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in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, 41 come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests 42 mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will 43 believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of 44 God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the 46 land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama SABACHTHANI?
40. Thou that destroyest the temple] This is the mockery of the Jewish populace, who have caught up the charges brought against Jesus before the Sanhedrin. The taunts of the soldiers are named by St Luke alone: "If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself" (xxiii. 37).
41. chief priests...scribes and elders] members of the Sanhedrin, the "rulers" of Luke xxiii. 35.
42. He saved others; himself he cannot save] These words in the original would recall the "hosannas" in the Temple which had enraged the chief priests; see note ch. xxi. 9. They also connect themselves with the name of Jesus ("Saviour").
the King of Israel] A title applied to Jesus only here and in the parallel passage of St Mark's Gospel.
43. He trusted in God] See Ps. xxii. 8. The chief priests unconsciously apply to the true Messiah the very words of a Messianic psalm.
44. The thieves also...cast the same in his teeth] They would naturally catch at the thought that the deliverer failed to give deliverance. St Luke alone relates that "one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him... the other answering rebuked him." It is by no means impossible that the penitent robber may have seen and heard Jesus in Galilee.
45. from the sixth hour...unto the ninth hour] From 12 to in the afternoon, the hours of the Paschal sacrifice.
there was darkness over all the land] Not the darkness of an eclipse, for it was the time of the Paschal full moon, but a miraculous darkness symbolic of that solemn hour and veiling the agonies of the Son of Man, when human soul and body alike were enduring the extremity of anguish and suffering for sin.
46. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?] (Ps. xxii. 1). Eli is the Hebrew form. In Mark xv. 34 the Aramaic words are preserved exactly as they were pronounced by Jesus. The repetition, "My God! My God!" gives a deeply pathetic force; cp. ch. xxiii. 37. It is an expression of utter loneliness and desolation, the depth of which it is not for man to fathom. "It is going beyond Scripture to say that a sense of God's
that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they 47 heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straight- 48 way one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The 49 rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded so up the ghost.
wrath extorted that cry. For to the last breath He was the well-beloved of the Father, and the repeated 'My God! My God!' is a witness even then to His confidence in His Father's Love" (Canon Perowne. Ps. xxii. 1).
This was probably the fourth word from the cross; the fifth "I thirst" (John); the sixth "It is finished" (John); the seventh "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke). It is thought by some that after these words the darkness, which had lasted to the ninth hour, rolled away; others think that it lasted till the death of Jesus.
47. This man callet for Elias mockery, not in a real belief that Jesu appearance of Elijah.
48. took a spunge, and filled wi (posca), the reed, or hyssop stalk (Jo readiness to quench the sufferers' thirst.
49. Let be] We must understand this to mean either (1) leave him, do not assist him; or (2) leave it, do not give the d (3) "Let be" in the Greek coalesces with the verb fol us see." For the construction in the original cp. Luke VI. 4 the words "Let alone; let us see" are put in the mouth of him who offered the wine to the Saviour. There "let alone" may="let me alone."
him; or d="let Mark
spoken in pure ected the personal re
The soldiers sour wine
the sponge, were kept in
to save him] Here the Sinaitic and Vatican MSS. add, "and another took a spear and pierced his side, and there came out water and blood." 50. when he had cried again with a loud voice] Perhaps an inarticulate cry is meant, or perhaps the sixth word from the cross, "It is finished." John xix. 30.
yielded up the ghost] St Luke preserves the exact words, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (xxiii. 46).
51-56. EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED THE CRUCIFIXION. (1) THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE RENT; (2) THE EARTHQUAKE; (3) THE SAINTS ARISE; (4) THE CENTURION AT THE CROSS; (5) THE WATCHING OF THE WOMEN.
Of these, (2) and (3) are peculiar to St Matthew.
Mark xv. 38-41; Luke xxiii. 45, 47-49, where the grief of the spectators is an additional fact. St John omits these incidents, but
51-56. Events that followed the Crucifixion. (1) The Veil of the Temple rent; (2) the Earthquake; (3) the Saints arise; (4) the Centurion at the Cross; (5) the Watching of the Women.
And behold, the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the 52 rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies 53 of saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared 54 unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was 55 the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto 56 him: among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the
records the breaking of the malefactors' legs and the piercing of Jesus' side.
51. the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom] St Luke has "rent in the midst." The veil meant is that which separated the holy of holies from the holy place. The rending of the veil signifies that henceforth there is free access for man to God the Father through Jesus Christ. Cp. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh" (Heb. x. 19, 20). The incident would be observed and made known to the Church by the priests, of whom afterwards "a great company were obedient unto the faith" (Acts vi. 7).
54. the centurion] in command of the guard of four soldiers who watched the crucifixion.
Truly this was the Son of God] "Certainly this was a righteous man" (Luke).
56. St Mark (xv. 40) specifies the group as "Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less (rather, the little) and of Joses, and Salome."
Mary Magdalene] Mentioned here for the first time by St Matthew. She was probably named from Magdala (Mejdel), on the Lake of Gennesaret; see map, p. 49. She had been a victim of demoniacal possession, but was cured by Jesus (Luke viii. 2), and then joined the company of faithful women who followed Him with the Twelve. Mary Magdalene is not named by St John among those who at an earlier period "stood by the cross of Jesus," but even then we may believe she was watching far off, and early in the morning she was present at the sepulchre.
The great Italian painters have identified Mary Magdalene either
mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
57-66. The Entombment.
When the even was come, there came a rich man of 57 Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 58 Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And 59
with the "woman that was a sinner" who anointed Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee (Luke vii. 36-50), or with Mary the sister of Lazarus. But neither identification can be sustained on critical grounds.
Mary the mother of James and Joses] Perhaps the same Mary who was the wife of Cleophas, Clopas, or Alphæus (different forms of one name), mentioned John xix. 25. If so, according to one interpretation of the passage in John, the sister of the Blessed Virgin. the mother of Zebedee's children] Salome. See ch. xx. 20.
57-66. THE ENTOMBMENT.
Mark xv. 42-47; Luke xxiii. 50—56; John xix. 38—42.
Vv. 62-66 are peculiar to St Matthew. St Mark notes the wonder of Pilate that Jesus was already dead, and the evidence of the centurion to the fact. St John mentions the co-operation of Nicodemus-like Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, who "consented not to the deed of them;" who brought "a mixture of myrrh and aloes about a hundred pound weight."
57. Arimathea] is generally identified with Ramathaim-zophim, on Mount Ephraim, the birth-place of Samuel (1 Sam. i. 1), the site of which is undetermined. Many authorities place it much nearer to Jerusalem than the position indicated in the map, p. 28.
Joseph] From the other two Synoptic Gospels we learn that he was "an honourable (Mark) counsellor (Mark and Luke)," i. e. a member of the Sanhedrin. Like Nicodemus, he was a secret disciple of Jesus, and must undoubtedly have absented himself from the meetings of the Sanhedrin when Jesus was condemned. He "had not consented to the counsel and deed of them" (Luke).
An ancient but groundless legend has connected Joseph of Arimathæa with Glastonbury, where, it is said, he built of osier-twigs the first Christian Church in England.
58. Pilate commanded the body to be delivered] after having ascertained from the centurion that Jesus was dead. Usually those who suffered crucifixion lingered for days upon the cross. By Roman law the corpse of a crucified person was not buried except by express permission of the Emperor. A concession was made in favour of the Jews, whose law did not suffer a man to hang all night upon a tree. Deut. xxi. 23. (See Jahn, Bib. Ant., 296.) "The readiness of Pilate to grant Joseph's request quite in accordance with his anxiety to release Jesus and his
when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean 60 linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the 61 door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto 63 Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until
the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: 65 so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure
displeasure against the Jews. If Joseph had not made this request, the body of Jesus would have been placed in one of the common buryingplaces appointed by the Council" (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad loc.).
59. linen cloth] Sindon, or fine linen.
60. laid it in his own new tomb] "His own' " peculiar to St Matthew. St John mentions that the tomb was "in a garden in the place where he was crucified" (xix. 41). It was probably hewn out of the face of the rock near the ground (John xx. 11), and the body of Jesus would lie horizontally in it.
rolled a great stone] assisted by Nicodemus. This stone was technically called golal.
61. the other Mary] The mother of James the less and Joses (Mark XV. 47).
62. the next day, that followed the day of the preparation] It was after sunset on Nisan 14. The preparation (paraskeué) was over, the Sabbath and the Paschal feast had commenced. This explanation of the somewhat unusual phrase accords with the view already taken of the Last Supper and the Passover.
While Christ's enemies were busy this Sabbath day, His friends rested according to the commandment (Luke xxiii. 56).
63. said...After three days I will rise] Literally in the Greek, I rise. For this present cp. ch. xxiv. 41, xxvi. 2.
It appears from this that the priests and Pharisees understood the true import of Christ's words, "Destroy this temple, and after three days I will raise it up," which they wilfully misinterpreted to the people.
64. by night] Omitted in the best MSS.
He is risen] Rather, He rose.
error] Better, deceit. The Greek word has the same root as deceiver, v. 63.
65. Ye have a watch] The meaning is either (1) that Pilate refuses