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Jesus brought bound and accused before Pilate. Upon the clamour of the people, the murderer Barabbas is loosed, and Jesus delivered up to be crucified: he is crowned with thorns, spit on, and mocked: fainteth in bearing his cross: hangeth between two thieves: suffereth the triumphing reproaches of the Jews: but is confessed by the centurion to be the Son of God: and is honourably buried by Joseph of Arimathea.
Anno Domini 33.
Mark 15:1. And straightway in the morning— The horrid transactions of this dismal night being over, it was no sooner day, than the Jews hurried the blessed Jesus away to the Roman governor; for though the Sanhedrim had the power of trying and condemning men for crimes which the Jewish law had made capital; yet, like the court of inquisition, they had not the power of putting such sentences into execution, without the approbation of the civil magistrate, or Roman governor;—for nothing but necessity could have brought the Jewish rulers to Pilate on this occasion. They had bound Jesus when he was first apprehended; but perhaps he had been loosed while under examination, or else they now made his bonds stricter than before; the better, as they might think, to secure him from a rescue, as he passed through the public streets in the day-time. See Matthew 27:1-2. Doddridge, and Biscoe's Boyle's Lectures, p. 113. Instead of, And the whole council, we may read, Even, &c.
Mark 15:6. Now at that feast— Κατα εορτην, after the manner, or according to the nature of that feast. See Romans 3:5.Galatians 3:15; Galatians 3:15. 1 Corinthians 3:3. Now the least of the passover being celebrated bythe Jews in memory of their release from Egypt, it was agreeable to the nature of the feast to make this release at that time, and therefore customary. See Whitby, and on Matthew 27:15.
Mark 15:15. Willing to content the people,— Pilate had given them too much cause of disgust before, as appears from what Josephus says concerning him; and probably he was afraid of a general insurrection, therefore he was desirous to remove all cause of complaint: notwithstanding which, the complaints of this very people afterwards pursued him to his ruin. See on Matthew 27:19. Whipping or scourging was a punishment frequently used both by the Jews and Romans; the Jews commonly inflicted it by a whip of three cords, and limited the number of stripes to thirty-nine, that they might not exceed the number sentenced, Deuteronomy 25:3. But the usual way of scourging among the Romans, was with such rods or wands as the lictors carried in a bundle before the magistrates; and they were exceeding cruel in this kind of punishment, tearing with their scourges even to the veins and arteries, and laying the very bowels of the malefactors bare: and as our Saviour was scourged at Pilate's order, it was done most probably by his officers, after the Roman manner, and was therefore no less severe than disgraceful; for Pilate intended hereby to have moved the compassion of the Jews towards him, in order to his release, rather than to have him scourged preparatory to his crucifixion; as appears from Luke 23:15-16; Luke 23:22. See Matthew 27:26. Guyse, and Calmet.
Mark 15:19. A reed,— Or, A cane.
Mark 15:21. The father of Alexander and Rufus— In the note on Mat 27:32 we have observed, that these two persons were two noted men among the first Christians, who resided at Rome, and who being well known there, St. Mark makes this mention of them, on account of the Christians at Rome and others, who were acquainted with them or their names.
Mark 15:24. They parted his garments,— They shared his garments, casting lots for them, to decide what each man should take; or, "They divided his garments into lots, and drew among themselves, which each of them should take." See Heyli
Mark 15:25. And it was the third hour, &c.— The third Jewish hour ended at our nine o'clock in the morning: by St. Mark's account, therefore, the crucifixion and the lots may have been finished at the striking of eight, when the third hour, answering to our ninth, began. This indeed seems at first sight to clash with St. Joh 19:13-14 who tells us, that when Pilate sat on the judgment seat in the Pavement, and brought Jesus out to the people the last time, it was about the sixth hour, that is to say, the sixth Roman hour, the same with our six o'clock in the morning: but to reconcile these accounts, the following series of transactions should be considered: after the governor brought forth Jesus, he spoke both to the people and to the priests, before he finally condemned him; and though each speech is discussed by the evangelist in a single sentence, theymay have been drawn out to some length, that if possible an impression might thereby be made on the people. When Jesus was delivered to the soldiers, they had to strip him of the purple robe, and to clothe him in his own garments; the thieves were to be brought out of prison; the necessary preparations for the crucifixion of the three were to be made; in particular, crosses were to be provided; the crimes laid to the charge of the prisoners were to be written upon whitened boards, in black characters; the vinegar, sponge, and reed were to be procured: soldiers were to be appointed for watching the crosses, &c. &c. In travelling from the praetorium (which may have been situated in that quarter of the town farthest from the place of execution,) they could move but slowly; because Jesus, being verymuch fatigued, must have borne his cross with difficulty. When he grew faint, it might be some time before they found one to assist him in bearing it; and, being come to the place of execution, they had the crosses to makeready, by fixing the transverse beams on their proper supporters; the prisoners were to be stripped, and nailed to them; the titles were to be fixed, the holes for the crosses to be dug, the crosses themselves to be erected and fixed; and, last of all, the prisoners' clothes were to be divided by lot. These, with other circumstances unknown to us, accompanying executions of this kind, may be supposed to have filled up the whole space between six in the morning when the governor shewed Jesus the last time, and the third Jewish hour when Jesus was crucified; that is to say, a space less than two hours: for about the sixth hour, the expression in St. John, may signify "a while after the striking of six, when the sixth hour ends;" and the third hour, the expression in St. Mark, answering to the ninth Roman hour, maysignify at the beginning thereof, or at the striking of eight, when the eighth hour ends, and the ninth begins. See Doddridge.
Mark 15:31. Himself he cannot save.— Cannot he save himself? Beza, Bengelius.
Mark 15:36. Saying, Let alone;— The Syriac version reads here, While some said, Let alone.
Mark 15:44. Marvelled if he were— Or, That he was, &c.
Mark 15:47. Beheld where he was laid.— 'Εθεωρουν, carefully observed, in order to bring their spices and unguents to embalm the body, as soon as the sabbath should be over.
Inferences drawn from our Lord's appearance before Pilate. These Jews well deserved to be tributary: they had cast off the yoke of their God, and had justly earned this Roman servitude. Tiberius had befriended them too well with so favourable a governor as Pilate. If they had retained the power of life and death in their own hands, they would not have been beholding to a heathen for a legal murder.
But what is the cause, O ye rulers of Israel, that ye stand thus thronging at the door of the judgment-hall? Why do ye not go into that public room of judicature, to demand the justice for which you are come? Was it because you would not defile yourselves with the contagion of a heathen roof? Holy men,—your consciences would not suffer you to yield to so impure an act! your passover must be kept! your persons must be clean! while you expect justice from the man, you abhor the pollution of the place! woe to you, priests, scribes, elders, hypocrites! can there be any roof so unclean as that of your own breasts! Go out of yourselves, ye false dissemblers, if ye would not be unclean. Pilate has most cause to fear, lest his walls should be defiled with the presence of such monsters of impiety, thirsting for innocent blood; the blood of the Son of the Blessed.
The plausible governor condescends to humour their superstition; they dare not come in to him, he therefore yields to go forth to them. Even Pilate begins justly, What accusation bring you against this man? See John 18:28-29. There is no judging fully of religion by men's outward demeanour: there is more justice among Romans than among Jews. The malicious rabbis thought it enough that they had sentenced Jesus; no more was now expected than a speedy execution: "If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up to thee. We have condemned him to death; we need no more than thy command for execution."
O monsters, whether of malice or injustice! must he then be a malefactor whom you will condemn? Is your bare word ground enough to shed blood? Whom did you ever kill but the righteous? By whose hands perished the prophets?—the word was but mistaken; ye should have said, "If we had not been malefactors, we had never delivered up this innocent man to thee."
That must needs be notoriously unjust, which nature itself teaches pagans to abhor. Pilate sees and hates this bloody suggestion and practice. "Do ye pretend holiness, and urge so injurious a violence? If he be such as you accuse him, where is his conviction? If he cannot be legally convicted, why must he die? If I must judge for you, why have you judged for yourselves? Could ye suppose that I would condemn any man unheard? If your Jewish laws grant you this liberty, the Roman laws allow it not to me. Since you have gone so far, be your own carvers of justice: Take ye him, and judge him according to your law."
O Pilate! how happy had it been for thee, if thou hadst continued steadfast to this determination! Thus thou hadst washed thy hands more clear than in all the water in the world. Might law have been the rule of this judgment, and not malice, this blood had not been shed. How palpably does their tongue betray their heart; It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. Pilate talks of judgment, they talk of death. This was their only aim; law was but a colour, judgment was but a ceremony.
Where death is fore-resolved, there cannot want accusations. They began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, &c. Luke 23:2. "What accusation, saidst thou, O Pilate?—Heinous and capital. Thou mightest have believed our confident intimation; but since thou wilt still urge us to particulars, know that we come furnished with such an indictment, as shall make thine ears glow to hear it. Besides that blasphemy whereof he has been condemned by us, this man is a seducer of the people, a raiser of sedition, an usurper of sovereignty." O impudent suggestions! What wonder is it, blessed Saviour, if thy honest servants be loaded with slanders, when thy most innocent person escaped not accusations, so palpably, so shamefully false!
Pilate now startles at the charge: the name of tribute, the name of Caesar is in mention. These potent spells can bring him back, and call Jesus to the bar. There meekly stands the Lamb of God to be judged, who shall once come to judge both the quick and dead. Then shall he, before whom the suffering Jesus stood guiltless and dejected, stand before his dreadful majesty guilty and trembling. Pilate, however, hears and fully acquits him of the charge: his declaration is, I find in him no fault at all. Noble testimony of Christ's innocency, from that mouth which afterwards doomed him to death!
I tremble to think how just Pilate as yet seemed, and how soon after depraved: how fain would he have liberated Jesus, whom he found faultless! but though he proposed a Barabbas, a thief, a murderer, seditious, infamous, and odious to all; yet they preferred even this Barabbas to the Prince of Life. O malice beyond all example, shameless and bloody! Who can but blush to think, that a heathen should see Jews so impetuously unjust, so savagely cruel! he knew there was no fault to be found in Jesus; he knew there was no crime that was not to be found in Barabbas: ye he hears, and blushes to hear them say, Not this man, but Barabbas. What a killing indignity was this, O blessed Lord, for thee to hear from thine own nation! hast thou refused all glory, to put on shame and misery for their sakes? hast thou disregarded thy blessed self to save them; and do they now refuse thee for Barabbas? Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people, and unjust.
Pilate would have chastised thee and let thee go: that cruelty had been true mercy to this of the Jews; whom no blood would satisfy but that of thy heart. He calls for thy fault; they clamour for thy punishment. They cried the more, Crucify him! crucify him!
As their outrage increased, so the president's justice declined; those graces which lie loose and ungrounded, are easily washed away with the first tide of popularity. Thrice had that man proclaimed the innocence of Him whom he now inclines to condemn, willing to content the people. O the foolish aims of ambition! Not God, not his conscience comes into any regard; but the people. What a base idol does the proud man adore! What is their breath, but an idle wind? or their anger, but a painted fire? O Pilate, where now are thyself and thy people?—Whereas a good conscience would have stuck by thee for ever, and have given thee boldness before the face of God in glory.
Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. Thou that didst so lately water Gethsemane's garden with the drops of thy bloody sweat, now bedewest the pavement of Pilate's hall with the showers of thy blood. Blessed Jesus, why should I think it strange to be scourged with tongue or hand, when I see thee bleeding? What lashes can I fear from heaven or earth, since thy scourges have been borne for me, and have sanctified them to me? Now what a world of insolent reproaches, indignities, tortures, art thou entering upon! To an ingenuous and tender disposition scorns are sufficient torment; but here the most exquisite pain must help to perfect thy misery and their despite.
O adorable Redeemer, was it not enough that thy sacred body was stripped, and wealed with bloody stripes, but thy person must be made the mockery of insulting enemies?—thy back disguised with purple robes, thy temples wounded with a thorny crown, thy face spit upon, buffeted, smitten; thy hand sceptred with a reed, thyself derided with grimace, bended knees and scoffing acclamation?
O whither dost thou stoop, Co-eternal Son of the eternal Father, whither dost thou abase thyself for me! I have sinned, and thou art punished; my head has devised evil, and thine is pierced with thorns; I have smitten thee, and thou art smitten for me; I have dishonoured thee, and thou art made the sport of men for me who have deserved to be insulted by devils!
Thus disguised, bleeding, mangled, deformed, behold the man, brought forth to the furious multitude, whether for compassion, or for more cruel derision. Look upon him, O ye merciless Jews; see him in his shame, and in his wounds; his face all livid with blows; his eyes swoln, his cheeks besmeared with spitting, his skin lacerated with scourges, his whole body bathed in blood;—and would ye yet have more? Behold the man, whom ye envied for his greatness!
Yea, and behold him well, O thou proud Pilate; ye cruel soldiers, ye insatiable Jews; ye see him base, whom ye shall see glorious: the time is coming, wherein ye shall behold him in another garb; when ye, who now bend the knee to him in scorn, shall see all knees in heaven and earth, and under the earth, bowing before him in aweful adoration; when ye who now see him with contempt, shall behold him with trembling and horror.
What an inward war do I yet find in the breast of Pilate? His conscience bids him spare; his popularity bids him kill. His wife, warned by a dream, cautions him to have no hand in the blood of that Just One; the importunate multitude press him for a sentence of death. All artifices have been tried to liberate the man whom he has pronounced innocent; all violent motives are urged to condemn the man whom malice pretends guilty.
Just in the height of this bosom-strife, when conscience and moral justice were ready to sway Pilate's distracted heart to an equitable dismission, the Jews are heard to cry out, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend. There is the word that strikes it dead: in vain shall we hope that a carnal heart can prefer the care of the soul, to honourable safety; or God, to Caesar.
Now Jesus must die; Pilate hastes into the judgment hall; the sentence rests no longer with him; let him be crucified.
Yet how foul soever his soul,—his hands shall be clean; he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent, &c. Now all is safe; this is sufficient expiation; water can wash off blood; the hands cleanse the heart: protest thou art innocent, and thou canst not be guilty.—Vain hypocrite! and canst thou think to escape so? Is murder of no deeper die?—What miserable evasions do foolish sinners invent, to beguile themselves? Any thing will serve to charm the conscience, when it chooses to slumber and sleep. O Pilate, if that very blood thou sheddest, do not wash off the guilt of thy bloodshed, thy water-washing does but the more defile thy soul.
Little did these desperate Jews know the weight of that blood which they were so forward to imprecate upon themselves and their children!—And have ye not now felt, O nation worthy of plagues, have ye not now felt what blood it was, whose guilt ye so furiously affected? Near eighteen hundred years are now elapsed since ye thus wished for wretchedness? And have ye not been almost ever since the hate and scorn of the world. Did ye not live, many of you, to see your city buried in ashes, and drowned in blood? To see yourselves no nation? Was there ever a people under heaven made so eminent a spectacle of misery and desolation? Your former cruelties, uncleanness, idolatries, cost you but some short captivities: God cannot but be just; this sin under which ye now lie groaning and forlorn, must needs be so much greater than those, as your devastation is more unbounded; and what can that be, other than the murder of the Lord of Life?—Ye have what ye wished, unhappy people! be miserable till ye be penitent!
REFLECTIONS.—1st, Unwearied in wickedness, we see those who had great part of the night sat up to seize and condemn the Lord Jesus, early in the morning again in consultation how to get their sentence confirmed by the Roman governor, and executed. Let it shame our slothfulness, that they should be carried farther by enmity against Christ, than we by zeal to serve him.
1. They bound and led him prisoner to Pilate's tribunal. Our mighty Samson might indeed easily have snapped these cords asunder; but, faster bound with bands of love to our sinful souls, he quietly submitted to be led as a lamb to the slaughter.
2. Before Pilate our Lord witnessed the good confession. In answer to his interrogatories, he confessed, and denied not, that he was the Christ, the King of his spiritual Israel: but to the clamorous charges of the priests, his invenomed persecutors, he observed a profound silence; nor, when urged by Pilate to answer, deigned to make the least reply. He despised their malice; he was prepared to suffer; he desired not to be delivered; and he knew it was in vain to remonstrate with those who wilfully and obstinately rejected the truth; and therefore, to Pilate's admiration, he still held his peace. Note; (1.) Christ is a king; and they who refuse to bow as willing subjects to his government, will find him able to punish the rebels that will not have him to reign over them. (2.) We need not wonder, if false brethren are our bitterest accusers. Read the Scriptures, and from the beginning it will be seen, that wicked, worldly, and sensual priests are ever the most invenomed enemies to the cause of truth. (3.) Silence is in general the best answer to false and scurrilous invective.
3. Pilate, convinced of the innocence of Jesus, greatly desired to deliver him from his enemies; as he plainly saw, that the envy of the priests was alone the cause of this malicious prosecution: and as it was an established custom at the passover, to gratify the people by the release of any prisoner they desired, he thought of an expedient which he imagined could scarcely fail of success. There was a most infamous miscreant then in prison for murder and insurrection; and he doubted not, but if he proposed to the people these two, Jesus and Barabbas, they would infallibly prefer the former. The supposition was reasonable; but he was disappointed in the issue. Note; (1.) When people think to extricate themselves from their difficulties by indirect means, because if they act openly and honestly it may expose them to censure, they often but farther involve themselves. (2.) Whatever many pretend as the specious pleas for reviling the zealous ministers of truth, it is envy that instigates their enmity; they cannot bear the reproof of their lives and doctrine.
4. Swayed by the malignant insinuations of the priests and elders, who, forgetting their dignity, mingled with the crowd, the people rejected Jesus, and demanded Barabbas. Pilate, amazed, laboured still to get Jesus off, and proposed a question to them—what he should do with that poor man, who was called the King of the Jews, and more to be pitied than feared. They cried out all together, Crucify him, crucify him. In vain the governor attempted to expostulate on the injustice, the cruelty of such a punishment, where a man had been proved guilty of no crime: they only grew more outrageous and clamorous, and tumultuously demanded an instant compliance with their request. Note; We must not judge of the justice of a cause by the clamours of the populace: the voice of truth is often silenced amid the louder cries of prejudice.
2nd, The importunity and clamour of the people overcame the convictions of Pilate's conscience. To content them, he released Barabbas, pronounced sentence of crucifixion on Jesus, and delivered him up for execution, having before scourged him, in hopes of moving their compassion. But,
1. The soldiers, in order more bitterly to insult him, dragged him to the hall called Praetorium; and gathering their whole company, in derision of the pretensions of Jesus, arrayed him, as a king, in a purple robe, placed a crown of thorns upon his head, and, ridiculing his mock dignity, wished all happiness to the King of the Jews; striking him on the head with the cane which they had put into his hand, to make the thorns on his head pierce the deeper; and spitting upon him in contempt, while they fell on their knees, pretending to pay him homage. Thus, because sinful man had affected to be like God, he who came to bear the punishment of our pride, must submit to the basest indignities to expiate our guilt. With wonder and love then let us behold the man, astonished at his humiliation, and bowing with no fictitious homage, but with the deepest reverence before him, as our incarnate God and king.
2. When they were tired of this inhuman sport, they disarrayed him of the purple robe, put on him his own garment, and led him away to the place of execution, bearing his cross. But he being unable to support the load—lest he should die by the way, and disappoint their cruelty—they took it off from him, and seizing one who passed by, perhaps known to be a disciple, the father of Alexander and Rufus, men afterwards of note among the faithful, they compelled him to carry the cross after Jesus to Calvary. Note; (1.) Unexpected crosses often come upon us: it is well to be habitually prepared for them. (2.) However ignominiously we may be treated now for Christ's sake, it shall hereafter redound to our everlasting honour, if we be faithful.
3rdly, We are now led to the lowest step of the Saviour's humiliation, his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross.
1. They crucified him—a punishment and death the most painful, ignominious, and accursed! The hands and feet torn with the nails, excited the most excruciating pain, the whole body hanging on the wounded parts; the bones dislocated; and blood streaming down: thus lingering in agonies inexpressible, he felt all the horrors of death in its most tremendous form. None but the vilest miscreants and slaves were thus punished; and God in his law had branded the death upon a tree with his curse, Deuteronomy 21:23. He who stood in the room of sinners, even of the chief of sinners, therefore submitted to bear their sins in his own body on the tree, to endure all the shame, the pain, the curse, which they had deserved, and thus to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
2. On the cross he continued to endure every fresh insult and cruelty which malice could devise. (1.) While he hung in agonies, the soldiers, who were more immediately his executioners, sported themselves with dividing his clothes as their fee, and casting lots for their several shares. (2.) Two thieves were crucified with him, one on each side, that he might not only appear numbered with the transgressors, but branded as the vilest of the vile. Thus undesignedly they fulfilled the Scriptures concerning him, Isaiah 53:12. (3.) Every passenger, with bitterest sarcasms, cast in his teeth what they regarded as an arrogant boast, wagging their heads in scorn, and bidding him prove the mission which he pretended, by coming down from the cross. The chief priests and scribes also, who came to glut their vengeance with this spectacle, and to see the execution performed with every circumstance of ignominy and cruelty, now triumphed over him, deriding his pretensions as a Saviour to others, who was so little able to save himself; insultingly demanding that now he would shew himself the Messiah, the king of Israel; and promising to believe on him, if he could give an instance of the power that he assumed, by unfastening himself from the tree, and coming down before them all. While, with horror and amazement at such wickedness, we read and tremble, let us fear, that we do not repeat those crimes we so condemn, by our sins crucifying the Son of God afresh, and putting him to an open shame.
4thly, Death at last brings the welcome release, after Jesus had hung on the tree about six hours; during which we are told,
1. Of the dreadful darkness that for the three last hours covered the earth, portending that fearful state of blindness and hardness of heart to which the Jewish people were now abandoned for their wickedness.
2. The darkness of the sun was but an emblem of the more dreadful darkness which involved the Redeemer's soul, and extorted from him that exceeding bitter cry, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Such a complaint from the mouth of the Son of God may well amaze every hearer. The arrows of wrath now drank up his spirit, the powers of darkness struggled with all their might, and all that Jesus could endure was laid upon him. Never had such an hour passed since the sun began its revolutions; nor shall be again, till he is plucked from his sphere.
3. Astonishingly hardened, notwithstanding all that had passed, some that stood by mocked him, as if he now wanted Elias to come; and running, and filling a sponge with vinegar, they put it to his lips; while others said, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will appear to save him or not. Thus they regarded him as abandoned of God, and concluded that none in earth or heaven desired to help him.
4. Having finished the atonement, he dismissed his spirit, and left the lifeless corpse upon the tree. He cried with a loud voice, not as one worn out with pains, but as a triumphant conqueror; and vanquished as he fell, by death destroying him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
5. At that instant the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, intimating the abolition of the ritual service, the rending of the Jewish state in pieces, and the access opened through the cross of Jesus, and his body there offered, for every sinner unto the holiest of all; God being reconciled through the blood of his cross, and willing to receive all that come unto him through this dying Redeemer.
6. This amazing cry, and sudden departure of Jesus, deeply affected the Roman centurion, under whose command the soldiers were; and, convinced by what he saw and heard of his innocence, and the truth of that assertion for which he suffered, he could not but confess, that this was verily the Son of God. He was probably the first fruits of the Gentile confessors, and bore testimony of the Redeemer's glory in the hour of his deepest humiliation. See the Annotations.
7. Those pious women who had followed Jesus from Galilee, and supported him out of their substance, continued with him to the last. The names of some of them are mentioned to their everlasting honour. Mary Magdalene is one: much had been forgiven her, and she thus proved how much she loved the Saviour in return; and Mary the mother of James the less, so called probably from his low stature; and Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children: and now all their hopes seemed to be extinguished by the death of their Lord. Thus frequently, when we seem sunk into the lowest depths, then does the glory of God more eminently appear in raising our desponding souls venturing upon Jesus, and filling us with the triumphs of faith and joy.
5thly, Nothing now remained but to take down the bodies as the evening approached, longer than which they were forbidden to hang there; and also it being the preparation of the sabbath, the work needed to be hastened. But who shall perform this last kind office to the corpse of Jesus? The Lord had prepared an unexpected person for the service, Joseph of Arimathea, a person of distinction, a counsellor, probably one of the great Sanhedrim,
(see Luke 23:51.) a secret disciple of Jesus; and who, notwithstanding his sufferings and death, expected that his glorious kingdom would come, and in faith waited for it.
1. He went boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus, when none of his apostles or followers had the courage to own him. Pilate, who could hardly believe that Christ was yet dead, called the centurion, and, when he was assured of the fact, readily granted Joseph's request, and gave an order for delivering the body. Note; (1.) In Christ's cause we have need of courage. They who dare appear on the side of the people who are every where spoken against, must not be shamefaced. (2.) God has his faithful ones among the great, the noble, and honourable counsellors—though not many, yet enough to leave the rest utterly inexcusable in their infidelity.
2. Joseph having taken down the mangled corpse of his Lord with great respect, and wrapped it in fine linen bought for this occasion, interred the body in his own new tomb, which was hewn out of a rock; and closed the door with a large stone; while the two Marys, who had continued near the cross, now followed their Master to his grave, and marked the place, intending after the sabbath to embalm the corpse. Note; (1.) They who love the Lord Jesus, serve him with their best, and count nothing too much to bestow for his honour. (2.) Visits to the grave are very useful; they serve to quicken us to prepare for our great change.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Mark 15". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27