« AnteriorContinua »
all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked, whether the man were a Galilean? And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself was also at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad : for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him ; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but Jesus answered him nothing. And the chief Priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod and his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him; and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together ; for before they were at enmity between themselves.' (Luke xxiii. 5—12.)
These words exhibit to us the sufferings of the Lord Jesus before King Herod : And here we may observe, : First, The occasion of this part of our blessed Saviour's sufferings.
Secondly, The indignities he suffered before Herod.
I. This part of Christ's sufferings was occasioned partly by our blessed Lord's accusers, and partly by Pilate.
The accusers of Christ gave occasion to it, by mentioning the province of Galilee in their accusation of our blessed Saviour. When the chief Priests observed that Pilate fluctuated in his opinion, and not only seemed to be convinced of our Lord's innocence, but had made a public declaration of it, they were so exasperated that they assailed the blessed Jesus with a violent tempest of fresh accusations. But when our blessed Lord, to Pilate's great astonishment, would not make any answer, they grew
the more clamorous and importunate, and representera
the prudent silence of the Lamb of God as proceedia ing from a consciousness, that he had nothing to say in answer to the charge brought against him, or to urge by way of excuse or justification. Accordingly,
they were the more fierce ;' (verse 5.) and arming themselves with fresh effrontery, they began to urge Pilate with new calumnies and slanders. To these, however the dignity of their rank and sanctity of their office gave the necessary weight and importance ; and as they were destitute of legal proofs, they endeavoured to prevail on him to put Jesus to death by tumultuous clamours and repeated vociferations.
As the Jews had nothing new to urge that had any appearance of truth, so as to induce Pilate to comply with their desires, they repeated their former charge of rebellion, but they clothed it in other words, with the addition of a new circumstance which could not fail of having some weight with Pilate. They had before alleged, "We found this fellow perverting the people. But now their plea is, 'He stirreth up the people.' As Pilate had not been able to find the least trace of his having occasioned a public insurrection, they seem to insist, that if he had not entire ly alienated the minds of the people, so as to make them withdraw their allegiance from the Roman government; yet he stirred them up, and occasioned among them many dangerous movements, which might at last terminate in an open revolt. They here, in the present tense, say 'He stirreth up the people,' to shew that Jesus made it his chief business to that very time to excite the people to rebel, and that but a few days before, he had entered Jerusalem in a public manner, which put the whole city in a ferment, (Matth. xxi. 10.)
As for the manner in which Jesus is said to have stirred up the people, they add that it was by teach- . ing;' and consequently they accuse him, that he had conveyed seditious principles with his doctrine, and so artfully mingled that pernicious venom with the religious errors which he taught, that his hearers hack
greedily imbibed them both. They further observe, that he taught not only in one place, but throughout all Judea ; so that the whole country, which hitherto had been the only seat of pure religion, was over-run with his seditious and erroneous doctrines.
Lastly, By adding these words, ‘beginning from Galilee to this place, they give a specimen both of their crast, and their malice. Their craft appears by their endeavouring to discharge themselves of the ob. ligation of bringing proofs of the charge against Christ. Hence they appeal to Galilee, which lay at a distance on the confines of Judea, from whence witnesses could not so soon be produced. They likewise shewed their malice by these words: For. they intended to give Pilate a worse opinion of Jesus, because he was of that province ; the Galileanş. at that time being looked upon as a seditious, turbu. lent, and dissatisfied set of people. Some years be
. fore, a Galilean, whose name was Judas, (see Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, B. xvii. C. 1, 2.) had excited a r«volt, on account of some new tax imposed upon that country, (Acts v. 37.) Even Pilate himself, not long before, had been put to some trouble by the Galileans; and when some of the revolters came to Jerusalem to sacrifice according to custom, he massacred them in the temple ; so that their blood was mingled with that of their sacrifices, (Luke xü. 1.)
By alleging before Pilate that Jesus had begun to teach in Galilee, which should rather have reminded them of the accomplishment of the prophecy of Isaiah, (chap. ix. 1, 2. compare Matth. iv. 13---16.) the chief Priests intended to intimate, that Jesus was a native of Galilee, and by this means to raise a prejudice against him, as being one of the seditious Galileans. For, as they observed to Pilate, if hou was not afraid to cause such a commotion at his publac entry into Jerusalem, which was the residence of the Roman governor, what may he not be supposed to
have attempted in the remote northern parts of Judea. These inferences were drawn from probabilities and conjectures; and such false conclusions are generally influenced by the prince of darkness, who knows how to take advantage of them, for the enlargement of his kingdom, and the oppression of Christ and his cause. By this hint, however, the accusers of the blessed Jesus were the occasion of sending him to Herod, because Galilee was under his jurisdiction.
Pilate the more readily embraced this opportunity, as he had a strong desire of getting clear of this troublesome affair in a handsome manner. Therefore, on hearing that Christ had begun to teach in Galilee, and had spent a great part of his time in that country, he concluded that he was a native of Galilee, and immediately asked our Saviour's accusers, Whether
" the man were a Galilean ?! The Jews made no difficulty to answer in the affirmative, in hopes of rendering Jesus more odious to Pilate; who possibly might now suspect him of being one of the followers of Judas the Galilean, who but a little time before, had committed so many disorders in that country. Pilate supposing, by this answer of the Jews, that Jesus was a Galilcan, and consequently a subject of King Herod, sent him to that Prince, who being a Jew, probably was then at Jerusalem on account of the Passover. This Herod, who was surnamed Antipas, was the son of Herod, (By Malthace,) who massacred the innocent children at Bethlehem and its territories. He was the same Herod, who had caused John the Baptist to be beheaded, (Matth.xiv, 10.) who had likewise before endeavoured to destroy Jesus, (Luke xiii. 31, 32.) probably, from an absurd notion that the soul of John the Baptist was transmigrated into him. Now Herod's jurisdiction particularly extended over that part of Judea which was called Galilee, (hence he is stiled Tetrarch of Galilee, Luke iii. 1.) and on this account frequest disputes might be supposed to arise between him and the Roman governor Pilate, occasioned by encroachments on each other's rights and prerogatives.
To this Herod the blessed Jesus was now sent; and in this proceeding Pilate's views were political ; but at the same time, they were wicked. In the first place, he thought that by this means he should with honour free himself of this troublesome affair about Jesus of Nazareth. He thought this a very proper expedient to avoid condemning a person whom he looked upon as innocent, and incurring the hatred of the Jewish clergy and people. He concluded that as Herod was a Jew, he could better decide this cause, which seemed principally to relate to the Jewish religion. He thought that Herod would certainly be offended with the chief Priests, becauso they had overlooked him, and had not immediately brought their prisoner before his judgment-seat; and therefore it was not probable that he would order Jesus to be put to death, out of complaisance to them: And in case he should, Pilate imagined that he should have no hand in condemning the innocent. Pilate was likewise pleased to think, that he should at the same time pay a compliment to Herod; so that, , on another occasion, Herod might gratify him in return Such in all probability, were his views and designs in this proceeding.
However, the greatest injustice lay concealed under this pretence of political prudence. For Pilate thus delivered up an innocent and righteous man, whom it was his duty not only to acquit at his tribunal, but also to protect against the rage and malice of his enemies. He sent the blessed Jesus to a judge, who, it was well known, had before saught his life, and had rendered himself odious to all good men by the scandalous and unjust execution of John the Baptist. (See Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, B. xviii. c. 7.). On this account, the accusers of the Lord Jesus 'desired nothing more, than to be referred to