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Matthew to have been put into his right hand, became a sceptre of righteousness: and he, to whom the chief priests and rulers gave, in derision, the title of king of the Jews, became acknowledged by the powers of the earth as King of kings, Lord of lords, and the universal Sovereign of the world.
* 4. Pilate, therefore, went forth again, “ and faith' unto them, Behold, I bring “ him forth to you, that ye may know " that. I find no fault in him.
5. Then came Jesus forth, wearing “ the crown of thorns, and the purple “ robe. And Pilate faith unto them, Behold the man!
• 6. When the chief priests, therefore, “ and officers saw him, they cried out,
saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate “ saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him ; for I find no fault in him.
7. The Jews answered him, We have “ a law, and by our law he ought to die, “ because he made himself the Son of God. “8. When Pilate, therefore, heard that saying, he was the more afraid ; 9.
66 8. When
And went again into the Judgmenthall, and faith unto Jesus, Whence art “thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
10. Then faith Pilate unto him, Speak5 eft thou not unto me? knowest thou
not that I have power to crucify thee, " and have power to release thee ?
“11. Jesus answered, Thou couldest “ have no power at all against me, except “ it were given thee from above: there« fore he that delivered me unto thee “ hath the greater sin.
And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him : but the Jews "cried out, saying, If thou let this man go,
thou art not Cesar's friend: who“ foever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cefar. 13.
When Pilate, therefore, heard " that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and " sat down in the Judgment-seat, in a
place that is called the Pavement, but “ in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
14. And it was the preparation of “ the Passover, and about the sixth hour: " and he saith unto the Jews, Behold
15. But they cried out, Away with “ him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate “ faith unto them, Shall I crucify your
King? The chief priests answered, We “ have no king but Cesar.
“ 16. Then delivered he him, therefore, unto them to be crucified. And they “took Jesus, and led him away.
17. And he, bearing his cross, went “ forth into a place called the place of a “ scull, which is called in the Hebrew, “ Golgotha;
“ 18. Where they crucified him, and
two other with him, on either side one, " and Jesus in the midst."
Pilate, though disheartened at the obduracy of the Jews to the sufferings of Jesus, did not yet give up the attempt to save him. Haviąg no personal enmity to our Lord, the common feelings of huma. nity incited his compassion for the unmerited cruelties exercised on
one in whom he could find no fault;' and to this motive was added, that of fear of the vengeance due to the shedding of innocent blood. To remove this guilt from himself, he, in answer to their clamor for his crucifixion, desires That they will take him and crucify him, since he could find no fault in him. Upon this the Jews urge the plea that, by their law, his blafphemy, in calling himself the son of God, was deserving of death; but this, instead of producing the desired effect upon Pilate, who was unbiassed by the Jewish prejudices, made him the more afraid of passing a final sentence: he therefore returns with our Lord into the Judgmenthall, and inquires more minutely from whence he was ? But as our blessed Lord knew that Pilate had not sufficient virtue to brave the resentment of the Jews in the cause of innocence, but would yield at last to their intreaties, although he should ex, plain himself ever so fully, he continued 4M
silent. Pilate, hurt at what he considered as a disrespect to his authority, reminds him of his situation, and of the power which he possessed, either to save or condemn him. Our Lord checks this presumption, as far as it relates to himself, telling him that the power of which he boasted belonged to God alone; as if he had said, though the power of life and death is vefted in you,
in the common course of criminal trials, yet over me you could not exercise it, had it not been decreed by the Almighty. He adds, That this would not excuse him for giving way to injustice; although he was less guilty than the Jews : their crime in delivering him up to punishment being the effect of premeditated malice, envy and revenge ; his, only the fear of bringing himself into a disagreeable situation, by making enemies of the Jews.
This discourse of our Lord's still added to Pilate's wish to save him ; which the Jews perceiving, and fearing they should be deprived of their prey, became fill more clamorous for his condemnation.