« FöregåendeFortsätt »
provoked, then denied his Master the second time. This denial was in a stronger manner, and with an oath. While in the porch, Mark says, the cock crew; that is, the first crowing, or not far from midnight.
73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them ; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
Peter, by this time, had returned into the palace or hall, and stood warming himself by the fire, John xviii. 25. 'Thy speech bewrayeth thee.' Your language makes it manifest that you are of his company. In Mark, “Thou art a Galilean; and thy speech agreeth thereto.' The Galileans were distinguished for peculiarity of pronunciation. This charge, John says, xviii. 26, was supported by the express affirmation of a kinsman of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, that he had seen him in the garden.
74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
Peter was now irritated beyond endurance. He could no longer resist the evidence that he was known. It had been repeatedly charged on him. His language had betrayed him, and There was a positive witness who had seen him. He then added to the awful sin of denying his Lord, the deep aggravation of profane cursing and swearing. Immediately then the cock crew; that is, the second crowing, or not far from three in the morning.
75 And Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly,
Luke has mentioned a beautiful and touching circumstance omitted by the other evangelists, that when the cock crew, Jesus turned and looked upon Peter, and that then he remembered his words. They were in the same room— Jesus at the upper end of the hall, devoted for a tribunal, and Peter below with the servants; so that Jesus could look down upon Peter standing near the fire. By a single glance of his eye, the injured Saviour brought to remembrance all Peter's promises, his own predictions, and the great guilt of the disciple; he overwhelmed him with the remembrance of his awful sin, and pierced his heart through with many sorrows. The consciousness of deep and awful guilt rushed over Peter's soul; he flew from the palace, he went alone in the darkness of the night, and wept bitterly.
The fall of Peter is one of the most melancholy instances of depravity ever committed in our world. Distinguished throughout the ministry of Christ with peculiar favours ; cautioned against
this very thing; yet so soon denying him, forgetting his promises, and profanely calling on God to witness what he knew to be false, that he did not know him! Had it been but once, it would have been awful guilt-guilt deeply piercing the Redeemer's soul in the day of trial; but it was three times repeated, and at last with profane cursing and swearing: Yet while we weep over Pe. ter's fall, and seek not to palliate his crime, we should draw from it important practical uses: 1. The danger of self-confidence. He that thinketh he standeth should take heed lest he fall. True christian confidence is that which relies on God for strength, and feels safety only in the belief that he is able and willing to keep from temptation. 2. When a man begins to sin, his fall from one act to another is easy-perhaps almost certain. At first Peter's sin was only simple denial ; then it increased to more violent affirmation, and ended with open profaneness. So the downward road of crime is easy. When sin is once indulged, the way is open for a whole deluge of crime; nor is the course easily stayed till the soul is overwhelmed in awful guilt. 3. True repentance is deep, thorough, bitter. Peter wept bitterly. It was sincere sorrow—sorrow proportioned to the nature of the awful offence he had committed, *4. When we sin--when we fall into temptation-let us retire from the world, seek the place of solitude, and pour out our sorrows before God. He will mark our groans; he will hear our sighs; he will pity his children; and receive them, like weeping Peter, to his arms again. 5. Though a christian may be suffered to go astray-may fall into sin-yet he who should, from this example of Peter, think he may lawfully do the same; or who should resolve to do it, thinking that he might, like Peter, weep, and repent; would give evidence that he knew nothing of the grace of God. He that resolves to sin under the expectation of repenting hereafter, cannot be a christian.
It is worthy of further remark, that the fact that the fall of Peter is recorded by all the evangelists is high proof of their honesty, And it is worthy of special observation, that Mark has recorded this with all the circumstances of aggravation, perhaps even more so than the others. Yet, by the universal belief of antiquity, the gospel of Mark was written under Peter's direction, and every part of it submitted to him for examination. Higher proof of the honesty and candour of the evangelists could not he demanded.
CHAPTER XXVII. 1 WHEN the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.
Jesus is brought before Pilate. See also Mark svi. 1. Luke xxij. 1. John xviii. 28. When the morning was come.' This was not long after Jesus had been condemned by the sanhedrim, Peter's last denial was probably near the break of day. As soon
as it was light they consulted together for the purpose of taking his life. The sun rose at that season of the year, in Judea, about five o'clock; and the time when they assembled was not long after Peter's denial. "The chief priests—took counsel.' They had agreed that he deserved to die, on a charge of blasphemy. Yet they did not dare to put him to death by stoning, as they did afterwards Stephen, Acts vii. and as the law commanded in case of blasphemy, for they feared the people. They therefore consulted, or took counsel together, to determine on what pretence they could deliver him to the Roman governor. The charge which they fixed on was not that on which they had tried him, and on which they had determined he ought to die, ch. xxvi. 66, but that of perverting the nation, and of forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, Luke xxiii. 2. On this accusation, if made out, they expected Pilate could be induced to condemn Jesus. On a charge of blasphemy they knew he could not, as that was not an offence against the Roman laws. "To put him to death. To devise some way by which he might be put to death under the authority of the Roman governor.
2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the go
He was bound' when they took him in the garden, John xviii. 12. Probably when he was tried before the sanhedrim, in the palace of Caiaphas, he had been loosed from his bonds-being there surrounded by multitudes, and supposed to be safe. As they were about to lead him to another part of the city now, they again bound him._ ' Pontius Pilate, the governor.' The governor appointed by the Romans over Judea. The governor commonly resided at Cæsarea; but he came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts, when most of the Jews were assembled, to administer justice, and to suppress tumults if any should rise. Pilate was appointed governor of Judea by Tiberius, then emperor of Rome.
3 | Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
This shows that Judas did not suppose that the affair would have resulted in this calamitous manner. He probably expected that Jesus would have worked a miracle to deliver himself. When he saw him taken, bound, tried, and condemned; when he saw that all probability that he would deliver himself was taken away; he was overwhelmed with disappointment, sorrow, and awful remorse of conscience, The word rendered 'repented himself,' evidently means no other change than that produced by the horrors of a guilty conscience, and by deep remorse for crime
at its unexpected results. It was not true, saving repentance : that leads to a holy life; this led to despair and to increase of crime in his own death. Judas, if he had been a true penitent, would have come to Jesus, confessed his crime at his feet, and sought for pardon there. But, overwhelmed only with remorse, and the conviction of vast guilt, he sought not the offended Saviour, was not willing to come into his presence, and added to the crime of a traitor, that of a self-murderer. Assuredly such a man could not be a true penitent.
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us ? See thou to that.
In that I have betrayed the innocent blood. That is, in betraying an innocent being to death. The meaning is, that he knew and felt that Jesus was innocent. This confession is a remarkable proof that Jesus was innocent. Judas had been with him three years. He had seen him in public and private; he had heard his public teaching and his private views; and if he had done any thing evil, or advanced any thing against the Roman emperor, Judas was competent to testify it. Had he known any such thing, he would have stated it. That he did not make such a charge-that he fully and frankly confessed that Jesus was innocent—and that he gave up the ill-gotten price of treason—is full proof, that in the beliefof Judas the Saviour was free from crime, and even the suspicion of crime. "What is that to us ? This form of speaking denoted that they had nothing to do with his remorse of conscience, and his belief that Jesus was innocent. They had secured what they wanted, the person of Jesus, and they cared little now for the feelings of the traitor. So all wicked men who make use of the agency of others for the accomplishment of crime, will care little for the effect on the instrument. They will soon cast him off, and despise him, and in thousands of instances the instruments of villany are abandoned to remorse, wretchedness, crime, and death.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
This was an evidence of his remorse of conscience for his crime. He attempted to obtain relief, by throwing back the price of treason; but he attempted it in vain. The consciousness of guilt was fastened on his soul; and Judas found, as all will find, that to cast away or abandon ill-gotten wealth will not satisfy the guilty conscience. “In the temple.'. The place where the sanhedrim was accustomed to sit. And went and hanged himself.' Peter says, in giving an account of the death of Jesus, Acts i, 18, that Judas, ' falling headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.' Matthew records the mode in which
Judas attempted his death by hanging. Peter speaks of the result. Judas passed out of the temple in great haste and perturbation of mind. He sought a place where he might perpetrate this crime. He seized upon a rope and suspended himself: and it is not at all remarkable, or indeed unusual, that the rope might prove too weak and break. Falling headlong—that is, on his face-he burst asunder, and in awful horrors died-a double death, with double pains and double horrors—the reward of his awful guilt.
6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
The price of blood,? —that is, of the life of a man-they justly considered this an improper and unlawful offering to God.
The treasury' received the voluntary offerings of the people, as well as the half shekel required of every Jew. The price of blood. The life is in the blood. The price of blood means the price by which the life of a man has been purchased. This was an acknowledgment that in their view Jesus was innocent. They had bought him, not condemned him justly. They were scrupulous now about so small a matter, comparatively, as putting this money in the treasury, when they had no remorse about murdering an innocent being. Men are very often scrupulous in small
matters who stick not at great crimes. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
They consulted among themselves about the proper way to dispose of this money. ' And bought with them." In Acts i. 18, it is said of Judas, that he purchased a field with the reward of his iniquity. By the passage in the Acts is meant, that he furnished the means, or was tne occasion of purchasing the field, it was by nis means that the field was purchased. It is very common in sacred as well as in other writings to represent a man as doing that which he is only the cause or occasion of another's doing. See Acts ii. 23. John xix. 1. Matt. xxvii. 59, 60. "The potter's field. The price paid for a field so near Jerusalem may appear to be very small; but probably it had been worked till the clay was exhausted, and was neither fit for that business nor for tillage, and was therefore considered as of little value. To bury strangers in.' Jews, who came up from other parts of the world to attend the great feasts at Jerusalem.
8 Wherefore that field was called the field of blood, unto this day.
The field of blood.' The field purchased by the price of blood. The name by which this field was called was Aceldama, Acts i, 19. * To this day. That is, to the day when Matthew