We always speak on how the dispensation of that time passed sentence and crucified Jesus Christ, but do we know that Hebrews 6:4-8 says that when we sin willfully we crucify the Son of God again! Notice all the things that were done to Jesus at that time are the same things we do directly or indirectly in this age.
Many consultations had been held against the life of Christ but this plot was laid deeper than any yet, for the grandees were all engaged in it. The chief priests, who presided in ecclesiastical affairs; the elders, who were judges in civil matters, and the scribes, who, as doctors of the law, were directors to both–these composed the Sanhedrim, or great council that governed the nation, and these were confederate against Christ. Observe; –
The place where they met; in the palace of the high priest, who was the centre of their unity in this wicked project.
The plot itself; to take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him; nothing less than his blood, his life-blood, would serve their turn. So cruel and bloody have been the designs of Christ’s and his church’s enemies.
The policy of the plotters; Not on the feast-day. Why not? Was it in regard to the holiness of the time, or because they would not be disturbed in the religious services of the day? No, but lest there should be an uproar among the people. They knew Christ had a great interest in the common people, of whom there was a great concourse on the feast-day, and they would be in danger of taking up arms against their rulers, if they should offer to lay violent hands on Christ, whom all held for a prophet. They were awed, not by the fear of God, but by the fear of the people; all their concern was for their own safety, not God’s honour. They would have it done at the feast; for it was a tradition of the Jews, that malefactors should be put to death at one of the three feasts, especially rebels and impostors, that all Israel might see and fear; but not on the feast-day.
Here is the proffer which he made to the chief priests; he went to them, and said, What will ye give me? Mt 26:15. They did not send for him, nor make the proposal to him; they could not have thought that one of Christ’s own disciples should be false to him. Note, There are those, even among Christ’s followers, that are worse than anyone can imagine them to be, and want nothing but opportunity to show it.
It is a very wicked thing to seek opportunity to sin, and to devise mischief; for it argues the heart fully set in men to do evil, and a malice pretense.
It troubled them more to hear that one of them should do it. It would be a reproach to the fraternity, for an apostle to prove a traitor, and this grieved them; gracious souls grieve for the sins of others, especially of those that have made a more than ordinary profession of religion. 2 Co 11:29.
Christ soon answered this question; Thou hast said, that is, It is as thou hast said. This is not spoken out so plainly as Nathan’s Thou art the man; but it was enough to convict him. Beware when there is still tenderness calling of the Spirit because there comes a time when it will have to pronounce a judgment and not a reprove.
The place where he prayed; He went a little further, withdrew from them, that the scripture might be fulfilled, I have trod the wine- press alone; he retired for prayer; a troubled soul finds most ease when it is alone with God, who understands the broken language of sighs and groans. Calvin’s devout remark upon this is worth transcribing, Utile est seorsim orare, tunc enim magis familiariter sese denudat fidelis animus, et simplicius sua vota, gemitus, curas, pavores, spes, et gaudia in Dei sinum exonerat–It is useful to pray apart; for then the faithful soul develops itself more familiarly, and with greater simplicity pours forth its petitions, groans, cares, fears, hopes and joys, into the bosom of God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was really perfect in His ways that when I look at myself I see just a wretched being. He calls Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane friend. If he had called him villain, and traitor, raca, thou fool, and child of the devil, he had not mis-called him; but he would teach us under the greatest provocation to forbear bitterness and evil speaking, and to show all meekness. Friend, for a friend he had been, and should have been, and seemed to be. Thus he upbraids him, as Abraham, when he called the rich man in hell, son. Indeed this is one of the greatest mysteries about Jesus Christ.
“Let God’s word and will take place, let his law be magnified and made honourable, whatever becomes of us.”
About Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord our Savior, they delivered him to Pontius Pilate; according to that which Christ had often said, that he should be delivered to the Gentiles. Both Jews and Gentiles were obnoxious to the judgment of God, and concluded under sin, and Christ was to be the Saviour both of Jews and Gentiles; and therefore Christ was brought into the judgment both of Jews and Gentiles, and both had a hand in his death. See how these corrupt church-rulers abused the civil magistrate, making use of him to execute their unrighteous decrees, and inflict the grievance which they had prescribed, Isa 10:1. Thus have the kings of the earth been wretchedly imposed upon by the PAPAL POWERS, and condemned to the drudgery of extirpating with the sword of war, as well as that of justice, those whom they have marked for heretics, right or wrong, to the great prejudice of their own interests.
What kind of repentance have you made? See here how Judas repented: not like Peter, who repented, believed, and was pardoned: no, he repented, despaired, and was ruined.
Sin will soon change its taste. Though it be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel, in the bowels it will be turned into the gall of asps (Job 20:12-14).
There are those who betray Christ, and yet justify themselves in it, and so come short of Judas.
See here how we carelessly speak of betraying of Christ. Judas had told them that the blood of Christ was innocent blood; and they said, What is that to us? Was it nothing to them that they had thirsted after this blood, and hired Judas to betray it, and had now condemned it to be shed unjustly? Is this nothing to them? Does it give no check to the violence of their prosecution, no warning to take heed what they do to this just man? Thus do fools make a mock at sin, as if no harm were done, no hazard run, by the commission of the greatest wickedness. Thus light do many make of Christ crucified; what is it to them, that he suffered such things? And when we forget about what Jesus went through and sin again crucifying him on the cross again, is it nothing to us?
It is folly for us to think that the sins of others are nothing to us, especially those sins that we are any way accessary to, or partakers in. Is it nothing to us, that God is dishonoured, souls wounded, Satan gratified and his interests served, and that we have aided and abetted it? If the elders of Jezreel, to please Jezebel, murder Naboth, is that nothing to Ahab? Yes, he has killed, for he has taken possession, 1Ki 21:19.
He went, and hanged himself. First, He retired-; he withdrew into some solitary place, like the possessed man that was drawn by the devil into the wilderness, Lu 8:29. Woe to him that is in despair, and is alone. If Judas had gone to Christ, or to some of the disciples, perhaps he might have had relief, bad as the case was.
Let us think as bad as we can of sin, provided we do not think it unpardonable; let us despair of help in ourselves, but not of help in God. He that thinks to ease his conscience by destroying his life, doth, in effect, dare God Almighty to do his worst. And self-murder, though prescribed by some of the heathen moralists, is certainly a remedy worse than the disease, how bad soever the disease may be.
Its pure nonsense for men to protest against a thing, and yet to practise it, is only to proclaim that they sin against their consciences. Though Pilate professed his innocency by washing his hands in the crucifixion of the Messiah, God charges him with guilt, Ac 4:26, 27.
When he was condemned, he ought to have had some time allowed him to prepare for death. There was a law made by the Roman senate, in Tiberius’s time, perhaps upon complaint of this and the like precipitation, that the execution of criminals should be deferred at least ten days after sentence. Sueton in Tiber. cap. 25. But there were scarcely allowed so many minutes to our Lord Jesus; nor had he any breathing-time during those minutes; it was a crisis, and there were no lucid intervals allowed him; deep called unto deep, and the storm continued without any intermission. A planned sin is like an un-reversible bomb waiting unless Christ meets the heart of the exploder.
It is an argument of a base, servile, sordid spirit, to insult over those that are in misery, and to make the calamities of any matter of sport and merriment.
Where this was done–in the common hall. The governor’s house, which should have been a shelter to the wronged and abused, is made the theatre of this barbarity. I wonder that the governor, who was so desirous to acquit himself from the blood of this just person, would suffer this to be done in his house. Perhaps he did not order it to be done, but he connived at it; and those in authority will be accountable, not only for the wickedness which they do, or appoint, but for that which they do not restrain, when it is in the power of their hands. Masters of families should not suffer their houses to be places of abuse to any, nor their servants to make sport with the sins, or miseries, or religion, of others.
In pretense of mercy, they gave Simon of Cyrene his cross to carry for him. Why? In fear that he may die before they could put nails in his body hence one feign of empathy a plot for more heinous brutality. What pretenses of mercy have we in store for Jesus today!
It was an additional reproach, that he was crucified in the midst, between them, as if he had been the worst of the three, the principal malefactor; for among three the middle is the place for the chief. Every circumstance was contrived to his dishonour, as if the great Saviour were of all others the greatest sinner.
Many people would like the King of Israel well enough, if he would but come down from the cross, if they could have his kingdom without the tribulation through which they must enter into it. But the matter is settled; if no cross, then no Christ, no crown. Those that would reign with him must be willing to suffer with him, for Christ and his cross are nailed together in this world.
And from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, darkness engulfed the land. Never were there three such hours since the day that God created man upon the earth, never such a dark and awful scene; the crisis of that great affair of man’s redemption and salvation.
The manner how he breathed his last (Mt 27:50); between the third and the sixth hour, that is, between nine and twelve o’clock, as we reckon, he was nailed to the cross, and soon after the ninth hour, that is, between three and four o’clock in the afternoon, he died. That was the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, and the time when the paschal lamb was killed; and Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us and offered himself in the evening of the world a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savour. It was at that time of the day, that the angel Gabriel delivered to Daniel that glorious prediction of the Messiah, Daniel 9:21.
On next day (The Sabbath – Mathew 27:62-66), the chief priests and Pharisees, when they should have been at their devotions, asking pardon for the sins of the week past, were dealing with Pilate about securing and sealing permanently the sepulchre, and so adding rebellion to their sin.
I don’t know how stealing the body of Jesus could have benefited the disciples cause on the third day Jesus had to appear alive to prove that he was risen from the dead. Hence the thoughts of these Pharisees really revealed how deep their conscience was seared.
To make a spectacle and a mock of their plot, when the matter is reported to Pilate in Mathew 27:65, he answers “ye have a watch, make it sure, as sure as you can” meaning; “Do your worst, try your wit and strength to the utmost; but if he be of God, he will rise, in spite of you and all your guards”. Can you really keep Jesus a prisoner!
The Disciples of Christ must first be told the news; note, Go, tell the chief priests and the Pharisees, that they may be confounded; but, tell the disciples, that they may be comforted. God anticipates the joy of his friends more than the shame of his enemies, though the perfection of both is reserved for hereafter.
Why is it that it was the women to go and bear the message that Christ has risen? Because a woman in the Bible represents a church and so as a church we have a message to bear to the whole earth: that Christ rose from the dead, intercedes for us and soon he is coming to judge the world.
Those that are sent on God’s errand must not loiter, or lose time; where the heart is enlarged with the glad tidings of the gospel, the feet will run the way of God’s commandments.
Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept; a sorry shift is better than none, but this is a sorry one indeed:
The sham was ridiculous, and carried along with it its own confutation. If they slept, how could they know any thing of the matter, or say who came? If any one of them was awake to observe it, no doubt, he would awake them all to oppose it; for that was the only thing they had in charge.
Go ye. It is not only a word of command, like that, son, go work, but a word of encouragement, Go, and fear not, have I not sent you?
They had doted on Christ’s bodily presence, and hung upon that, and built all their joys and hopes upon that; but now Christ discharges them from further attendance on his person, and sends them abroad about other work. As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, to excite them to fly (De 32:11), so Christ stirs up his disciples, to disperse themselves over the entire world. It is time to come out of those comforts and test what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus.
Mathew 28:20: How often we baptize people in our camp meetings without teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever Jesus commanded is beyond me. That’s why we are always infants breastfeeding and the church is filled with backsliding.
There is a law of faith, and we are said to be under the law to Christ; we are by baptism bound, and must obey.
And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world: what blessed assurance!
I am with you, to bear you up, to plead your cause; with you in all your services, in all your sufferings, to bring you through them with comfort and honour. When you go through the fire or water, I will be with you. In the pulpit, in the prison, lo, I am with you.
The few words of the Gospel are enough to show us that though it was the purpose of these Evangelists to record chiefly the outward and palpable facts of our Lord’s public life, they recognized in Him, in common with the manuscripts of prophesy, the glory of the Only-begotten of the Father hope we recognize that and say like Peter in John 6:68 “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life”