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forth his hand, and caught him." This was a plain intimation to him (as I remarked in a former Lecture) that it was not his own arm that could help him, but that almighty hand, and that outstretched arm, which then preserved him; and to which, when in danger, we must all have recourse to preserve us from sinking. "Trust then in the Lord," (as the wise king advises) "with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths*."
* Prov. iii. 5 & 6.
the preceding chapter we saw that the chief priests and elders had, in their summary way, without the shadow of justice, without any consistent evidence, decided the fate of Jesus, and pronounced him guilty of death. Their next care was how to get this sentence confirmed and carried into execution; for under the Roman government they had not at this time the power of the sword, the power of life and death; they could not execute a criminal, though they might try and condemn him, without a warrant from the Roman governor; they determined therefore to carry him before
Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judæa at that time. But then, to ensure success in that quarter, it was necessary to give their accusations against Jesus such a colour and shape, as should prevail upon the governor to put him to death. For this purpose they found it expedient to change their ground, for they had condemned him for blasphemy; but this they knew would have little weight with a pagan governor, who, like Gallio, would "care for none of those things" which related solely to religion. They therefore resolved to bring him before Pilate as a state prisoner, and to charge him with treasonable and seditious practices; with setting himself up as a king in opposition to Cæsar, and persuading the people not to pay tribute to that prince. Accordingly we are told, in the beginning of this chapter, that "when morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death;" that is, to obtain permission to put him to death; "and when they had bound him
they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor."
The evangelist, having brought the history of this diabolical transaction thus far, makes a short digression, to inform us of the fate of that wretched traitor, Judas, who had by his perfidy brought his Master into this situation.
"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, saying, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and went and hanged himself."
From the expression made use of in the third verse, "when Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented himself," some commentators have thought that he did not imagine or expect that Jesus would be condemned to death; but supposed either that he would convey himself away from
his persecutors, or that he would prove his innocence to the satisfaction of his judges; or that at the most some slight punishment would be inflicted upon him. One would not wish to load even the worst of men with more guilt than really belongs to them; but, from considering the character of Judas, and comparing together all the circumstances of the case, it appears to me more probable that the acquittal or condemnation of Jesus never entered into his contemplation. All he thought of was gain. He had kept the common purse, and had robbed it; and his only object was, how to obtain a sum of money, which he determined to have at all events, and left consequences to take care of themselves. But when he saw that his divine Master, whom he knew to be perfectly innocent, was actually condemned to death, his conscience then flew in his face; his guilt rose up before him in all its horrors. The innocence, the virtues, the gentleness, the kindness of his Lord, with a thousand other circumstances, rushed at