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the attack, and thereby producing the rest. He alone noticed the first cock-crowing.
There is also an apparent variation between the two first Evangelists and the last, in the scene of this denial; they expressly state it to have happened outside, in the porch; John seems to place it inside, in the hall. But he evidently meant to connect both denials, separated by the intervening examination of CHRIST by Caiaphas, and therefore he repeated the leading circumstance of the first, that it happened at the fire, ver. 18, to mark the renewal of the subject, ver. 25, before he proceeded to relate the second denial; which he does, omitting the previous circumstance of Peter's quitting the hall, already recorded by the other Evangelists, in order to avoid unnecessary repetition of their narratives, according to his supplemental plan. Thus the apparent dissonance is satisfactorily reconciled; and, indeed, the exact correspondence of the Evangelists, in such minute and seemingly trivial particulars, could only arise from the accuracy of the information of each, and from their joint inspiration by the SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
PETER'S THIRD DENIAL.
About an hour after the second, Peter having returned again into the hall, and approached the place of trial at the upper end, so as to be within view of JESUS, (as we learn from the sequel, though unnoticed by the Evangelists,) was again more strongly charged by the bystanders. One said, Truly thou art a Galilean, for even thy speech bewrayeth thee; another, a servant of the high-priest, and kinsman to Malchus, whose ear Peter had cut off, said, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? This occasioned a third and most vehement denial; for Peter not only denied that he knew JESUS, but began to curse and swear, in order to confirm it. At this the cock crew a second time. Then JESUS turning, looked at Peter significantly; and Peter, reflecting on his crime, and the minute accomplishment of the
* The unusual word, ɛñɩßaλwv, used by Mark xiv. 72, is variously interpreted. See Gilpin, &c. But the most approved meaning seems to be that of the English Bible, "when he thought thereon," or "reflected on" his offence; used elliptically for &ßaλov τουτῳ, as the phrase occurs in M. Antoninus. τουτῳ γαρ επιβαλων, επιληση της οργής. "Reflecting on this, you will forget your anger." Cicero renders it, injiciens, or intendens, in the following sentence; Si immensam, et interminatam in omnes partes magnitudinem regionum videretis, in quam se injiciens animus et intendeus, ita late
prophecy, went out of the hall, to a solitary place, on the brow of the hill, according to tradition*, and wept bitterly †, overwhelmed with grief and remorse. Matt. xxvi. 73-75; Mark xiv. 70-72; Luke xxii. 59-62; John xviii. 26, 27. The second cock-crowing marks the close of the third night-watch, shortly before the fourth, or the early watch, which began at day-break.
CHRIST'S EXAMINATION BEFORE THE HIGH-PRIEST.
During Peter's denials, JESUS stood before Caiaphas, who questioned him about his disciples and about his doctrine. With all the dignity of conscious innocence, and with a thorough knowledge of the law, which required no man to criminate himself, JESUS objected to this mode of examination. I spake openly to the world, I always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews from all parts resort. And in secret spake I nothing. Why examinest thou me? Examine the hearers as to what I spake unto them: lo, they know what I said.
And when he had thus said, one of the attendants, who stood by, smote JESUS on the cheek, saying, Answerest thou the highpriest so? JESUS meekly resented the insult: "If I spoke ill, testify of the ill; but if well, why smitest thou me ?" John xviii. 19-23. How admirably did he thus illustrate, by his own example, the divine precepts of Christian forbearance; in his
longeque peregrinatur, ut nullam omnino oram ultimam videat, in quâ possit insistere. N. D. 1, 20.
See other instances, in Wetstein, Vol. I. p. 633, from whence these are selected. • See the map of Jerusalem, Vol. I.
+ The sudden repentance of Peter, is no less remarkable and surprising than his fall. While he was even abjuring HIS LORD with oaths and imprecations, and "Satan sifting him as wheat," one pitying and compassionate look of his now doubly suffering master, mingled with regret, pierced him through, and suddenly laid all the storm then raging in his soul, and melted him into tears of contrition, and godly sorrow that worketh repentance. The same minute saw him an audacious and pertinacious sinner, and an humble heart-broken penitent. His "fall" furnishes a melancholy instance of Natural Infirmity, even in the best men, who dare to presume upon their own strength, and “sufficiency” to resist temptation; while his speedy "rising again," sets before us an encouraging example of the invigorating power of GRACE, triumphing over the Tempter, and rescuing from that "Fisher of men," his weak, silly, and unresisting prey! How are we bound to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling," whenever we attempt it, since "it is GOD only, that worketh in us both to will and to do, effectually, of his own good pleasure," Phil. ii. 12, 13,
Sermon on the Mount; and how different was his calmness from the intemperance of the Apostle Paul, under a similar provocation, saying to the high-priest, "GOD shall smite thee, thou whited wall! for sittest thou to judge me according to the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law!" which indeed required, and produced on his part, an immediate apology. Acts xxiii. 2—5.
After the high-priest's examination, noticed only by John, during which time had been given to assemble the Sanhedrim at his palace, and to collect witnesses, as day was coming, they brought him back to their council, to be tried. Luke xxii. 66.
There is great difficulty in reconciling Luke's time of this transaction, ὡς εγενετο ήμερα, as soon as it was day," according to the authorized translation, with the confessedly later transaction of CHRIST'S being led away from the council to Pilate, πρωίας γενομενης, "when the morning was come," Matt. xxvii. 1; Mark xv. 1, 2; Luke xxiii. 28. We have, therefore, adopted Dr. Townson's translation of the former phrase, which he has furnished good reasons to prove, began at the commencement of the early watch, or about the third hour before sun-rise *.
HIS TRIAL BEFORE THE COUNCIL.
Wishing to preserve the semblance of justice in their proceedings, the chief priests, the elders, and the whole council+ sought
* Grotius, on the place, renders the phrase wc EyevεTo ǹμɛpa, cum dies adventaret, "when day was approaching." Its meaning here, may fairly be collected, from a similar phrase, yevoμevns de ǹμepaç, Luke iv. 42, which must be so understood, from the explanation of the accurate Mark, recording the very same transaction, kαι πρшɩ, evvvxov diav, “and early, far advanced in the night," Mark i. 35; which is paraphrased by the English Bible, "a great while before day." The two limits of time, coalescing about three in the morning, the point of equal distance between midnight, and sun-rise, or full day. Acts ii. 1.
Gilpin perceived the difficulty, and aukwardly attempted to remedy it, by supposing that, according to the Jewish reckoning, "day commenced as soon as midnight was passed," and accordingly rendered the phrase, "about midnight." He erred only in assigning too early a time, not warranted by the Jewish mode of reckoning.
Luke carefully distinguishes between nyayov, they brought him to the high priest's palace, xxii. 54; and avnyayov, they brought him back to the council, xxii. 66. These niceties of construction, overlooked in our English Bible, are absolutely necessary to harmonize the Evangelists critically.
Here the "whole council" is put for a great majority. For Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and others, we may presume, of " the rulers who believed on Him," were not consenting to this iniquitous procedure. Luke xxiii. 51; John vii. 50, 51; xii. 42.
false witnesses against* JESUS, upon whose testimony they might condemn him to death. But they found none that would answer their purpose, though many were produced. At the last, came two false witnesses, of whom, one said, This [man] declared, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days; the other, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple, made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands; both of them misrepresenting his declaration at the first passover, John ii. 19, where "this temple" meant "the temple of his body;" and disagreeing from each other: fulfilling prophecy. Psalm xxxv. 11. To this inconsistent testimony, refuting itself, JESUS made no answer.
The high priest then urging him to an explanation, which they might lay hold of, arising with warmth, said, Answerest thou nothing? What do those witness against thee? But Jesus, knowing his malicious design, was silent, and made no
To cut the trial short, therefore, and supply the want of evidence, the high priest compelled him to criminate himself by the most solemn oath: I adjure thee by THE LIVING GOD, tell us whether thou art THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE BLESSED GOD?
This produced its effect. First, prefacing that his acknowledgment would not avail to convince them, and liberate himself, "If I tell you [truth] ye will not believe; and if I ask you [why?] ye will not answer me, [or assign a reason,] nor let me go:-he then boldly avowed himself THE CHRIST: Thou sayest [true;] I am. And now, adhering to his former declarations,
Buxtorf, in his Talmudic Lexicon, col. 1458, cites a Rabbinical testimony, admitting the subornation of false witnesses against CHRIST before his crucifixion, and describing the mode.
"Against none of those guilty of death by the law are snares to be laid, except against one that has endeavoured to pervert another to idolatry and strange worship. And it is thus performed: they light a candle in an inner room, and place the witnesses in an outer, so that they may see him and hear his voice without his seeing them.
"And so they did to the Son of Satda (Mary:) they placed men privately in the next room to witness against him, in Lud*, and hanged him upon the cross on the evening of the Passover."
This testimony is curious and valuable; it shews the plea upon which the Jewish council endeavoured to justify themselves, for subornation of perjury, to the nation.
Lud might perhaps be a literal error for Jud or Judea.
from the beginning of his ministry, John i. 52, to the end, Matt. xxiii. 39, he referred them to the ensuing fulfilment of two famous prophecies of Daniel, vii. 13, 14; and of David, Psalm cx. 1, which they themselves applied to THE MESSIAH:
"Henceforth, ye shall see THE SON OF MAN, sitting on the right hand of THE POWER OF GOD [or ALMIGHTY GOD;] and coming with the clouds of heaven,"—no longer in humiliation, but invested with glory. Of this early glory the martyr Stephen (Acts vii. 56,) and the bigot Paul (Acts xxii. 6-14,) were eye-witnesses, not long after; and the performance of this furnishes an infallible proof of the later glory, foretold also by two angels at the ascension (Acts i. 10, 11,) and by St. John, and CHRIST himself in the Apocalypse, (Rev. i. 7, xxii. 20.)
"Then said they all, Art thou the SON OF GOD? and he undauntedly asserted it: Ye say [true:] for I am t.
"Then the high priest rent his clothes, in semblance of the utmost horror ‡, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses! lo ye have heard his blasphemy. And they said, We have heard it from his own mouth.-What think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.”
His unjust condemnation was now aggravated by every insult and injury that diabolical rage and malice could devise. For they spit on, blindfolded, buffeted and smote him; they ridiculed him as a false Christ and false prophet; and " many other blasphemies did they really utter against THE Son of God;" Matt. xxvi. 57-68; Mark xiv. 53-65; Luke xxii. 63-71, blaspheming thereby "THE BLESSED" FATHER also. All these injuries and indignities the meek and lowly JESUS bore in passive silence, without a murmur, fulfilling prophecy: "He gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; he hid not his face from shame and spitting," Isa. 1. 5, 6. "He was accounted stricken, smitten, and afflicted by GOD."" He was brought [to trial] and questioned, but he opened not his mouth.”- "The wickedness of His tion who can describe!" Isa. liii. 4-8.
The word απ' αρτι, 'from now," which is likewise used in the two former declarations, intimates future events, not remote, but near.
† ὑμεῖς λεγετε· ότι εγω ειμι. It should be so pointed, to mark the asseveration. Ey is emphatic, and òrt frequently put for the causal, diori, "for," "because." See Matt. v. 3-5, xi. 26; Luke xxiii. 40, &c.
Caiaphas was of the atheistical sect of the Sadducees, Acts. v. 17.