: this seems to show the impetuosity of the Apostle; that he struck at the head itself.
AUG. The servant’s name was Malchus; John is the only Evangelist who mentions the servant’s name; as Luke is the only one who mentions that our Lord touched the ear and healed him.
CHRYS. He wrought this miracle both to teach us, that we ought to do good to those who suffer and to manifest His power. The Evangelist gives the name, that those who then read it might have the opportunity of inquiring into the truth of the account. And he mentions that he was the servant of the high priest, because in addition to the miracle of the cure itself, this shows that it was performed upon one of those who came to take Him, and who shortly after struck Him on the face.
AUG. The name Malchus signifies, about to reign. What then does the ear cut off for our Lord, and healed by our Lord denote, but the abolition of the old, and the creating of a new, hearing in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter? To whomsoever this is given, who can doubt that he will reign with Christ? But he was a servant too, has reference to that oldness, which generated to bondage: the cure figures liberty.
THEOPHYL. Or, the cutting off of the high priest’s servant’s right ear is a type of the people’s deafness, of which the chief priests partook most strongly: the restoration of the ear, of ultimate reenlightenment of the understanding of the Jews, at the coming of Elias.
AUG. Our Lord condemned Peter’s act, and forbade him proceeding further: Then said Jesus to Peter, Put up your sword into the sheath. He was to be admonished to have patience: and this was written for our learning.
CHRYS. He not only restrained Him however by threats, but consoled him also at the same time: The cup that My Father gives Me, shall I not drink it? Whereby He shows that it was not by their power, but by His permission, that this had been done, and that He did not oppose God, but was obedient even to death.
THEOPHYL. In that He calls it a cup, He shows how pleasing and acceptable death for the salvation of men was to Him.
AUG. The cup being given Him by the Father, is the same with what the Apostle says, Who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. But the Giver of this cup and the Drinker of it are the same, as the same Apostle says, Christ loved us, and gave Himself for us.
12. Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13. And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
THEOPHYL. Every thing having been done that could be to dissuade the Jews, and they refusing to take warning, He suffered Himself to be delivered into their hands: Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus.
AUG. They took Him Whom they did not draw nigh to; nor understood that which is written in the Psalms, Draw nigh to Him, and be you lightened. For had they thus drawn nigh to Him, they would have taken Him, not to kill Him, but to be in their hearts. But now that they take Him the way they do, they go backward. It follows, and bound Him, Him by Whom they ought to have wished to be loosed. And perhaps there were among them some who, afterwards delivered by Him, exclaimed, you have broken My chains asunder. But after that they had bound Jesus, it then appears most clearly that Judas had betrayed Him not for a good, but a most wicked purpose: And led Him away to Annas first.
CHRYS. In exultation, to show what they had done, as if they were raising a trophy.
AUG. Why they did so, he tells us immediately after: For he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Matthew, in order to shorten the narrative, says that He was led to Caiaphas; because He was led to Annas first, as being the father in law of Caiaphas. So that we must understand that Annas wished to act Caiaphas’s part.
BEDE. In order that, while our Lord was condemned by his colleague, he might not be guiltless, though his crime was less. Or perhaps his house lay in the way, and they were obliged to pass by it. Or it was the design of Providence, that they who were allied in blood, should be associated in guilt. That Caiaphas however was high priest for that year sounds contrary to the law, which ordained that there be only one high priest, and made the office hereditary. But the pontificate had now been abandoned to ambitious men.
ALCUIN. Josephus relates that this Caiaphas bought the high priesthood for this year. No wonder then if a wicked high priest judged wickedly. A man who was advanced to the priesthood by avarice would keep himself there by injustice.
CHRYS. That no one however might be disturbed at the sound of the chains, the Evangelist reminds them of the prophecy that His death would be the salvation of the world: Now Caiaphas was he which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. Such is the overpowering force of truth, that even its enemies echo it.
15. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. 16. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known to the high priest, and spoke to her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 17. Then says the damsel that kept the door to Peter, Are not you also one of this man’s disciples? He said, I am not. 18. And the servants and officers stood there, who a made a fire of coals, for it was cold: and who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
AUG. The temptation of Peter, which took place in the midst of the contumelies offered to our Lord, is not placed by all in the same order. Matthew and Mark put the contumelies first, the temptation of Peter afterwards; Luke the temptation first, the contumelies after. John begins with the temptation: And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple.
ALCUIN. He followed his Master out of devotion, though afar off, on account of fear.
AUG. Who that other disciple was we cannot hastily decide, as his name is not told us. John however is accustomed to signify himself by this expression, with the addition of, whom Jesus loved. Perhaps therefore he is the one.
CHRYS. He omits his own name out of humility: though he is relating an act of great virtue, how that he followed when the rest fled. He puts Peter before himself, and then mentions himself, in order to show that he was inside the hall, and therefore related what took place there with more certainty than the other Evangelists could. That disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. This he mentions not as a boast, but in order to diminish his own merit, in having been the only one who entered with Jesus. It is accounting for the act in another way, than merely by greatness of mind. Peter’s love took him as far as the palace, but his fear prevented him entering in: But Peter stood at the door without.
ALCUIN. He stood without, as being about to deny his Lord. He was not in Christ, who dared not confess Christ.
CHRYS. But that Peter would have entered the palace, if he had been permitted, appears by what immediately follows: Then went out that other disciple who was known to the high priest, and spoke to her who kept the doors, and brought in Peter. He did not bring him in himself, because he kept near Christ. It follows: Then says the damsel that kept the door to Peter, Are not you also one of this Man’s s disciples? He says, I am not. What say you, O Peter? Did you not say before, I will lay down my life for your sake? What then had happened, that you give way even when the damsel asks you? It was not a soldier who asked you, but a mean porteress. Nor said she, Are you this Deceiver’s disciple, but, this Man’s: an expression of pity. Are not you also, she says, because John was inside.
AUG. But what wonder, if God foretold truly, man presumed falsely. Respecting this denial of Peter we should remark, that Christ is not only denied by him, who denies that He is Christ, but by him also who denies himself to be a Christian. For the Lord did not say to Peter, you shall deny that you art My disciple, but, you shall deny Me. He denied Him then, when he denied that he was His disciple. And what was this but to deny that he was a Christian? How many afterwards, even boys and girls, were able to despise death, confess Christ, and enter courageously into the kingdom of heaven; which he who received the keys of the kingdom, was now unable to do? Wherein we see the reason for His saying above, Let these go their way, for of those which you hast given Me, have I lost none. If Peter had gone out of this world immediately after denying Christ, He must have been lost.
CHRYS. Therefore did Divine Providence permit Peter first to fall, in order that he might be less severe to sinners from the remembrance of his own fall. Peter, the teacher and master of the whole world, sinned, and obtained pardon. that judges might thereafter have that rule to go by in dispensing pardon. For this reason I suppose the priesthood was not given to Angels; because, being without sin themselves, they would punish sinners without pity. Passible man is placed over man, in order that remembering his own weakness, he may be merciful to others.
THEOPHYL. Some however foolishly favor Peter, so far as to say that he denied Christ, because he did not wish to be away from Christ, and he knew, they say, that if he confessed that he was one of Christ’s disciples, he would be separated from Him, and would no longer have the liberty of following and seeing his beloved Lord; and therefore pretended to be one of the servants, that his sad countenance might not be perceived, and so exclude him: And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals, and warmed themselves; and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
AUG. It was not winter, and yet it was cold, as it often is at the vernal equinox.
GREG. The fire of love was smothered in Peter’s breast, and he was warming himself before the coals of the persecutors, i.e. with the love of this present life, whereby his weakness was increased.
19. The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20. Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. 21. Why do you ask me? ask them which heard me, what I have said to them: behold, they know what I said.
CHRYS. As they could bring no charge against Christ, they asked Him of His disciples: The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples; perhaps where they were, and on what account He had collected them, he wished to prove that he was a seditious and factious person whom no one attended to, except His own disciples.
THEOPHYL. He asks Him moreover of His doctrine, what it was, whether opposed to Moses an the law, that he might take occasion thereby to put Him to death as an enemy of God.
ALCUIN. He does not ask in order to know the truth, but to find out some charge against Him, on which to deliver Him to the Roman Governor to be condemned. But our Lord so tempers His answer, as neither to conceal the truth, nor yet to appear to defend Himself: Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
AUG. There is a difficulty here not to be passed over: if He did not speak openly even to His disciples, but only promised that He would do so at some time, how was it that He spoke openly to the world? He spoke more openly to His disciples afterwards, when they had withdrawn from the crowd; for He then explained His parables, the meaning of which He concealed from the others. When He says then, I spoke openly to the world, He must be understood to mean, w within the hearing of many. So in one sense He spoke openly, i.e. in that many heard Him; in another sense not openly, i.e. in that they did not understand Him. His speaking apart with His disciples was not speaking in secret; for how could He speak in secret before the multitude, especially when that small number of His disciples were to make known what He said to a much larger?
THEOPHYL. He refers here to the prophecy of Esaias; I have not spoken in, secret, in a dark place of the earth.
CHRYS. Or, He spoke in secret, but not, as these thought, from fear, or to excite sedition; but only when what He said was above the understanding of the many. To establish the matter, however, upon superabundant evidence, He adds, Why ask you Me? ask them which heard Me what I said to them; behold, they know what I said to them: as if He said, you ask Me of My disciples; ask My enemies, who lie in wait for Me. These are the words of one who was confident of the truth of what He said: for it is incontrovertible evidence, when enemies are called in as witnesses.
AUG. For what they had beard and not understood was not of such a kind, as that they could justly turn it against Him. And as often as they tried by questioning to find out some charge against Him, He so replied as to blunt all their stratagems, and refute their calumnies.
22. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answer you the high priest so? 23. Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite you me? 24. Now Annas had sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
THEOPHYL. When Jesus had appealed to the testimony of the people by, an officer, wishing to clear himself, and show that he was not one of those who admired our Lord, struck Him: And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answer you the high priest so?
AUG. This shows that Annas was the high priest, for this was before He was sent to Caiaphas. And Luke in the beginning of his Gospel says, that Annas and Caiaphas were both high priests.
ALCUIN. Here is fulfilled the prophecy, I gave my cheek to the smiters. Jesus, though struck unjustly, replied gently: Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite you Me?
THEOPHYL. As if to say, If you have any fault to find with what I have said, show it; if you have not, why do you rage? Or thus: If I taught any thing unadvisedly, when I taught in the synagogues, give proof of it to the high priest I but if taught aright, so that even you officers admired, why smite you Me, Whom before you admired?
AUG. What can be truer, gentler, kinder, than this answer? He Who received the blow on the face neither wished for him who struck it that fire from heaven should consume him, or the earth open its month and swallow him; or a devil seize him; or any other yet more horrible kind of punishment. Yet had not He, by Whom the world was made, power to cause any one of these things to take place, but that He preferred teaching us that patience why which the world is overcome? Some one will ask here, why He did not do what He Himself commanded, i.e. not make this answer, but give the other cheek to the smiter? But what if He did both, both answered gently, and gave, not His check only to the smiter, but His whole body to be nailed to the Cross? And herein He shows, that those precepts of patience are to be performed not by posture of the body, but by preparation of the heart: for it is possible that a man might give his cheek outwardly, and yet be angry at the same time. How much better is it to answer truly, yet gently, and be ready to bear even harder usage patiently.
CHRYS. What should they do then but either disprove, or admit, what He said? Yet this they do not do: it is not a trial they are carrying on, but a faction, a tyranny. Not knowing what to do further, they send Him to Caiaphas: Now Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
THEOPHYL. Thinking that as he was more cunning, he might find out something against Him worthy of death.
AUG. He was the one to whom they were taking Him from the first, as Matthew says; he being the high priest of this year. We must understand that the pontificate was taken between them year by year alternately, and that it was by Caiaphas’s consent that they led Him first to Annas; or that their houses were so situated, that they could not but pass straight by that of Annas.
BEDE. Sent Him bound, not that He was bound now for the first time, for they bound Him when they took Him. They sent Him bound as they had brought Him. Or perhaps He may have been loosed from His bonds for that hour, in order to be examined, after which He was bound again, and sent to Caiaphas.
25. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore to him, Are not you also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 26. One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, said, Did not I see you in the garden with him? 27. Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crowed.
AUG. After the Evangelist has said that they sent Jesus bound from Annas to Caiaphas, he returns to Peter and his three denials, which took place in the house of Annas: And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. He repeats what he had said before.
CHRYS. Or, He means that the once fervid disciple was now too torpid, to move even when our Lord was carried away: strewing thereby how weak man’s nature is, when God forsakes him. Asked again, he again denies: They said therefore to him, Are not you also one of His disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
AUG. Here we find Peter not at the gate, but at the fire, when he denies the second time: so that he must have returned after he had gone out of doors, where Matthew says he was. He did not go out, and another damsel see him on the outside, but another damsel saw him as he was rising to go out, and remarked him, and told those who were by, i.e. those who were standing with her at the fire inside the hall, This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth. He heard this outside, and returned, and swore, I do not know the man. Then John continues: They said therefore to him, Are not you also one of His disciples? which words we suppose to have been said to him when he had come back, and was standing at the fire. And this explanation is confirmed by the fact, that besides the other damsel mentioned by Matthew and Mark in the second denial, there was another person, mentioned by Luke, w ho also questioned him. So John uses the plural. They said therefore to him. And then follows the third denial: One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, says, Did not I see you in the garden with Him? That Matthew and Mark speak of the party who here question Peter in the plural number, whereas Luke mentions only one, and John also, adding that that one was the kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, is easily explained by supposing that Matthew and Mark used the plural number by a common form of speech for the singular; or that one who had observed him most strictly put the question first, and others followed it up, and pressed Peter with more.
CHRYS. But neither did the garden bring back to his memory what he had then said, and the great professions of love he had made: Peter then denied again, and immediately the cock crew.
AUG. Lo, the prophecy of the Physician is fulfilled, the presumption of the sick man demonstrated. That which Peter had said he would do, he had not done. I will lay down my life for your sake, but what our Lord had foretold had come to pass, you shall deny Me thrice.
CHRYS. The Evangelists have all given the same account of the denials of Peter, not with any intention of throwing blame upon him, but to teach us how hurtful it is to trust in self, and not ascribe all to God.
BEDE. Mystically, by the first denial of Peter are denoted those who before our Lord’s Passion denied that He was God, by the second, those who did so after His resurrection. So by the first crowing of the cock His resurrection is signified; by the second, the general resurrection at the end of the world. By the first damsel, who obliged Peter to deny, is denoted lust, by the second, carnal delight: by one or more servants, the devils who persuade men to deny Christ.
28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover. 29. Pilate then went out to them, and said, What accusation bring you against this man? 30. They answered and said to him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up to you. 31. Then said Pilate to them, Take you him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. 32. That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die.
AUG. The Evangelist returns to the part where he had left off, in order to relate Peter’s denial: Then led they Jesus to Caiaphas to the hall of judgment: to Caiaphas from his colleague and father in law Annas, as has been said. But If to Caiaphas, how to the praetorium, which was the place where the governor Pilate resided;
BEDE. The praetorium is the place where the praetor sat. Praetors were called prefects and preceptors, because they issue decrees.
AUG. Where then for some urgent reason Caiaphas proceeded from the house of Annas, where both had been sitting, to the praetorium of the governor, and left Jesus to the hearing of his father in law: or Pilate had established the praetorium in the house of Caiaphas, which was large enough to afford a separate lodging to its owner, and the governor at the same time.
AUG. According to Matthew, When the morning came, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate. But He was to have been led to Caiaphas at first. How is it then that He was brought to him so late? The truth is, now He was going as it were a committed criminal, Caiaphas having already determined on His death. And He was to be given up to Pilate immediately. And it was early.
CHRYS. He was led to Caiaphas before the cock crowed, but early in the morning to Pilate. Whereby the Evangelist shows, that all that night of examination, ended in proving nothing against Him; and that He was sent to Pilate in consequence. But leaving what passed then to the other Evangelists, he goes to what followed.
AUG. And they themselves entered not into the judgment hall: i.e. into that part of the house which Pilate occupied, supposing it to be the house of Caiaphas. Why they did not enter is next explained: Lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.
CHRYS For the Jews were then celebrating the passover; He Himself celebrated it one day before, reserving His own death for the sixth day; on which day the old passover was kept. Or, perhaps, the passover means the whole season.
AUG. The days of unleavened breed were beginning; during which time it was defilement to enter the house of a stranger.
ALCUIN. The passover was strictly the fourteenth day of the month, the day on which the lamb was killed in the evening: the seven days following were called the days of unleavened bread, in which nothing leavened ought to be found in their houses. Yet we find the day of the passover reckoned among the days of unleavened bread: Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the passover? And here also in like manner: That they might eat the passover; the passover here signifying not the sacrifice of the lamb, which took place the fourteenth day at evening, but the great festival which was celebrated on the fifteenth day, after the sacrifice of the lamb. Our Lord, like the rest of the Jews, kept the passover on the fourteenth day: on the fifteenth day, when the great festival was held, He was crucified. His immolation however began on the fourteenth day, from the time that He was taken in the garden.
AUG. O impious blindness! They feared to be defiled by the judgment hall of a foreign prefect, to shed the blood of an innocent brother they feared not. For that He Whom they killed was the Lord and Giver of life, their blindness saved them from knowing
THEOPHYL. Pilate however proceeds in a more gentle way: Pilate then went out to them.
BEDE. It was the custom of the Jews when they condemned any one to death, to notify it to the governor, by delivering the man bound.
CHRYS. Pilate however seeing Him bound, and such numbers conducting Him, supposed that they had not unquestionable evidence against Him, so proceeds to ask the question : And said, What accusation bring you against this Man? For it was absurd, he said, to take the trial out of his hands, and yet give him the punishment. They in reply bring forward no positive charge but only their own conjectures: They answered and said to him, If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to you.
AUG. Ask the freed from unclean spirits, the blind who saw, the dead who came to life again, and, what is greater than all, the fools who were made wise, and let them answer, whether Jesus was a malefactor. But they spoke, of whom He had Himself prophesied in the Psalms, They rewarded Me evil for good.
AUG. But is not this account contradictory to Luke’s, who mentions certain positive charges: And they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King. According to John, the Jews seem to have been unwilling to bring actual charges, in order that Pilate might condemn Him simply on their authority, asking no questions, but taking it for granted that if He was delivered up to him, He was certainly guilty. Both accounts are however compatible. Each Evangelist only inserts what he thinks sufficient. And John’s account implies that some charges had been made, when it comes to Pilate’s answer: Then said Pilate to them, Take you Him, and judge Him according to your law.
THEOPHYL. As if to say, Since you will only have such a trial as will suit you, and are proud, as if you never did any thing profane, take you Him, and condemn Him; I will not be made a judge for such a purpose.
ALCUIN. Or as if he said, you who have the law, know what the law judges concerning such: do what you know to be just. The Jews therefore said to him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.
AUG. But did not the law command not to spare malefactors, especially deceivers such as they thought Him? We must understand them however to mean, that the holiness of the day which the’ were beginning to celebrate, made it unlawful to put any man to death. Have you then so lost your understanding by your wickedness, that you think yourselves free from the pollution of innocent blood, because you e deliver it to be shed by another?
CHRYS. Or, they were not allowed by the Roman law to put Him to death themselves. Or, Pilate having said, Judge Him according to your law, they reply, It is not lawful for us: His sin is not a Jewish one, He has not sinned according to our law: His offense is political, He calls Himself a King. Or they wished to have Him crucified, to add infamy to death: they not being allowed to put to death in this way themselves. They put to death in another way, as we see in the stoning of Stephen: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He spoke, signifying what death He should die. Which was fulfilled in that He was crucified, or in that He was put to death by Gentiles as well as Jews.
AUG. As we read in Mark, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered to the chief priests, and to the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles. Pilate again was a Roman, and was sent to the government of Judea, from Rome. That this saying of Jesus then might be fulfilled, i.e. that He might be delivered to and killed by the Gentiles, they would not accept Pilate’s offer, but said, If is not lawful for us to put any man to death.
33. Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him, Are you the King of the Jews? 34. Jesus answered him, Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of me? 35. Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me: what have you done? 36. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from here. 37. Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, you say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. 38. Pilate says to him, What is truth?
CHRYS. Pilate, wishing to rescue Him from the hatred of the c Jews, protracted the trial a long time. Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall, and called Jesus.
THEOPHYL. i.e. Apart, because he had a strong suspicion that He was innocent, and thought he could examine Him more accurately, away from the crowd: and said to Him, Are you the King of the Jews?
ALCUIN. Wherein Pilate shows that the Jews had charged Him with calling Himself King of the Jews.
CHRYS. Or Pilate had heard this by report; and as the Jews had no charge to bring forward, began to examine Him himself with respect to the things commonly reported of Him. Jesus answered him, Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of Me?
THEOPHYL. He intimates here that Pilate was judging blindly and indiscreetly: If you say this thing of yourself, He says, bring forward proofs of My rebellion; if you have heard it from others, make regular inquiry into it.
AUG. Our Lord knew indeed both what He Himself asked, and what Pilate would answer; but He wished it to be written down n for our sakes.
CHRYS. He asks not in ignorance, but in order to draw from Pilate himself an accusation against the Jews: Pilate answered Bred, Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me.
AUG. He rejects the imputation that He could have said it of Himself; Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me: adding, what have you done? Whereby he shows that this charge had been brought against Him, for it is as much as to say, If you deny that you are a King, what have you done to be delivered up to me? As if it were no wonder that He should be delivered up, if He called Himself a King.
CHRYS. He then tries to bring round the mind of Pilate, not a very bad man, by proving to him, that He is not a mere man, but God, and the Son of God; and overthrowing all suspicion of His having aimed at a tyranny, which Pilate was afraid of, Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world.
AUG. This is what the good Master wished to teach us. But first it was necessary to show the falsity of the notions of both Jews and Gentiles as to His kingdom, which Pilate had heard of; as if it meant that He aimed at unlawful power; a crime punishable with death, and this kingdom were a subject of jealousy to the ruling power, and to be guarded against as likely to be hostile either to the Romans or Jews. Now if our Lord had answered immediately Pilate’s question, He would have seemed to have been answering not the Jews, but the Gentiles only. But after Pilate’s answer, what He says is an answer to both Gentiles and Jews: as if He said, Men, i.e. Jews and Gentiles, I hinder not your dominion in this world. What more would you have? Come by faith to the kingdom which is not of this world. For what is His kingdom, but they that believe in Him, of whom He says, you are not of the world: although He wished that they should be in the world. In the same way, here He does not say, My kingdom is not in this world; but, is not of this world. Of the world are all men, who created by God are born of the corrupt race of Adam. All that are born again in Christ, are made a kingdom not of this world. Thus hath God taken us out of the power of darkness, and translated us to the kingdom of His dear Son.
CHRYS. Or He means that He does not derive His kingdom from the same source that earthly kings do; but that He has his sovereignty from above; inasmuch as He is not mere man, but far greater and more glorious than man: If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews. Here He shows the weakness of an earthly kingdom, has its strength from its servants, whereas that higher kingdom is sufficient to itself, and wanting in nothing. And if His kingdom was thus the greater of the two, it follows that He was taken of His own will, and delivered up Himself.
AUG. After showing that His kingdom was not of this world, He adds, But now My kingdom is not from here. He does not say, Not here, for His kingdom is here to the end of the world, having within it the tares mixed with the wheat until the harvest. But yet it is not from here, since it is a stranger in the world.
THEOPHYL. Or He says, from here, not, here; because He reigns in the world, and carries on the government of it, and disposes all things according to His will; but His kingdom is not from below, but from above, and before all ages.
CHRYS. Heretics infer from these words that our Lord is a different person from the Creator of the world. But when He says, My kingdom is not from here, He does not deprive the world of His government and superintendence, but only shows that His government is not human and corruptible. Pilate therefore said to Him, Are you a King then? Jesus answered, you say that I am a King.
AUG. He did not fear to confess Himself a King, but so replied as neither to deny that He was, nor yet to confess Himself a King in such sense as that His kingdom should be supposed to be of this w world. He says, you say, meaning, you being carnal say it carnally. He continues, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that 1 should bear witness to the truth. The pronoun here, in hoc, must not be dwelt long on as if it meant, in hâc re, but shortened, as if it stood, ad hoc, natus sum, as the next words are, ad hoc veni in mundum. Wherein it is evident He alludes to His birth in the flesh not to that divine birth which never had beginning.
THEOPHYL. Or, to Pilate’s question whether He w as a King our Lord answers, To this end was I born, i.e. to be a King, That I am born from a King. proves that I am a King.
CHRYS. If then He was a King by birth, He has nothing which He has not received from another. For this I came, that I should bear witness to the truth, i.e. that I should make all men believe it. We must observe how He shows His humility here: when they accused Him as a malefactor, He bore it in silence; but when He is asked of His kingdom, then He talks with Pilate, instructs him, and raises his mind to higher things. That I should bear witness to the truth shows that He had no crafty purpose in what He did.
AUG But when Christ bears witness to the truth, He bears witness to Himself; as He said above, I am the truth. But inasmuch as all men have not faith, He adds, Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice: hears, that is, with the inward ear; obeys My voice, believes Me. Every one that is of the truth, has reference to the grace by which He calls according to His purpose. For as regards the nature in which we are created, since the truth created all, all are of the truth. But it is not all to whom it is given the truth to obey the truth. For had He even said, Everyone one that hears My voice is of the truth, it still would be thought that such were of the truth, because they obeyed the truth But He does not say this, but Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice. A man then is not of the truth, because he hears His voice, but hears His voice because he is of the truth. This grace is conferred upon him by the truth.
CHRYS. These words have an effect upon Pilate, persuade him to become a hearer, and elicit from him the short inquiry, What is truth had almost said to Him, What is truth?
THEOPHYL. For it had almost vanished from the world, and become unknown In consequence of the general unbelief.
38. And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and says to them, I find in him no fault at all. 39. But you have a custom, that I should release to you one at the passover: will you therefore that release to you the King of the Jews? 40. Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
AUG. After Pilate had asked, What is truth? he remembered a custom of the Jews, of releasing one prisoner at the passover, and did not wait for Christ’s answer, for fear to losing this chance of saving Him, which he much wished to do. And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews.
CHRYS. He knew that this question required time to answer, and it was necessary immediately to rescue Him from the fury of the Jews. So he went out.
ALCUIN. Or, he did not wait to hear the reply, because he was unworthy to hear. And, says to them, I find no fault in Him.
CHRYS. He did not say, He has sinned and is worthy, of death; yet release Him at the feast; but acquitting Him in the first place, he does more than he need do, and asks it as a favor, our, that, if they are unwilling to let Him go as innocent, they will at any rate allow Him the benefit of the season: But you have a custom, that I should release one to you at the passover.
BEDE. This custom was not commanded in the law, but had been handed down by tradition from the old fathers, viz. that in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt, they should release a prisoner at the passover. Pilate tries to persuade them: Will you therefore that I release to you the King of the Jews.
AUG. He could not dismiss the idea from his mind, that Jesus was King of the Jews; as if the Truth itself, whom he had just asked what it was, had inscribed it there as a title.
THEOPHYL. Pilate is judicious in replying that Jesus had done nothing wrong, and that there was no reason to suspect Him of aiming at a kingdom. For they might be sure that if He set Himself up as a King, and a rival of the Roman empire, a Roman prefect would not release Him. When then He says, Will you therefore that I release to you the King of the Jews? he clears Jesus of all guilt, and mocks the Jews, as if to say, Him whom you accuse of thinking Himself a King, the same I bid you release: He does no such thing.
AUG. Upon this they cried out: Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. now Barabbas was a robber. We blame you not, O Jews, for releasing a guilty man at the passover, but for killing an innocent one. Yet unless this were done, it were ere not the true passover.
BEDE. Inasmuch then as they abandoned the Savior, and sought out a robber, to this day the devil practices his robberies upon them.
ALCUIN. The name Barabbas signifies, The son of their master; i.e. the devil; his master in his wickedness, the Jews’ in their perfidy.
1. Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe. 3. And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4. Pilate therefore went forth again, and says to them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in him. 5. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate says to them, Behold the man!
AUG. When the Jews had cried out that they did not wish Jesus to be released on account of the passover, but Barabbas, Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. Pilate seems to have done this for no reason but to satisfy the malice of the Jews with some punishment short of death. On which account he allowed his band to do what follows, or perhaps even commanded them. The Evangelist only says however that the soldiers did so, not that Pilate commanded them: And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote Him with their hands.
CHRYS Pilate having called Him the King of the Jews, they put the royal dress upon Him, in mockery.
BEDE. For instead of a diadem, they put upon Him a crown of thorns, and a purple robe to represent the purple robe which kings wear. Matthew says, a scarlet robe, but scarlet and purple are different names for the same color. And though the soldiers did this in mockery, yet to us their acts have a meaning. For by the crown of thorns is signified the taking of our sins upon Him, the thorns which the earth of our body brings forth. And the purple robe signifies the flesh crucified. For our Lord is robed in purple, wherever He is glorified by the triumphs of holy martyrs.
CHRYS. It was not at the command of the governor that they did this, but in order to gratify the Jews. For neither were they commanded by him to go to the garden in the night, but the Jews gave them money to go. He bore however all these insults silently. Yet do you, when you hear of them keep stedfastly in your mind the King of the whole earth, and Lord of Angels bearing all these contumelies in silence, and imitate His example.
AUG. Thus were fulfilled what Christ had prophesied of Himself; thus were martyrs taught to suffer all that the malice of persecutors could inflict; thus that kingdom which was not of this world conquers the proud world, not by fierce fighting, but by patient suffering.
CHRYS. That the Jews might cease from their fury, seeing Him thus insulted, Pilate brought out Jesus before them crowned: Pilate therefore went forth again and says to them, Behold, I bring Him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him,.
AUG. Hence it is apparent that these things were not done without Pilate’s knowledge, whether he commanded, or only permitted them, for the reason we have mentioned, viz. that His enemies seeing the insults heaped upon Him, might not thirst any longer for His blood: Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe: not the insignia of empire, but the marks of ridicule. And Pilate says to them, Behold, the man as if to say, If you envy the King, spare the outcast ignominy overflows, let envy subside.
6. When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate says to them, Take you him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made Himself the Son of God. 8. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid.
AUG. The envy of the Jews does not subside at Christ’s disgraces; yea, rather rises: When the chief priests therefore and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him.
CHRYS. Pilate saw then that it was all in vain: Pilate says to them, Take you Him, and crucify Him. This is the speech of a man abhorring the deed, and urging others to do a deed which he abhors himself. They had brought our, Lord indeed to him that He might be put to death by his sentence, but the very contrary was the result; the governor acquitted Him: For I find no fault in Him. He clears Him immediately from all charges: which shows that he had only permitted the former outrages, to humor the madness of the Jews. But nothing could shame the Jewish hounds: The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by out law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.
AUG. Lo, another greater outbreak of envy. The former was lighter, being only to punish Him for aspiring to a usurpation of the royal power. Yet did Jesus make neither claim falsely; both were true: He was both the Only-begotten Son of God, and the King appointed by God upon the holy hill of Sion. And He would have demonstrated His right to both now, had He not been as patient as He was powerful.
CHRYS. While they disputed with each other, He was silent, fulfilling the prophecy, He opens not His mouth; He was taken from prison and from judgment.
AUG. This agrees: with Luke’s account, We found this fellow perverting the nation, only with the addition of, because He made Himself the Son of God.
CHRYS Then Pilate begins to fear that what had been said might be true, and that he might appear; to be administering justice improperly: When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid.
BEDE. It was not the law that he was afraid of, as he was a stranger: but he was more afraid, lest he should slay the Son of God.
9. And went again into the judgment hall, and say to Jesus, Where are you? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10. Then says Pilate to him, Speak you not to me? know you not that I have power to crucify you, and have power to release you? 11. Jesus answered, you could have no power at all against me, except it were given you from above therefore he that delivered me to you have the greater sin. 12. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him.
CHRYS. Pilate, agitated with fear, begins again examining Him: And went again into the judgment hall, and says to Jesus, Where are you? He no longer asks, What hast you done? But Jesus gave him no answer. For he who had heard, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, and, My kingdom is not from here ought to have resisted, and rescued Him, instead of which he had yielded to the fury of the Jews. Wherefore seeing that he asked questions without object, He answers him no more indeed at other times He was unwilling to give reasons and defend Himself by argument, when His works testified so strongly for Him; thus showing that He came voluntarily to His work.
AUG. In comparing the accounts of the different Evangelists together, we find that this silence was maintained more than once; viz. before the High Priest, before Herod, and before Pilate. So that the prophecy of Him, As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so opened He not His mouth was amply fulfilled. To many indeed of the questions put to, He did reply, but where He did not reply, this comparison of the sheep shows us that His was not a silence of guilt, but of innocence; not of self-condemnation, but of compassion, and willingness to suffer for the sins of others.
CHRYS. He remaining thus silent, Then says Pilate to Him, Speak you not to me? know you not that I have power to crucify you, and have power to release you? See how he condemns himself. If all depends upon thee, why, when you find no fault of offence, do you not acquit Him? Jesus answered, you could have no power at all against Me, except it were given you from above: strewing that this judgment was accomplished not in the common and natural order of events, but mysteriously. But lest we should think that Pilate was altogether free from blame, He adds, Therefore he that has delivered Me to you has the greater sin. But if it was given, you wilt say, neither he nor they were liable to blame you speak foolishly. Given means permitted; as if He said, He has permitted this to be done; but you are not on that account free from guilt.
AUG. So He answers. When He was silent, He was silent not as guilty or crafty, but as a sheep: when He answered, He taught as a shepherd. Let us hear what He says; which is that, as He teaches by His Apostle, There is no power but of God; and that he that through envy delivers an innocent person to the higher power, who puts to death from fear of a greater power, still sins more than that higher power itself. God had given such power to Pilate, as that he was still under Caesar’s power: wherefore our Lord says, you could have no power at all against Me, i.e. no power however small, unless it, whatever it was, was given you from above. And as that is not so great as to give you complete liberty of action, therefore he that delivered Me to you has the greater sin. He delivered Me into your power from envy, but you will exercise that power from fear. And though a man ought not to kill another even from fear, especially an innocent man, yet to do so from envy is much worse. Wherefore our Lord does not say, He that delivered Me to you has the sin, as if the other had none, but, has the greater sin, implying that the other also had some.
THEOPHYL. He that delivered Me to you, i.e. Judas, or the multitude. When Jesus had boldly replied, that unless He gave Himself up, and the Father consented, Pilate could have had no power over Him, Pilate was the more anxious to release Him; And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him.
AUG. Pilate had sought from the first to release: so we must understand, from thence, to mean from this cause, i.e. lest he should incur guilt by putting to death an innocent person.
12. But the Jews cried out, saying, If you let this man go, you are not Caesar’s friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. 13. 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, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he says to the Jews, Behold your King! 15. But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate says to them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16a. Then delivered he him therefore to them to be crucified.
AUG. The Jews thought they could alarm Pilate more by the mention of Caesar, than by telling him of their law, as they had done above; We have a law, and by that law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. So it follows. But the Jews cried out, saying, you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend; whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.
CHRYS. But how can you prove this? By His purple, His diadem, His chariot, His guards? Did He not wall; about with His twelve disciples only, and every thing mean about Him, food, dress, and habitation?
AUG. Pilate was before afraid not of violating their law by sparing Him, but of killing the Son of God, in killing Him. But he could not treat his master Caesar with the same contempt with which he treated the law of a foreign nation: 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, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
CHRYS He went out to examine into the matter: his sitting down on the judgment seat shows this.
GLOSS. The tribunal is the seat of the judge, as the throne is the seat of the king, and the chair the seat of the doctor.
BEDE. Lithostraton, i.e. laid with stone; the word signifies pavement. It was an elevated place. And it was the preparation of the Passover.
ALCUIN. Parasceve, i.e. preparation. This was a name for the sixth day, the day before the Sabbath, on which they prepared what was necessary for the Sabbath; as we read, On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread. As man was made on the sixth day, and God rested on the seventh; so Christ suffered on the sixth day, and rested in the grave on the seventh. And was about the sixth hour.
AUG. Why then does Mark say, And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him? Because on the third hour our Lord was crucified by the tongues of the Jews, on the sixth by the hands of the soldiers. So that we must understand that the fifth hour was passed, and the sixth began, when Pilate sat down on the judgment seat, (about the sixth hour, John says,) and that the crucifixion, and all that took place in connection with it, filled up the rest of the hour, from which time up to the ninth hour there was darkness, according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But since the Jews tried to transfer the guilt of putting Christ to death from themselves to the Romans, i.e. to Pilate and his soldiers, Mark, omitting to mention the hour at which He was crucified by the soldiers, has expressly recorded the third hour; in order that it might be evident that not only the soldiers who crucified Jesus on the sixth hour, but the Jews who cried out for His death at the third, were His crucifiers. There is another way of solving this difficulty, viz. that the sixth hour here does not mean the sixth hour of the day; as John does not say, It was about the sixth hour of the day, but, It was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour. Parasceve means in Latin, praeparatio. For Christ our passover, as says the Apostle, is sacrificed for as. The preparation for which passover, counting from the ninth hour of the night, which seems to have been the hour at which the chief priests pronounced upon our Lord’s sacrifice, saying, He is guilty of death, between it and the third hour of the day, when He was crucified, according to Mark, is an interval of six hours, three of the night and three of the day.
THEOPHYL. Some suppose it to be a fault of the transcriber, who for the letter y, three, put s, six.
CHRYS. Pilate, despairing of moving them, did not examine Him, as he intended, but delivered Him up. And he says to the Jews, Behold your King!
THEOPHYL. As if to say, See the kind of Man whom you suspect of aspiring to the throne, a humble person, who cannot have any such design.
CHRYS. A speech that should have softened their rage; but they were afraid of letting Him go, lest He might draw away the multitude again. For the love of rule is a heavy crime, and sufficient to condemn a man. They cried out, Away with Him, away with Him. And they resolved upon the most disgraceful kind of death, Crucify Him, in order to prevent all memorial of Him afterwards.
AUG. Pilate still tries to overcome their apprehensions on Caesar’s account; Pilate says to them, Shall I crucify your King? He tries to shame them into doing what he had not been able to soften them into by putting Christ to shame. The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
CHRYS. They voluntarily brought themselves under punishment, and God gave them up to it. With one accord they denied the kingdom of God, and God suffered them to fall into their own condemnation; for they rejected the kingdom of Christ, and called down upon their own heads that of Caesar.
AUG. But Pilate is at last overcome by fear: Then delivered he Him therefore to them to be crucified. For it would be taking part openly against Caesar, if when the Jews declared that they had no king but Caesar, he wished to put another king over them, as he would appear to do if he let go unpunished a Man whom they had delivered to him for punishment on this very ground. It is not however, delivered Him to them to crucify Him, but, to be crucified, i.e. by the sentence and authority of the governor. The Evangelist says, delivered to them, to show that they were implicated in the guilt from which they tried to escape. For Pilate would not have done this except to please them.
16b. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18. Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
GLOSS. By the command of the governor, the soldiers took Christ to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.
AUG. They, i.e. the soldiers, the guards of the governor, as appears more clearly afterwards; Then the soldiers when they had crucified Jesus; though the Evangelist might justly have attributed the whole to the Jews, who were really the authors of what they procured to be done.
CHRYS. They compel Jesus to bear the cross, regarding it as unholy, and therefore avoiding the touch of it themselves. And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified Him. The same was done typically by Isaac, who carried the wood. But then the matter only proceeded as far as his father’s good pleasure ordered, but now it was fully accomplished, for the reality had appeared.
THEOPHYL. But as there Isaac was let go, and a ram offered; so here too the Divine nature remains impassible, but the human, of which the ram was the type, the offspring of that straying ram, was slain. But why does another Evangelist say that they hired Simon to bear the cross?
AUG. Both bore it; first Jesus, as John says, then Simon, as the other three Evangelists say. On first going forth, He bore His own cross.
AUG. Great spectacle, to the profane a laughing-stock, to the pious a mystery. Profaneness sees a King bearing a cross instead of a scepter; piety sees a King bearing a cross, thereon to nail Himself, and afterwards to nail it on the foreheads of kings. That to profane eyes was contemptible, which the hearts of Saints would afterwards glory in; Christ displaying His own cross on His shoulders, and bearing that which was not to be put under a bushel, the candlestick of that candle which was now about to burn.
CHRYS. He carried the badge of victory on His shoulders, was conquerors do. Some say that the place of Calvary was where Adam died and was buried; so that in the very place on where death reigned, there Jesus erected His trophy.
JEROME. An apt connection, and smooth to the ear, but not true. For the place where they cut off the heads of men condemned to death, called in consequence Calvary, was outside the city gates, whereas we read in the book of Jesus the son of Nave, that Adam was buried by Hebron and Arbah.
CHRYS. They crucified Him with the thieves: And two others with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst; thus fulfilling, filling the prophecy, And He was numbered with the transgressors. What they did in wickedness, was a gain to the truth. The devil wished to obscure what was done, but could not. Though three were nailed on the cross, it was evident that Jesus alone did the miracles; and the arts of the devil were frustrated. Nay, they even added to His glory; for to convert a thief on the cross, and bring him into paradise, was no less a miracle than the rending of the rocks.
AUG. Yea, even the cross, if you consider it, was a judgment seat: for the Judge being the middle, one thief, who believed, was pardoned, the other, who mocked, was damned: a sign of what He would once do to the quick and dead, place the one on His right hand, the other on His left.
19. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20. This 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. 21. Then 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. 22. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
CHRYS. As letters are inscribed on a trophy declaring the victory, so Pilate wrote a title on Christ’s cross. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross: thus at once distinguishing Christ from the thieves with Him, and exposing the malice of the Jews in rising up against their King: And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
BEDE. Wherein was strewn that His kingdom was not, as they thought, destroyed, but rather strengthened.
AUG. But was Christ the King of the Jews only? or of the Gentiles too? Of the Gentiles too, as we read in the Psalms, Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Sion; after which it follows, Demand of Me, and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance. So this title expresses a great mystery, viz. that the wild olive-tree was made partaker of the fatness of the olive-tree, not the olive-tree made partaker of the bitterness of the wild olive-tree. Christ then is King of the Jews according to the circumcision not of the flesh, but of the heart; not in the letter, but in the spirit. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city.
CHRYS. It is probable that many Gentiles as well as Jews had come up to the feast. So the title was written in three languages, that all might read it: And it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
AUG. These three were the languages most known there: the Hebrew, on account of being used in the worship of the Jews: the Greek, in consequence of the spread of Greek philosophy: the Latin, from the Roman empire being established every where.
THEOPHYL. The title written in three languages signifies that our Lord was King of the whole world; practical, natural, and spiritual. The Latin denotes the practical, because the Roman empire; was the most powerful, and best managed one; the Greek the physical, the Greeks being the best physical philosophers; and, lastly, the Hebrew the theological, because the Jews had been made the depositories of religious knowledge.
CHRYS. But the Jews grudged our Lord this title: Then 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. For as Pilate wrote it, it was a plain and single declaration that he was King, but the addition of; that he said, made it a charge against Him of petulance and vain glory. But Pilate was firm: Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
AUG. O ineffable working of Divine power even in the hearts of ignorant men. Did not some hidden voice sound from within, and, if we may say so, with clamorous silence, saying to Pilate in the prophetic words of the Psalm, Alter not the inscription of the title? But what say you, you mad priests: will the title be the less true, because Jesus said I am the King of the Jews? If that which Pilate wrote cannot be altered, can that be altered which the Truth spoke? Pilate wrote what he wrote, because our Lord said what He said.
23. Then 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. 24a. They 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 said, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.
Aug. On Pilate giving sentence, the soldiers under his command crucified Jesus: Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His is garments. And yet if we fool to their intentions, their clamors, the Jews were rather the people which crucified Him. On the parting and casting lots for His garment, John gives more circumstances than the other Evangelists. And made four parts, to every soldier a part: whence we see there were four soldiers who executed the governor’s sentence. And also His coat: took, understood They took His coat too. The sentence is brought in so to show that this was the only garment for which they cast lots, the others being divided. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
CHRYS. The Evangelist describes the tunic, to show that it was of an inferior kind, the tunics commonly worn in Palestine being made of two pieces.
THEOPHYL. Others say that they did not weave in Palestine, as we do, the shuttle being driven upwards through the warp; so that among them the woof was not carried upwards but downwards.
AUG. Why they cast lots for it, next appears: They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it whose it should be. It seems then that the other garments were made up of equal parts, as it was not necessary to rend them; the tunic only having to be rent in order to give each an equal share of it; to avoid which they preferred casting lots for it, and one having it all. This answered to the prophecy: That the Scripture might be fulfilled which says, They parted My raiment among them, and for My vesture they did cast lots.
CHRYS. Behold the sureness of prophecy. The Prophet foretold not only what they would part, but what they would not. They parted the raiment, but cast lots for the vesture.
AUG. Matthew in saying, They parted His garments, casting lots, means us to understand the whole division of the garments, including the tunic also for which they cast lots. Luke says the same: They parted His raiment, and cast lots. In parting His garments they came to the tunic, for which they cast lots. Mark is the only one that raises any question: They parted His garments, casting upon them what every man should take: as if they cast lots for all the garments, and not the tunic only. But it is his brevity that creates the difficulty. Casting lots upon them: as if it was, casting lots when they were parting the garments. What every man should take: i.e. who should take the tunic; as if the whole stood thus: Casting lots upon them, who should take the tunic which remained over and above the equal shares, into which the rest of the garments were divided. The fourfold division of our Lord’s garment represents His Church, spread over the four quarters of the globe, and distributed equally, i.e. in concord, to all. The tunic for which they cast lots signifies the unity of all the parts, which is contained in the bond of love. And if love is the more excellent way, above knowledge, and above all other commandments, according to Colossians, Above all things have charity, the garment by which this is denoted, is well said to be woven from above. Through the whole, is added, because no one is void of it, who belongs to that whole, from which the Church Catholic is named. It is without seam again, so that it can never come unsown, and is in one piece, i.e. brings all together into one. By the lot is signified the grace of God: for God elects not with respect to person or merits, but according to His own secrets counsel.
CHRYS. According to some, The tunic without seam, woven from above throughout, is an allegory strewing that He who was crucified was not simply man, but also had Divinity from above.
THEOPHYL. The garment without seam denotes the body of Christ, which was woven from above; for the Holy Ghost came upon the Virgin, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her. This holy body of Christ then is indivisible: for though it be distributed for every one to partake of, and to sanctify the soul and body of each one individually, yet it subsists in all wholly and indivisibly. The world consisting of four elements, the garments of Christ must be understood to represent the visible creation, which the devils divide amongst themselves, as often as they deliver to death the word of God which dwells in us, and by worldly allurements bring us over to their Side.
AUG. Nor let any one say that these things had no good signification, because they were done by wicked men; for if so, what shall we say of the cross itself; For that was made by ungodly men, and yet certainly by it were signified, What is the length, and depth, and breadth, and height, as the Apostle says. Its breadth consists of a cross beam, on which are stretched the hands of Him who hangs upon it. This signifies the breadth of charity, and the good works done therein. Its length consists of a cross beam going to the ground, and signifies perseverance in length of time. The height is the top which rises above the cross beam, and signifies the high end to which all things refer. The depth is that part which is fixed in the ground; there it is hidden, but the whole cross that we see rises from it. Even so all our good works proceed from the depth of God’s incomprehensible grace. But though the cross of Christ only signify what the Apostle said, They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts, how great a good is it? Lastly, what is the sign of Christ, but the cross of Christ? Which sign must be applied to the foreheads of believers, to the water of regeneration, to the oil of chrism, to the sacrifice whereby we are nourished, or none of these is profitable for life.
24b. These things therefore the soldiers did. 25. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he says to his mother, Woman, behold your son! 27. Then says he to the disciple, Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
THEOPHYL. While the soldiers were doing their cruel work, He was thinking anxiously of His mother: These things therefore the soldiers did. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
AMBROSE. Mary the mother of our Lord stood before the cross of her Son. None of the Evangelists hath told me this except John. The others have related how that at our Lord’s Passion the earth quaked, the heaven was overspread with darkness, the sun fled, the thief was taken into paradise after confession. John hath told us, what the others have not, how that from the cross whereon He hung, He called to His mother. He thought it a greater thing to show Him victorious over punishment, fulfilling the offices of piety to His mother, than giving the kingdom of heaven and eternal life to the thief. For if it was religious to give life to the thief, a much richer work of piety it is for a son to honor his mother with such affection. Behold, He says, your son; behold your mother. Christ made His Testament from the cross, and divided the offices of piety between the Mother and the disciples. Our Lord made not only a public, but also a domestic Testament. And this His Testament John sealed a witness worthy of such a Testator. A good testament it was, not of money, but of eternal life, which was not written with ink, but with tile spirit of the living God: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Mary, as became the mother of our Lord, stood before the cross, when the Apostles fled and With pitiful eyes beheld the wounds of her Son. For she looked not on the death of the Hostage, but on the salvation of the world; end perhaps knowing that her Son’s death would bring this salvation, she who had been the habitation of the King, thought that by her death she might add to that universal gift. But Jesus did not need any help for saving the world, as you read in the Psalm, I have been even as a man with no help, free among the dead. He received indeed the affection of a parent, but He did not seek another’s help. Imitate her, you holy matrons, who, as towards here only most beloved Son, has set you an example of such virtue: for you have not sweeter sons, nor did the Virgin seek consolation in again becoming a mother.
JEROME. The Mary which in Mark and Matthew is called the mother of James and Joses was the wife of Alpheus, and sister of Mary the mother of our Lord: which Mary John here designates of Cleophas, either from her father, or family, or for some other reason. She need not be thought a different person, because she is called in one place Mary the mother of James the less, and here Mary of Cleophas, for it is customary in Scripture to give different names to the same person.
CHRYS. Observe how the weaker sex is the stronger; standing by the cross when the disciples fly.
AUG. If Matthew and Mark had not mentioned by name Mary Magdalene, we should have thought that there were two parties, one of which stood far off, and the other near. But how must we account for the same Mary Magdalene and the other women standing afar off, as Matthew and Mark say, and being near the cross, as John says? By supposing that they were within such a distance as to be within sight of our Lord, and yet sufficiently far off to be out of the way of the crowd and Centurion, and soldiers who were immediately about Him. Or, we e may suppose that after our Lord had commended His mother to the disciple, they retired to be out of the way of the crowd, and saw what took place afterwards at a distance: so that those Evangelists who do not mention them till after our Lord’s death, describe them as standing afar off. That some women are mentioned by all alike, others not, makes no matter.
CHRYS. Though there were other women by, He makes no mention of any of them, but only of His mother, to show us that v, e should specially honor our mothers. Our parents indeed, if they actually oppose the truth, are not even to be known: but otherwise we should pay them all attention, and honor them above all the world beside: When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, He says to His mother, Woman, behold your son!
BEDE. By the disciple whom Jesus loved, the Evangelist means himself; not that the others were not loved, but he was loved more intimately on account of his estate of chastity; for a Virgin our Lord called him, and a Virgin he ever remained.
CHRYS. Heavens! what honor does He pay to the disciple; who however conceals his name from modesty. For had he wished to boast, he would have added the reason why he was loved, for there must have been something great and wonderful to have caused that love. This is all He says to John; He does not console his grief, for this was a time for giving consolation. Yet was it no small one to be honored with such a charge, to have the mother of our Lord, in her affliction, committed to his care by Himself on His departure: Then says He to the disciple, Behold your mother!
AUG. This truly is that hour of the which Jesus, when about to change the water into wine, said, Mother, what have I to do with you? Mine hour is not yet come. Then, about to act divinely, He repelled the mother of His humanity, of His infirmity, as if He knew her not: now, suffering humanly, He commends with human affection her of whom He was made man. Here is a moral lesson. The good Teacher shows us by His example how that pious sons should take care of their parents. The cross of the sufferer, is the chair of the Master.
CHRYS. The shameless doctrine of Marcion is refuted here. For if our Lord were not born according to the flesh, and had not a mother, why did He make such provision for her? Observe how imperturbable He is during His crucifixion, talking to the disciple of His mother, fulfilling prophecies, airing good hope to the thief; whereas before His crucifixion, He seemed in fear. The weakness of His nature was strewn there, the exceeding greatness of His power here. He teaches us too herein, not to turn back, because we may feel disturbed at the difficulties before us for when we are once actually under the trial, all will be; light and easy for us.
AUG. He does this to provide as it were another son for His mother in his place; And from that hour that disciple took her to his own. To his own what? Was not John one of those who said, Lo, we have left all, and followed You? He took her then to his own, i. e not to his farm, for he had none, but to his care, for of this he was master.
BEDE. Another reading is, Accepy eam disciplus in suam, his own mother some understand, but to his own care seems better.
28. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst. 29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
AUG. He who appeared man, suffered all these things, He who was God, ordered them: After this Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished; i.e. knowing the prophecy in the Psalms, And when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink, said, I thirst: As if to say, you have not done all give me yourselves: for the Jews were themselves vinegar having degenerated from the wine of the Patriarchs and the Prophets. Now there was a vessel full of vinegar: they had drunk from the wickedness of the world, as from a full vessel, and their heart was deceitful, as it were a sponge full of caves and crooked hiding places: And they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
CHRYS. They were not softened at all by what they saw, but were the more enraged, and gave Him the cup to drink, as they did to criminals, i.e. with a hyssop.
AUG. The hyssop around which they put the sponge full of vinegar, being a mean herb, taken to purge the breast, represents the humility of Christ, which they hemmed in and thought they had circumvented. For we are made clean by Christ s humility. Nor let it perplex you that they were able to reach His mouth when He was such a height above the ground: for we read in the other Evangelists, what John omits to mention, that the sponge was put upon a reed.
THEOPHYL. Some say that the hyssop is put here for reed, its leaves being like a reed. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished.
AUG. viz. what prophecy had foretold so long before.
BEDE. It may be asked here, why it is said, When Jesus had received the vinegar, when another Evangelists says, He would not drink. But this is easily settled. He did not receive the vinegar, to drink it, but fulfill the prophecy.
AUG. Then as there was nothing left Him to do before He died, it follows, And He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost, only dying when He had nothing more to do, like Him who had to lay down His life, and to take it up again.
GREG. Ghost is put here for soul: for had the Evangelist meant any thing else by it, though the ghost departed, in the soul might still have remained.
CHRYS. He did not bow His head because He gave up the ghost, but He gave up the ghost because at that moment He bowed His head. Whereby the Evangelist intimates that He was Lord of all.
AUG. For whoever had such power to sleep when he wished, as our Lord had to die when He wished? What power must He have, for our good or evil, Who had such power dying?
THEOPHYL. Our Lord gave up His ghost to God the Father, showing that the souls of the saints do not remain in the tomb, but go into the hand of the Father of all while sinners are reserved - for the place of punishment, i.e. hell.
31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath clay, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him, 33. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs: 34. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water. 35. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knows that he says true, that you might believe. 36. For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37. And again another Scripture says, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
CHRYS. The Jews who strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel after their audacious wickedness, reason scrupulously about the day: The Jews therefore because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath.
BEDE. Parasceue, i.e. preparation: the sixth day was so called because the children of Israel prepared twice the number of loaves on that day. For that Sabbath day was an high day, i. e. on account of the feast of the passover. Besought Pilate that their legs might be broken.
AUG. Not in order to take away the legs, but to cause death, that they might be taken down from the cross, and the feast day not be defiled by the sight of such horrid torments.
THEOPHYL. For it was commanded in the Law that the sun should not set on the punishment of anyone; or they were unwilling to appear tormentors and homicides on a feast day.
CHRYS. How forcible is truth: their own devices it is that accomplish the fulfillment of prophecy: Then came the soldiers and broke the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, an saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side.
THEOPHYL. To please the Jews, they pierce Christ, thus insulting even His lifeless body. But the insult issues in a miracle: for a miracle it is that blood should flow from a dead body.
AUG. The Evangelist has expressed himself cautiously; not struck, or wounded, but opened His side: whereby was opened the gate of life, from whence the sacraments of the Church flowed, without which we cannot enter into that life which is the true life: And forthwith came thereout blood and water. That blood was shed for the remission of sins, that water tempers the cup of salvation. This it was which was prefigured when Noah was commanded to make a door in the side of the ark, by which the animals that were not to perish by the deluge entered; which animals prefigured the Church. To shadow forth this, the woman was made out of the side of the sleeping man; for this second Adam bowed His head, and slept on the cross, that out of that which came therefrom, there might be formed a wife for Him. O death, by which the dead are quickened, what can be purer than that blood, what more salutary than that wound!
CHRYS. This being the source whence the holy mysteries are derived, when you approach the awful cup, approach it as if you were about to drink out of Christ’s side.
THEOPHYL. Shame then upon them who mix not water with the wine in the holy mysteries: they seem as if they believed not that the water flowed from the side. Had blood flowed only, a man might have said that there was some life left in the body, and that that was as why the blood flowed. But the water flowing is an irresistible miracle, and therefore the Evangelist adds, And he that saw it bare record.
CHRYS. As if to say, I did not hear it from others, but saw it with mine own eyes. And his record is true, he adds, not as if he had mentioned something so wonderful that his account would be suspected, but to stop the mouths of heretics, and in contemplation of the deep value of those mysteries which he announces. And he knows that he says true, the you might believe.
AUG. He that saw it knows; let him that saw not believe his testimony. He gives testimonies from the Scriptures to each of these two things he relates. After, they brake not His legs, He adds, For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken, a commandment which applied to the sacrifice of the paschal lamb under the old law, which sacrifice foreshadowed our Lord’s. Also after, One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, then follows another Scripture testimony; And again another Scripture said, They shall look on Him whom they pierced, a prophecy which implies that Christ will come in the very flesh in which He was crucified.
JEROME. This testimony is taken from Zacharias.
38. And after this Joseph of Arimathea, 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. 39. And 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. 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. 41. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid. 42. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulcher was nigh at hand.
CHRYS. Joseph thinking that the hatred of the Jews would be appeased by His crucifixion, went with confidence to ask permission to take charge of His burial: And after this Joseph of Arimathea besought Pilate.
BEDE. Arimathea is the same as Ramatha, the city of Elkanah, and Samuel. It was providentially ordered that he should be rich, in order that he might have access to the governor, and just, in order that he might merit the charge of our Lord’s body: That he might take the body of Jesus, because he was His disciple.
CHRYS. He was not of the twelve, but of the seventy, for none of the twelve came near. Not that their fear kept them back, for Joseph was a disciple, secretly for: fear of the Jews. But Joseph was a person of rank, and known to Pilate; so he went to him, and the favor was granted, and afterwards believed Him, not as a condemned man, but as a great and wonderful Person: He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
AUG. In performing this last office to our Lord, he showed a bold indifference to the Jews, though he had avoided our Lord’s company when alive, for fear of incurring their hatred.
BEDE. Their ferocity being appeased for the time by their success, he sought the body of Christ. He did not come as a disciple, but simply to perform a work of mercy, which is due to the evil as well as to the good. Nicodemus joined him: And 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.
AUG. We must not read the words, at the first, first bringing a mixture of myrrh, but attach the first to the former clause. For Nicodemus at the first came to Jesus by night, as John relates in the former part of the Gospel. From these words then we are to infer that that was not the only time that Nicodemus went to our Lord, but simply the first time; and that he came afterwards and heard Christ’s discourses, and became a disciple.
CHRYS. They bring the spices most efficacious for preserving the body from corruption, treating Him as a mere man. Yet this show great love.
BEDE. We must observe however that it was simple ointment; for they were not allowed to mix many ingredients together. 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.
AUG. Wherein the Evangelist intimates, that in paying the last offices of the dead, the custom of the nation is to be followed. It was the custom of the Jewish nation to embalm their dead bodies, in order that they might d keep the longer.
AUG. Nor does John here contradict the other Evangelists, who, though they are silent about Nicodemus, yet do not affirm that our Lord was buried by Joseph alone. Nor because they say that our Lord was wrapped in a linen cloth by Joseph, do they say that other linen cloths may not have been brought by Nicodemus in addition; so that John may be right in saying, not, in a single cloth, but, in linen cloths. Nay more, the napkin which was about His head and the bands which were tied round His body being all of linen, thought there were but one linen cloth, He may yet be said to have been wrapped up in linen cloths: linen cloths being taken in a general sense, as comprehending all that was made of linen.
BEDE. Hence hath come down the custom of the Church, of consecrating the Lord’s body not on silk or gold cloth, but in a clean linen cloth.
CHRYS. But as they were pressed for time, for Christ died at the ninth hour, and after that they had gone to Pilate, and taken away the body, so that the evening was now near, they lay Him in the nearest tomb: Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid. A providential design, to make it certain that it was His resurrection, and not any other person’s that lay with Him.
AUG. As no one before or after Him was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, so in this grave was there none buried before or after Him.
THEOPHYL. In that it was a new sepulcher, we are given to understand, that we are all renewed by Christ’s death, and death and corruption destroyed. Mark too the exceeding poverty that He took up for our sakes. He had no house in His lifetime, and now He is laid in another’s sepulcher at His death, and His nakedness covered by Joseph. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulcher was as nigh at hand.
AUG. Implying that the burial was hastened, in order to finish it before the evening, when, on account of the preparation, n which the Jews with us call more commonly in the Latin, Cena pure, it was unlawful to do any such thing.
CHRYS. The sepulcher was near, that the disciples might approach it more easily, and be better witnesses of what took place there, and that even enemies might be made the witnesses of the burial, being placed there as guards, and the story of His being stolen away showed to be false.
BEDE. Mystically, the name Joseph means, apt for the receiving of a good work; whereby we are admonished that we should make ourselves worthy of our Lord’s body, before we receive it.
THEOPHYL. Even now in a certain sense Christ is put to death by the avaritious, in the person of the poor man suffering famine. Be therefore a Joseph, and cover Christ’s nakedness, and, not once, but continually by contemplation, embalm Him in your spiritual tomb, cover Him, and mix myrrh and bitter aloes; considering that bitterest sentence of all, Depart, you cursed into everlasting fire.